Hello, my name is Torrin and I have recently taken up the post of Estate Worker at RSPB Lake Vyrnwy. As this is my first blog since arriving at RSPB Lake Vyrnwy in March as a residential volunteer, I wanted to give you a bit of an insight as to the type of work I got up to as a Volunteer over the spring and summer.

The six month volunteering placement, from March to July, is mainly to help out with monitoring, although it is fair to say that the days were often varied. My main task was assisting reserve staff in completing a number of surveys for moorland birds such as Hen Harrier, Merlin, Curlew and Black Grouse.

View from survey point by Torrin Stone

The moorland surveys are done from a number of locations around the uplands of the Lake Vyrnwy Estate and could often take you to parts of the reserve you wouldn’t usually have any reason to go to! These pockets of the reserve, however, can be some of the most interesting! On my first day out the Warden and I had all four seasons in the four hours we were out, walking onto the hill in sunshine, frantically taking off layers, and walking back to the vehicle in horizontal snow not daring to take our hands from our pockets!

Although the weather has been changeable (what with it being a British summer!), I have spent many a clear morning with my binoculars and scope aimed at hidden valleys and heather clad slopes, watching meadow pipits, stonechat, whinchat and wheatear flitting about energetically.

On occasion I have been lucky enough to witness birds of prey such as Hen Harriers, Merlin, Red Kites and Buzzards opportunistically hunting over the heather. I have also been even more lucky (in my eyes) to hear the bubbling call of a Curlew and even catch a glimpse of this beautiful wader.  Some of these days spent on the hill waiting for and watching these birds have been my most memorable so far in my short time on this reserve. To share such a wonderful place with such beautiful creatures is a real privilege.

Unusual view down lake by Torrin Stone

Wherever you are reading this from, I offer you a challenge. Grab your coat, grab a map (and perhaps most importantly a flask!) and go and explore some of the wilder places near you. Find a nature reserve or simply go to the woods to see the autumn colours, the natural world is full of wonder and we rarely regret the time spent exploring!

Torrin Stone, Estate Worker

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