• The Blues Are Still Blue

    The estuary blues

    Winter has truly set in this week, below zero temperatures nipping at your cheeks and numbing your ears in the cold air.   On arrival at Fairhaven Lake , you're immediately greeted by a colony of gulls stood like statues on the frozen lake, whilst ducks and swans make the most of a small patch thawing in the sun.  Even the odd Redshank forced from it's preferred hang out on the estuary taking its chances…

    • 30 Nov 2023
  • And they hopped in circles, heads bowed - guest writer

    And they hopped in circles, heads bowed - by Sarah Hunter

    And they hopped in circles,

             with their arms folded back.

    Like professors of grief,

           garb white and black. 

    As Alice looked on,

    She recalled his tale.

    With his cloak wrapped tight,

     and his croak so frail.

    He was irked by the fleeting mention in text

    When his cousin the crow,

     had stolen the scene, Indeed,

                                                    he was vexed.

    “I could never describe you as monstrous,…

    • 17 Nov 2023
  • Unlocking the power of saltmarshes - a UK first!

    Saltmarshes: The Unsung Climate Heroes 

     In an exciting new partnership, the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH) has installed a flux system on an historic saltmarsh in the Ribble Estuary, funded by a WWF (the World Wide Fund for Nature) and Aviva partnership, Aviva and WWF - Aviva plc and another funded by Natural England at a nearby restored site.  

    The RSPB is thrilled to help support this work, which in October…

    • 10 Nov 2023
  • Our Unsung Heroes

    Beneath heavy, grey autumnal skies which, despite the warmth of the day, carried a distinct chill on the breeze, we gathered outside a corrugated metal farm building. One by one, cheerful faces walked into the yard to greet us, ready and eager to hear what the day would bring. 

    Now this might not sound very remarkable, but having two teenagers myself who were still in bed, to see such an enthusiastic and alert group of…

    • 3 Oct 2023
  • Super Summer on the Ribble Reserves

    RSPB Fairhaven Lake celebrates a super successful Summer Term with an unprecedented number of school visits! 

    Getting out in nature has never been more important for our young people and we are celebrating a bumper Summer season, which can also been seen across our fantastic network of nature reserves.  Pre-covid over 32,000 children from across England, Wales and Scotland took part in the Schools on Reserves programme nationally…

    • 22 Sep 2023
  • Ducking and Diving - Growing up at Marshside

    How do ducklings change as they grow?

    Everyone looks for the cutest fluffy ducklings and chicks through Spring and Summer – so why do the bird identification guides give us such scant information about these adorables?

    Perhaps they assume that baby birds can always be identified by their nearby parents, but that isn't always as easy as it sounds either, especially as they start to moult out their breeding plumage…

    • 28 Jul 2023
  • World Curlew Day - find out how you can help this amazing, red list bird by Sarah Hunter

    Call of the Curlew

    It’s never easy to see any kind of wildlife when you are out on a walk with two lively toddlers. As full of enthusiasm as they are, there is absolutely no containing the noise and exuberance with which they embark upon most adventures.

    That is why I was so surprised to see the large, brown bird casually wandering around amongst the samphire and algae, unperturbed by our approach. A miraculous…

    • 19 Apr 2023
  • Plato, Forest Bathing and the Power of the Pen by Sarah Hunter

    Have you managed to listened to a dawn chorus yet this Spring? Have you looked closely at a marsh marigold flower or a newly unfurling leaf? When did you last stop, take a deep breath and just absorb all the sights, sounds and textures around you? &n...
    • 11 Apr 2023
  • Marshside - The Light Fantastic

    Are you one of those people who hates winter, with its cold, gloom and in particular its short hours of daylight?

    This time of year, for me, is a time of glorious light and colours. These change rapidly as frost forms and melts, clouds and their reflections form into fantastic shapes and morph into others, while birds take on new colours as the sun sets behind the sand plant.

    And I can still get home in time for my warming…

    • 27 Jan 2023
  • Making a Difference with the RSPB

    Every single one of you is unique. You have your own special set of skills and attributes that makes you, you! Sometimes you might feel that you don't really get to shine and use your talents in your everyday life or at work. and that's where volunteering can fill that void. 

    As a charity, we rely on donations from the public to keep funding our work. But we also hugely appreciate your time, expertise and enthusiasm…

    • 3 Dec 2022
  • The Wonderful World of Trees - Celebrating National Tree Week

    Let's make like a tree and leave them! 

    We have had a really spectacular year for blazing, autumnal colours, branches festooned with berries and a plentiful supply of nuts and seeds. In ecological terms, this is known as a mast year. The trees have decided to maximise their potential for producing seedlings. It's a great survival strategy, and it has implications for our feathered friends too. 

    Hedge with berries by Wes

    All this abundance…

    • 26 Nov 2022
  • It's all yellow

    Marshside does it again!

    As the autumnal season progresses and the trees start to drop their ever increasing orange and yellow jewels, the magnificent wetland habitat at Marshside has drawn in yet another fabulous wader.  The lesser yellowlegs observed at the beginning of the week, was giving watchers fantastic views feeding close to the fences on Crossens Inner Marsh.  Lesser yellowlegs is a North American breeder and…

    • 27 Oct 2022
  • Autumn musings

    Marshside in autumn

    This week I undertook a wee jaunt to the "other side" of the estuary. The sky was blue, the wind was warm and the reddy/orange tones of autumn littered the marshes.  As I arrived a buzzard was perched on a fence post casually surveying its domain.  The raptor on high alert, must have heard me coming, flapping off across the marsh.  It flushed a few pink footed geese up and also a kestrel.  The…

    • 6 Oct 2022
  • Ribble Sites Summer Round Up

    Fairhaven Lake

    It's been a busy old summer down at Fairhaven Lake.  Before the end of term we welcomed nearly 1500 pupils from across the county.  It was great to see so many local schools and also many more from further afield.  It's fabulous to be able to see so many children enjoying a visit to the seaside, especially when so many of them have never been to a beach.  The pandemic has a huge part to play in this…

    • 2 Sep 2022
  • Making a mark at Marshside

    Site Manager Tony Baker retires from the Ribble Reserves

    Tony Baker, the long standing site manager at Marshside for nearly 30 years, has now made the bold move into retirement after throwing all his passion and commitment into what was at the time, a newly acquired land mass on the coast of Southport in 1994.  He has worked solidly and tirelessly to protect and restore important habitats both at Marshside and Hesketh Out…

    • 1 Aug 2022
  • Re-painting the picture, re-taking the image

    This blog has been written by guest writer Sammy Taylor, who is a 16 year old volunteer for us here on the learning team.  Sammy has just completed his GCSE's and is awaiting his results at the end of August.  He is hoping to go to college to undertake A'Level courses in English, History and Media Studies, with the ultimate goal of possibly embarking on a career in journalism.  He headed up his school newspaper and…

    • 25 Jul 2022
  • Choosing Binoculars - A Brief Beginners Guide.

    Purchasing Binoculars can be daunting. Here, we'll go through a brief guide to choosing your first pair of binoculars. Don't forget to visit the RSPB Fairhaven Lake Shop to purchase your new Binoculars.
    • 2 Jun 2022
  • Snowed under in summer

    Summer season is snowed under at Fairhaven

    With an underlying uncertainty shrouding the beginning of the year we were never wholly certain as to what the uptake of school visits back to Fairhaven would be like. Having been in a position to offer a funded subsidy we knew that the uptake at Leighton Moss had been substantial and with us having had a delay to the water supply to the new centre we weren't sure what to expect…

    • 18 May 2022
  • Cracking on with spring

    Well it's been a fabulously busy couple of weeks all around for the Ribble Reserves team.

    Over at Marshside a brand new outdoor viewing screen has been installed.  The old one, worn and rotting was taken down with surprising ease.  With help from our wonderful volunteers putting the new one up was made lighter work.  The coot nesting nearby showed remarkable resilience and patience.  Whilst not directly impacted by the…

    • 6 May 2022
  • Never the twain shall meet

    The Arctic meets the Mediterranean at Marshside this week

    The last time a black winged stilt was seen on the land at Marshside was when some of us were still in short pants, but not all of us (not to mention any names).  The bird in question was seen on Polly's Creek on 28 April 1984.  Not a million dates away from this years sighting on 18 April.  Stilts are members of the wader and avocet family and are more widely…

    • 21 Apr 2022
  • T’is the season to be jolly.

    Spring arrivals

    Earlier in March we had a little blast of spring air.  Chiffchaffs arrived, buds started to show and we had a wave of warmth.  We began to feel excited about the change of season, the arrival of wheatear and hirundines, such as sand and house martins.  Visiting schools were especially thrilled, they appeared to have brought the sunshine with them.

    And then it all changed, the clouds and rain came over, and…

    • 4 Apr 2022
  • Spring cleaning is in the air

    Midwinter maintenance at Marshside

    Now is the best time to cut back your woody vegetation and our volunteers have been hard at it in the last few weeks.  Regular ‘coppicing’ is a vital part of our successful habitat management.  It promotes healthy re-growth and flowering and benefits insect life.  This in turn benefits the ecosystem in an overall holistic way.  

    We have a don’t have much time before the spring…

    • 24 Feb 2022
  • Nuts about nestboxes

    February half term is National Nestbox Week

    Putting up a nestbox is a fabulous way to watch wildlife in your garden or local park, from noticing that the nestbox is being checked out by prospective tenants to watching the parents frantically to and fro with never ending supplies of food, to finally seeing the long awaited fledglings appear all wobbly and tentative at first, taking their first short flights.  It can be…

    • 16 Feb 2022
  • saltmarsh, sand dunes and sea air


    The Ribble Estuary is one of the most important places for birds in Europe and so has been designated as a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and a Special Protection Area (SPA) offering high levels of protection. The Ribble Estuary NNR, which includes our Marshside and Hesketh Out Marsh reserves, is England’s third largest NNR and is one of the Top Ten most important wetlands in the UK for the numbers of water birds that live…

    • 11 Feb 2022
  • A Marshside mix - guest writer and Marshside regular Martin Campbell

    Marshside observations from a Marshside regular
    At this time of year, there are thousands of birds, pretty much everywhere at Marshside, alternately picked out by the low winter sun and disappearing in the overcast gloom.  There has been days of perfect light as well as some dark, gloomy days, some of those fortuitously relenting to the winter sunshine eventually.
    There's a wide variety of ducks on the pools, including…
    • 7 Feb 2022