Firstly some exciting news, our assistant warden Karen was very pleased to have caught a picture of a badger on the reserve the other night! It has been a good while since a badger has been seen around Fairburn so it’s great to know.
We’ve also had quite a few sightings of hares towards Newfield Plantation and a fox was spotted down at Lin Dike.
There have been up to 9 avocets seen at Hickson’s, along with little egrets, redshank and our first sightings of sand martins. There’s yet to be any reported sightings at our sand martin wall but hopefully it shouldn’t be long now.
We’ve had kittiwakes on both Main and Village Bay, and on Wednesday there was a common scoter seen in between the two bays. A little ringed plover was seen at Lin Dike, as well as 19 redpoll, skylark and a long eared owl. A bittern was heard booming at Cedric’s pool around the North flashes.
There have been a fair few chiffchaffs, willow tits and kingfishers spotted around the reserve, along with a willow warbler and yellow wagtail. One of our volunteers, Joe, spotted a goshawk at the flashes on Thursday and a pair of serins were also reportedly seen on this day. On our main pond dipping platform you can see a coots nest over on the left with two tiny chicks inside!
There’s been some more butterfly sightings thanks to the recent sunshine, with two brimstone and two small tortoiseshells seen. We've got a meet the moths event on at 10am tomorrow, followed by a minibeast safari at 11am and 2pm. Now the snows disappeared there should be plenty to see and it's free!
If you’re wondering what to do today, why not come down and create a buzz by making your own egg box wildlife garden? We’re running a family activity in the visitor centre till 4pm and would love to see you here!
It's not just the wildlife making a noise this spring; check out the musical instruments in our play area. They've been a big hit so far, and even the staff and volunteers can't resist having a go! Here's Bryony rocking out on the drums and me having a bash on the hanging xylophone. Great fun!
We’ve had a great Easter weekend with the sun finally shining, although it still feels pretty chilly and our visitors had to wrap up warm.
There have been further sightings of chiffchaffs and also song thrushes on the reserve, making it feel more like spring, and a sighting of a butterfly possibly a small heath on Sunday. We still have some winter visitors about though such as flocks of brambling and siskins.
The visitor centre and nature garden feeders have been full of various finches and tits, sparrows, nuthatches, reed buntings and red polls. We’ve also had both green and great spotted woodpeckers seen elsewhere on the reserve. Waxwings were spotted in the village and Cut area and 30+ linnets were seen over Newfield way.
There have been plenty of bird of prey sightings, including a merlin, red kites and a number of buzzards displaying. There have also been two sightings of a barn owl by Newton Farm.
Over at Hickson’s there has been snipe, a jack snipe, a little egret, redshank and a female smew, whilst at Pick-up there has been a water rail, little grebe, oystercatchers and lapwings. We have had a couple of more unusual gulls spotted; a Caspian gull at the flashes and a Mediterranean gull on main bay.
There have been a few sightings of roe deer on the reserve and some hares on nearby fields. Julie pointed out a big group of hares on our way back from the reserve last week in one of the fields, no boxing though!
We’ve got plenty of fun stuff to do over the Easter holidays here such as a bird song quiz trail, a stop and listen discovery trail, moth and minibeast events, heron walks and some fab natural musical instruments in the play area. What will you get involved in? For more information take a look at our website http://www.rspb.org.uk/fairburnings/
It’s been a quiet few days on the reserve with this wintery weather and we’ve all got our fingers crossed for some warmer weather over Easter. We’ve seen a few signs of birds getting ready for spring, they’ve been checking out nest boxes and from our office we could a pair of tree sparrows taking nest materials into one of the boxes outside the centre.
The feeders outside the visitor centre have been full of action as usual. Here’s a very long list of all our hungry visitors: blue tits, great tits, coal tits, long tailed tits, willow tits, blackbirds, house sparrows, tree sparrows, dunnocks, robins, nuthatches, bullfinches, chaffinches, greenfinches, goldfinches, siskins, reed buntings, red polls, moorhens, mallards, pheasants and collared doves. Phew!
We’ve had a couple of rarer visitors as well on the reserve including a meadow pipit near the boardwalk, a stonechat around Hickson’s field, an Iceland gull on Main Bay and a rough-legged buzzard. We’ve also had a male and female smew over at Pick-up but they decided to hide behind the reeds when I went to have a look!
Kingfishers are being seen down the Cut and at the kingfisher screen. On Village Bay, visitors have spotted tufted duck, pochard, gadwall, goosander, golden eye, teal and wigeon.
And at Pick-up hide today there’s been a sighting of a chiffchaff. The chiffchaff is a small olive-brown warbler and is more easily recognised by it's song, as it sings it's own name.
We love hearing about what you’ve seen on the reserve so make sure you let us know in the recent sightings book next to the till in the shop.
Image of the chiffchaff from John Bridges RSPB-images
We’re delighted to be able to re-open our pond dipping pond after giving the beasties in our pond the winter off.
If you want to have a look at what is lurking in our pond then come along to Fairburn Ings from Friday 29 March onwards, pop into the visitor centre to hire your pond dipping kit.
We have a magnificent array of underwater insects in the ponds at Fairburn, you might come across the gruesome dragonfly nymph or a frantic whirligig beetle, you might even find a fish in our pond, we have sticklebacks in there.
Pond dipping at Fairburn Ings is free for RSPB members, and just £2 per child for non-members.