This coming Saturday is the RSPB’s annual Feed the Birds Day, where we ask everyone to put out food and clean water for the birds to help them survive the cold winter months.
When the clocks go back this weekend and the temperatures start to fall, many garden birds will face starvation as there’s less natural food around for them to eat so they desperately need your help.
Fairburn Ings has a fantastic range of bird food and feeders in our shop and if you need any advice on what to buy why not pop in and we will happily answer any of your queries. There is a great discount on the big (12.75kg) bags of birdfood.
If you feed the birds already, then a big thank you from us and the birds. If you don’t, then please start. Buying off-the-shelf seed and other food is best, but if you are struggling in these financially difficult times you can still help by feedind the birds leftovers from the kitchen such as rice, pasta, unsalted bacon rind, porridge oats, raisins and bread (moistened).
The RSPB’s homepage (www.rspb.org.uk) now features a video explaining how to make your very own food to feed the birds and if you go to www.rspb.org.uk/feedthebirds you can request a FREE Feed the Birds Day information pack, offering lots of advice.
This Saturday, our friendly staff and volunteers will be on hand to offer advice about bird food and feeders from 11am until 3pm. The shop will also be doing demos of these and there will a craft table to make your own suet feeders.
If you pay any attention to facebook or twitter you'll already know we've had several sightings of a great grey shrike down at Lin Dike hide today - SUCH a beautiful bird if you manage to catch a glimpse of it and well worth a look!
There have been a pleasing number of things seen over the last few days at the reserve and definitely a sign that summer is out and winter is fast approaching with birds on the move! Shedloads of siskin and redpoll seen over the last few days; mostly along the riverbank trail and from the kingfisher screen in flocks reaching the 300 mark. Redwing and fieldfares have also been seen around Pickup hide and the boardwalks. Kingfisher has been spotted by Cut Lane, and a bar-tailed godwit has been seen fairly consistently at the Phaloarope Pool area down between the visitor centre and Lin Dike along Newton Lane.
Birds of prey have also been about, including regular sightings of kestrel, hobby and marsh harrier over the last few days and great crested grebes have been seen down towards cut lane. A weasel at Pickup hide and 3 roe deer near Cedric's Flash. Also, my all-time favourite birds (and the first birds I correctly identified as a newly converted birdwatcher!)...long-tailed tits at the visitor centre feeders.
There has also been an unconfirmed sighting of a red necked grebe but we don't know where it was seen or who saw it to be able to know for sure. If you do see something interesting please write it in the sightings book but if you do, please please please make sure you write the location and if it's something unusual put a way for us to contact you to be able to get more info on what you've seen. Thanks!
We've had more than our fair share of rain in the last week. I can't believe that the last time I was writing this we had scorching temperatures, I had to get my shorts back out! Now I am sat trying to keep warm in our office with my fleece on, admittedly it isn't freezing, but there is a much more autumnal feel to the place this week.
So, what impact has the change in weather had on the wildlife at Fairburn Ings? Well, the geese are all on the move at the moment, we have regular flocks flying over the visitor centre, but they tend to be our resident canada geese and greylag geese, rather than the migrant geese. We still have a few swallows hanging around before their long migration as well, with 2 seen at Pickup today.
We're getting regular sightings of ruff, dunlin greenshank, redshank and large numbers of lapwing at Lin Dike, on Saturday we had wheatear, 30 redwing, 3 crossbill, 12 bullfinch and a redbill were seen from Lin Dike. Elsewhere we've had snipe, teal, golden plover and water rail at Pickup. Shoveller and tufted ducks on Main Bay, the feeders around the visitor centre and at Pickup hide are always busy with small birds, including goldfinch, treesparrows, great tits, blue tits, willow tits and reed bunting. Kingfishers have been seen at the screen on a number of occasions, as well as at Bob Dickens hide and Pickup.
There have been quite a few sightings of buzzards, kestrels, sparrowhawks and red kites over the visitor centre, with peregrine and marsh harriers seen at Lin Dike. We've also had mistle thrush at the visitor centre, goldcrest on the boardwalk, a smooth newt at the kingfisher screen, jays near Pickup, chiff chaffs and a weasel at Lin Dike and little egret, pochard, green woodpecker and 3 roe deer.
If you've been to Fairburn Ings recently you may have noticed how low the water levels are here. Whilst we have really enjoyed the unseasonably hot weather for the last few days, what we really, desparately need is some rain, actually, make that lots of rain!!
In spite of the dry conditions, we have still had plenty of sightings in the past few days. Wetland birds are obvioulsy not here in great numbers but we have had curlew, teal and snipe at Pickup, gadwall, widgeon, goldern eye, pochard, turfted duck and shoveller at Bob Dickens. From Lin Dike there have been several ruff sightings, plus little egret and pintail. There was a flock of lapwings over the visitor centre on Saturday. This morning there have been greensandpiper and greenshank at the Flashes and pintail and little egret at the Moat.
A long eared owl was seen down at the Lin Dike end of the reserve earlier this week, a sure sign that, although it doesn't feel like it right now, winter is on it's way. We have had several sightings of green woodpeckers across the reserve, along the new path, on the Discovery Trail, at Pickup and flying towards Newfield Farm. A water rail has been seen frequently at Pickup, on Saturday it was seen driving away a group of tree sparrows and then a stoat! It's a feisty little water rail. We have had several sightings of the stoat, as well as it's tangle with a water rail at Pickup, one was seen at the top of Red Shale Road on Saturday. A fox was seen on Friday just off Red Shale Road too.
Kingfishers have been seen most days on the reserve at a variety of locations, inlcuding down by Bob Dickens Hide and at the Kingfisher Screen. Marsh harriers have also been spotted on the New Path and from Pickup. Other birds of prey seen recently include buzzards over Newfield Plantation, a sparrowhawk and red kite at Pickup, merlin at the Flashes and opposite the Moat, and a peregine from Lin Dike.
We've had plenty of warblers including blackcap, willow warbler and garden warbler, seen across the site plus reed bunting and treecreeper at Pickip, willow tit at Lin Dike and regularly on the visitor centre feeders and goldcrests at Lin Dike, jays have also been seen at Lin Dike and along the new path.