February, 2012

Aire Valley - Fairburn Ings and St Aidan's

Aire Valley - Fairburn Ings and St Aidan's
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Aire Valley - Fairburn Ings and St Aidan's

  • Up the Garden Path

    Hello again – Its Teresa and Louise here and we’d like to welcome you to our second blog about the wildlife garden at RSPB Fairburn Ings.

    We’ve been quite busy in the wildlife garden since our last blog, as has mother nature, as the spring bulbs we planted in the autumn are now coming up to provide nectar for those early insect visitors.

    We’ve also been planting some Pyracantha which is a great shrub for wildlife as well as being an attractive evergreen for any garden with lots of year round interest. Insects like the flowers, blackbirds in particular like the berries and they provide shelter for smaller creatures as the thorns tend to keep predators away.

    They also make great hedging plants and because they are prickly can be great for keeping out intruders.  Best of all they are dead easy to grow with minimal skill needed and they are virtually indestructible!  An all round winner with a number of varieties to suit your needs. We've planted "Red Column" which is known for its glossy red berries from late summer into winter.

    And finally.....February is a great time to start planning your garden jobs for the spring and summer. Which is exactly what we are doing at the moment but you’ll have to check out our next blog to find out exactly what those plans are....











  • What's about at Fairburn Ings this week?

    It's time once again to update you about what is being seen around the reserve at the moment and thanks again to all of you who continue to come into the centre and tell us what you are seeing here also.

    The Kingfishers continue to be the stars of the reserve and yesterday a male was reported to have caught and eaten upto 8 fish infront of visitors which was an enthralling sight for everyone.

    Smews and goosander are ever growing in number on main bay and there have been continued sightings of two little egret in the flashes and moat area of the reserve.

    The Centre bird feeders are still getting plenty of visiting birds, with tree sparrow, goldfinch, robin, long tailled tit, dunnock, chaffinch and green finch being the most prevelant. We also see willow tits and coal tits quite often.

    If you should pay a visit to Pick Up Hide you could see all of these birds plus a pair of brambling and several reed buntings, which have all been showing a lot recently.

    In the last few days our visitors appear to have been walking around with their eyes high to the sky because we have had many reports of several buzzards at a time circling the area and frequent reports of red kites as well. Yesterday there were reports of 3 buzzards and 2 red kites.

    Yesterday was also a good day for seeing tree creeper, bullfinches, linnet and redpoll along the River Bank and Lin Dike link trails.

    It is also as popular as ever to come and see our abundant number of mute swans and mallards who are always in view around the feeding platform at the south end of the visitor car park.  Why not come along your self and feed them some special duck and swan food which we sell for £0.50p a bag at the Centre.


  • The return of the wildlife garden

    Hi Everyone


    Our names are Teresa and Louise and we have just started volunteering at RSPB Fairburn Ings.


    Our main duties will be to develop and maintain the wildlife garden which is just at the side of the visitor centre.  At the moment the garden has some benefit for wildlife as there is a small pond and a few wildlife friendly plants but we really want to improve this so that all year round it provides food and shelter for the wide range of creatures who visit it or call it home. We also want to show that a wildlife garden is not just about untidiness, brambles and nettles!


    We are studying towards a foundation degree in Wildlife conservation and hope that our placement at Fairburn will really help to build our skills and knowledge.


    As we all know, due to the increase in building in many areas, gardens are becoming essential habitats for our wildlife. So, whether you have a croquet lawn or a window box you can really make a difference. This is just what we are hoping to do with our gorgeous little patch of earth. We are really buzzing about it which is quite literally what we hope our garden will be doing with all the insects come spring and summer!

    We really hope you will follow our regular blogs updating you of our progress and if you do see us at Fairburn, up to our elbows in muck, then be sure to stop and say hello or ask any questions.


    Anyway enough about us – now we’d like to hear from you. So, if you have any suggestions as to what we can include in our garden, or any tips and ideas about wildlife gardening in general we would love to hear them