March, 2013

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

  • What's a chiffchaff? Recent sightings 27th March

    It’s been a quiet few days on the reserve with this wintery weather and we’ve all got our fingers crossed for some warmer weather over Easter. We’ve seen a few signs of birds getting ready for spring, they’ve been checking out nest boxes and from our office we could a pair of tree sparrows taking nest materials into one of the boxes outside the centre.

    The feeders outside the visitor centre have been full of action as usual. Here’s a very long list of all our hungry visitors: blue tits, great tits, coal tits, long tailed tits, willow tits, blackbirds, house sparrows, tree sparrows, dunnocks, robins, nuthatches, bullfinches, chaffinches, greenfinches, goldfinches, siskins, reed buntings, red polls, moorhens, mallards, pheasants and collared doves. Phew!

    We’ve had a couple of rarer visitors as well on the reserve including a meadow pipit near the boardwalk, a stonechat around Hickson’s field, an Iceland gull on Main Bay and a rough-legged buzzard. We’ve also had a male and female smew over at Pick-up but they decided to hide behind the reeds when I went to have a look!

    Kingfishers are being seen down the Cut and at the kingfisher screen. On Village Bay, visitors have spotted tufted duck, pochard, gadwall, goosander, golden eye, teal and wigeon.

    And at Pick-up hide today there’s been a sighting of a chiffchaff. The chiffchaff is a small olive-brown warbler and is more easily recognised by it's song, as it sings it's own name. 


    We love hearing about what you’ve seen on the reserve so make sure you let us know in the recent sightings book next to the till in the shop.

    Image of the chiffchaff from John Bridges RSPB-images

  • Pond dipping is back!

    We’re delighted to be able to re-open our pond dipping pond after giving the beasties in our pond the winter off.

    If you want to have a look at what is lurking in our pond then come along to Fairburn Ings from Friday 29 March onwards, pop into the visitor centre to hire your pond dipping kit.

    We have a magnificent array of underwater insects in the ponds at Fairburn, you might come across the gruesome dragonfly nymph or a frantic whirligig beetle, you might even find a fish in our pond, we have sticklebacks in there.

    Pond dipping at Fairburn Ings is free for RSPB members, and just £2 per child for non-members.

  • Let it snow! - Recent sightings

    The first day of spring has been and gone yet we’re waking up to snow here! We still managed to have some fun outdoors though and made a snowman in our playground. We even hung a feeder off his arm in the hope of attracting some birds. Thanks to Joe, one of our volunteers for the great pic!

    We’re getting an increasing number of kingfisher sightings which is great! There’s also been a report of a very loud boom from a bittern which everyone is very excited about. We still have quite of few winter visitors due to the cold weather such as redwings, brambling, fieldfare and plenty of siskin.

    On our wildlife garden feeders we have the usual visitors including tree sparrows, reed bunting, bullfinch, redpoll, nuthatches and a pair of willow tits. There was also a sparrow hawk spotted on one of the logs under the feeders!

    Over on Hickson’s Flash there have been lots of snipe, a jack snipe, some redshank and two avocets. At Pick-up we’ve had some whooper swans and elsewhere on the reserve visitors have spotted three kittiwakes, two little owls, a red kite and lots of buzzards.

    I saw my first weasel on Wednesday; well the back of it as it quickly ran off down the road! Rob managed to spot it as we were leaving the staff car park and it was much smaller than I expected.

    This Thursday is our first Heron Walk so if you fancy coming along to see our resident herons rear their chicks please get in touch! See our website for more details