Voluntary Assistant / Intern placements for 2020

Enthusiastic birders are are being sought to assist our small team if staff in the running of the Lodge and Bird Observatory on Bardsey Island, for four weeks periods in Spring, Summer and in Autumn.

If you think you are up to the challenge of working at one of Britain's most picturesque Bird Observatories then contact Steve Stansfield, BBFO's Director of Operations with dates you are available, complete the application form here, send a CV and covering email explaining your experience and why you would like to be considered for one of these posts. It is a great way to expand your knowledge of birds, migration and the workings of bird observatories.

Interns are taken on on a one month placement, and short-term volunteers (min 2 weeks) are also considered.

 Late-year sunset from the Obs

Looking North from the Narrows towards the Lodge and Observatory

Counting Migrants will be one of the first tasks undertaken each day during the month long stay...

 Spotted Flycatcher

Daily duties for the interns will include assisting with monitoring the island's migrant birds and other wildlife, assisting with ringing, trapping and monitoring moths and digitising the ringing and census data. Dealing with visitors/staying guests at Bardsey Lodge and the essential tasks of cleaning and general maintenance will also be required.

The posts are best suited to keen and active birders, preferably with experience in censusing migrant birds. The successful applicants for these fantastic opportunities will live on a remote Welsh island for a month. They must be very self-motivated and expect to work long hours in the field in all weather conditions! He/she must be able to interact well with other staff and paying guests staying at the Lodge and Observatory.

There are currently two Assistants on Bardsey. Steve Stansfield is the Director of Operations and Warden of the Observatory and lives on the island with his wife Emma (who is the Observatory's Domestics Manager), who is in charge of the domestic side of the Observatory, and their 18 year old son Connor who heads the IT section of the Observatory.

Accommodation is provided in a small mezzanine/loft room above the ringing lab or at the south end of the island sharing with other assistants/interns. Cooking and other facilities are shared with both staff and paying guests at the Bardsey Lodge and Bird Observatory.

Job Specification
The main tasks of the post will be (but not exclusively):
Undertaking part of the census of migrant birds on a daily basis. Carrying out counts and keeping records of other groups of wildlife (butterflies, moths etc.).

Helping with trapping and ringing of migrant and breeding birds (BTO ‘C’ or ‘A’ ringing licence needed for this). Applicants without a ringing licence will still be considered but ringing training will not be given to a complete novice as the Assistant Wardens will have priority training from the Warden.

Trapping moths. This is done with visitors in an educational role. Also helping collate data from the trapping.

BUT it is not just a birding job..... There are some domestic duties which staff carry out throughout the year. A few of the domestic chores include helping with the general running, cleaning and care of the fabric of the bird observatory, general maintenance work, garden care, toilet servicing, data entry etc...

Each Saturday morning (or first calm day thereafter) the Bardsey Lodge and Observatory’s guests arrive for their week-long stay. The whole Lodge and observatory is cleaned. The existing staff members have set jobs to do and it will be expected that the interns will pick up the jobs that were undertaken by the previous interns. These may include: sweeping and mopping all floors, tidy library, vacuum carpets, collect flowers for vases etc.

It is important that all staff and volunteers are polite and courteous to our guests. Cooking facilities are shared with the guests, and cleaning the kitchen after cooking, and not ‘hogging’ cooking facilities is paramount in keeping a good staff/visitor relationship.

Each week during the year the staff attend a meeting on the island to work through the jobs and be directed on specific projects by the Warden.

Under the guidance of Steve Stansfield and his staff you will be trained in various areas of Observatory work, from censusing and sea-watching to data entry and report writing, with lost of other things in between. 

Some spectacular birds are found regularly on Bardsey and have included some major rarities including Britain's 6th Cretzschmar's Bunting in late spring 2015!!

Some of the species that we expect to see each autumn...
 Grey Phalarope
 Red-breasted Flycatcher
Yellow-browed Warbler

So if you fancy a month on Bardsey during the peak autumn migration, where birds like Yellow-browed Warblers, Wrynecks and Barred Warblers are almost guaranteed each year, then send a CV (with names of two referees) along with a covering email detailing your you experience in bird ID/migrant monitoring and explaining why you would like the post to warden@bbfo.org.uk.

The successful applicants will need to bring enough food with them to last for the 4 week stay and make their own way to the island (further details will be sent later if you are successful). Boat crossing cost is £40 return.

Closing date for applications will be 1 March for the spring posts and 15 August for September (1st to 30) post, and 1 September for October post (1st to 28th).

Post Script

Five of our Interns/long term Volunteers have been offered full time paid posts at BBFO having spent one or two terms as interns... it is a great way to get into bird observatory work!

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