July, 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

  • Pokémon Go wild: recent sightings

    The bats have been pretty active at Fairburn Ings this week! We managed to capture some rare footage of both zubat and golbat flying over the visitor centre balcony.


     Golbat can be identified as slightly larger than its lesser zubat form, with a more powerful jaw and increased strength!



    A rare sighting of Jynx also took place in the shrubbery.


    The Pokemon Gym has also been active, with the blue team now defeated and red team in control!


    Why not head over to our pond dipping platform and see if you can take on the challenge for your team?

  • #Face on moth - spectacled moth and other recent sightings

    It's been a great week for insect sightings with lots of moths, dragonflies, and butterflies out on the reserve. Our Assistant warden, John, managed to capture this great photograph of a five spot burnet resting on a flower this week. The colourful contrast of the knapweed made for an excellent shot!

    We had a wonderful selection of moths in the moth trap on Friday, including, as our might have noticed from the title, the fabulous spectacled.


    And we had a juicy looking poplar hawkmoth - you can't beat a hawkmoth for being impressive to look at, as well as a very shimmery burnished brass moth.


    We had a fleeting, yet wonderful sighting of a white wing black tern on it’s journey round Yorkshire. The bird was spotted in multiple locations, including at Fairburn and Old Moor down near Barnsley.


    Our gorgeous spoonbill has made yet another grand appearance this week too! Conveniently nestled down at spoonbill flash, many visitors have spotted it preening along the water’s edge.

    Photo thanks to Mike Langman (rspb-images.com)

    There have also been a few sightings of black tailed godwits on the reserve this week. The majority took place over Lin Dike; however a few were also seen flying about the reserve.

  • Joe: an evening at Charlie's

    For the last three months I have been the Warden Intern at Fairburn Ings, living close to the reserve in Fairburn village. One of the perks of being a residential volunteer is being able to spend time on the reserve when things are quiet, early in the mornings and in the long summer evenings.

    As I cycle through the reserve on my way home at the end a busy day, I stop off at Charlie’s hide and sit for a while, it’s the best time of day to visit as the sun is directly behind the hide, giving excellent visibility in the evening sun.

    Goosander, Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)

    Last Tuesday, I was rewarded with a pretty amazing half an hour. As I arrived around eighty canada geese upped and vacated the spit, sailing off towards the village, resembling an Atlantic convoy. The exodus revealed a variety of other spit visitors, a handsome male goosander sat hiding his dark green head and long hooked bill under his wing, several lapwings wading in the shallows, and a trio of  juvenile mallards displaying their D.A.s. like a team of synchronized swimmers.

    Oystercatcer, Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)

    As the geese departed a female mallard arrived with a large brood of tiny, manic ducklings, at the most a day or two old, franticly jostling for position to stay close to mum. As they tumbled onto the shore I managed to count eight, they were then ushered into a small patch of vegetation where they vanished beneath their mother and settled down for the evening.

    Common tern, David Tipling (rspb-images.com)

    A brief period of tranquillity was then broken by a pair of noisy oyster catchers crashing in, one literally, cart-wheeling head over heels, before indignantly stumbling to its feet, ‘nothing to see here!’ In contrast a pair of great crested grebes elegantly arrived on the scene, hardly causing a ripple, with their pride and joy, a single, striped chick following closely behind .

    Roe buck, Ben Hall (rspb-images.com)

    The action continued with a common tern scanning the waters immediately in front of the hide, before plummeting below the still surface to emerge with its unsuspecting victim.  As my thoughts started to drift towards that nights tea (probably yet another ‘prick and ping’, courtesy of Kippax Co-op) the evening silence was shattered by a large crash and splash.

    Out of the undergrowth bounded, not the large dog I was expecting, but a handsome buck roe deer, stopping no more than fifteen feet in front of me, his chestnut coat glowing in the sunshine. He stared right at me for what seemed like ages, but in reality seconds, before athletically departing stage left and vanishing once more, breathtaking!

    Kingfisher, Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)

    Assuming that was the end of the show I started to make a move (the ping of the microwave was now calling), only to be stopped in my tracks by an electric blue flash as a kingfisher darted across the spit in a final encore.

    Not a bad half hour!