August, 2016

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: Flying and fluttering in the sun

    Butterfly season is now in full swing! The Discovery Trail and the Lin Dike link are great places to spot brightly coloured insects on the wing as they dance above wildflowers in the sunshine. 


     Purple hairstreak, Chris Shields (

    We have some very dedicated volunteers who monitor the insect life here at Fairburn, and they have clocked up some impressive sightings this week. Have you spotted many butterflies or dragonflies around the reserve?

    Brimstone butterfly, Alan Kelly

    Green-veined white butterflies are out in force at the moment, and a purple hairstreak put in a rare appearance. Purple hairstreaks aren’t a particularly rare butterfly, but they can be hard to spot as they spend most of their time in the canopies of oak trees, feeding on honeydew.

     Green-veined white, Alan Kelly

    If you’re into dragonflies, now is the time to see them. Ruddy Darters have been spotted around the reserve; the males are identifiable by their vivid red body, while females are golden-yellow colour. There has also been a nice selection of emerald damselfly, common darter, southern hawker, and brown hawker spotted.

    Ruddy Darter, Alan Kelly

    Pickup has been a particularly wonderful place to see wildlife this week, with some lovely footage of a roe deer playing in the sunset captured on Wednesday evening, a Female marsh harrier has also been spotted flying over the hide, and a green sandpiper regularly out on the scrape.


    Marsh harrier, Chris Gomersall (

    That’s it for this week’s recent sightings, why not head down to Lin Dike this weekend and see if you spot any of these species? Don’t forget to write down what you see in the book! 

  • We spotted a flycatcher! Recent sightings

    Hi everyone!

    We’ve had an exciting new visitor join us at Fairburn Ings this week. A juvenile spotted fly catcher was spotted flitting around the pond dipping platform this Sunday. Perhaps he was considering hiring his own pond dipping kit... 



    The woodpeckers have been especially active this summer; we’ve had some lovely sightings of green woodpecker over at Lin Dike.


    Never to be outdone by its greener counterpart, the greater spotted woodpecker clearly approves of our new feeder station, with recent sightings becoming a common occurrence.



    You don’t have to look far from the centre for a great wildlife spectacle. We have had a lovely selection of birds and butterflies around the visitor centre this week. Painted lady, brimstone, small copper and red admiral have been sighted along the boardwalk, as well as hobby and marsh harrier hovering over the centre.





    The red-crested pochard have been displaying nicely at village bay, making quite the splash.

    Garganey and black-tailed godwits are continuing to inhabit Spoonbill flash and Hicksons, with sightings taking place almost daily. They seem to have settled down nicely now and are enjoying their new location.



    That’s it for today’s recent sightings! Remember to keep recording your sightings in the book when you get a chance. It’s always good to put down the more obvious birds as well, as this gives us a good idea of what’s about in the reserve. See you again next Friday!

  • A Brilliant Big Wild Sleepout!

    With the summer holidays in full swing, the team at Fairburn Ings have been recovering nicely from last weekend’s Big Wild Sleepout.


     I had a cosy night’s sleep in my one man tent, waking up to voices in deep discussion of whether you could in fact fit a human in such a small space.


    The activity trail was a hit, with visitors mapping out lots of sounds heard throughout the reserve. Even a bear was heard, although I’m not too sure who let that one in...


     The daytime walks were also a big hit; this young man was looking at leaves that had been nibbled at by a Hawkmoth caterpillar.


    Abbie's squirrel tail managed to capture the heart of one little boy around the campfire quiz...who knew pandas and squirrels got on so well?


    For those brave enough to emerge in the early hours, there was a wonderful wildlife sighting over the fields. This female Roe deer was captured leaping through the grass near pickup.


    The weekend was rounded off nicely with games in the field on Sunday morning; we also had some very spirited matches of rounder’s and football. It was nice to see jumpers for goalposts!


     Thanks again to everyone who took part in Big Wild Sleepout, I hope you all had a great time, I know I certainly did!