Welcome to our new Young Birder's Blog. Find a new post here each month created by our talented young members, each with a birding theme. Please note that the contents of the blogs do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Trust.
A week’s work experience at SBBOT
By Robin Denison-Pender
Every summer since I was a toddler my family have been coming down to Sandwich Bay for our holidays and I often spend much of the day on my bike with binoculars and camera, looking for birds and popping into the Observatory. The Bay holds a special place in my heart for I clearly remember one evening at Restharrow Scrape with my dad when I was around 8 or 9, where a special encounter with a Curlew which came right up to the hide ignited my interest and love for birds and wildlife. Now 16, I was looking for somewhere to do conservation related work experience over the summer and a week working at Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory which was just a couple minutes’ bike ride from where we were staying seemed perfect.
During my week in late August, I had great insights into the behind the scenes running of the Observatory and helped with everything from the young nature explorer’s holiday club to updating old dragonfly records and bird ringing. I particularly enjoyed the bird ringing as although it meant slightly challenging 4:30am wake ups to be there by dawn, it allowed me a chance to see some amazing species close up such as a Swallow, Lesser Whitethroat and Green Woodpecker. There were a few which we didn’t quite manage to lure into the nets such as a Tree Pipit and Grasshopper Warbler, but nonetheless it was really interesting to be able to see this very important surveying at work.
Back at the Observatory I was tasked one afternoon with updating some old dragonfly records based on observations in recent years. As a sign of our warming climate there were several species which had become more common or recorded for the first time, such as the Lesser Emperor dragonfly and Southern Emerald Damselfly. One particularly striking record was a Common Darter seen on the 2nd December, smashing the previous latest sighting record!
During the week I was there everyone at the Observatory was busy preparing for the Open Day to mark SBBOT’s 60th anniversary and I was helping tidy up the patio and weeding the flower beds to prepare for the important day. The Open Day on Sunday was the last day of my week at the Observatory and it was lovely to see so many people visiting. It was a fitting end to a thoroughly enjoyable week working at SBBOT!