February, 2016

Aire Valley - Fairburn Ings and St Aidan's

Aire Valley - Fairburn Ings and St Aidan's
Do you love Fairburn Ings and St Aidan's? Share your thoughts with the community. Or if you're thinking about visiting and would like to find out more, ask away!

Aire Valley - Fairburn Ings and St Aidan's

  • Recent sightings: Anything un-smew-sual?

    There has been lots of excitement this week with the arrival of a male smew! First there was one red-headed smew, then a juvenile joined her, and Monday last week saw the arrival of a third female and a male.

    They were first spotted from Lin Dike hide and have since given us a right old run around by switching between Lin Dike and Village Bay almost daily. If you are coming to the reserve in hope of seeing them your best bet is to pop into the visitor centre and we’ll be able to let you know where on the reserve they were last reported.

    Pair of smew, Mike Langman (rspb-images.com)

    One lucky visitor has recorded a fairly epic visit in the recent sighting book. They took a walk along the Coal Tips trail and spotted two peregrine, a buzzard, sparrowhawk, willow tit, goldcrest AND a stoat.

    I think I need to get up on the Tips more frequently!

    The Coal Tips trail, take by Sally Granger

    Other notable sightings this week include an Egyptian goose near to Cedric’s pool, two bittern seen flying over the reserve and a raven over Lin Dike. There have also been seven pintail out on the flashes and a Cetti’s warbler was heard singing near Phalarope pool.

    Pintail, Ben Hall (rspb-images.com)

    As usual there have been plenty of marsh harrier sightings, and there have been several sightings of siskin around the visitor centre and on the boardwalks so do keep an eye out for them.

  • For love of Fairburn - Dawn

    Cupid has been hard at work this weekend and since 'tis the season, several of the staff here on the reserve have decided to share just what it is about Fairburn they love so much. Here is our Retail Manager, Dawn:

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3<3<3 <3 <3 <3 <<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3<3<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 

    Fairburn changes a little bit every day. I love the difference between bright sunny days and dark moody days; and between the seasons. The colours in autumn are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen, and a lovely spring day brings a smile to my face with all the catkins and buds. I have been fortunate over the last couple of months to see some really amazing mornings, where the sunrise has given off incredible colours which make the trees and the water look even more gorgeous!!

    Fairburn from above, David Morris

    I have worked at Fairburn over five years now, and have been lucky to see lots of wildlife over that time. My favourite thing is to sit on the balcony and watch the birds coming to the wildlife garden feeders; I saw my first bullfinch while doing exactly that!

    Pond dipping at Fairburn, Jesper Mattias (rspb-images.com)

    The other thing that I love is the people that visit the reserve, I get so much out of chatting to visitors who have never been before and come back excited to have seen something new or done something different. The atmosphere is brilliant, everyone is so lovely and that makes it a wonderful place to work.

    The team trying out new binoculars, Kate Struthers

  • For love of Fairburn - John

    Cupid is hard at work this weekend and since 'tis the season, several of the staff here on the reserve have decided to share just what it is about Fairburn they love so much. Here is our Assistant Warden, John:

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3<3<3 <3 <3 <3 <<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3<3<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 

    Where do I start? The fact that this vibrant nature reserve was not so long ago a bleak, industrial landscape is always worth remembering. The diversity of habitats from open water, woodland, wet grassland and flashes, reedbeds and fen is home to a huge amount of wildlife. 


    Photo by David Botham

    I can walk across the reserve and easily see 30-40 species of birds without even trying, and in the summer add to this a wealth of butterflies and dragonflies, there is never a dull moment. Even when I’m sitting at my desk I can watch tree sparrows, nuthatches, buzzards, kestrels, and sometimes the odd stoat!

    Green woodpecker, Joe Seymour

    Equally important to me are the people on the reserve. I love that we have created a place that tens of thousands of people come and enjoy every year. It is a great motivator for me to work to maintain not just an amazing home for nature, but a place where people of all ages can get outside and experience our amazing natural world. 

    A meeting of minds at Family Volunteering last year, taken by Heather Watkins

    Last but by no means least, I love the people I work with. I am constantly inspired by the hard work, dedication, and creativity of the staff and volunteers here. They create a positive and happy environment and it’s great to be a part of it.