My name is Simon Ritchie, and I am on a 12 month placement with Scottish Natural Heritage. I work as a Reserve Assistant on all 3 Grampian National Nature Reserves: St Cyrus, Forvie and Muir of Dinnet.
I split my time up between these 3 reserves on a Rota, normally I do two reserves two days a week and one reserve one day a week. Meaning that my time is all shared equally! It’s great working as a Reserve Assistant, every single day is different. You never know what to expect when you come to work.
Take this week for example…
On Monday, I was working at St Cyrus. The main objective for the day was to do our monthly WeBS survey (Wetlands Bird Survey). Which consists of heading to our bird hide 2 to 3 hours before high tide and recording which species you see.
It was quite a successful count with usual species such as Lapwing, Wigeon, Curlew, Oystercatchers and a large array of gull species.
On Tuesday I went to Forvie. Now doing my job you certainly don’t know what to expect most of the time and this was one of these days. There were reports of a buoy that was washed up on hackley bay. We decided to investigate.
This is the culprit, unfortunately it was filled with polystyrene which was degrading and blowing off into tiny pieces. So we tried our best to get rid of most of it before the tide cut us off. It certainly was good weather to be out…
I was at Muir of Dinnet on Wednesday which consisted of a patrol around the lochs, counting birds and a check of the mink rafts that we have not been able to get to, due to the high waters!
Loch Davan also looked busier than average, this is probably due to the fact the outer parts of the Loch is frozen, meaning that all the birds are congregating in the middle.
Loch Davan looking grey and atmospheric with some pinkies incoming
I also went out to look/repair the remains of the mink rafts…
So as you can see, these are the snippets of my working days. Every day is different, who knows what I will be doing tomorrow. All that I know, is that it will be enjoyable and rewarding. Just like everyday at work.