• An eventful journey

    For today’s sightings blog, I may as well start with what I saw on my walk into work, which was very eventful indeed! On my way along the riverbank trail, I had a great view of a jay flying through the trees. This time of year is great for watching woodland birds, as most of the leaves have fallen so you can get a better view. Speaking of leaves, the leafy carpet covering the paths at the moment makes the walk very atmospheric…

    • 30 Nov 2013
  • A taste of Hope

    Today is a special day for RSPB Hope Farm. For the first time, reserve shops across the country are selling produce from the farm – quality extra-virgin rapeseed oil! To understand why this is such a fantastic occasion, a bit of background will come in handy...

     

    Hope Farm farmhouse - image by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

     

    The RSPB has owned Hope Farm in Cambridgeshire since 2000, and over the past 13 years,…

    • 28 Nov 2013
  • Chilly sightings

    We’ve had great sightings every day for the past few days, so here are the latest updates...

    I spotted a beautiful Jay flying along the riverbank trail near big hole on my walk into work on Saturday morning – early mornings are a great time of day to spot all kinds of wildlife, and the sunrises are lovely too! There was also a nuthatch spotted on the visitor centre feeders in the afternoon, which is always a treat…

    • 27 Nov 2013
  • Recent sightings: bird-tastic

    The chilly weather is definitely bringing the birds out for all to see lately, as they’re busy fattening up for winter.

    Wednesday was a good day for ducks, with both a goldeneye and a pintail seen on north flash. Sixteen goosanders were also spotted on the flashes. These handsome diving ducks are a member of the sawbill family, so-called because of their long, serrated bills which are used for catching fish.

    • 21 Nov 2013
  • Recent sightings: mammals and migrants

    Thanks to the lovely autumn sunshine we’ve had over the past few days, there are some great sightings to report!

    There was a possible otter sighting last week in front of Bob Dickens hide – there are otters in the river Aire, and we’ve seen signs of them before, but it’s nice to know they’re still making use of the water on the reserve.

    In other mammal news, a weasel was spotted down by…

    • 21 Nov 2013
  • Recent sightings: ducktastic

    It’s been a busy few days for the birds on the reserve this week. The flashes have seen plenty of action, with a sparrowhawk spotted over Cedric’s pool on Friday, and pintails, snipes and goldeneyes all seen on Spoonbill flash on Sunday. Green Woodpeckers and Marsh Harrier have also been seen from Lin Dike hide in the past few days.

    Main Bay is the place to be for the ducks at the moment, with Widgeons, Gadwalls…

    • 21 Nov 2013
  • Recent sightings: bountiful birds and lovely lichens

    We’ve had some rather wet and blustery weather over the past few days, and this has brought with it some unusual visitors, such as a couple of gannets on Friday, which were seen flying north-west over the flashes! Gannets are large and beautiful white birds with black wingtips and creamy yellow heads, and they have a wingspan of up to two metres! They hunt fish by diving from a height into the sea and chasing them under…

    • 21 Nov 2013
  • A berry good start to autumn!

    There’s a noticeable autumn chill in the air at the moment, and for the first time since the glorious summer, we’re donning coats and gloves outside.

    Despite this dip in the weather though, we’re still getting great sightings, and the reserve is looking lovelier by the day during the transition to autumn colours. On my way into work this morning I was lucky enough to see a group of long-tailed tits on their…

    • 21 Nov 2013
  • Recent sightings: autumn is coming!

    Well it’s been a heck of a week as far as sightings go on the reserve. On Thursday we were paid a visit by a Great White Egret, which hung around for an hour or two, even putting in an appearance over the visitor centre before moving on! This huge white heron can have a wingspan of up to 1.7 metres, and expanding populations in Europe mean that they are being seen more frequently in the UK. They can turn up in almost…

    • 21 Nov 2013
  • My first (very full!) recent sightings blog

    As I’ve just been on an action packed walk up to Lin Dike and back with site manager Darren, I thought I may as well start with a recount of what we spotted. Dunlin, Snipe and Little Stint had been seen when we arrived at the hide, and in the distance was the exciting spectacle of a Marsh Harrier being mobbed by crows. Our walk back along the river saw more marvellous raptors such as a Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Red Kite…

    • 21 Nov 2013
  • Wild Weekend

    This morning has seen a kick start to the week for our sightings book, as we saw a nuthatch, a willow tit and a wood mouse in the wildlife garden while we were opening up – talk about giving nature a home! Wood mice have been a recurring sight around the visitor centre over the past few weeks, as they’ve been picked up on our camera trap a few times too. There are loads of fascinating facts about these small nocturnal…

    • 21 Nov 2013
  • New Beginnings

    Hello everyone, I’m Lizzie Ingram, the new visitor officer intern for Fairburn Ings for the next six months.

     

     

    I’ve spent the last few months down at RSPB Coombes Valley in Staffordshire, which is a woodland reserve, so there’s a lot I need to get up to speed on for Fairburn! My first couple of days here have been spent going for wanders through the reserve, getting to know the team, and discussing the things…

    • 21 Nov 2013
  • Mousey magic

    We had a fantastic surprise at the start of this week, as our reserve team stumbled across something very special indeed – two harvest mouse nests! Harvest mice are the smallest mammals in Britain, weighing around the same amount as a two pence piece! Although they are found across Europe, it’s fantastic to see their nests here at Fairburn because this reserve is at the northern limit of their range here in the UK – they…

    • 21 Nov 2013
  • Brilliant bryophytes

    Now that winter is nearly upon us, most of the greenery of spring and summer has finally died away for the year. You might think that it looks a little dull and lifeless outside, but nothing could be further from the truth!

    Take the time to look a little closer and you can discover a whole new world that’s been right under your nose all along! The word bryophytes won’t mean much to most people, but it’s just a…

    • 14 Nov 2013
  • Up the Autumnal Garden Path...

    The leaves are starting to change colour and fall and the berries are out - it can only mean one thing - Autumn is on its way. Autumn is a busy time in the garden but try and resist the urge to be too tidy - whilst its tempting to clear everything away this often means taking food and shelter from wildlife. The birds will feast on the seed heads from the flowers and the insects will overwinter in hollow stems so make sure…

    • 2 Nov 2013
  • Spooky sightings

    We’ve had some fantastic sightings this Halloween half term, with the kingfishers seen just about daily at the kingfisher screen and down towards Charlie’s hide. The redwing and fieldfare sightings are coming in thick and fast too, as these beautiful birds migrate over here to make to the most of our berries. We’ve also had a good week for finches, with both siskins and redpolls spotted flying over the reserve, along…

    • 2 Nov 2013