What better way to spend your last day, then doing an interview with radio Stoke? That is how Rob spent his last morning, and what a beautiful morning it was. I was also interviewed and was very pleased to get Rob involved, as I have never done one before and was finding it a bit daunting! So thank you for walking past at the right moment Rob! If you want to listen to us two waffling on about Feed the Birds Day, tune in to BBC radio Stoke tomorrow morning! Lets hope the fine weather holds out too! If you can make it along please do join us, it will be my last day tomorrow so help me to make it a great one! I really will miss this stunning valley and all the great people I have met and worked with here. Below are some pictures to illustrate just why I have fallen in love with this landscape.
I would also like to thank Rob on behalf of the whole team for all his hard work. You have made this a great place to be! Good luck for the future we will all miss you!
We have a closet blogger in our midst - another post from Al, there is no stopping him!
So, the rest of the Coombes team had deserted me, and left me nothing to do. What else could I do on a sunny autumn day, but get out and about on the reserve. I saw loads of really exciting things; flocks of Redwing, Gold Finch and Goldcrest; Buzzards and Kestrels hunting; and lots of... Butterflies?! It’s Mid-October! What on earth are they still doing out? All over the reserve there are Red Admirals, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells, Speckled Woods and Small Coppers. I even saw a Silver Y moth! This spell of hot weather has certainly confused the Lepidoptera of Coombes. I think they’re in for a shock with these easterly winds forecasted this week.
P.S. The leaves are really starting to change colour now. Cracking early morning photo opportunities!
As part of my internship training I had the privilege of going to the RSPB headquarters - The Lodge at Sandy. I went on a two day induction called The RSPB Experience, and what an experience it was! We learnt all about the history of the charity, and how a group of determined women formed a group to stop the appalling slaughter of birds, for their feathers to be used as decorations for ladies hats! We also had a talk from representatives of each department and heard about the diversity of work the charity does. Each speaker proudly announced how they are doing their bit for wildlife - "stepping up for nature" by cycling to work or persuading their neighbourhood to create wildlife gardens. The RSPB is definitely a charity that practices what it preaches! Above all I left the course with a feeling that the RSPB is like a big family all working together for a common goal. Wether working in the finance department or on a reserve, everyone believed that they were doing their bit to help wildlife and conserve it for future generations. Very inspiring stuff!
We also got a tour of the reserve at The Lodge (well worth a visit if you are in Bedfordshire!), which as nice as it was, didn't hold a candle to Coombes Valley. But, my aspirations to work for this charity have definitely been confirmed. The people on my course were all very friendly and for many of them it was their first week with the charity. It was great to meet like minded people from all corners of the RSPB and feel like part of something much bigger.
Thank you to our newest team member Al for this blog:
Hi Coombes followers!
I’m Al, the new residential volunteer intern at Coombes for the next 6 months. I've just finished a 6 month stint at Leighton Moss, doing the same thing, and absolutely loved every minute of it - Coombes has got a lot to live up to! I've got a really keen interest in broadening my natural history knowledge whilst I’m here, and there’s no better way than getting out and about. I've been running the trails a lot, (when I’m not too tired after Chainsawing), and getting to know the reserve really well.
My highlight so far has been running down the public footpath track one evening and coming face to face with a Red Stag, wallowing in a mud hole. It was about to run away, so I “roared” at it with my best imitation. Unfortunately it didn't roar back, but it did stand there and look at me until I got bored and carried on running – it probably thought “what the heck is wrong with him!”. So I’m really looking forward to the next 6 months. If the past couple of weeks are anything to go by, I've got a fun filled winter ahead of me!
Autumn has arrived, and it has brought with it a whole host of new moth species. The wonderful colours and intricate patterns that these moths possess, never ceases to amaze us. They are no longer the annoying, drab beings that you wipe off your windowsill during a spring clean! Since I have arrived,the trap has been set nearly every night, and we've been getting some crackers. New species to the reserve include Feathered Thorn , Flounced Chestnut and, my personal favourite, Merveille du Jour (which literally translated is “Marvel of the Day”)! At the moment we are struggling to differentiate between the November moths, but even on stormy nights we are catching at least 20. The average daily species list is approaching 10, indicating that all of our hard work in managing the woodland, is paying off. Yaaaay!
This quick picture quiz has been inspired by the return of autumnwatch to our screens. It is not too difficult just a bit of fun. As an RSPB volunteer I always enjoy it when springwatchand autumnwatch are on as it really unites nature lovers. I love hearing about how people get inspired by the programme and want to get out and reconnect with the natural world. The weather has definitely turned much more autumnal today too, as the valley is shrouded in thick cloud. It is difficult to even see our natural lawn mowers (Friesians cows) outside the visitor centre! Hopefully the bright autumn sunshine will return soon, so we can all enjoy the beautiful colours of the season again! Hopefully this quick quiz will keep you all occupied for now...leave your answers below.
1. Guess what the picture is of?
2. Name that fungi
3. Name this bird recently sighted at Coombes Valley