Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Just in time...

Hello everyone. I’m Jack the new Seasonal Ranger here at St Abb’s. I’ll be posting using this dark green font.

I’ve been here for about 2 weeks now and I’m settling in nicely. Initial reactions... what a fantastic place! I arrived here after spending the winter at RSPB Geltsdale in Cumbria and I was hoping for some dry, sunny weather. What did I get... snow, sleet, rain and a cold northerly wind. Fingers crossed for a return to spring.

So why St. Abb’s...
My main interest is in birds and the reserve certainly has a lot to offer in this department, from the breeding seabirds to the passing migrants. It’s also great to be working on a reserve that is home to a whole range of other wildlife... butterflies, moths, flowers, insects, mammals etc.

Having previously worked on the Farne Islands it feels great to be back working amongst a busy seabird colony.

It looks like I arrived just in time as the seabird breeding season has certainly kicked off. Shags are firmly settled incubating eggs and one or two of the Guillemots have also begun to lay. Guillemots were first seen on eggs on the 14th making this year the earliest year on record for St Abb’s. Exciting times!

Migrant birds have also begun to return with the first Willow Warbler on Sat and the first Swallows yesterday. I’ll be keeping the blog updated with sightings, as and when. Until then, here's a couple of photos I've taken just outside the Ranger's Office, using the digiscoping set up we have here. A brown hare (top) and a female blackcap (bottom).

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Its official, its spring!

So, there are primroses and dog violets blooming; lambs gambolling about the fields; the seabirds are starting to settle down to breed; and spring migrants like chiffchaffs are singing away like crazing in the woodland. But to us in the Ranger's Office, the official sign of spring is when the Seasonal Ranger starts work, so spring officially sprung last week!

We have a new recruit this year, Jack, who has come to us hotfoot from Geltsdale, an RSPB reserve in Cumbria, and who worked on the Farne Islands last year. Jack has a lifetime's interest in natural history, his first love is birds, but he is also keen on butterflies and moths. Feel free to stop him for a chat if you see him around and about on the reserve.