• 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
  • What's Open In the Aire Valley- Update

    We’re excited to be able to re-open some of our facilities for you as of 3 December!  

    Both sites are in Tier 3, so here's a summary of what’s available in the Aire Valley.  

    Fairburn Ings

      (Photo credit: Andy Hay)


    At Fairburn Ings our visitor centre and shop offering take away refreshments will be open Monday- Tuesday, Friday- Sunday, 10am- 4pm as of Friday 4 December. The visitor centre and shop will be

    • 2 Dec 2020
  • Autumn Rainbow in the Aire Valley- Green

    Autumn Rainbow in the Aire Valley- Green


    We hope this blog finds you all safe and well, and enjoying what nature has to offer during this second lockdown.


    As we turn to look at the gorgeous greens present in the Aire Valley at this time of year, it reminds us just how much the previous colours red, orange and yellow hold sway in Autumn. But there’s still some great greens to be seen!


    Read on to find out more…

    • 24 Nov 2020
  • Autumn Rainbow in the Aire Valley- Yellow

    Here in the Aire Valley we hope you are all keeping well during this second lockdown. We're here to bring you round 3 of our Aire Valley Autumn rainbow, this week of course is yellow!

    So grab a cuppa and read on to be transported to our lovely sites.                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     (Silver birch…

    • 13 Nov 2020
  • Autumn Rainbow in the Aire Valley- Orange

    We carry on with our Aire Valley autumn rainbow blogs- this week looking at all the gorgeous oranges to be seen while out and about. If you missed our first blog on all things red, have a read on our community blogs page! 

    Let's kick off with an Aire Valley staple- the sunset

    It turns out that sunsets at this time of year are actually better than during warmer months and here's why. 

    At sunset, it is harder for…

    • 6 Nov 2020
  • Aire Valley Lockdown Update

    We know that for many of you, Fairburn Ings and St Aidan’s provide enjoyment and solace in the natural world throughout these challenging times.

    In line with Government guidance on essential, daily exercise outdoors, during Second Lockdown this is what is open to you in the Aire Valley as of Thursday 5 November: 

     Photo credit: Andy Hay. 

    Fairburn Ings

    At Fairburn Ings our car park will be open daily during lockdown…

    • 4 Nov 2020
  • Autumn Rainbow in the Aire Valley- Red

    I'm sure there are many of you out there who feel a sense of sadness now that the clocks have gone back and evenings are getting darker, especially with the changes that will come into place at the end of the week. But here in the Aire Valley we want to share the joys of Autumn with you, both for those who can't get out onto our sites just yet, and to remind us that it's not all doom and gloom. And what better way…

    • 3 Nov 2020
  • Aire Valley Opening Times Update

    We know many of you have been missing our delicious bird-friendly coffee or grabbing a bite to eat when visiting our beautiful Aire Valley sites and we have some great news! We now have a take away catering offer available at both of our sites, and our shop at Fairburn Ings is open for business.

    From Monday 2 November, we are temporarily changing the opening hours of our shop and catering offer, due to limited staff capacity…

    • 30 Oct 2020
  • Spoonbills, Egrets and More…

    As the weather begins to change and summer turns into autumn, leaves on some trees are starting to turn and more fungi is being seen. One bird species that will soon be departing, as water levels rise ready for the arrival of winter wildfowl, is the spatula-faced spoonbill. This year has increased dramatically for spoonbill nests with 5-7 in the heronry which is up from 3 nests last year. Sadly only 5 juveniles have fledged…

    • 5 Oct 2020
  • What's Open At Our Aire Valley Sites?

    We know many of you have been missing our delicious bird-friendly coffee or grabbing a bite to eat when visiting our beautiful Aire Valley sites and we have some great news! We now have a take away catering offer available at both of our sites, and our shop at Fairburn Ings is open for business.

    So what's now available to you at our Aire Valley sites? 

    Fairburn Ings

    We have re-opened our trails and car park, but…

    • 21 Aug 2020
  • The Beauty of Butterflies During Lockdown

    The Beauty of Butterflies In Lockdown


    Finding butterflies is one of my absolute favourite things to do and so this year, as spring arrived, I was excited to start my search once more.

    Lockdown has brought a few challenges and my efforts have therefore been focused much closer to home.

    Instead of travelling the county on the lookout for rarities, I have spent my daily exercise walking my dog, Benji, through our local…

    • 9 Jul 2020
  • Volunteering at RSPB Fairburn Ings- Meet Ella

    Volunteering at RSPB Fairburn Ings- Meet Ella

    I am the youngest volunteer in retail at Fairburn, and at first, I was worried people may not get on with me as well as they do; everyone who I have worked with at Fairburn has been lovely, so kind and considerate, and genuinely in love with what they do, and how much conservation helps this planet. 

    The role was not as I expected – I honestly enjoy it even more than I…

    • 7 Jun 2020
  • Specialist Volunteering

    Here in the Aire Valley we have a great range of roles, and volunteers who do them! From bird surveyors to bloggers, all of our volunteers bring with them a wide variety of skills and knowledge, and we love to be able to use these very specific skill sets. Sometimes it even means creating a new role! 

    We’ve been lucky enough to talk to two such volunteers as part of Volunteers Week 2020. 

    Chris- Volunteer Programme…

    • 5 Jun 2020
  • A Chat with Charlie

    As part of our week-long celebration of Volunteers Week 2020, one of our St Aidan's volunteer Rangers Charlie spoke to us about her first year as part of our volunteering team. 

    "I first started volunteering with the RSPB exactly a year ago this week after seeing similar blogs from volunteers during Volunteers Week 2019. At the time I was between jobs after returning from travelling overseas but I have always worked…

    • 5 Jun 2020
  • Meet Our Volunteers

    We had a chat with some of our lovely Aire Valley volunteers as part of Volunteers Week 2020 to find out a bit more about their roles, and what they enjoy about volunteering with the RSPB. Enjoy! 

    Volunteer Ranger- Mel 

    Where do you volunteer? 

    RSPB St Aidan’s.

    Describe your role in three words: Champion for Nature!

    What’s been your best wildlife moment during your time as a volunteer? 

    Standing with like…

    • 4 Jun 2020
  • Nathaniel's Volunteering Journey



    Nathaniel’s Story


    “I’ve been interested in wildlife from a very young age courtesy of my parents, I was actually born an RSPB member and that’s never changed. I first got more involved with the RSPB at school, when I did my work experience at a reserve. From there I became an RSPB volunteer aged 14, and aged 16 I became part of the RSPB’s national youth council. My time with the RSPB was paused when I left for…

    • 3 Jun 2020
  • Why We Volunteer At RSPB Fairburn Ings Ollie & Pete photos by Pete Carr


    Why We Volunteer At RSPB Fairburn Ings Ollie & Pete photos by Pete Carr


    How Did We Find Out About Volunteering?

    We were at Fairburn on a family visit, we’re lucky enough to live just five minutes away. We were sat having a snack in the Visitor Centre when an advert popped up on one of the big screens…

    • 2 Jun 2020
  • RSPB Volunteer Week Sarah's volunteering story


    My volunteering story started around a decade ago with a couple of different organisations. I’ve found it a good way to use my free time and give something back to others. I came to the RSPB in summer 2019 to complete a 150 hours work placement as part of my foundation degree at University Centre Askham Bryan in York which I started in 2018 as a mature student. As you can imagine I started this career path in a…

    • 2 Jun 2020
  • Marvellous Moths

    I love moths. About 5 years ago I was only familiar with the wee brown ones that would be drawn to the lights in the house, not able to find their way out again. When I was first asked if I'd be interested in moth trapping, I didn't really know what to say. What? I had no idea how beautiful and diverse their size, colour and shape. A secret world that you have to enter to discover them. Right now it's getting into peak…

    • 28 May 2020
  • Let's take you on a trip...

    Hello bloggers,

    I hope you are all well and staying safe. The incredible weather I see has come just as we are all housebound, so I thought it may be an idea to take you on an imaginary trip, with the help of our Aire Valley volunteer Karen Nicklin. This contribution should hopefully provide some inspiration for us all to cherish the outdoor world even more so once we are allowed back to our normal lives. Below is Karen…

    • 7 Apr 2020
  • COVID-19 Keeping Busy - 02/04/2020

    The post below has been copied from the Fairburn page. All blogs will now be posted here, on the Aire Valley page.

    From 29/03/2020

    'Hello bloggers,

    Firstly, I want to pass on the Aire Valley Team's best wishes to all of you sat at home, although times like this feel unnatural, awkward and frustrating at times to nature and wildlife lovers, we will get through this as a community. We are always happy to be contacted…

    • 2 Apr 2020
  • A Poetical Quiz and What’s About at St Aidan’s

    To coincide with the ‘Big Garden Birdwatch” (25 - 27 Jan), our recent winter walks and the end of what always seems an interminable month; there follows a previously lost 16th century poem (of questionable quality) that is essentially also a bird ID quiz.

     Written at a time when spelling was a loose concept, it is easier to understand if read aloud. For information all mention of ‘tawny’ is as a colour only…

    • 26 Jan 2020
  • Recent Sightings at Fairburn Ings 1st January to 12th January

    Wildfowl numbers are uncommonly low around the reserve for the time of year, this is also being experienced at our sister site at St. Aidens, its unknown what the cause of the low numbers are at this moment. Bucking the trend has been a higher number of shelducks with up to 23 noted on one day.


    A short-eared owl was reported over the flashes on January 1st, raptors noted have been buzzard, red kite and peregrine…

    • 19 Jan 2020
  • A Ranger’s Wintry Walk at Fairburn Ings

    There's many reasons to love a visit to Fairburn Ings. This week, one of our wonderful Volunteer Rangers, Ginny, describes her recent experience:

    This volunteer role is always full of surprises.  No more than today.  A cold frosty and misty afternoon.  It makes a change from our usual Tuesday afternoons lately, when it has been very soggy and very wet and blowy.  We set off heading around the Discovery Trail and up the…

    • 20 Dec 2019
  • Recent Sightings at Fairburn Ings 17th - 30th November 2019

    The main event at the reserve at the moment is the starling murmuration, between 10000 and 20000 have been reported over the recent weeks. It’s advisable to be up on the Coal Tips by 14.45 – 15.00 to watch the incoming starlings perform. Please be warned that it can be very cold at dusk so please dress accordingly and stay warm.


    The cattle egret was last seen on the 21st November and there have been…

    • 5 Dec 2019