Plenty to see at close quarters at Fairburn Ings as the weather gets more and more inhospitable. We had our first report this year of a siskin on the feeders outside the visitor centre, so you might not even have to step outside for a glimpse of this gorgeous little winter visitor.
Setting out along the Discovery trail a few visitors have reported stoats, weasels and treecreeper. Unfortunately we haven’t had any sightings of the little owl in the last week or so but do keep an eye on the fence posts across the paddock, if he’s anywhere, he’ll be there!
Not far away at Pickup Hide the brambling’s been back, as well as 30+ redpoll, reed buntings and tree sparrows all frantically feeding around the area.
The kingfisher is showing well at its namesake screen and those characterful redwings and fieldfares are being similarly obliging across the site. All we need now is for those waxwings to get the idea and settle in instead of all these teasing flyovers!
For those venturing further, perhaps across the Riverbank trail to any of the 3 hides dotted along the path to Fairburn village, keep an eye out for the striking smew. We had our first sightings at the weekend so fingers crossed for plenty more throughout the winter.
Regular sightings of marsh harrier and goosander from the flashes.
With the possibility of snow on the horizon, the silver lining (for those who don’t enjoy frozen toes) is the chance of water rail visiting the feeding stations as has happened in previous years, and maybe even the discovery of bitterns made bold by the cold!
As there has been a lack of updates for the past few weeks, I shall run through the impressive list of bird sightings from around the reserve.
There have been good numbers of Fieldfare seen all over the reserve, with a large number of sightings coming from Pickup and Lin Dike. Now is an excellent time to see this wintering thrush as it feeds on the winter berries and fallen fruit, as well as any worms or insects that it can find. As well as Fieldfare there are Redwing around which are another of our wintering thrush to the UK.
Pickup hide is the best place to see Brambling, with the optimum time being early morning when it has not flown off having been disturbed by the day's activities. Also from Pickup there have been reports of Siskin, Water Rail, Sparrowhawk, Kingfisher, and Green Woodpecker.
Other birds seen around the visitor centre include Tree Keeper, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Willow Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Collard Dove, Robin, Blackbird, Blue and Great Tit, and most amusingly a Common Waxbill, which is obviously an escapee as it is a common cage bird, and it was ringed.
There have been sightings of Marsh Harrier, Peregrine falcon, Buzzard, Kestrel and Merlin all flying over the reserve in the last few weeks. Pintail, Goosander, Goldeneye and Little Egret have all been observed down over the Flashes near were Lin Dike hide is situated.
So quite an impressive selection of birds has been recorded recently and there are always more to be found. It might be cold but it never stops the enjoyment of getting out and seeing wildlife at its best.