• June Sightings blog- RSPB Fairburn Ings

    The weather for the first half of the month was disappointing, with frequent rain, often breezy and temperatures below average. Thankfully the weather improved in the last week of the month.

    The smaller passerine birds proved difficult to spot, as whilst many would be on nests or feeding chicks, the windy conditions and ever-increasing foliage made birding quite challenging. Though somewhat quieter, many birds continued…

  • June Sightings Blog- RSPB St Aidan's

    Top ten birds


    Common Tern



    Black-necked Grebe

    Reed Warbler

    Sedge Warbler


    Common Ringed Plover

    Little Ringed Plover


    As we move into summer, RSPB St Aidan’s becomes a place of reeds – now grown high, the site is dominated by the rich green colours and sound of the wind blowing through the reed beds.  It is a very special place.  As the season progresses the bird song starts to…

  • Wildlife Gardening: Light, warmth (ish!) and holding back the mower

    “The great green wave of May washes over the garden, the irresistible result of the meeting of light and warmth” writes Lia Leendertz

    Well, Lia is certainly right about the green, it feels like you turn your back and suddenly everywhere you look you are bathed in the most glorious, lush, brightest of green. As for the warmth, well errr this year that’s debatable. Temperatures fluctuating, chilly north …

  • May Sightings Blog- RSPB Fairburn Ings

    RSPB Fairburn Ings is teeming with life this spring. This last week has seen many sightings of Cattle Egret photographed from Lin Dike. Most frequently seen accompanying, or stood on, the highland cattle there have been some great images, including some with amphibian meals in their beak.

    Avocet, Common Tern, Lapwing and Shelduck have also heavily featured. Other birds seen by photographers at Lin Dike, but out of camera…

  • May Sightings Blog- RSPB St Aidan's

    Top Ten birds:



    Black terns


    Garden Warblers

    Ringed Plovers


    Black Necked Grebes


    Bearded Tits


    May 11th was World Migratory Bird Day.  The UK sits on a bird migration super-highway, and RSPB St Aidan’s has provided a welcome landing site for many of our summer migrants, who are arriving ready to start breeding.  The sounds of the Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs are being overshadowed…

  • Aire Valley Sightings Blog- April 2024

     Top Ten birds at RSPB St Aidan's this April

    Black-tailed Godwit

    Common Tern


    Bearded Tit



    Black-necked Grebe



    Sand Martin


    April is a thrilling time for anyone with an interest in birds. The return of the migrants from their winter habitats brings the sights and sounds of the birds we’ve missed for the last 6 months or so.  The air is filled with the sound of returning warblers…

  • Aire Valley Sightings Blog- March 2024

    March saw the arrival of more of our spring and summer migrants. This included some of our star species, such as the Spoonbill at RSPB Fairburn Ings as well as Black-headed Gulls and Black-necked Grebe at RSPB St Aidan’s. We also have had a few birds that have been migrating through, including some Common Crane, Common Scoter and an Osprey.

    The Spoonbill that nest at Fairburn Ings were the first to nest in Yorkshire…

  • Sustainable future at the Little Owl Café, St Aidan’s nature Park

    As a café on an RSPB nature reserve, we too care about the environment, we do everything we can to ensure we are being environmentally friendly and sustainable. We have a policy to which all suppliers and all our products have to meet a high standard and certain criteria, such as using RSPO approved palm oil, free range eggs, FCS approved etc. and produced local with local ingredients where possible.

    We are always…

  • Wildlife Gardening; re-awakening, willow weaving and saving cash

    Spring; the season of re-awakening. A time of new beginnings, a sense of change hangs in the air. Daylight lengthens, the first buds spring into life and birds herald the joy of a season of promise and endless possibilities. The harsh weather is coming to an end and it’s time for us gardeners to start playing in the muck, once again!

    The stormy, wet winter has curtailed our antics a little, but it hasn’t completely…

  • Aire Valley Sightings Blog- February 2024

    It feels like the weather has been wet for such a long time, but spring is in the air across the RSPB Aire Valley and the temperature is steadily increasing. We are continuing to see a lot of our winter species such as the Brambling and Short-eared Owls, but the Goldeneye and Great-crested Grebes have begun their courtship dances and many of the birds are in their mating plumage. 

    Top 10 sightings at RSPB Fairburn Ing…

  • Aire Valley Sightings blog January 2024

    We have started 2024 with a lot of water in the Aire Valley!

    This has had an impact on the wildlife spotted across Fairburn Ings and St Aidan’s, more water has meant more habitat for frog catching and heron and egret numbers have been up on both reserves as well as two Glossy Ibis!

    The Glossy Ibis is a common bird in southern Europe, but quite rare in the UK, often they will arrive in autumn and occasionally stay…

  • Star Species Spotlight: Kingfisher

    When thinking of beautiful birds, people’s minds often wonder to tropical rainforests and faraway shores, forgetting the magnificent species which we have here in Britain. From green woodpeckers to golden eagles, we have a spectacular array of bird life in our skies. In today’s blog, we’ll be discovering more about the UK’s king of fishing – the European Kingfisher!

    What are Kingfishers?…

  • Wildlife Gardening; Seasonal changes, heatwaves and winter survival

    Autumn; the season when the daylight becomes shorter, the evenings cooler and we’re treated to nature’s glorious show of colour. Well, generally that’s the case! Yes of course the daylight has shortened, but having just returned from a London trip experiencing temperatures nearing 30 degrees whilst the people of Scotland have battled large scale flooding you do really get a sense of just how much our climate and seasons…

  • Aire Valley sightings blog- September

    This month’s sightings blog begins at RSPB Fairburn Ings. After passing the visitor centre and wildlife garden, I made my way down the discovery trail before arriving at the pickup hide. There was an abundance of finches, tits, and even a little wren which were all enjoying the feeding station; with Autumn and Winter approaching rather quickly, it’s important for them to start building their fat reserves. …

  • Conservation work and the Greta Tern-burg

     The start of September in the UK usually signifies the beginning of autumn, with cooler temperatures, the smell of woodsmoke in the air and condensation on your car windscreen. For me it also signifies the end of most of the survey work we carry out at RSPB Fairburn Ings and a steep change in the type of work we do on the reserve. The majority of bird species have now finished breeding for the year and this means that…

  • Events: Nature Explorers

     On the 13 and 16 September we had our first Nature Explorers session. These run once a month on a Wednesday for 0- to 5-year-olds at RSPB St Aidan’s and on a Saturday for 5- to 12-year-olds at RSPB Fairburn Ings.

    With the 0- to 5-year-olds we had a great time listening to the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in our den in the woods. The children loved the characters who brought the story to life. Then we went…

  • Big Wild Sleepout

    The beginning of August was a busy few week at RSPB Fairburn Ings! The staff team were busy getting the site ready for Big Wild Sleepout- the wildest sleepout of the year! From the warden team getting the campsite mown (whilst also preserving the food plant of the brown argus butterfly, which they made some amazing signage about!), to the VE and retail teams making sure everything looked spick and span for all our guests…

  • Community blog- what do I love about St Aidan's?

    In this week’s blog Jo – our community engagement officer describes some of the things that she loves about RSPB St Aidan’s

    As Love Parks week draws to a close, I find myself thinking about what I love about RSPB St Aidan’s. I feel extremely privileged to spend my working days here surrounded by the most amazing wildlife and in a truly inspiring landscape. To think that only 20 years ago hardly any…

  • Aire Valley Sightings blog- August

    RSPB St Aidans is where today’s blog begins. Shortly after arriving I was greeted with the loud hum of grasshoppers which, along with an abundance of other insect species, are clearly thriving within the long grass and wildflower meadows. My ears were then drawn to the sounds of the sky as I heard the distinct chirp of a Kestrel before it flew over my head and perched on top of a standing log within the pastures…

  • Wildlife Gardening; Pond life, Vegetables and Peter Rabbit

    The weather of 2023 has so far proven to be quite a challenge in the garden. A cold, wet Spring left the ground muddy and difficult to manage; with delicate seedlings requiring a little extra blanket. This was then replaced by hot days, with a month of hardly any rain. Never a dull moment !

    At present, the sun is at its highest in the sky, the trees are full of leaves and the garden is blooming with life.

    Our newly re…

  • Nocturnal Wildlife walks- RSPB St Aidan's

     Arriving at RSPB St Aidan’s as the sun began to set was not the usual time I get there. However, I was excited to be coming on a nocturnal guided walk! We were met by a mixture of staff and volunteers and started off by watching the barn owls silently hunting along the hillside while we waited for everyone to gather.

    The walk leader started off explaining a little bit about the history of the site and how it has…

  • Community family nature events

     We know that trying to create a fun filled summer for your little ones can be exhausting. Taking hours of research and perfect planning... who has the time for it? But we also know how important spending quality time with your little ones whilst they're off is important to families, so we've taken the strain away with our Community Family Nature Events at RSPB St Aidan’s this summer!

    It's well known that…

  • Aire Valley Sightings blog- June 2023

    Another month has already come to an end and Summer is well and truly here. Find out what’s been out and about this June in today’s sightings blog.

    The top ten sightings at RSPB St Aidan's recently have been:

    • Hobby
    • Spoonbill
    • Spotted flycatcher
    • Ringed plover
    • Dunlin
    • Black tern
    • Cuckoo
    • Yellow wagtail
    • Little owl
    • Grasshopper warbler


    Our star species this month is the cuckoo. These summer visitors are usually…

  • Feeding your garden birds

    I get asked all the time if birds should be fed all year round, and the simple answer to this is yes, if you can, they will really appreciate and benefit from it. Spring feeding allows birds to raise their young with a decent food source to keep them going. Adults won’t feed seeds to their chicks in the nest, but they will find it invaluable in terms of getting enough calories for themselves to keep up to high demands…

  • Farmland walk at RSPB St Aidans

    On Sunday 10 June we met up in the morning and set out to find out how RSPB St Aidan’s use farmland techniques, and how that affects the landscape and wildlife. While RSPB St Aidan’s has no pure agriculture, there are areas which are planted with crop species, meadow area, wet grassland and grazing animals which are all based on current and historic farmland techniques. The land is managed specifically for…