September, 2015

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

  • Recent Sightings and a hello from me!

    Hello there! I think it’s definitely about time I introduced myself. My name is Laura and I’m the new Visitor Experience Intern at Fairburn Ings. After spending the first 5 months of my internship with the puffins at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, I’ve moved back in land and am going to be here for the final 6 months. I'm originally from Huddersfield, so it really is lovely to be back in this neck of the woods and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into all the exciting events and activities coming up over the winter months. So without further ado, I give you my first recent sightings update!

    Mammal Cam has been a hive of activity over the past couple of weeks. Bank voles are being seen everyday snacking on the peanuts and sunflower hearts being left out for them, and our overnight recordings have shown mice grabbing a bite to eat too. It’s not always peaceful though, as this video on our Facebook page shows!

    Willow tits were the star of the show last week, with them being seen regularly in the Wildlife Garden and entertaining visitors by nipping in and out to the feeders at Pickup Hide. A nuthatch has been seen in the Wildlife Garden too, and groups of long tailed tits have been chattering across the reserve.

    Nuthatch - Nigel Blake (

    For kingfishers, the best places to see them are Charlie's Hide and Pickup Hide, but keep your eyes open as they could dart out from anywhere near water! We've also had some fantastic raptor sightings, with red kite, peregrine falcon, kestrel, buzzard, marsh harrier and sparrowhawk all seen around the reserve.

    Marsh Harrier - Chris Gomersall (

    Away from the visitor centre, pintails have been at Lin Dike throughout the week. A black tailed godwit was spotted at the Flashes on the 14 September, and large numbers of lapwings are being seen at Big Hole.

    Pintails - James Lees WWT (

  • Thank you Fairburn Ings! - Goodbye from the Visitor Experience Intern

    I can’t believe it’s already September... Today is my last day as the visitor intern here at Fairburn Ings! I’ll be moving out of the volunteer house later today ready for my move just down the road to Old Moor for the final 6 months of my internship.

    I’ve been involved with loads of different things during my time here; writing the (almost weekly!) recent sightings blogs and manning the reserves social media accounts, helping on guided walks and the minibeast safaris, producing new interpretation for the reserve including the discovery trail quizzes and of course Big Wild Sleepout! I’ve also made my radio debut and written a few press releases which have been fantastic learning opportunities for me! I’ve really loved engaging with people via social media – as a bit of a geek for all things technological this has been great fun!

    My wildlife identification skills are improving as well, I’ve gone from knowing very little to being reasonably confident on common species, and this is something I want to keep building on.  Writing the recent sightings blogs has been a really good way to start building my knowledge of birds and the mammal camera is helping me learn my voles from my mice!

    Mammal camera highlight was definitely this hedgehog! 

    A highlight of my time here has got to have been the Big Wild Sleepout.  It was amazing to be involved part of such a special event and I had an incredible time! It was fantastic to see families getting stuck in with things and loving every minute!  The evening walks gave everyone a unique chance to see what goes on after dark and we were treated to bats, owls and even a couple of shooting stars which wowed us all!  Enthusing people about nature and wildlife is really worthwhile and to see kids having tons of fun playing outside, getting muddy looking for bugs and running about enjoying themselves is very rewarding.

    Big Wild Sleepout was amazing and I feel lucky to have been involved - Thanks to Liberty Monkman for the photo

    It’s been lovely chatting to people in the visitor centre and hearing their stories about all the wildlife they’ve seen on the reserve and in their gardens back home – some people are very lucky with hedgehogs regularly visiting their back garden! The staff and volunteers are a lovely bunch and there’s always a friendly face in the office or the visitor centre. Fairburn is definitely the happiest place I’ve ever worked!

    I’ve had an incredible spring and summer here and I’m very sad to be leaving, but I’m looking forward to exploring a new reserve and hopefully my last 6 months will be just as fantastic as the first! 

    Thank you Fairburn Ings! - Thanks Liberty Monkman for the photo