Introducing the new Engagement Officer at Kingcombe

Introducing the new Engagement Officer at Kingcombe

Daisy Meadowcroft

In the first of a series of blogs about Kingcombe, Daisy describes the first week in her new job as Engagement Officer at Kingcombe - from hosting Wild Paths trainees to discovering great crested newts.

My passion is connecting people with wildlife; I can think of no better place to do this than at the heart of the Kingcombe National Nature Reserve. Kingcombe is a true jewel – I'm currently sat writing from the boardwalk, enshrouded in the song of long-tailed tits, ripples of the Hooke, and the gentle humming of bumblebees on common lungwort.

My first week was packed, encompassing our fabulous Wild Paths Trainees’ residential. This outstanding initiative hosted by my colleague, Colleen, provides trainees with endless opportunities to develop their conservation skills. I spent Monday settling in and it was great to have our Chief Executive, Brian, on site to talk with the trainees about project management and discuss their exciting ideas for the future of Kingcombe.

On Tuesday morning, I led the trainees in unloading the last night’s moth trap. 76 gorgeous moths comprised of 15 species were waiting for us! I spent the day with Matt, Kingcombe Centre Officer, getting to know the site and discussing exciting plans for the future.  I spent the evening wandering the 'green route', soaking in the evening sunlight and discovering the flora dotted across the reserve. To round off the day, Nicki led a fascinating session dissecting barn owl pellets.

Wednesday was all about newts. Living Landscapes Ecologist, Steve took us out to look for newt eggs on the reserve. I was delighted to see my first bluebells in flower and cuckooflowers out in bloom. We found lots of palmate newts, before wandering across to Powerstock Common to set some bottle traps and torching for great crested newts (under licence).

Thursday began with an early rise as we returned to Powerstock to retrieve the bottle traps and found 3 great crested newts. The Kingcombe NNR is a stronghold. I returned to the Centre to discuss the development of Kingcombe, along with a smattering of engagement planning.

Friday morning kicked off at 5.30am to the melodious tune of the blackbird and robin, followed by the charming, repetitive song of the songthrush. Matt and I visited one of the Kingcombe holiday cottages, Beech Cottage which provides a fantastic opportunity for guests to stay overlooking Kingcombe National Nature Reserve. Nest boxes for house martin were put up as we eagerly await their return from Africa. I spent the afternoon creating our Spring Scavenger Hunt - I’m looking forward to seeing what is found across the site.

Do come and visit us this season, it would be lovely to meet you!