Our wardens are probably a familiar sight to many regular visitors to the reserve - even if you don't know their names! I decided it would be a good idea (much to the dismay of the wardens!) for us to find out a bit more about them and their wardening ways! 

Last month we met Luke, Assistant Warden at Fen Drayton Lakes. This month it's the turn of Richard - Assistant Warden at Ouse Fen. 

Why did you want to become a warden?
I thought to myself, “ You only live once, and the chances are you’re going to spend a huge chunk of that time at work;  if you get the chance it makes sense to spend that time doing something you enjoy and you feel is really worthwhile.” 

How did you become a warden/end up being a warden?
I started out doing fortnights of residential volunteering at various RSPB reserves and then saved up money so that I could feed myself throughout a five month stint as a residential volunteer at Minsmere.  After this I got contract work monitoring plants, fish and birds in the Flow Country and wardening shorebirds in Northumberland.  In-between contracts I volunteered odd days here and there at Fen Drayton Lakes and Ouse Fen and when the assistant warden post came up I applied.

The best thing about being a warden?
For me the job has the ideal mix of monitoring wildlife and  getting stuck in and managing habitats..  The icing on the cake is when you revisit  your habitat management work at a  later date and find that your labours have borne fruit.

Best warden moment?
I’ve only been at it for nine months, but so far it’s been seeing lapwing chicks fledge successfully on Berry Fen.

Worst thing about being a warden?
People thinking I work for the RSPCA.

Worst warden moment?
Losing an expensive two-way radio in the reedbed at Minsmere on my first day.

Your best wildlife experience?
Blundering into a wolf whilst walking in Galicia.

Interesting fact
Prior to becoming a warden the most fun I had had at work was being a binman.

Favourite nature reserve (can’t choose your own!)
It’s a dead heat between Forsinard Flows and Abernethy.

Early birds or night owl (got to get a bird pun in – is it even a pun?)
Early bird.

What species/natural wonder would you most like to see?
A viable breeding population of  English hen harriers free from illegal persecution.