We are looking for three fieldworkers to conduct surveys to help us evaluate the success of these management trials, with one fieldworker based at each of the three reserves listed below.

Research Assistant for Saltmarsh Redshank fieldwork (x3)
Reference: DEC20216360
Location: Lancashire, Cheshire or Lincolnshire
Salary: £18,100.00 – £20,080.00 Per Annum
Hours: 37.5 hours per week
Contract: 5 Month Fixed Term that will run between April & August 2022
Benefits: Pension, Life Assurance and Annual Leave

To help reverse population declines of breeding waders on saltmarsh, changes in grazing management are needed to improve sward structure and reduce nest trampling. We are looking for three skilled and experienced fieldworkers to conduct surveys of breeding redshank, habitat condition and livestock grazing on saltmarsh, one in each of three locations:

  • RSPB Leighton Moss (Morecambe Bay, Lancashire)
  • RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands (Dee Estuary, Cheshire)
  • RSPB Frampton Marsh (The Wash, Lincolnshire)

What the role is about

At three of our RSPB reserves we are trialling changes in saltmarsh grazing management that we hope will improve the habitat condition, sward structure and breeding success of redshank to help stop and reverse dramatic redshank population declines in this habitat. These management trials will be used as case studies to underpin conservation advice and inform practical delivery of saltmarsh management improvements. There is no one-site-fits-all solution to saltmarsh grazing: starting habitat conditions and management constraints (e.g. available livestock types, grazing agreements, access) vary between sites, so bespoke management must be trialled at different sites to showcase the range of management options available for achieving the same end-point.

Surveys will be conducted between April and August 2022 and key tasks will include:

  • Breeding redshank surveys on saltmarsh
  • Redshank nest finding and monitoring to assess nest fate
  • Nest trampling experiments using dummy nests
  • Sward height and structure monitoring
  • Saltmarsh plant species identification and vegetation community classification
  • Grazing livestock monitoring (assessing stock type and number, timing of grazing and livestock movements)
  • Data entry and management, including mapping using Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Liaison with RSPB site staff and volunteers to arrange survey access and conduct fieldwork

Training and support will be provided throughout the season. The role will involve a large amount of lone-working, therefore an ability to show initiative and work responsibly in coastal environments is essential.

What we need from you

  1. Excellent practical scientific field skills with experience of bird and habitat surveys, ideally breeding wader surveys, wader nest finding and monitoring, saltmarsh plant identification and vegetation community classification (such as National Vegetation Classification NVC).
  2. Experience of survey work on saltmarsh or in other coastal habitats.
  3. Good navigational skills including use of GPS and ability to read Ordnance Survey (OS) maps.
  4. Experience of using Microsoft Office applications (Excel, Word) and Geographic Information System (GIS) software for accurately collecting and collating survey data, and mapping survey results.
  5. Willing to work flexible hours, be self-motivated and work efficiently within a defined work plan with limited day-to-day supervision, using your own initiative to solve day-to-day problems in the field.
  6. Ability to work positively and efficiently in a team with other surveyors (e.g. volunteers, reserve staff).
  7. Knowledge of, and experience adhering to, legal and practical requirements surrounding protected species (e.g. breeding birds) and habitats (e.g. Sites of Species Scientific Interest SSSIs).
  8. Comfortable walking long distances over difficult terrain and working for prolonged periods in the field, sometimes in extreme conditions.
  9. Full UK driving licence and use of a vehicle or other method of transport for accessing remote coastal locations not served by public transport.
  10. Comfortable conducting fieldwork in habitats grazed by livestock (cattle and sheep) where you may come into close contact with grazing animals.

The RSPB reserves the right to extend or make these roles permanent without further advertising dependent on business needs at the end of the contract term.

Please note that accommodation is not provided with these roles; however, where the role requires a person to relocated from a home base we may provide a small contribution to rental costs.

Please also indicate which location you would prefer to work in, if you have a preference.

Closing date: 12:30, 23 January 2022
We are looking to conduct interviews for these positions in the week beginning 7 February 2022.

To Apply:

Please click the ‘apply’ button to be redirected to our website where you can complete your application.

The RSPB is an equal opportunities employer. This role is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

No agencies please.