A blog for you by one of our amazing volunteers - Marjorie. I'd just like to say that we are a small team here on the Cumbria Coast and we would be lost without the dedication and help from our volunteers. It's not only their helping with practical work or in the visitor centre but their continued support with everything over the years. The good news is you too can be part of this amazing team! Fancy volunteering with us and really making a difference? get in contact with me via email mhairi.maclauchlan@rspb.org.uk. Right enough of me twittering on....over to Marjorie!

As the Thursday work party sat on the edge of the marsh, enjoying lunch after a morning spent cutting down gorse, the tiniest of creatures caught our attention. A diminutive ladybird scarcely half the size of the seven-spot ladybird nearby, landed on a rucksack. It was so small the spots couldn’t be counted until the photo was enlarged when it could be seen to have eleven. This made it an eleven-spot ladybird; what very practical names some animals have! The Latin name is a bit of a mouthful though, cocinella undecimpunctata. We managed to dissuade our new friend from hibernating in Bruce’s rucksack and it disappeared sensibly into the grass.

 It was a pleasure to be working along the shore on such a beautiful sunny morning, remarkably warm for November. We were clearing gorse from close to where some new pools will be constructed for the rare natterjack toads. 

The following Thursday brought a completely different task for the work party. A fence across the meadow pool field needed to be removed so that the whole field can be wetted up and the cattle, with their big feet, can do their job of creating the right conditions for nesting lapwings.

The wire netting and barbed wire of the fence didn’t give up easily. Some staples put up a great deal of resistance and heroic jiggling, pulling and crowbar wielding was required to remove some of the posts. The wire netting was rolled up (a bit like rolling a giant snowball) and the barbed wire coiled for future use. Staples were carefully collected – not a good idea to feed them to the cattle when they come back in the spring. 

A few of us walked down to the hide afterwards to eat our lunch and were rewarded with the sight of a short-eared owl perched on a fence post. A great way to end a busy morning.