Anne-Marie McDevitt – Chief Operating Officer
Following several staff changes Manx BirdLife (MBL) sought to recruit a Chief Operating Officer in early 2012. When recruitment was unsuccessful MBL approached the RSPB, who have provided support and guidance to MBL for several years, and the position was advertised as a secondment. In June 2012 Anne-Marie McDevitt from RSPB Northern Ireland took up the secondment, which will run for a year.
‘I had been working as Conservation Manager for RSPB NI for three years when I saw the secondment opportunity. Having provided support to MBL in this role I understood a fair bit about the Island and what MBL was trying to achieve, and I felt I had the skills needed to help it develop and deliver its remit. My aim over the year is to ensure that the great work that the charity is doing at present continues and to produce a strategy for 2013 to 2018. We are working in conjunction with a range of partners in the project to eradicate long-tails on the Calf of Man, taking place autumn/winter 2012/13; continuing to deliver important contracts for Government including the monitoring of the Island’s bird population, vital as birds are a great indicator of the health of our environment; and inputting into the Island’s Biodiversity Strategy through attendance at stakeholder meetings and the production of a Manx Birds of Conservation Concern. We are also in negotiations with CEMEX over the creation of a Nature Reserve at the Point of Ayre gravel pits and are seeking funding to carry out research into the reasons for the decline in the hen harrier population on the Isle of Man. It will be a busy year!
Anne-Marie has worked in bird conservation for almost twenty years. Starting with her first contract as little tern warden for the National Trust in Northumberland, she worked for BirdWatch Ireland on corncrakes in the Shannon Callows, Countryside Council for Wales on agri-environment schemes, and jointly with the RSPB and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland on the development and delivery of the Countryside Management Scheme. She has also worked on bird conservation projects abroad including pink pigeons for the Mauritius Wildlife Trust and on the Seychelles magpie robin for the Island Conservation Society.
Ed McHugh – RESA Surveyor
The charity previously delivered contracts for the Department of Infrastructure to carry out pre and during construction bird monitoring of the Runway End Safety Area (RESA) at Ronaldsway airport, to determine if the extension to the runway is having an impact on the breeding bird population.
Ed has been working for the charity since March 2012 on the final post-construction phase of this monitoring, surveying the stretch of coast from Santon Gorge through to Strandhill Farm on a weekly basis.
Originally from Glasgow, Ed studied ecology at Edinburgh University. As a volunteer, he has carried out BTO surveys including Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) and volunteered in a variety of places including Lough Lowse, famous for its ospreys. In his last post, Ed worked for the Aigas Field Centre leading wildlife excursions across the Highlands and Orkney. His interests include snowboarding, swimming and birdwatching, and he’s a bit of a movie buff!
Much of the work of Manx BirdLife would not be possible without the help of our band of dedicated volunteers.
Mark Fitzpatrick – website volunteer
Mark helps Manx BirdLife by looking after its website and e-mail list. He has been a regular visitor to the Isle of Man since his first visit in 1972 on a YOC/YHA birdwatching course run by Gordon Craine. From 1973 to 1976 he stayed on the Calf of Man during school summer holidays, including two summers as a temporary second Assistant Warden while Malcolm Wright and then Bob Haycock were the Wardens. In 1978 he started ringing on the main Island, mainly in the north. Though he lives in Bedfordshire, the Isle of Man is very much ‘home from home’ and visits to the Island are a highlight of his year.
Katie Grace – Volunteer surveyor (Point of Ayre)
Katie carries out twice monthly surveys of the gravel pits at the Point of Ayre. Manx BirdLife is seeking a lease on the gravel pits to convert the site into a nature reserve for both wildlife conservation and public enjoyment/education. The information that Katie is gathering is being used in the production of draft management plan to go along with the lease.
Wendy Samson – Office Volunteer
Wendy and her husband moved to the Island two years ago, attracted by the gentler pace of life and of course motorbikes – both are keen enthusiasts and have travelled around Europe and Australia by bike.
Wendy approached MBL in November 2012 keen to put her admin skills to good use – she has previously worked as a PA for a large company, a Presiding Officer on local and general elections, and also as a credit controller chasing outstanding accounts! Wendy volunteers one morning a week for Manx BirdLife, helping with office administration.
Trish Wilson – Office Volunteer
Trish was born in the north of the Island at Glascoe Road, Ballacorey, an area where her Mother’s family had lived for generations. Her father had been stationed at Jurby with the RAF and when he was discharged the family moved to the outskirts of London. Trish also lived in Plymouth and the Isle of Wight before settling in the New Forest area. Whilst living in the south of England, Trish had trained as a Psychiatric Nurse and had worked in the Salisbury area. On her return to the Island in the late nineties she took up a position with the Community Mental Health Team from which she retired last year. She is married to Dave who is Senior Services Manager for the Red Cross on the Island. She has two grown up children who still live in the New Forest area and four grandchildren.
Her favourite occupation is walking her three dogs on the beaches of the North of the Island. She also enjoys gardening and has a small wildlife pond in the garden. She misses the Koi carp that they used to keep when they lived in the New Forest, but too many Herring Gulls and a visiting Heron, not to mention a pair of Mallards who frequent her garden pond have put her off trying to keep Koi in Ramsey. In spite of that her favourite birds remain the sea birds and she loves to see the Gannets diving in Ramsey Bay. She is an enthusiastic birdwatcher and is currently volunteering a few hours each week at Manx BirdLife to help with the office administration.