A quick guide to what’s about at Fairburn Ings this week! A very diverse bunch but well worth exploring the coal tips and flashes. What better on a sunny and crisp autumn day?


The Flashes

Whooper swans started the week on a high of 8 individuals which have lessened a little down to 5 on New Flash. They’ve been joined by my favourite – 12 curlews. The RSPB’s Curlew Recovery Programme is a great read for those interested! https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/our-work/conservation/projects/curlew-recovery-programme

Curlew - Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

Marsh harriers have been doing their daily rounds – we’re now up to one adult male and 2 juveniles at present. You might get some good views up on the Coal Tips trail too!

We’re still getting daily reports of about 12 pintail on the moat. The drakes look lovely, with their rich chocolate heads and extravagant tail.

Male and female pintail, Ben Hall (rspb-images.com)

And last but definitely not least – yesterday a well trained eye spotted a great white egret from the Coal Tips.


Image: Joe Seymour


Pink footed geese reached a high of 600 birds on the 4th and 6th, forming huge skeins in the sky.

Thrushes coming through: fieldfare and redwing in numbers up to 500

and an unlikely wonder, 1200 wood pigeons spied flying southerly on the 8th: their migration in full swing!


Coal Tips

Bearded tits are a little trickier than September but they’re still being sighted! 3 there on the 5th. Seeing as 'good things come in 3s', we’ve had up to 3 peregrines daily. Look on the pylons for your best chance!

Also, you may have heard... starling murmerations are forming up on the Coal Tips. They’re a spectacular sight – worth walking up late afternoon for seeing them (around 3pm.) We’re estimating 15,000-20,000 birds so far!


Murmeration at Fairburn Ings - James Hardisty


Big Hole

Remember the blog on the rafts the wardens have been putting in? We’ve had a snipe roosting on the one in Big Hole this week! He’s been spotted daily. They’re masters of camouflage so be patient!


Discovery trail, feeders and kingfisher screen

A tearaway ring necked parakeet made an appearance early in the week. This species has colonised southern England and are pretty common in London and certain parts of other cities. We had one on our feeding station on Monday – trust us – if you see it you won’t miss it!

Parakeet on the feeders at Fairburn - Darren Starkey

Even if you only reach the kingfisher screen this week, it’s worth waiting around and keeping your eyes peeled. One lucky visitor saw kingfisher, little grebe and buzzards all at the same time this morning. The kingfishers are still easy to see (every day for over a fortnight!)


Keep an eye out too for upcoming dusk walks at Fairburn Ings, tickets will be available at the end of November! The best way to see starling murmerations, hopefully owls, and learn a little about what happens as the night draws in.