November, 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

  • Fairburn Ings Photographic Competition

    Calling all amateur photographers!! We are launching a new photographic competition here at Fairburn Ings and will be accepting entries until 16th February 2013. The competition is titled 'The nature of Fairburn Ings' and all photographs must be taken on or of Fairburn Ings between 1st January 2012 and 16th February 2013.

    The theme of this competition is open to individual interpretation but entries must have the countryside or the natural world at their heart.

    Entries can be submitted through our Flickr page

    Entrants must supply the following information with their entries

    1. Their name,
    2. Contact telephone number and/or email address
    3. Date of birth (if to be considered for the under 16 category)

    There will be two age groups, under 16s and 16 and above.

    For more information relating to how to enter and a full listing of the rules please read the attached PDF

  • Wildlife, wardens and toasted marshmallows

    The reserve team of staff and volunteer wardens have been working hard this autumn.  Regular visitors to the reserve will be aware that the Riverbank trail has had a new surface laid, vastly improving access between the Cut and the Kingfisher screen. The new Village Bay Viewpoint is also now in place offering improved views over Main Bay and Village Bay.

    The duck and swan feeding area has had an extension added to it leading to a new viewpoint over looking the bays and offering access through the reedbed.

    600 heathland plants, including cotton grass, bilberry and heather, have been planted on the heath above Main Bay and lots of scrub clearance has been taking place removing willow and birch making more space for gorse, broom and the recently planted heathers, cotton grass etc.

    Two corporate work parties from Call Credit Group were also on site to assist our invaluable volunteers with the removal of willow and birch from around the reedbeds to prevent them becoming woodlands. All the removed trees were then burned in a bonfire, giving volunteers the chance to toast marshmallow at the end of the day.

    Checks have also been taking place of our ash trees following the recent situation of Ash Die Back coming in to the UK. Chalara fraxine, a fungus that affects ash trees and quite often proves fatal to them has been detected in areas around the UK but thankfully there is no sign of it amongst our trees onsite.

    Other woodland work that has been taking place is the management of non-native sycamore trees that can be very invasive. We have mostly been removing these by cutting them down however, some of the larger specimens have been ring-barked. By removing a section of bark around the full circumference of a tree near to its base the tree slowly dies but remains standing, providing habitat for woodpeckers and willow tits as well as many species of insects that feed on dead wood.

    Thanks to all the hard work from our reserve wardening team, chances to enjoy wildlife around the reserve have continued to increase. Sightings over the last few weeks include large flocks of autumn visitors including fieldfares, redwings and waxwings. Kestrels, sparrowhawks, red kites and buzzards are often seen patrolling the skies or swooping down on unsuspecting prey.

    A pair of nuthatches has become a familiar sight in our wildlife garden and large flocks of mixed tits are starting to build and often seen moving through the trees as are bullfinches, siskin and goldcrests.

    On the areas of open water numbers of coot, teal, goosander, goldeneye, shoveler, mute swans and wigeon are starting to build to name a few, and a bittern has occasionally been sighted flying over towards the reedbeds.

    We are running a guided walk on Sunday 9th December focussing on the Main Bay area and its wildlife followed by hot drinks and mince pies back at the visitor centre for all that take part so if you are interested phone 01977 628 191 or pop in to the visitor centre to reserve your place.

    We will also be running a number of other seasonal themed events over the coming weeks so keep an eye on our events page on