A week in the life of a Corncrake Assistant – Sunday

9.10am. Late start again. But it is Sunday morning!
9.40am. I replenished all the food and water at the southern aviaries. Northern aviaries next.
10.20am. I finished at the northern aviaries. The eight corncrake chicks that arrived on Friday morning have not yet eaten a single morsel from the dishes. And I hear no tweets nor chirps. I do feel anxious. What if they’ve found a hole and escaped. Unlikely there is an escape hole from both of the pens that they are in though. Likewise for a predator to be able to enter both would be odd. One or the other. But not both surely! So I have to wait it out, keep throwing lots of worms in to the pens, and hope they are just shy little fellows.
I met a gentleman out for a sunday walk. He was very interested in the corncrake project and corncrakes in general. Another happy customer, who left with a boggling amount of corncrake facts which I enthusiastically threw at him . Back to base to wash all the dishes.
1.30pm. I draw the triangle on my map of the reserve, from the compass readings that I took last night. Now I know exactly which field the mystery corncrake was in. The next task is to find the easiest access (for when it’s dark). As I know Rhys will want to come and catch him.
2.30pm. I get back in to an extremely hot and stuffy truck. I’m off to explore the bottom of field 62, and how to get there in the dark. Corncrake food and water are all on board, so I don’t have to keep to-ing and fro-ing.
Having sussed the access out, I then lay down by a pretty pond and snoozed in the sun for half an hour. Some of the vegetation down in this part of the reserve is shoulder high. Incredible for wildlife. I saw coots feeding their juveniles, and cheeky sedge warblers ranting at me. But neither of the two I’d wanted to see – bearded tit and the cranes.
5pm. To the new eight chicks first. Still no food gone from their dishes. I did however hear some chirps. What a relief. I pretended I had gone, and then silently sat and waited. And then they spoke!
5.25pm. All finished with the corncrake chicks today. I seemed to have a lot of crickets left at the end of my rounds. So I went back to a pen where I know the chicks particularly like them. I’d only replenished their dishes five minutes before and they (or one of them) had already eaten half the crickets! Well they’ve got a few extra to go at now!
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About Olivia N Masi

From art college drop-out, to office space-planner, to back-packer, to air stewardess, to brolly babe, to model agent, to wildlife conservationist. How? I've always believed in jumping at every opportunity that comes my way. This has taken me along some bizarre career paths. None of which I regret. I have been to amazing places and met fascinating people. And having worked in the motor sport industry I've sadly experienced too many beloved friends take one adrenalin step too many. I think of them always. I've hung out with pop-stars, sports personalities, and millionaires. I reached a point when nothing but VIP would do. And then something happened. My pops passed away and I felt the need to reconnect with my Italian side. Whilst in Italy, I learnt to be resourceful, to recycle everything, to listen to the valley, to grow my own veg, to catch and tame feral cats, and to follow my heart. My heart led me to a desire to save this beautiful Earth, and all the wonderful life upon it. And so I read, and then I studied with the Open University. I suddenly found myself accepted on a BSc in Wildlife Conservation, having left school with pitiful qualifications. So here I am. A qualified Wildlife Conservationist. A scientist I suppose. I love nothing more than to listen to birdsong, and watch, learn and photograph wildlife. So here is to me getting the perfect job where I can contribute to saving one of Earth's beautiful species. Do I miss the glamour of the old life? The VIP lifestyle? The petrol-head adrenalin? The buzz of being a successful business owner? Only occasionally. Though it seems more like the distant dreams of a previous life.
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