The middle of October saw my original placement coming to an end and my new placement just focusing on the visitor operations starting.

Assistant warden Liz, previous residential volunteer Gwen and I started the big job of sorting out the tool store. We focused our efforts at the front around the work bench area to get it organised and to have all the tools in set places to make it more efficient and tidy. It was satisfying to see the work bench finished and organised by the end of the day.

This month was great for moths, I did a few traps with the site manager Graham. It was great getting to see these moths for the first time and learn about them from people experienced in this field. I got to see some stunning moths such as canary shouldered thorn, red-green carpet, frosted orange and the star of the show the Merveille du jour which means "marvel of the day".

Graham and I set out onto the reserve one evening after work to go to find a good place to put our moth traps out for the night in search of a moth called the streak. The best place to find them is around their food plant called broom. It was decided that we would have a competition to see whose moth trap would collect the most during the night. The competition was on… who would win the big streak-off!? We returned eagerly the next morning with anticipation… who would be victorious, the expert or the amateur? The traps had both been successful, it was just a matter of doing the count from each. The final count was Graham with five streaks and me with 10! I was the streak-off winner! Once you see the moth you can see where it gets its name from with two long white stripes down each wing.

This month the assistant warden with a team of volunteers did some work cutting down willows around the visitor centre to clear views for the visitors. It was a long couple of days for our team out tackling the willow and other vegetation with a huge pile left by the end. We contacted Chester Zoo to see if they could put it to good use which is exactly what they did. They came with trucks to pile up with the willow to take to feed to their giraffes, rhinos and elephants. 

We also got over to the Point of Ayr to bring in the fencing we’d put out earlier in the year and to have the signs swapped from alerting people to the breeding season's wading birds and terns, to the winter's massed roosts of waders. These signs inform people about why that area is so important and to be mindful of the large numbers of waders and wildfowl that make it their home. The weather was lovely with sunshine and blue skies, a great day to spend on the beach! Whilst we were out there we did a litter pick, finding a variety of rubbish that had been brought in by the tide. It’s always hard when you find any rubbish in our environment that’s harmful to the natural world and our wildlife. It's important for us all to become more mindful and pick up rubbish whilst were out, every little bit can help.

I also had a great opportunity to give a talk to the Heswall Round Table one evening. I had a prepared presentation that I was able to give to inform them all about the reserve, the history, how and why the site is managed and what species thrive here. It was a challenge for me as I have very limited experience with giving presentations however it was something I wanted to do and it ended up going really well and I relaxed into it which was great. It was a really good experience and hopefully I will continue to learn and develop in this area.

Overall it's been another great month for developing and supporting the reserve with various tasks.