Now here's a question for you birdy nerdys. What links?
Great Northern Diver, Gannet, Ring-necked Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Montagu's Harrier, Red-footed Falcon, Spotted Crake, Pectoral Sandpiper, Grey Phalarope, Arctic Skua, Roseate Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Wryneck, Shore Lark, Dipper, Black Redstart, Firecrest, Great Grey Shrike, Lapland Bunting and Snow Bunting?
........The answer. They have all been seen more times at Fairburn than our most recent visitor. With only two previous authenticated records, despite the fact that they breed within a mile or two of the reserve, this Nuthatch that is making regular visits to the wildlife garden feeders has proved a long-awaited addition to many a Fairburn list!!
Following the latest flooding we have acquired a new reed bed on the reserve. See the picture below. Maybe other Authorities could consider this environmentally sensitive approach to traffic calming?
Sightings wise things have been a bit quiet as you might imagine. There were 100 Pink-footed Geese flying west yesterday, several Grey Wagtails have passed through, a few Pintail have returned to spend the winter with us and a Marsh Harrier has been seen daily. All paths and hides are now accessible although some of the paths are still muddy and some were damaged by the flooding so please take extra care when you are out and about. The road between Allerton Bywater and the visitor centre is still flooded so to access the reserve you can either drive through Fairburn village or through Ledston and Ledsham and down Back Newton Lane.
Sorry its been a while, but seeing as this wildlife garden blog has an Olympic theme we are coming to you as TEAM RSPB to relay everything about our trials and tribulations with our wildlife garden this summer.
The main event has been the Great British weather and has given us many hurdles to overcome! We are sure like us, you have felt the complete unpredictability of it too. It has made managing any garden a challenge. Even the plants themselves are confused and have struggled to keep up with the pace!
However on a positive note (we do like to be positive) it has highlighted which of our plant athletes are the more hardy, and these definitely deserve a medal as they have coped with varied and sometimes extreme, weather changes.
The gold medal has to go to the herbs, which as we know are brilliant for both wildlife and us. They have continued to sprint ahead and flourish, and of course grace us with their beautiful fragrance whilst we are gardening. An essential element any wildlife garden.
Silver medallist, is our garden pond! Our newly introduced oxygenators, Starwort, Hornwort and Frogbit are in training to become world class champions, supporting many species to live within this invaluable environment, with Water Boatmen doing synchronised swimming but leaving the high dives to the wee froglets. The pond narrowly missed the gold medal due to a sudden attack of blanket weed! To combat this we’ve pitched in our strongest competitor – the Barley Straw. This eco-friendly product will soon see off the opposition!
Bronze goes to our wildflower area which has struggled in the heats, with many of the flowers being unable to withstand the extreme conditions or developing too late. However next year we remain confident that this area will be the beautiful, buzzing spectacle we intended. Wildflower seed mixes are excellent for our pollinators and of course they pretty up any space and are so easy to grow. We would recommend native varieties not cross-country. such as Corn Marigolds, Knapweeds, Cone flowers and other beauties. Seed mixes are widely available and can be sown in Spring or even Autumn ready to burst forth in the following year.
The London Olympics provided a beautiful display of wildflowers, did you see the Olympic Park area covered in the coloured natural spectacles – help give our pollinators a sporting chance and create your own!
We were lucky enough to gain a very valuable insight from one of our regular visitors here at RSPB Fairburn Ings. His name is Doc, and he has taught us a great deal about the identification of many wildflowers here on site. This is one of the real strengths of RSPB Fairburn Ings, everyone - visitors, staff and volunteers pull together to collaborate their knowledge. This allows all of us to contribute to this wonderful reserve, so do come and have your input also, or just come and see what we achieve for nature and perhaps do a few laps round our beautiful walking trails.
As always, we would love to hear your thoughts! We will always respond to any queries and comments. So if you like what you have read here, come visit us at the reserve! You can then see some of the other things Team RSPB are doing to help nature out.
See you soon!