We are seeking a team of enthusiastic volunteers to help run our new shop, cafe and wildlife garden, which is due to open in March 2016!
Our brand new shop, cafe and wildlife garden are taking shape and the building work is nearing completion. We are aiming to open in mid-March, so pencil a visit in your diaries for the Easter Holidays.
We are now seeking a team of special volunteers who can help us make these new facilities a huge success. We want to build up a thriving, dynamic team of people to welcome our lovely visitors, help them to have a great experience and encourage them to come back time and time again. You don’t need any special skills to help, just enthusiasm, a friendly smile and a willingness to learn.
We’re looking for volunteer cafe assistants, retail assistants and wildlife gardeners – so if you are enthusiastic, friendly and want to join our passionate team of staff and volunteers (or know someone who might), please get in touch on: email Dorset.Volunteering@rspb.org.uk or call 01929 555983.
Full details of the volunteer roles can be found here: http://www.rspb.org.uk/joinandhelp/volunteering/all.aspx
The new shop and cafe will provide much needed snacks, drinks and hot food to our visitors, who will have worked up an appetite after exploring the nature reserve. Visitors can also stock up on bird food, try out a new pair of binoculars or shop for gifts after their walk.
The new facilities will generate vital income, which we can use to help give more nature a home in Dorset and beyond. Fear not, our popular visitor hut, located in the car park of Arne, will still be open and our friendly team will be waiting there to provide visitors with more information about the nature reserve and answer any questions visitors may have.
The shop and cafe building is on the site of the old toy museum at Arne nature reserve and has been designed with the local wildlife very firmly in mind – entrances for bats have been built into the actual structure of the shop and cafe, as well as a large loft space for bats to roost. We have also used bee bricks in the patio wall that will provide more habitats for our solitary bees. This work has been made possible by the Coastal Communities Fund.
Adjacent to the shop and cafe there is also a green space, which we will be converting into a wildlife garden with funding awarded from The Veolia Environmental Trust through the Landfill Communities Fund. The garden will attract a variety of wildlife to the site and will also be used to showcase to visitors how they can give nature a home in their own gardens.
We are creating an outdoors wild play area for children to enjoy and a large, slopping lawn for family picnics or even for rolling down - definitely one for the adults. Something for everyone is guaranteed and we can’t wait to welcome you.
Photos by Jenny Goy
Big Garden Birdwatch 2016 is here! The time to scrutinize every nook and cranny of your garden looking for as many different birds as you can in the space of one hour is upon us, and here at Arne we’re no stranger to it. You might think that the idea of taking an hour out to bird watch from the comfort of the visitor hut, with a cup of tea in hand and the log burner on, is one that we’d naturally shun and shy away from, but unfortunately for us duty called and this morning we begrudgingly partook. Within five minutes our first species had arrived, blue tit, and lots of them. Trying to frantically count little blue heads before they subsequently disappeared into the surrounding trees and foliage is a task surprisingly difficult at 9 o’clock in the morning, especially when undertaken by three blokes who haven’t yet finished their coffee, so we mutually agreed to come back to that species once our eyes were more practiced. Chaffinch and house sparrow became our focus along with the birds more accustomed to staying put when on the feeders. Over the course of the hour we logged twelve species, with peak numbers of great tit, chaffinch and coal tit. Nuthatch and siskin also made appearances along with a solitary greater spotted woodpecker, sadly no firecrest or brambling which have been known to occasionally hang around the car park!
But showboating isn’t what Big Garden Birdwatch is about, it’s the ones overlooked whilst on the feeders or ignored when seen in binoculars that matter. Creating a snapshot of the state of our garden birds is a fantastic opportunity to find out which birds may need our help more than originally thought. A personal pleasure for us was seeing healthy greenfinch visiting the feeders steadily, a bird that only a couple years ago was struggling and found its numbers declining. So get involved if you haven’t already and spend an hour noticing the regulars, the ones you may see every day and think nothing more of, the ones that ultimately would be missed from the garden if gone. Follow the link here to take part:
Suddenly it's the 18th on January, two and a half weeks into the new year! With visits from various year listers, day racers and new year visitors we've had a nice variety of reports in the last few weeks. The weather has taken a severe nosedive towards a proper winter, Clear skies, Ice and Sunshine have made for a few glorious days to be out. Our Raptor weekend was a great Success with 6 out of the 7 wintering raptors being seen, with Marsh Harriers as usual stealing the show, A Juvenile Peregrine was a nice highlight for some, sadly you had to be sat in the National Trust hide to really enjoy it! We've also had some irregular visitors of late too, 2 Slavonian Grebe, 3 Goosander, Common Scoter, Great Northern Diver and a Marsh Tit have been seen around the reserve so far this January, none of which are really annual any more. Our Dartford Warblers have regularly been putting on a show, with males singing since the 5th of January, day counts have included 10+ for some visitors! With a little patience everybody should be able to spot this elusive little warbler.
Slavonian Grebe and Common Scoter © Joe Stockwell