It’s been another couple of lovely weeks at Fairburn Ings, with lots of visitors, volunteers and staff sharing their many and varied wildlife sightings with us. Don’t forget that you can post your sightings online – tag us on Twitter or Facebook – or add to the sightings books at each site in person!

Juvenile long-tailed tit (AV archive) - photo by Mac Wontorowski

The reserve is now looking very lush and green, and wildflowers can be found throughout. Once again, the bitterns have been putting on a show for several of our visitors at the Pickup Hide. There are also lots of chicks and juvenile birds around, like long-tailed tits, which are always lovely to see at this time of year. Swallows and sand martins have also been seen feeding over the water in numbers, and swifts have been screeching away in the sky.

Sightings for the past two weeks include:

  • Green woodpecker, long-tailed tit, swallow, Eurasian jay, chaffinch, skylark, great spotted woodpecker, coal tit, greenfinch, robin, magpie, goldcrest, grey wagtail, corn bunting, mistle thrush and great tit
  • Bittern, little egret, grey heron, kingfisher, spoonbill, common tern, mute swan, pink footed goose, avocet, garganey, wigeon, curlew, teal, gadwall, Mediterranean gull, shelduck, coot and lapwing
  • Marsh harrier, peregrine falcon, barn owl, hobby and kestrel
  • Beautiful demoiselle, red tipped clearwing moth, thick legged flower beetle, malachite beetle and common carder bee
  • Rabbit, roe deer and grey squirrel


Wildflowers outside the Little Owl Café, St Aidan's - photo by Katie Ritchie

Once again, a multitude of exciting sightings have been reported within St Aidan’s too! As we make the transition from Spring into Summer, there are always new sightings and experiences to be had. Many young birds are reaching the fledgling stage, and the recent warm days have offered a welcome sight of plenty of butterflies.

Some of the many sightings reported to us recently are below:

  • Ringed plover, redshank greenshank, oystercatcher, snipe, spoonbill, grey heron, little egret, bittern, greylag goose, black tern, sanderling, dunlin, lapwing, Mediterranean gull, turnstone, avocet, shelduck, black-tailed godwit, black-necked grebe, kingfisher, garganey, teal, dunlin, skylark, curlew
  • Marsh harrier, red kite, buzzard, hobby, kestrel, little owl, barn owl
  • Cuckoo, yellowhammer, blackcap, chiffchaff, reed warbler, sedge warbler, willow warbler, common whitethroat, linnet, goldfinch, swift, bearded tit, sand martin
  • Peacock butterfly, small tortoiseshell butterfly, large skipper butterfly, common blue butterfly, small copper butterfly, orange tip butterfly, speckled wood butterfly, brown argus butterfly, banded demoiselle, red admiral butterfly
  • Roe deer, stoat, wood mouse, rabbit
  • Smooth newt


We hope to see you in the Aire Valley soon to spot some of this amazing wildlife yourself! Please do tell us about it too; we would love to hear what you’ve seen out and about on our sites.