Our residential volunteer scheme is very popular and our last weekly volunteer wrote us this blog to tell everyone about her time here:
My name is Holly Fisher and I am about to begin my first year at university studying Zoology. I spent a week at Titchwell’s nature reserve as a volunteer hoping to gain experience as a conservationist.
Every day was a bucket full of knowledge, from DIY skills to the history of Titchwell, there was not one day I didn’t learn something. Most days I was working on the new area of the reserve which opens to the public at the beginning of September. I helped to prepare the screens and seating areas along the walkway which kept me very busy, but I enjoyed every minute of it!
I also helped out at Snettisham nature reserve by clearing a bank for the waders during the winter. When our team of volunteers finished, the sense of accomplishment was very rewarding.
The people who worked at Titchwell reserve, were all amazing to work with, made me feel at home straight away and gave me an experience I’ll never forget!
I would recommend anyone to volunteer at Titchwell, the reward you get from completing tasks, the people you meet and the skills you learn make it so worth your while! I definitely wish I’d stayed for more than a week!
In conjunction with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the North Norfolk Farmland Study & Ringing Group (NNFS&RG), we will be hosting a bird ringing demonstration at Titchwell on Saturday August 18th between 10 and 12am.
It will give to the opportunity to see, at close quarters, some of the common British birds such as blue tits, robins and blackbirds alongside blackcaps and chiffchaffs that will be starting on their amazing journey to spend the winter in Africa.
Here's the latest from Ray:
I am slowly getting to grips with some of the micro-moths. Any birdwatcher who complains about LBJ's should have a go at them, they are pretty tricky. Five new species have gone on my list, they are barred and dark-barred fruit tree tortrix, Orthopygia glaucinalis, Eucosmia cana and Donacaula forficella (oh, for common names!)
A tiny potato capsid was found in the overflow car park and a striking long-horned beetle which I think is strangalia Quadrifasciata was on a hogweed flowerhead along the meadow trail. If anyone who sees the accompanying photo disagrees with this ID please let me know.
My last three newcomers are all species that I had fully expected to find much earlier. They are a sexton beetle (Nicrophorus vespilla), which was carrying several small mites that were hitching a lift from one dead body to another, a leaf-cutter bee that I found resting on the railings behind fen hide and wild carrot that was growing on the west sea bank. This umbellifer is easily recognised by the red centre flower of the otherwise white head.
My Rambles list stands at 1074, 796 of them this year. Obviously finding new species is great, but my personal favourite moments of the last two weeks were seeing two very pretty rosy footman moths that had been brought to the reserve from elsewhere, seeing a female chinese water deer walking her half-grown fawn along the southern edge of the freshmarsh and finally the flock of 21 spoonbills resting with a few grey herons, little egrets and cormorants on Avocet Island. Oh yes - and 29 gold medals were pretty great as well!
As it’s the beginning of the month I got to go and do my favourite job – putting out the posters in the hides. This may not sound like the most interesting job but it’s a great excuse to get out onto the reserve and see what’s going on.
Typically, the moment I put on my fleece and said “I’m going to go and put the posters up” it started raining. Not to worry though, I grabbed my coat and headed for the door at which point, it started to torrentially downpour!
Luckily, it didn’t last long and the sun came out later. The reserve looks beautiful in its summer colours. The thistles and docks lining the west bank path create a gorgeous corridor of golds, reds and purples. Yellow flowers in amongst them, (mainly ragwort) brighten the banks like little blobs of sunshine
The saltmarsh is carpeted in colour. The blankets of purple on large parts of the marsh are created by sea lavender (mainly common sea lavender) which has caught the eye of many curious visitors.
I reached island hide and put up the posters. I had a quick look out onto the fresh water marsh and got great views of ruff coming out of their summer plumage, lovely black-tailed godwits still in their red summer feathers and spotted redshank, now looking elegant in their pale winter suits. Further away, there were nine spoonbills on one of the islands! I’ve never seen more than three together so I was quite excited.
Parrinder hide didn’t disappoint with a curlew sandpiper just in front on the island. There were yellow wagtails running around on the island which are always great to see and some nice butterflies flitting about including a red admiral and small whites.
Coming back to the centre I was talking to the volunteers when I noticed something hopping on the floor by the information desk. It was a baby toad! It must have crawled along the path, up the ramp and through the door. It obviously wanted to know what was going on around the reserve and get a good look at the aerial map to see where it had been!