Blogger: Jane Delaney, Local Groups and Volunteering Support Officer
The South Lincolnshire RSPB Local Group have been running their Wash Cruises onboard the “Boston Belle” for 8 years now and they continue to do so very successfully - selling out on all 15 cruises each taking 50 people in no time at all.
As “Local Groups and Volunteering Support Officer” I wanted to go along to see how they worked and why they were so popular and of course to offer any support needed.
The cruise departs from Boston Marina and goes through the sluice gate past Boston docks along the river Witham and then out on to the Wash before returning along the river Welland and lasts 4-5 hours depending on tide times.
Because they had completely sold out of tickets my only way on board was by hard labour! Having been given the role of assistant keeper of the bird list (2nd in command to Barry) and chief raffle ticket sales person I was eager to get stuck in. Running two lists, birds I saw and those called out by Robert who was acting as spotter and commentator pointing out places of local historic interest, was a tough job so I went inside and sought sustenance in the form of a mug of hot chocolate and a bacon buttie!
Fully recharged I then took on my role as raffle ticket seller with everyone onboard keen to support the cause.
There was great mix of people from teenagers to those in their 70’s and from the avid birder to those with a general interest in wildlife and other who just enjoyed a cruise along the river. The cruises are very well supported by other RSPB local groups along with other groups including the likes of the U3A as well as individuals.
We saw a great selection of birds including some fantastic views of marsh harriers dancing and a perched merlin among five species of birds of prey seen that day. Other favourites of mine were eider, golden plover and little egret.
The bird count on my trip was 53 plus common seals however the top bird count is 71 with a total of 114 bird species plus the common seals being seen this season.
This year, through the sterling efforts from the South Lincolnshire Local Group Committee, their volunteers and RSPB wardens who all get involved in the preparation work, spotting, commentating and organising the raffles their group will be donating £4,000 to the RSPB and their work in Intertidal Habitats.
A HUGE thank you one and all!
Quotes of the Day:
“Always very friendly. Good value for money. Boat crew & RSPB members excellent.”
“Hot chocolate and bacon butties were fabulously delicious”
“Brilliant well organised. Friendly helpful staff & great bacon butties”
“Wonderful friendly hosts good interesting commentary”