Floods have reduced the number of recent sightings with a lot of wildfowl dispersing plus restricted access to the reserve. However, a glossy ibis was attracted to the reserve and could be seen feeding along the flooded Newton Lane near to the Phalarope Pool on 10th November until it was flushed and not seen again.

Glossy ibis - Joe Seymour

Pixie cup lichen has been found along Red Shale Road, an online search revealed that this is food for reindeers! One would imagine with such a name that it may contain magical properties and maybe Fairburn could be a refuelling stop on Christmas Eve!

Pixie cup lichen - Pete M


A great egret has been seen around the flashes most days, most often seen between Spoonbill and New Flash, and can also be seen roosting on occasion on the Moat.  The cattle egret has still been reported around the reserve, the last reported sighting was 19th November. The odd whooper swan has been dropping in with a maximum of ten seen on 6th November. Good numbers of Curlew have been seen around with a maximum of 40 noted on New Flash along with three snipe on 9th November. Other notable sightings have been of a single goldeneye on Spoonbill Flash and a blackcap along Lin Dike. Raptors noted have been up to two peregrines, sparrowhawk and a marsh harrier was seen on 11th November.

Great egret - Pete M

Main bay and village bay

Not many sightings recorded on this part of the reserve but a red-crested pochard and six whooper swans were noted on 5th November. A late swallow was seen heading for warmer climes on 9th November. Up to five goldeneye and two goosander were also reported.

The only reported sightings for Cut Lane have been of a single water rail and two kingfishers.

Coal Tips

The main attraction on the Coal Tips is the starling murmuration with up to 15,000 birds being reported, it’s advisable to be up on the tips for 15.30 to see this spectacle. Up to 50 fieldfares and 20 redwings have been seen; infrequent sightings of stonechat, meadow pipits and the elusive bitterns have also been reported. Green woodpeckers are being seen more often with up to three being seen around the trail on one occasion. Small numbers of goosanders can be seen on the west lagoon during the day, 60 were seen around dusk in the roost on 12th November. A barn owl has been seen hunting around the moat area during the day, no doubt forced to daylight hunting because of the recent bad weather and going hungry whilst grounded.

Goosander - Pete M

Visitor Centre

A sparrowhawk has been seen around the discovery trail, recorded sightings have been around the visitor centre feeders and Pick Up hide. Willow tits can be seen at close quarters on the feeders at the visitor centre also. A barn owl has also been seen from Pick Up hide on a couple of occasions. Kingfisher and treecreeper have been seen at the kingfisher screen.


 39 whooper swans were seen heading north-east on 16th November.


A single hare and 6 roe deer were seen on the Coal Tips on 16th November.