Friday, 15 June 2012

Have you got what it takes to become RSPB’s Dee Estuary’s first ever intern? 

The new RSPB visitor centre at Burton Mere Wetlands has welcomed thousands of visitors through its doors since it opened in September and now the visitor demand is so high that they need your help.

A special six month internship has been created during which volunteers will be given all the training, coaching and advice needed to kick start a career in conservation, whilst working at one of the RSPB’s biggest nature reserves.Although experience of working in a busy tourist attraction is desirable, the ideal candidate will need to demonstrate their enthusiasm for wildlife and be capable of meeting the RSPB’s high standards for visitors.

Former student Katy van Woerdekom stepped up for nature by helping out as an RSPB volunteer for six months starting last September and describes how her experiences helped her get her dream conservation job. Katy, who started volunteering after leaving university, explains: “I couldn’t get a job right away so I started volunteering. I have enjoyed every minute of it and it has given me the skills, experience and confidence I needed to move forward with my career.”

Paul Brady, RSPB Visitor Development Officer said “Volunteers have played a huge part in the success of RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands and we literally couldn’t operate without them. These internships are a great opportunity for the right person to get their foot on the ladder to a great career in conservation, and follow in the footsteps of Katy and many others.”

Burton Mere Wetlands are inviting applicants to apply for the internships via the website or by phoning 0151 353 8478. 

The closing date for this internship vacancy is Friday 6 July. The RSPB are also inviting applicants for other general volunteering vacancies.

Paul Brady, Visitor Development Officer at RSPB Dee Estuary nature reserves, Tel: 0151 353 8478 or email:

RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands is off the A540 (Chester High Road) and just 10 minutes from the M56.
For more information about RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands nature reserve visit: The reception building and nature reserve is open daily from 9.30am until 5pm. For more details see the website or phone 0151 353 8478.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Five go to Anglesey

Our Mission

To explore what Anglesey has to offer, to see 60 (diamond jubilee) different species of birds, to eat plenty of cake and have a jolly good time.

We managed to pick the best day of the long weekend for our trip to Anglesey.  The sun was shining but it was not too hot to spoil our enjoyment of the day.

We headed straight for South Stack RSPB reserve which is home to thousands of seabirds, in particular Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes with a few Puffins and Choughs.  No sooner were we on the coastal path we had close views of a stunning pair of Stonechats and a Skylark displaying.  Wild flowers were in abundance and the views across the bay were beautiful.  We made our way to Ellins Tower visitor centre where they had cameras on some Razorbills and a Chough’s nest.  We were lucky enough to see one of the adult birds bringing food in to the nest and the chicks being fed.  Wanting to see these ourselves we made our way down the steps towards the lighthouse to get a view of the nest which was situated in a cave in the cliffs.  Although we gave this some time, we didn’t see the adults returning to the nest but got better views of the Puffins and a Rock pipit.  After some refreshment and before leaving the site we had a quick scan of the nearby fields where the Choughs are known to feed in the short grass but to no avail.  On our way back to the car Ron and Anne P spotted a pair of Choughs flying across the bay and although we were unable to hear their distinctive call we were in no doubt as to what we had seen.

Next stop lunch and Ann (Tomo’s) cake.  We headed back to Holyhead Harbour and stumbled across a country park which we thought might be a good place to picnic.  We picked up a few of the more common species here around the lake and watched a large (12-13lb) ghost Carp being landed by a fisherman.  Well some of us did.

Moving on our next port of call was Holyhead Harbour/Soldiers Point.  We walked along a tree lined lane passing fields and a large former MOD building, moving a fledgling Wren off the road on our way.  At the end of the lane you reach the sea and the harbour walls.  A few House martins and a couple of Sand martins were fly catching over the sea and a pair of Linnets were seen briefly perched on a boulder.  The highlight here though were close views of a Ringed plover with two chicks in tow, the parent trying to distract us by using diverting tactics.  Then on our way back one of the adult birds appeared on the path just a few metres away and seemed totally unperturbed by our presence.

Time to head on to our next destination, RSPB Valley Wetlands.  Fortunately, a street party which had closed the road further up did not prevent access to this site.  Here we picked up a few ducks and geese, the surprise being a Barnacle goose which was hanging around with a couple of Canada geese.  Here, Anne (Pope’s) granddaughter’s  jubilee cakes were consumed and enjoyed.

Time was pressing on and we headed down the A5 to Malltraeth Cob Pool stopping briefly at Llyn Parc Mawr where the highlight was a Little grebe sitting on a nest on the lake and her partner bringing her food (or was it nesting material).  On to Cob Pool and we clocked up our last few birds of the day, Little Egret, Heron, Mistle Thrush and Whitethroat.

The total number of birds seen on the day was 61 with only one of these being seen on the mainland.

Time to go home, mission accomplished and thanks to Ron for his excellent driving.

Ringed Plover
House Sparrow
Collared Dove
Canada Goose
Herring Gull
Tufted Duck
Lesser Blck Bk Gull
Great Tit
Blue Tit
Mute Swan
Willow Warbler
Greylag Goose
Black Headed Gull
Gt Black Bk Gull
Pied Wagtail
Meadow Pipit
Barnacle Goose
Chiff Chaff
Little Grebe
Rock Pipit
Carrion Crow
Little Egret
Rock Dove
Mistle Thrush
Grey Heron
House Martin
Sand Martin


  Ann Thomson