• Aire Valley Sightings - early June 2022

    It’s been another couple of lovely weeks in the Aire Valley, with lots of visitors, volunteers and staff sharing their wildlife sightings with us, whether that be over social media or in our sightings book (which you can add to in the visitor’s centre)!

    Fairburn Ings is now looking very lush and green, and wildflowers can be found throughout. Once again, the bitterns have been putting on quite a show for several…

    • 8 Jun 2022
  • Volunteers' Week 2022 - Gardening for Wildlife

    When visiting Fairburn Ings, you may have noticed our Wildlife Garden, just next to the Visitor Centre - or perhaps you’ve enjoyed the splash of colour the new planters at St Aidan’s have brought? Have you ever wondered who looks after these?

    Well, it’s us! The Aire Valley Wildlife Gardening Team. We are a small team of volunteers who work across both sites - at Fairburn Ings we're expanding and developing…

    • 7 Jun 2022
  • Volunteers' Week 2022 - A Young Volunteer's Story

    Scarlett has been volunteering at St Aidan's since 2018, as a Ranger and as a Reserve Assistant, initially through the Young Volunteer scheme.

    "I voiced an interest in volunteering with the RSPB at 14 years old in early 2018, the year I commenced my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award and was required to do a regular set of hours contributing my time to our community. As I’d already chosen a path in conservation for my…

    • 5 Jun 2022
  • Volunteers' Week - Life in the Little Owl Café

    Penny Chatfield has been a volunteer in the Little Owl Café at St Aidan’s since April 2022.

    “I have been a member of the RSPB for about 30 years, and have always wanted to be more involved in a practical way. So now that my children are older, I decided to do just that! I first visited St Aidan’s in 2016, and when I saw the Facebook post asking for volunteers this year, I decided to go for it. I am a nurse…

    • 2 Jun 2022
  • National Volunteers' Week 2022

    Once again, today – 1st June – is the start of National Volunteers’ Week. This is our opportunity to say Thank You to all our amazing volunteers and celebrate the huge amount of work they do in the Aire Valley.

    Volunteering is vital to the RSPB - we were founded by a small group of dedicated and passionate volunteers. Today, volunteers remain at the heart of everything we do as an organisation. Over…

    • 1 Jun 2022
  • Aire Valley sightings - May 2022

    It’s been an exciting time in the Aire Valley recently, with lots of sightings of amazing wildlife submitted by our visitors, staff and volunteers! It’s been particularly exciting to hear of sightings of summer migrants, like common swifts and sand martins, as well as lots of interesting insect sightings. It’s a fantastic time of year to be out and about exploring both sites!

    Fairburn Ings has been…

    • 21 May 2022
  • International Women's Day: Campaigning for Nature since 1889

    As we celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we’re reflecting on the incredible contribution the founding women of the RSPB made, and how their efforts continue to be vital part of our conservation mission today.

    In 1889, Emily Williamson created the Society for the Protection of Birds with one core aim: to fight a fashion for feathers and exotic plumes that were driving birds…

    • 8 Mar 2022
  • A Year at St Aidan's - 2021 in review

    As another year draws to a close, it feels like an appropriate time to reflect on the ups and downs of life at RSPB St Aidan’s. A lot has happened over the last 12 months, but I’ll try to capture some  highlights and lowlights over the following paragraphs.


    We found ourselves back in lockdown at the beginning of the year, and those local visitors coming down to give their year list a good start were unfortunately…

    • 23 Dec 2021
  • Celebrate your inner Robin on our adventure trail this Christmas

    We’re delighted to be partnering with Netflix and Aardman on Robin Robin, a half-hour, stop-motion, festive story for the whole family, about a young robin trying to fit in. It’s debuting on Netflix on 24 November – get the date in your diary! 

    To celebrate, we’re inviting you to join exclusive Robin Robin-themed adventure trails right here at Fairburn Ings and St Aidan's this Christmas season. 

    Over 30…

    • 18 Nov 2021
  • St Aidan's and the Long-toed Stint - a Warden's-eye view

    Last week was an exciting and hectic week at St. Aidan’s. As we’re now settling back to some level of normality, I’d like to share a few of my reflections of our rare visitor.

    I was driving round the eastern reedbed on a sunny Friday afternoon, when I was stopped by a few of the local birders to show me a bird they were looking at. There was some debate as to the identity of the bird; initial thoughts…

    • 21 Oct 2021
  • October in the Aire Valley - what's on?

    As we move into October, the Aire Valley is starting to feel very autumnal. Alongside the changing colours of the leaves and the beautiful sunsets, there’s a sudden chill in the air – but there’s still plenty to see and do on site! Here’s a round up of what’s going on this month…

    Autumn means that our winter migrants are starting to move in. Recent sightings at St Aidan’s have included…

    • 3 Oct 2021
  • Nature Tots is coming to Fairburn Ings!

    Do you know any young explorers aged between 2.5 and 5 years? Looking for outdoor learning and play sessions to help them connect to nature? Nature Tots is starting very soon!

    Photo: Stephen Morgan

    We’re excited to be launching these new sessions at RSPB Fairburn Ings this autumn. They’re hands-on and sensory, encouraging child-led exploration and natural play – a fantastic opportunity to meet other young explorers and…

    • 9 Sep 2021
  • Optics Weekend - 4th and 5th September 2021

    Over the weekend of the 4-5th September, we’re excited to be hosting an Optics Weekend at Fairburn Ings - pop along for some expert advice on binoculars, telescopes, and a range of accessories, including tripods and digiscoping adaptors! We asked our Retail Manager, Dawn, to tell us a bit more....

    The upcoming Optics Weekend is a brilliant opportunity to have a friendly, no-obligation chat with one of our team…

    • 26 Aug 2021
  • Entry to Water at St Aidan's

    Over the past year or so, large numbers of people have continued to visit St Aidan's for daily exercise and recreation - walking, birdwatching, or simply enjoying the spectacular views. We're delighted that so many people have been able to enjoy the park throughout the lockdowns, and that it has helped them connect with nature at a difficult time. We have always tried to make St Aidan's accessible, and to ensure that…

    • 12 Jul 2021
  • What's On in the Aire Valley - July 2021

    The weather continues to be a bit changeable in the Aire Valley - but as we move into summer we're excited to have more of our facilities open, and more events and activities planned! 

    We want everyone who visits us to be able to do so safely and comfortably, so please continue to follow all current Government guidance around face coverings, social distancing, group sizes and hygiene as well as following signage on…

    • 6 Jul 2021
  • Baffled by binoculars? We can help....

    We’re very lucky at Fairburn Ings to have volunteers who specialise in optics – binoculars and telescopes – and who can provide advice and assistance to anyone interested in trying out and purchasing them from our shop. Dave is one of these volunteers, and has written us a guest blog all about RSPB optics – read on to learn more!


    "I'm a retired Yorkshireman with a lifetime love of nature & photography…

    • 29 Jun 2021
  • Green Fingers, and Getting Back Out There - Being a Garden Volunteer in the Aire Valley

    Today's blog is by Beth Gleave, one of our new Garden Volunteers, as she reflects on her reasons for joining the team and her experiences so far.

    As I child I always enjoyed playing in the garden, climbing trees or finding one way or another to end up caked in mud! I was endlessly fascinated by the changing seasons, little creepy crawlies, and the small miracles that present themselves in nature if you look closely…

    • 5 Jun 2021
  • Volunteers' Week 2021 - What's it all about?

    Today – 1 June – is the start of Volunteers’ Week. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to say thank you to our amazing volunteers, and celebrate the wide variety of work they do in the Aire Valley!

    Volunteering is absolutely vital to the RSPB - over the course of a year, more than 1 million hours are donated across the organisation. At St Aidan’s and Fairburn Ings, we have around 200 volunteers…

    • 1 Jun 2021
  • May Half Term - What's On?

    Although the weather in the Aire Valley has continued to be a bit less-than-inviting recently, it’s still been wonderful to be able to get out and about a bit more – and to see all the signs of spring appearing on our sites! Nest building, butterflies in flight, and the growth of spring flowers are exciting to see as we continue opening up more of our facilities and activities.

    Photo credit: Dawn Butter…

    • 20 May 2021
  • “Have you heard a cuckoo this year?”

    This is a question I find myself asking lots of visitors to our Aire Valley sites at this time of year. Sadly, cuckoo numbers have declined by 40% since the early 1980’s - so much so, that many of our visitors have yet to experience the enigmatic call that for so many generations has heralded the start of spring.

    Mercifully here in Yorkshire there are still excellent places to hear and, on occasion - for they are…

    • 10 May 2021
  • What's Open in the Aire Valley - April 2021

    As we progress through the roadmap and the weather starts to warm up a bit more (fingers crossed!) please see below for full details of what is now open in the Aire Valley.

    We’re excited to be able to welcome more of you back to our sites, and want everyone who is able to visit us to be able to do so safely and comfortably. Please follow all current Government guidance around face coverings, social distancing, group sizes…

    • 15 Apr 2021
  • Re-opening in the Aire Valley

    As we move into Spring and some lockdown restrictions ease, we’re pleased to have some visitor facilities open again in the Aire Valley.

    Both Fairburn Ings and St Aidan’s are open for local exercise and recreation, in line with current guidelines – please continue to avoid unnecessary travel, and enjoy your local nature reserves and green spaces.

    We want everyone who is able to visit us to be able to…

    • 2 Apr 2021
  • A Winter’s Day at Fairburn Ings in 2020

    Nostalgia for a Pre-pandemic Time! - A Winter’s Day at Fairburn Ings in 2020

    10th January

    A Friday at Fairburn and forecast for a lovely bright day, although only 3 degrees this morning. Lily the dog and I are at the reserve ‘Rangering’, chatting to people and seeing what’s about. There are ‘swarms’ of tits on the feeders at the visitor centre, momentarily disturbed as visitors pass, then they’re back again in a…

    • 24 Mar 2021
  • International Women's Day 2021

    Today is International Women’s Day – and what better opportunity to celebrate some of the wonderful women who work and volunteer in the Aire Valley? Undertaking a wide range of roles, their commitment and achievements are crucial to making our sites the amazing places they are. Let’s meet a few of them!

    Maddy – Reserve Assistant volunteer


    My role focuses on ‘hands on’ conservation, helping to…

    • 8 Mar 2021
  • Starlings and Goosanders

    Winter is finally upon us; the days are shorter and there has been a biting nip to the air and some of us have even seen snow. However, it always begs the question where do the birds go when it gets dark.  During this two-part blog we will delve into the winter roosts that we are lucky enough to get here at Fairburn Ings. Lots of birds flock together both during the day and on an evening, this is primarily for safety in…

    • 11 Dec 2020