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Watersports at Lepe

Ever wondered what a typical summer week consists of for our team of rangers? Here’s Ranger Julie’s account of what she’s been up to:

Every week in my job is a bit different from the next, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This week was no exception.

I started my week by working on a map aimed at encouraging watersports enthusiasts to make wildlife friendly choices by for example, launching craft from locations that are less likely to disturb birds.



Ranger Julie
Ranger Julie
Watersports with wildlife signage

Bringing the map together has been a rather lengthy process working with various stakeholders throughout the Solent, but this week I feel the project is nearly there. On Monday I spent some time putting the finishing touches on the areas marked off as wildlife sensitive.

Solent birds

This week I also received an inquiry from a Solent based watersports business. They would like some information about bird sensitive areas near them. So today I am gathering information from various sources, such as Natural England, before I respond. I’m encouraged that businesses around the Solent are starting to consider the needs of the birds and are starting to make decisions that will help nature thrive.

On Tuesday Thomas (our new Coastal Birds Project Monitoring Officer) and I went out to do some monitoring work at four of our sites.

Thomas has designed a project that will help us better understand how people use the coast, and I’m helping him gather data.

It was a sweltering hot day, so I spent some of my monitoring time with my feet in the water.

Flock of godwits

Whilst at Lymington, a flock of black tailed godwits flew by. Strange for this time of year, but there they were.

We also visited Lepe Country Park. While there I took the opportunity to catch up with some Lepe Rangers, give them some more Bird Aware leaflets and chat about putting up a new sign I had designed for them, all about, you guessed it, giving the birds space to feed and rest by following the Coastal Code.

I spent time during the rest of the week preparing for my monthly radio interview with Express FM a local radio station for Portsmouth. If you live in Portsmouth, you can catch my segment on the last Thursday of each month at 7:25pm. It’s only 10 minutes, but surprisingly it takes a lot of preparation.

Last month we talked about the avian flu outbreak, how to tell gulls and terns apart, and our amazing ground nesting birds. If I haven’t quite decided what to talk about, I’ll send a quick message to the rest of the team; they always have great ideas.

Express FM
Ranger Natalie at an event
Ranger Natalie at Conservation Awareness Day, Bucklers Hard

On Saturday, Ranger Natalie and I attended Conservation Awareness Day at Bucklers Hard.

I was quite excited for this event as it was our first one in that part of the New Forest, and a fantastic opportunity to work with the Beaulieu estate.

Even after four years I still love attending events. Each one is a bit different and its fun connecting with happy people in a festive atmosphere.

Natalie and I had prepared by packing up the Bird Aware van well in advance, having decided on some fun activities for kids, so, by the end of the week, we were all set.

Thursday is my last working day of the week. I take every second Friday off from work so I can spend time with my youngest son Westley – a keen nature enthusiast too as you’ll see from the photo. It’s amazing to be able to work flexibly so I can have this time with West before he starts school.

That just about covers it for the week. Next week will be a whole new adventure.

Have you read Ranger Julie’s blog about working with the beach clean community to stay wildlife aware?