The RSPB checking every RSPB members, membership card since 1st January 2020 with an admission charge at least at the RSPB reserve Saltholme.

Since 1st January 2020 the RSPB staff and volunteers have been checking every RSPB members, membership card at RSPB reserve Saltholme. Also if any RSPB member forgets there membership card for getting free admission at Saltholme, that RSPB member will have to pay the £3.00 admission fee, but will be given a receipt and when any RSPB member next visits Saltholme and show there RSPB membership card along with that receipt from there previous visit that RSPB will be refunded the £3.00 admission fee. I’m wondering if that is now a UK national policy with admission to any RSPB reserve with an admission charge. Can any RSPB member who has visited any other RSPB reserve since the 1st January 2020 in the UK confirm if this is this the policy now at all RSPB reserve's with an admission charge or just at RSPB reserve Saltholme since the 1st January 2020, As practically 100% of the time my RSPB membership card has never been checked at any RSPB reserve with an admission charge including Saltholme before the start of 2020. Only on one occasion has my RSPB membership card been checked in all the times I’ve visited any RSPB reserve with an admission charge since I joined the RSPB reserve in the very early 1970’s!

Regards,

Ian.

  • Minsmere certainly checks everyone's membership cards, always have in my memory. If someone's forgotten their card, they can normally check the members database on the PC to check the person's details. Perhaps Saltholme don't have this facility - or policy may have changed in recent weeks (I don't spend that much time in reception)

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  • Well done Saltholme if they are doing this without a change of national policy. Their method is also better than looking each individual up on the system. Doing that simply creates a situation of proving someone is lying while they wait. Better to give them an option to return to their car rather than risk creating a scene.
  • That’s what I thought. I’m hoping that this is now national UK RSPB policy. I do agree with you 100% Robbo!

    Regards,

    Ian.

  • The amount of times I've seen folk walk straight through the VC reception areas straight out on to the reserve and they can't all be members - I do have my rspb membership card ready to show each time except where the staff know me well enough, but then again, how do they know I renewed my membership (which I did this month when it was due) It seems to have been taken on trust mostly although a few places do ask if you are a member when you enter. I do hope checks are more frequent in the future as they must be losing such a lot of extra money, (despite the majority of folk I am sure being honest), that could be adding to the coffers. I haven't been to a reserve this year yet so I'll see what happens when I do !

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • In reply to HAZY:

    It will be very interesting to see if this is now RSPB policy in 2020. I’ve been twice to Saltholme this January and there are notices about this now happening at Saltholme. When I was departing from Saltholme on the Saturday just gone to catch the bus back to Newcastle UponTyne a large coach had just arrived and with a guess probably about 45 people plus arriving on that coach and admission was organised very well from the staff and volunteers at Saltholme and everyone was admitted in about 2 minutes and no big delay in anyone gaining entrance to Saltholme at reception and as far as I could see just before departing every person if an RSPB member had to show there RSPB membership card or they had to pay the £3.00 admission charge of which I’d never seen happen at Saltholme before, including never happening on coach trips to Saltholme with my local RSPB Group from Newcastle. It will be interesting if this has happened at other RSPB reserves as well with an admission charge. Hopefully other RSPB members from other areas who see my post can confirm if this is happening at other RSPB reserves with an admission charge as well as at Saltholme. Hopefully it is a new RSPB national policy as the RSPB do lag behind in this aspect comparing both the National Trust and the smaller Wildfowl and Wetlands Trusts who have always checked every members, membership cards including mine from those 2 other organisations.

    Regards,

    Ian.

  • @ Ian, It will be costing them big time if they don't nationally enforce this checking system and as you mentioned it was good to hear it didn't seem to take long to get a coach party through which is excellent; most of us would hate to miss valuable birding time queuing up to show cards for slower checks !

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • The only reserve I visit is Leighton Moss. I always wait until someone at reception is free and then show my card. I also see groups of people walking straight through reception without stopping. I imagine many are members, but as a courtesy to the RSPB staff, it wouldn't hurt for them to wait a minute or so to have their membership verified.

    Unicum arbustum haud alit duos erithacos

    (One bush does not shelter two Robins)

    Zenodotus (3rd Century B.C.)

     

  • As WJ said above we were checked by staff at Minsmere last week and the same always happens at Lakenheath reserve and always has.. Our local Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserves are mostly free to enter but they do like a donation. Essex Wildlife sites can be free and some charge but again appreciate a donation if free.
    It just makes sense to stop at the reception anyway, best way to find out what's about and where to possibly find any interesting sightings.


    Tony

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/wherryman/

  • I have no idea whether it is a nationwide change in policy. Of the larger reserves I visit regularly, ie those with staffed visitor centres, they have always tended to ask to see membership cards, although they haven't been particularly strict when busy and in those cases I tended to flash my card while walking straight through. I've never not had my card, so I don't know what they do in that case.
    I have rarely been asked on sites without staffed centres even when somebody, probably a volunteer, is on-duty in a hide. However, one of those reserves has just put a parking meter in the car park for non-members. I have no idea how often cars are checked for tickets or membership cards, but I have seen people paying so they should be making some pocket money out of it.

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    Nige   Flickr