Its been a beautiful week at Fairburn Ings, with glorious sunny weather pretty much every day. Its meant the reserve has been alive with insects, and the wildflowers are looking stunning, the orchids in particular have been putting on a great show. Head past the Kingfisher Screen and up Red Shale Road, on the left are several southern marsh orchids. Although we are of course in The North, the southern marsh orchid is much more common here, the northern marsh orchid is occasionally found in the area, but its stronghold is further north, particularly in Scotland.
Further up Red Shale Road, on the right before you get to the kissing gate, there is a pyramidal orchid in the field, it is just over the fence, but you can see it quite well from the path. Head along the Riverbank trail towards the village to find our third orchid, the bee orchid. They are a little bit harder to find and not easily spotted from the footpath, ask in the visitor centre for more details about their location.
As well as the orchids, there are plenty of other wildflowers in bloom at the moment, the wildflower triangle in front of the visitor centre looks stunning, it is full of hedge bedstraw, and the chicory is about to flower. Along the dry stone wall there are some lovely vipers bugloss and oxeye daisies. All these flowers attract plenty of insects, including bumble bees and butterflies.
(Photo of vipers bugloss along the drystone wall at Fairburn Ings by Beki Williams)
At this time of year we put our moth trap out regularly in the hope of seeing some hawkmoths, we’ve not been disappointed this week, with lots of elephant hawkmoths, and poplar hawkmoths, we also had a new one for me, a lime hawkmoth, it just looks like a camouflaged fighter jet with the beautiful green colours. Also in the moth trap we’ve had a buff arches, green silver lines, drinker and much more. If you want to get a bit of a closer look at some of these moths then be at the visitor centre on Sunday 29 June for our Meet the Moths event, we’ll be checking our light trap from 10am, come and help us identify the catch.
(Photo of lime hawkmoth by Beki Williams)
There have been plenty of sightings of little egrets recently, usually from Lin Dike hide, although they do occasionally drop into Pickup Pool as well. Also down at Lin Dike a redshank and a ringed plover have been seen with their young, there have also been several reports of grasshopper warblers calling and a female garganey on Cedric’s Pool. We had lots of reports of kingfishers over the weekend, the young have fledged now and its likely they are finding their feet on the reserve, so we’ve seen them at Pickup pool, the feeder screen, the pond dipping pond and the Kingfisher Screen as well as down on Cut Lane.
For the most up to date sightings information please pop into the visitor centre and check the recent sightings book, and don't forget to let us know what you've seen when you visit.