This blog post comes to you bang in the middle or our season at the end of December, so I thought it was a good opportunity to let you know how we are getting on so far! The headline pretty much sums it up, we are surviving! Our ranger team patrols the Solent coast to help protect the lovely birds that spend the winter on our shores. Our main aim is to talk to people on the coast, raise awareness of the amazing birds and help people to enjoy the coast without interrupting the birds whilst they are feeding and resting. This is so important, as it will mean the birds survive the winter and their populations can thrive into the future.
Without a doubt our biggest challenge so far this winter is Covid-19 and the associated restrictions. It has made our main task of talking to people so difficult, as we have had to navigate social distancing guidelines. On top of this, even with all the right measures in place, people are still generally anxious of talking to people either because of the risk of Covid or because the lack of social contact has affected us all in the way we interact with others. Just like the rest of the nation, the mental health of the Rangers has also taken a knock, and we have tried to help and support each other by having frequent virtual catch ups and being open and honest with how we are feeling. As you can imagine, talking to people day in day out requires you to be happy and cheerful, something that has been difficult for all of us to maintain during the pandemic, but we are all just doing the best that we can.
On the flipside though, we all feel very lucky that our job allows us to be outdoors and chatting with people – two things that are well publicised as having a positive effect on health and wellbeing! We are grateful to everyone who has stopped to talk to us, and thank you to those of you who have taken the time to contact us.
Some of your lovely feedback:
“I came across one of your Rangers while walking my dog in Bosham on Thursday and stopped to chat. As a result I learned LOADS about the birdlife on the water within about 10minutes.”
“We met a Ranger along the Hayling Billy Line in Langstone Harbour today (in the rain) nice to find out from him what you are about. We will look out for more info as we’re local to the area and we have an interest in local shoreline activities”.
“Lovely chatting with you and well done Bird Aware Solent!! Keep the great work up!!”
Meeting lovely people whilst we are out and about and helping you to connect with nature is what keeps us all going! So please don’t be shy, and get in touch.
Another way we try to keep our spirits up (and yours!) is by making silly videos like this bird impressions one for your education and entertainment.
If you thought that was funny, then you will also like our version of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas’ that we shared on our social media channels over Christmas. Head to one of our profile pages if you missed it!
Merry Christmas to you all and see you in 2021. Let’s hope it’s a brighter and better year for all of us.
Lead Ranger, Karima