August, 2012

Our work

Our work
You might be surprised to read that our work is far broader than nature reserves and Big Garden Birdwatch. Read more about what else we do.

RSPB in the East

All of our up to date fun and frolics in the East from office antics to great conservation stories and those magical connections with nature.
  • Rainforests in the East - Diary Post #2

    Blogger: Lili Kumar, Community Fundraising Assistant

    Stephanie Miles, our Date with Nature Assistant from Sumburgh Head, Shetland, shares her experiences in support for Together for Trees our latest rainforest campaign.  Here Stephanie tells us about volunteering with sea turtles in Costa Rica which began her life in conservation.

    I was awoken before my alarm at 4.45am. It was already too hot to sleep in the tin-roofed shack I was calling home for three weeks in July, in a nature reserve, 50km from the coastal town of Limon in Costa Rica.  Outside, the sun was about to rise and although I had been up until after midnight the night before patrolling the beach for nesting and hatching sea turtles, I was about to go out again for the morning shift.  Leaving the shack, I walked through the clearing in the rainforest to the beach to join the rest of the volunteers and the research assistant for our survey of green turtles.  Green turtles, unlike other the other species we surveyed for at night, hatch out around dawn making a quick dash to the sea before the temperature gets too high.  The adult females lay their eggs further up the beach than other species, actually within the rainforest itself, under the first line or two of trees, that here were a mixture of palms and flowering hibiscus, their flame-coloured blooms dull now in the pre dawn light.  As we conducted our 5km survey along the over grown track, we had to watch out for the many vipers and other beasties that called the rainforest home, especially the bushman, a snake said by locals to pursue and bite any unwary human that comes too close.  The sun rose, shining glorious orange light through purple clouds and lighting up the beach with its rays, already hot enough to burn my fair skin.  We hadn’t seen any green turtle hatchlings this time, but the fabulous foliage of the rainforest and the morning light more than made up for it and we looked forward to the night survey.



    Find out more about how you can help with Together for Trees here:


  • It’s not all about the money money money (but it helps)

    Blogger: Joan Childs, Site Manager for Rye Meads nature reserve

    The girls of St Margaret’s school in Bushy, Hertfordshire, have raised a whopping £650 for their local RSPB nature reserve – Rye Meads! The girls from St Margaret’s, which is an independent school for girls aged 4-18, raised the money through lots of fun activities that they ran over the last couple of months.

    I was invited over to the school to chat to the girls about the UK conservation work of the RSPB during their very impressive sounding Infant and Preparatory Celebration of Achievement Day. Ready to be the prize giver during the day, I was very nicely surprised by the girls presented me with a prize, the cheque for £650!

    I had a great day and we are extremely grateful for the hard work of all the girls supporting the reserve. We hope that more of them and their families will visit the wildlife on the reserve during the summer holidays.

    Celia Brothers, Head of the Preparatory Department at St Margaret’s said, “The children raised the money through a sponsored spell and mufti day. Joan’s talk was lovely and hopefully Rye Meads will receive many new visitors over the coming months.”

    Whether it is young local champions raising money for us or local volunteers giving their valuable time – this is how we get our work done and creating little bits of paradise in the Hertfordshire countryside.

    Here you can see me with some of our fabulous RSPB volunteers. These volunteers come along every Tuesday and Thursday to help look after the reserve. Keeping a reserve special for wildlife, and for people, takes a lot of time and effort. These are the people that do anything from repairing hides, to making benches, cutting vegetation, making tern rafts and more!

    Our Stepping up for Nature awards celebrate these sorts of people in the East of England. So if you know someone or a keen group of people that you feel do an amazing job for nature then nominate them here by downloading the Stepping Up for Nature Awards application form.

  • Postman Pat & the Red Admiral

    Blogger: Aggie Rothon, Communications Officer

    Of all the children’s programmes that I find myself sharing with my little boy, Robin, there is one that I seem to have a slightly sentimental attachment to and that is Postman Pat. It might be because I remember the programme from my own childhood (we even went to a Postman Pat theatre production once) but that isn’t the only reason.

    Actually I think it’s because I wouldn’t mind living in Greendale with Pat, Mrs Goggins and Ted Glen; it seems a lovely place. The countryside is green and lush, the villagers spend their time attending village fetes, taking care of the farm or pottering around their local patch and the biggest news is perhaps only a lost parcel or two. Greendale is the kind of world I’d like to live in.

    So this summer holiday I might take a leaf out Postman Pat’s book. Goodbye to watching the six o’ clock news or finding my week crammed full of errands and things I ‘must do’ and hello instead to taking the days as they come, tinkering about in the garden and enjoying the long summer days.

    In fact, I have already started as the Reverend Timms (Greendale’s local churchman) would have me go on. The Rev seems always to be planting a crocus here, displaying his pot plants there or pruning his roses and currently I am doing the same. It’s the wrong time of year for crocuses but my lavatera is in full bloom, my hollyhocks are finally coming in to their own and the nasturtiums seem now to be winning the battle against the wet weather. It’s good to see the pollinators; the bees and hoverflies enjoying these open-faced flowers when the sun does shine.

    The butterflies however, those delicate slithers of colour that flit through our gardens, haven’t had a good season so far. I’ve seen only one frilly-winged comma this year and the lime-green brimstones and striking red admirals certainly haven’t been as prevalent. So next year my garden will be one dedicated to the butterflies. There will be a newly planted ivy for the holly blue caterpillars and I’ll make sure to leave the forget-me-nots to seed for next year. I’ll give the buddleia priority too; it is far the best nectar plant and is favourite with eighteen species of butterfly.

    I have also found out that you can build (or buy if your carpentry skills aren’t up to scratch!) a box for insects to hibernate in. Put one up in your garden and perhaps the local butterflies will have a better time of it next year. I’m sure Postman Pat would approve.  


    Posted in the EDP on Saturday 4 August.