April, 2011

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

  • What a magical way to spend good friday...

    What a fab day to be wildlife watching at the reserve... the sun is shining and the place is buzzing with birds, butterflies and people enjoying a nice cool ice cream!

    Sand Martins have been a common sight at the reserve over the past few weeks, and lots of sightings today especially, with flocks nesting in the limestone walls of Fairburn village we're hoping to see them nesting in our newly built Sand Martin wall before too long! A Swift was also seen at Lin Dike this morning.

    Cuckoo, Cuckoo... again we've had reports of at least 2 at Lin Dike (one seen and one heard at the same time) and visitors have been able to hear a different bird from around the discovery trail and Pickup hide.

    The sun really brings out the lovely butterflies with sightings of Brimstone, Holly Blue, Orange Tip, Speckled Wood and Green Veined White today.

    Lots of warblers have been seen and heard all over the reserve today including Garden Warbler near Redshale Road, Sedge, Reed, Willow and Grasshopper Warbler at Lin Dike, Blackcap near village bay hide and Chiffchaff around the discovery trail and visitor centre.

    The feeders near the centre have had some great views of Bullfinch (male and female), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Treesparrow, Chaffinch and Blackbird. Also a Songthrush was pottering around on the ground under the feeders this afternoon aswell as a pair of Reed Buntings throughout the day. A Jay was seen near the visitor centre also.

    A Lesser Whitethroat was seen near village bay hide this afternoon and a Whitethroat around the visitor centre.

    Gadwall, Teal and Pochard seen from Pickup hide along with Heron, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

    A  Sparrowhawk, Peregrine and Kestrel have all been seen from Lin Dike and a Buzzard near the visitor centre.

    The Kingfisher has been showing well most of the day from the Kingfisher screen.

    Sightings for Wednesday include: Whitethroat, 4 Sedge Warblers and 2 Redshank at feeding platform, Cuckoo at Lin Dike, 3 Lesser Whitethroat on the flashes, Little Owl near Newton Farm and 2 Garganey on New Flash.

    Sightings for yesterday include: Bullfinch and Blackcap from Pickup hide, 2 Little Ringed Plover at Big Hole (to the right of Redshale Road), a Peregrine over the flashes and 9 Pink footed Geese also on the flashes.

  • Cuckoo!

    Our cuckoo or cuckoos are officially back, heard for the first time this year on Friday 15 April in the morning and then seen just a couple of hours later at Hicksons. Also seen or heard across the site on both Sunday and Monday.

    Down at Hicksons there were 9 avocets reported on Friday, growing to 15 on Saturday. 2 yellow wagtails on Thursday and then 9 seen on Saturday.

    Yesterday saw 2 buzzards soaring low over the visitor centre – a beautiful sight against the gorgeous blue skies we had for most of the day. A wheatear across the flashes near to Lin Dike, green woodpeckers and a garden warbler along the Riverbank Trail. Closer to base a whitethroat has returned to the nettle and bramble patch by the Owl statue so fingers crossed this popular residential area will be hosting at least one new family this year. Just up the pathway by the paddock gate a singing Blackcap has arrived in the neighbourhood too.

    100s of sandmartins are back in Fairburn village but none seen investigating our new wall at Pickup yet. Fingers still crossed!

    As part of our Easter Family Fun Day Alan and Amanda ran 2 minibeast safaris, lots of butterflies to be seen including orange tip, green veined white, small tortoiseshell, peacock and speckled wood.

    The moth trap the night before turned up hebrew characters, early grey, common quaker, northern drab and lesser swallow prominent. We normally put the moth trap out on Thursday night so if anyone is interested to know what we caught please feel free to ask. On that same note, as well as the usual summer moth night we're doing a new event in June specifically on hawkmoths - some of the most colourful and magnificent of all our moths, and hopefully getting a close look at a few from Fairburn too.