Whilst the reserve has been closed and lockdown has been underway, I wanted to provide an update on what has been happening on the reserve, to reassure you that it has not been neglected or forgotten about.
At the outset of lockdown back in late March, RSPB closed all our reserves, volunteers were sadly asked to not come in, staff worked from home where possible, and then were furloughed. As site manager, in common with other RSPB reserves, I was the remaining member of staff not furloughed.
The list of tasks that RSPB felt met the essential criteria at the time, was limited. It included anything to do with livestock (supporting the national effort around food and farming), and also site security. As we began to also consider conservation management, a limited number of other priority tasks began to be undertaken, dependant on the nature of each of our sites.
So at Rainham Marshes, we have managed to continue to deliver the following priority areas of work..
Since lockdown has started to ease, we have been preparing for a measured and gradual reopening of the reserve. I hope this will be in mid July - the continued closure is to allow sensitive wildlife to finish breeding before we let visitors back on site.
We have welcomed back a small number of volunteers to assist with specific tasks, and one member of staff has now returned from furlough leave.
As our plans for a measured re-opening become clearer, I will continue to keep you informed. Thank you for bearing with us, whilst we ensure the wildlife is ready, and the reserve is ready to receive visitors again.
Our trail cameras continue to pick up interesting wildlife photos - this flock of starlings is regular on the marsh at the moment, including lots of fledged young.
be very interested to know how breeding birds (and other animals, and plants) have responded to the new opportunities on the reserve, from less disturbance and trampling. Do you plan to publicise how counts have differed from previous years' averages?
Hi, thank you for your question. We will have some data, but the monitoring that we have undertaken has been limited. I don't think it will be robust enough to draw clear conclusions. During this time of few staff and no volunteers, the focus has been on managing the reserve, within the guidelines, rather than doing monitoring. I think though that we can probably all imagine that wildlife will have responded to the reduced levels of disturbance in some areas.
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