As the air around us begins to echo with the excitable trills and mesmerising displays of birds getting geared up for the season ahead, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself as Ringed Plover Project Officer for the exciting new RSPB Project - Plovers in Peril  based at Snettisham Beach. Thanks to the RSPB securing funding from King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council's Habitats Monitoring and Mitigation Fund and support from the Ken Hill Estate I have been in post from the beginning of March and you will start to see more of me throughout the season as the beach fills up with birds and indeed with people looking to get some much-needed sea air.

Being in post from March through to August, I will be following the stories of the charismatic ringed plover as they settle to find a mate and raise a family. Over this time, I will be witness to their first courtship displays, nest making, egg laying and with hope, to successful fledging of the next generation of these very important little birds.

An important part of my role will be to monitor the ringed plovers here at Snettisham beach. The Norfolk coast holds a large proportion of England’s breeding ringed plover, but this red-listed bird is in worrying decline. I will be ensuring that the birds choosing to make Snettisham beach their nesting site get the support they need to raise their young. I will spend much of my time observing them and recording their efforts and successes across this stretch of beach from Heacham to the Snettisham reserve. I won’t be alone though – I am excited to be working alongside a team of newly appointed volunteers who will be helping to safeguard these birds and who will be sharing their knowledge and passion for beach nesting birds to inspire those visiting Snettisham beach.

I am looking forward to chatting with the many visitors who come to enjoy this beautiful stretch of coast and to spending time within the community to understand more about people’s perceptions of the birds nesting here – particularly the charismatic ringed plovers. We will be undertaking an exciting project inviting people to get involved in this conversation and creating opportunities for sharing perspectives, showing support and creating positive action which will benefit both people and a whole range of wildlife that makes this place so special.

Before joining the team here, I have worked within many roles to safeguard struggling species at sites across the country. I have worked to protect little tern at The Long Nanny and shared my home with over 100,000 breeding seabirds on the Farne Islands in Northumberland. I have been one of a population of seven whilst living on the Isle of Oronsay in the Inner Hebrides to manage vital habitat for chough and corncrake, worked to protect beach nesting birds on the stunning Blakeney Point just round the corner here in Norfolk and have worked with PlantLife as Outreach Officer for the ground breaking Back from the Brink partnership to be a voice for rare arable plants.

A love for the natural world has always been at the core of my journey and I am incredibly passionate about empowering individuals and communities to connect with the wildlife around us and to feel sense of stewardship for the species inhabiting our shared spaces. I have a particular fondness for ringed plovers and I am so excited to be part of a project which will put them in focus, deepen our understanding and enable us to offer them the helping hand they so desperately need to safeguard their future here at Snettisham.

Come and say hello to us if you see us whilst out and about on Snettisham beach! We look forward to chatting with lots of you and getting to know what this place and its special wildlife means to you.

Please think about supporting us with our work for Plovers in Peril . Chat to us and have your say about the protection of these birds – your voice matters! Are you local and looking to get involved with a conservation project - perhaps you’d like to volunteer with us to help beach nesting birds? Even by obeying signage and keeping your distance from fenced areas you can help these birds towards a successful year which will see them nesting here for years to come.

Follow us on our journey  to protect these amazing birds at Snettisham. Join in the conversation on our Facebook and Twitter pages, share your stories and photos and help us speak out about how we can help vulnerable beach nesting species like the Ringed Plover.

Got a question or want to get in touch? Email me on Wynona.Legg@rspb.org.uk. I’d love to hear from you!

Wynona Legg

Ringed Plover Project Officer

#PloversinPeril #RSPBSnettisham #SnettishamBeach