Hi, I’m Simon, the latest residential volunteer based at Kinnordy.

I chose to apply for the residential position as I am currently studying ‘Countryside management’ at Aberystwyth University in Wales and am hoping to make my way up to a wardening position somewhere within the RSPB in the future. I also spent a month of my summer last year volunteering at Hawswater reserve in the Lake District where I developed my interest in ‘birding’ for the first time. Equipped with more knowledge and experience in said ‘birding’, I have returned to the RSPB, hoping to learn a lot more and to cross off some of my ‘must see’ bucket list birds!

My work on the reserve has mostly involved helping Fiona (assistant warden) with daily tasks. Such daily tasks have included topping up peanut feeders at the two red squirrel feeders by the main paths, as well as putting out bird seed for some of the woodland birds. On a daily basis much of the work can be greatly varied, from monitoring evidence of Mink activity to preparing for school visits to recording important wetland bird data for national surveys.

Over the last few weeks I have managed to experience a range of exciting wildlife moments (even if one of them was a pigeon relieving himself on me outside East hide!). Over the last two days I have for my first time seen an Otter from Gullery hide on the ‘Bog bean islands’ and was excited to have my first sighting of an Osprey fishing within my first few days of arriving. Rather less dramatically, I have also learnt to identify a whole host of birds that I had not previously seen/ known such as wigeon, Garganey and Snipe. Also, following a tricky question aimed at Fiona and I from a visitor concerning the unknown identification of a plant, we have both been trying to ID a few plants each day found around the reserve and have began to sound like we know what were talking about!

Water avens (Sue Kennedy). These can be seen near the second footbridge.


Herb Robert (Andy Hay). We have lots of this flowering along the paths at the minute.

Wood Avens (Laurie Campbell). Again these are abundant along the paths.


I am so far really enjoying my stay and can’t believe it’s already been 3 weeks, but still have over a month to go so am looking forward to taking on whatever comes my way and hope to meet some of you around the reserve.