Meet David, Rachel and Daniel our recent SRUC student placements and hear what they had to say about their two weeks volunteering with us this summer...
There’s work placements, and then there’s work placements with the RSPB on the East Scotland Sea Eagles project! Hands down, my favourite moment was when this year’s chick fledged. Witnessing the ‘little’ guy stretching his wings outside the nest for the very first time was an absolute treat. I hope that other members of the public will also get to see him in action for a good while yet.
During those two very quick weeks I got the opportunity to monitor white-tailed eagle nests (a massive privilege if I may say so!), track them in the wild (it is as cool as it sounds) and help create and deliver public engagement activities. I’ll take the fledging of this year’s chick in my final week as a vote of approval from the eagles for me to come back and do some more!
My first experience of seeing a white-tailed sea eagle was breath-taking. I felt so privileged to be allowed to witness these extraordinary animals in the wild. They really are a truly magnificent bird to see!
On placement we learned more about how the sea eagles were re-introduced along with trying our hand at radio tracking the eagles and helping at a family fun day, which where both brilliant fun. We even got to help build a life sized sea eagle nest! I had such a good experience, which has helped, a great deal in my figuring out what sort of career I would like to do once my college course has been completed! It also increased my communication skills and confidence. After my lovely week with the RSPB, I decided I wanted to become a member, which means that I can continue to help out a little each month!
I was delighted to find out that I had secured a 10-day work placement not just with the RSPB but with the East Scotland Sea Eagle project that put these extraordinary birds back in our skies. Its a joint project by three of the biggest names in conservation: rspb, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland.
I experienced all parts of the project from public engagement (letting all of you know that white-tailed eagles are back on the east coast and successfully breeding) to fieldwork. This included radio-tracking and observing the activity these spectacular birds which included watching the mother Turquoise 1 feeding her young White A and setting up camera traps to capture these birds on film and the all-important if not tedious data entry.
Another great thing about my work placement is that I had the whole of the RSPB’s Loch Leven nature reserve to myself at night.
The rspb have lots of great volunteering opportunities, see here if you want to find out more. The East Scotland Sea Eagle team would like to thank our lovely placements for all their help - we think you're top bananas too.
Excellent blog post! I'm so pleased that you all had a great time! :-)