I’ve been a little quiet on the blogging front lately, apart from some long overdue catching up on the end of my traineeship, and some people may have noticed I’m not posting about what I’ve been up to job wise on other social media quite as much as I did was a Trainee. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I’ve managed to secure a job for the summer working as an Assistant Ranger for the National Trust at Studland Beach.
I’m now a member of the Beach Team. The job is rather different from when I was running around on Mendip but I am gaining some new experiences. The role wasn’t quite what I expected, even though I don’t really know what I did expect, and as my nearest and dearest know it took me a little while to settle in but I am now feeling a lot happier with everything and am enjoying my summer on the beach.
What we get up to on a day to day basis can vary depending on the weather and the number of visitors we get. One of our main jobs is to keep on top of all the litter and empty the bins. The amount of rubbish generated in one day is incredible and I am developing a very strong dislike for people who litter. So if you are visiting a beach this summer, please make sure your rubbish makes it into a bin and not on the sand! There are some fun elements to emptying the bins – we get to drive the Quad Bikes and ATV’s to do it 🙂 (two more tickets I can add to my CV!).
Aside from bins we patrol the beach, talking to visitors and ensuring everyone is following the rules. I’m on a personal mission to pull all the Himilayan Balsam I come across on site, and we’ve been spending some time controlling the amount of Ragwort on the dunes. Putting in fence posts in sandy soil is an absolute dream compared to the rocky ground on Mendip and I’m getting to use a Tractor for a few different jobs. I don’t always know what I’m going to be dealing with when I turn up at work; a morning dealing with invasive plants can turn into an afternoon of rushing paramedics up the beach in the vehicles to meet an air ambulance! It definitely keeps us on our toes.
Again I’m lucky to be working with some really lovely people; I work most closely with the rest of the Beach Team and the Outdoor Assistants but also help out all the other staff on site including Visitor Services and the Cafe.
Although the work we do isn’t as focussed on nature and habitats as I’m used to I still manage to get in a fair amount of wildlife spotting. There is an abundance of Green Woodpeckers around the car parks and amongst the dunes, cheeky Chaffinches loiter around the cafe picking up crumbs and I get a daily dose of Pied Wagtails when I head up the beach. As can be expected there are plenty of Gulls, mostly Black Headed, but I’ve picked out a couple of Med Gulls on occasion (I felt pretty proud that I spotted those by myself) and some of the larger species. Oyster-catchers can often be found along the tide line and I’m almost certain I had a brief glimpse of a Dartford Warbler on the Heath the other day. The Buddleia around the site means I can satisfy my need to look at butterflies. The one by the rubbish compactor is my current favourite; whilst dealing with the rubbish I’ve seen up to ten different species around it at one time including White Admirals, Painted Ladies, Silver Washed Frittilaries and my first ever Graylings! At the moment the Sika deer are often seen with their adorable fawns at their sides, and there are plenty of rabbits around the place, so I am getting my mammal fix. I was absolutely delighted this week to have a few different sightings of Sand Lizards, including two males in all their incredible green sexiness!
My contract down here is only a temporary one so I’m making the most of my short time here. I’ve only visited Dorset for Trainee related things, but I’ve seen enough to know that it is beautiful and I intend to make the most of exploring it and seeing what it has to offer.