Beach nesting bird volunteer warden – Pagham Harbour and Medmerry

Wednesday 7 April 2021
Vacancy type:
Practical conservation
Pagham Harbour & Medmerry Nature Reserves

What we're looking for

We are developing a new team of beach nesting bird volunteers to help safeguard little terns, ringed plovers, oystercatchers and other at Pagham Harbour and Medmerry nature reserves. Just like us, shorebirds love spending time on the beach in summer, but they use the beach to nest and raise their chicks. They create their nests directly on the sand and shingle, incubate the eggs and raise chicks along our beaches. Now more than ever, as we are coming out of lockdown, the beaches are becoming more crowded. Beach nesting birds have already seen massive declines over the years due to disturbance from beach visitors and predators, as well as rising sea levels and habitat loss. Conservation efforts and intensive management of breeding sites have helped to stabilise some populations, especially at Pagham Harbour, but they still struggle to breed and raise young successfully on our shores. We want to make sure they're protected – and this is where you come in! Tasks would include: • Monitoring the beach nesting colonies from a distance – the adults, nests and chicks - and to track their progress. • Talking to beach visitors about the threats they face and how everyone can do their bit to help protect them. We'd train you in everything you need to know before starting in role and of course, provide you with ongoing support. NOTE: If this specific role of practical conservation and public engagement does not suit you at this time, we encourage you to contact us if you have other skills around community engagement or organisation and administration, as you could still play an essential role in supporting the beach nesting bird colonies. It only takes a few passionate volunteers to change their fate!

The skills you need

You'd need to be able to negotiate rough terrain (especially shingle beaches) for some aspects of this role You'd also need to be comfortable visiting the open coast in all weather conditions. Keen/willing to learn about shorebirds and engage with beach visitors to raise awareness about these amazing little animals.

Your time

Minimum half a day per week/one day per fortnight throughout the summer season (May - September).
Mid April to mid August each year

What's in it for you?

Looking to meet new like-minded people interested in nature as we come out of lockdown? Keen to improve your well-being and mental health and gaining a sense of achievement by helping to give our ground nesting birds a safe home? Keen to improve your wildlife knowledge? Then this could be the role for you! As an RSPB volunteer you are part of something big: a team of amazing and dedicated people who donate their time, energy, talent and skills to help birds and other wildlife. Imagine spending time this summer on some of the most beautiful beaches on our coast, directly contributing to the conservation of these wonderful birds. Full training and support is provided, and as part of the team, you will gain both practical and people skills, learn more about the RSPB conservation work, and make a real difference to this unique and invaluable project supporting beach nesting birds. You will learn more about little tern conservation and ecology and witness the drama of an active tern colony, following the story of these endearing birds as they raise their young from tiny bundles of fluff to intrepid fledglings! You will also have the chance to observe other wildlife including birds, butterflies, coastal plants and all the sights of the coast around the shoreline.

How to apply


Mark Appleton, Pagham Harbour & Medmerry Nature Reserves
Tel: 01243 641508
Email: Mark.Appleton@RSPB.ORG.UK


We will reimburse you for out-of-pocket travel expenses (up to a radius of 25 miles) and we will of course provide you with ongoing support. All volunteers will be asked to complete a Covid-19 susceptibility assessment before volunteering, and this may result in you not being able to get involved on the beach this breeding season. Opportunities to volunteer are all subject to Covid-19 restrictions during the breeding season, as a key part of the role involves engaging with members of the public. The RSPB works for a healthy environment rich in birds and wildlife. It relies on the support and generosity of volunteers to make a difference. The RSPB is the largest UK charity working to secure a healthy environment for birds and wildlife, helping to create a better world for all of us. We belong to BirdLife International, the global partnership of bird conservation organisations. Your time and skills could make a real difference to the work of the RSPB and it would be great if you could join us.

Reference number 9354