Hello! My name is Alice and I am Leighton Moss’ newest Visitor Experience Intern. I am very excited to be following in the footsteps of a long line of amazing interns, and to learn from Leighton Moss' fantastic team of knowledgeable staff and volunteers.
Big smiles for all the amazing wildlife here at Leighton Moss!
This summer I graduated from Bangor University with a degree in Environmental Conservation, a degree that included completing two professional placements. My first placement was based in the Caribbean, where I worked for Echo, an organisation dedicated to protecting critically endangered yellow shouldered amazon parrots on Bonaire. My role was to develop a native plant nursery and assist habitat restoration efforts in order to improve, diversify and increase yellow shouldered amazon parrot habitat. Not only did the placement give me much experience in nature conservation, it gave me a whole host of fantastic wildlife memories. Particular highlights include seeing Caribbean flamingos, great frigate birds and brown pelicans on a daily basis, and learning to dive in my spare time brought close encounters with green turtles, hawksbill turtles, nurse sharks, seahorses and octopuses.
I carried out my second placement on Skomer Island, a reserve home to thousands of our breeding seabirds. My role on Skomer was to deliver welcome talks to enthusiastic day visitors, in addition to assisting with survey work dedicated to estimating numbers of puffins, razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes, fulmars and manx shearwaters. Wildlife highlights from Skomer included hearing the eerie mating calls of the manx shearwaters, seeing large flocks of gannets who breed on RSPB Grassholm, and seeing a humpback whale breach the water on a boat trip taken in my spare time.
And now, I have arrived at Leighton Moss, eager to develop my skills further and become part of a team dedicated to giving nature a home! I would also have said “eager to create more fantastic wildlife memories”, but after a mere three days of calling Leighton Moss home, I have already had numerous wildlife experiences that I will no doubt be talking about forever. On my first day alone I saw an otter enjoying a spot of fishing at the causeway hide, marsh harriers soaring across the reserve in the dappled sunlight, and...a life time’s encounter of a bittern, stalking its way across the path near the Grisedale hide! I had high hopes of seeing a bittern when preparing for my move to Leighton Moss, but as they are such elusive creatures I only ever thought that I would catch a glimpse of one flying over the reedbed, or booming away in the distance. Yet Leighton Moss exceeded my expectations and gave me a close up encounter of a bittern a mere six meters away!
The sun setting on my perfect first day at Leighton Moss.
Other exciting sightings have included a female garganey, red breasted mergansers, great crested grebes, little grebes, wigeons, bullfinches, reed buntings, greenfinches, goldfinches, as well as great numbers of teals, gadwalls and lapwings, and a herd of five red deer including an impressive stag!
Watching a red deer stag roaming around Grisedale hide provided a great way to relax after a day in the office!
Leighton Moss’ friendly team and amazing wildlife have already given me such a warm welcome, that I am most excited about calling this fascinating reserve home for the next six months!