The first week in June was Volunteers’ Week and what a wonderful time was had by all. Rhoda Ludford arranged a thank you event for the volunteers based, here at our UK Headquarters, to have a wonderful day out.
First we boarded a coach that took us to Lakenheath Fen, this reserve was once mostly carrot fields. Like many fenland sites, its wetlands had been lost to agriculture centuries before. Since 1995, however, we have been working to restore approximately 200 ha of the reserve to a wetland mosaic of washland, wet reedbed, ungrazed fen and wet grassland.
We were so lucky with the weather it was a gorgeous day. The staff took care of our needs and we had hot drinks and biscuits before we split up into two groups.
One group was the most hardy and took the 3 mile trip around the reserve to see if they could spot the golden oriole and along the way they saw many spectacular sights which included bitterns, and whilst they didn’t see the golden oriole they were lucky enough to hear it.
The second group took the more leisurely 1 mile walk and again were raving about what a wonderful time they had. (I hasten to add I missed it all as I was tasked with laying tables and organising the hall for lunch!)
Colin Hawkins, Super Volunteer, says ‘It was an excellent day out, very well organised as always and obviously helped by the great weather (and some stunning bird displays). My thanks to Katherine Puttick, Assistant Warden at Lakenheath Fen, as she definitely helped make the day and everyone on her walk was very impressed with her knowledge and manner.’
After the walk the thirsty but happy group of volunteers met us at Methwold Hall where Rhoda, myself and Tim Stowe (RSPB Director of International) was waiting. We had much needed drinks to hand and a delicious spread of buffet food - it was so hard to keep my fingers off it, especially when I spied the chocolate mousse for dessert.
Tim Stowe gave a marvellous talk about international work carried out by the RSPB and to be sure there were quite a number of volunteers in the room that were amazed and eager to find out how they could get involved. If you want to find out more, this month’s step up for nature is International Volunteering.
Then it was coffee and a quick tidy up, then back on the coach for the journey home. I have to admit to being a little bit weary and I was not the only one that dozed off on the trip back!
I’m looking forward to seeing the photographs taken by Reg, our volunteer photographer for the day, and will post these later.