In today's blog our dedicated volunteer, Les, gives us an insight in to what it is like volunteering at the North West Norfolk reserves.

I thought you would all be interested in hearing what I get up to as a volunteer at Titchwell and Snettisham. My official title is "Volunteer Hide Helper" but recently that has covered a multitude of other duties!

First up, I was asked if I could help the retail team with some work that the public don't see, this involved demolishing an old wooden storage shed that had seen better days and replacing it with a more fit for purpose metal one. My skills as a joiner were then called upon to re-use some of the old timber to construct shelving and various fixings for the electrics to be installed. It was hard work and it took the best part of a week but was very rewarding.

Putting my tools to one side, I also get involved in leading some of the Sunrise Goose Walks at Snettisham, handy for me as I only live 1.5 miles from the reserve! Again it's an activity that I really enjoy, no matter how many times I see it, the sight and sounds of 30,000 pink-footed geese leaving The Wash on a cold clear morning makes you glad to be alive.

I do get time to do some hide helping, and a few weeks ago I had one of the most amazing mornings ever at Titchwell...

A machine had been brought to the reserve for a week to cut back the reeds and, those of you who know the reserve will be aware that the view from Fen Hide was, how can I put this... restricted to say the least! The pool in front of the hide was cut and within a few hours a bittern was seen, albeit briefly.

I thought there was a chance that the next day it would reappear, so off I went with my bins and camera. I was not disappointed. As soon as I got in the hide it was showing and continued to do so for two and a half hours. Apart from taking photos I managed to talk to lots of very happy visitors about our work in the reed bed and how we are improving the habitat for birds just like the bittern.

Bittern from Fen Hide by Les Bunyan 

Bittern from Fen Hide by Les Bunyan

As I write this I am involved with some decoration work ready for an event and my saw and paint brushes have been put to good use.

I really enjoy my time on the reserves no matter what I'm doing, the staff and volunteers are a fantastic bunch of people. If you would like to get involved I know the team would be glad to hear from you, so my advice is why not make it one of your New Year's resolutions to give volunteering with the RSPB a go? I look forward to seeing you

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Les Bunyan   

If you'd like to find out more about volunteering at Titchwell or Snettisham call us on: 01485 211970 or email: titchwell@rspb.org.uk  

Remember to pop into the Visitor Centre after your visit to help keep our daily sightings board up to date.

You can keep up to date with sightings by following our twitter account. No need to have an account yourself, we make it so everyone can see it. If you do tweet, please remember to use #RSPBTitchwell.

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