Sunday, 23 May 2010

Peregrines, BBC, Bioblitz and Naturetrek!

Wow - what a week it's been.

Not only was it my last week working for Bristol's Museums, Galleries & Archives, I also manage to fit in two days of tour leading on the Somerset Levels, ringing the Avon Gorge chicks (which was also filmed for BBC Springwatch) and be involved with Bristol's Bioblitz at Blaise Castle Estate.

The tour leading on the Levels was amazing. Myself and Charles Martin, on behalf of Naturetrek, took out 16 clients to Ham Wall, Shapwick and West Sedgemoor. Highlights include seeing 8 bitterns, hearing at least 8 different garden warblers, hearing at least 6 different cuckoos, a spotted flycatcher, a red kite and a displaying curlew! And the soundscapes and landscapes at this time of the year were just amazing.

I finished my job after 7 years as a museum learning officer at the City Museum. I had a few tea parties with colleagues and tailed off my week in a really lovely way. I'll miss everyone I worked with but hope to see my colleagues still once I start work tomorrow as the Bristol Dinosaur Education Officer for the University of Bristol.

The Bioblitz at Blaise - a 30 hour trawl of all nature living there by bringing together naturalists and the public was a roaring success. We scooped up 536 species in total including 2 nationally scarce beetles, 50 different species of lichens and a great crested newt! The sunshine was on our side and leading a dawn chorus at 4.30am was the most amazing experience - I'll never forget watching three foxes foraging across the lawns at Blaise!

Thursday saw the ringing of 5 peregrine chicks in Avon Gorge - we thought there were three and what a surprise to have 5. It all went smoothly and should also appear on the BBC's Springwatch in a few weeks time.

Today, I've just got back from filming with Mike Dilger looking at the ringing of the Bath peregrines and my work on the diet of the falcons. We had four chicks to ring with Ade and I sharing the ringing in front of the camera. The Hawk and Owl Trust did an amazing job of setting up the operation for us. The adult peregrines showed well too - the female doing all sorts of stoops and then brought back a pigeon which she plucked in front of us!! We then finished off at Chew Valley Ringing Station to look at feathers and wings that I've found from the Peregrines' diet. This will be shown on BBC Inside Out West in the autumn!

It's still 27 degrees Celsius outside so time to enjoy a beautiful evening before I begin my new job tomorrow.

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