So after a busy 2nd year at uni and an 84% average for the year, I decided a busy summer should be my reward.
I'd planned to go back to RSPB Lake Vyrnwy for my usual stint of volunteering for a bit.
I first volunteered at Vyrnwy during my gap year, but not as a birder. I helped out with the lambing season on their organic welsh mountain sheep farm. This involved helping (or being around for) 1000 ewes giving birth (mostly to twins), and moving these around the farm. I've always enjoyed farming and couldn't think of a better way to be spending my gap year, at the time. Once the majority of the ewes had lambed, I went off with the wardening team for a week or two and got to help with Breeding Bird Surveys (BBS) and upland surveys of the Hen Harriers (Circus cyaneus). I think it was probably this that is responsible for my move into the birding world, instead of just wildlife in general.
I returned to Vyrnwy during the summer after my first year and spent most of the June-August with them. This gave me plenty of experience of BBS, upland surveys, Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) and Skylark (Alauda arvensis) transects and general maintenance of a very large RSPB reserve.
So in July this year I returned to Vyrnwy, but only for 3 weeks volunteering. My luck was definitely in on my first day back. One of the surveyors spotted a beautiful Male Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) on the lake so we all got fantastic views of this. Whilst watching it, I got chatting to my boss and one of the other staff members and it turned out there was a free space on a strimmer and brush-cutter course at Ynys-hir. So just one hour after turning up for work, I had had a lifer and was now heading to Ynys-hir for a free strimmer course!
The next 2 days were spent getting this ticket and the rest of the 3 weeks were spent doing hen harrier and other raptor monitoring.
Any free time (weekends and days not at Vyrnwy) was taken up with ringing, visiting my boyfriend (Chris Bridge), visiting various school and uni friends and maintaining the rather old farm I live on.
All in all it was a very fun and jam packed 3 weeks, with barely a moment free to rest - Just the way I like it, and how I intended to spend the rest of the summer.