• Observations of a wildlife watcher - guest blog by Sue Provost

    Fairhaven Lake guest blog

    Sue is one of our volunteers at the Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre.  She has written us a guest blog this week about the comings and goings at Fairhaven Lake this summer: 

    There are different starts of the year. For me the year turns at the start of autumn. Most of the summer migrants have left and some of the winter visitors have started to arrive. Whether you use meteorological time or astronomical…

    • 27 Sep 2021
  • Autumn waders

    Autumn has arrived and that marks the return of the wading birds that spend the summer breeding in the Arctic Tundra, Greenland and Iceland.  Once the breeding season is over, and from September onwards they make their way over to our warmer climes. The mudflats of the Ribble estuary are a huge food resource, being jam packed with vast quantities of molluscs and crustaceans.  Each species of bird has their own specific…
    • 17 Sep 2021
  • Big Wild Summer time down at Fairhaven

    Summer Time at the Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre

    Summer time and the living is easy....finally! After months of Covid restrictions we are finally seeing the finish line in sight.  We may still remain cautious and keep our distance, keep touch points cleaner than usual and maybe even wear face masks, but we are looking forward to our first summer at the lake under our new guise and with many of the long awaited renovations…

    • 15 Jul 2021
  • Muddy Days Ahead

    If there was ever a good time for all to be closed then this year was it.  We have undergone a huge regeneration, thanks to our partnership with Fylde Borough Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

    The £1.46 million project has provided a whole new suite of fantastic facilities.  Where we once ran our school visits from the rather small combined retail and education centre, we are now blessed with an entire space…

    • 30 Jun 2021
  • Ruff, but Ready - By Martin Campbell

    Marshside: an extraordinary place for an extraordinary bird

    Starting with a nice shot of an ordinary looking wader. What evidence is there in this photo for what this bird is likely to become? Which of the birds shown here is it likely to be? The answer is in your own hands…


    And how can Ruffs be separated from other waders, for example the Redshank or Black-tailed Godwit? Compare the back pattern on this Ruff…

    • 31 May 2021
  • The haven of Fairhaven

    The new Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre

    Wow! what a busy time it's been.  The finishing touches were added to the shop merchandising and we finally opened our doors on Thursday 29 April, after closing in March 2020 it felt like a long time coming.  It was great to welcome back all of our visitor centre volunteers, don the uniform once again and open our brand new doors to the public for the first time.  

    Unfortunately the…

    • 7 May 2021
  • Welcome to RSPB Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre

    Introducing RSPB Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre 

    After months of moving walls, dismantling false ceilings, re-designing, painting, cleaning and sprucing, we’re super excited that the time has finally come to open the newly refurbished RSPB visitor centre here at Fairhaven Lake.

    This massive project has been made possible with thanks to our strong partnership with Fylde Council and the National Heritage Lottery Fund.…

    • 12 Apr 2021
  • Migration hotspots

    Spring hits the Ribble Estuary What a fantastically exciting time of year we are now at.   If I am able, on my arrival to work, I take the opportunity to wander out onto the sand dunes at the tip of Fairhaven Lake to a patch of land I have ...
    • 10 Apr 2021
  • Spring is most definitely in the air

    Spring is most definitely on its way.
    Walking around the lake is music to the ears,  the increase in birdsong recently is very apparent.
    This melodious of soundtracks most frequently begins with the robins, who are well known to sing under any lights, lamp posts in the evening have been known to set the robin off.  Blackbirds are not far behind.  The sweet song of the dunnock is truly beautiful and is in my opinion a very…
    • 20 Mar 2021
  • Spring Springing - by Martin Campbell

    Signs of new life at RSPB Marshside 

    In February, there are still many of the wintering birds (e.g. black-tailed Godwit, golden plover, lapwing, curlew and wigeon), visible in impressive numbers. However, this is the month when the first summer birds begin to appear and some residents begin to show changes to their plumage and behaviour in preparation for courtship and nesting.

    Right through February, there are still many…

    • 13 Mar 2021
  • Spring (ish) at Marshside


    It's the time of year when birds start to switch from wintering to breeding 'mode'. Some changes start to take effect before migration, some are obvious to us and some are not. Teal have been over wintering at Marshside for some months and completed their eclipse phase some time ago. Despite sporting summer plumage for some months, they seem to have developed a deeper iridescent quality in the recent…

    • 3 Mar 2021
  • Big Garden Birdwatch 2021

    Big Garden Birdwatch 2021

    We'd been waiting all month and it finally arrived on 29-31 January - The Big Garden Birdwatch.

    With the countries in lockdown again, the Big Garden Birdwatch provided the perfect excuse to sit down with a brew and some biscuits and stare out of the window for hour.  This wasn't just isn't wistful staring though, but really important science.  The Big Garden Birdwatch is in its 42nd…

    • 10 Feb 2021
  • A Frozen Marshside - Martin Campbell

    Winter has given me a whole new set of magical Marshside moments, notably during the cold snaps which have frozen over the birds’ open water.

    Ice gives us a whole new perspective on both rare and common birds, plus an extraordinary range of unusual textures and atmospheres in which to place the birds.

    So what tactics do birds use to overcome the problems of their waterworld becoming frozen?

    Firstly, we have a cloud…

    • 6 Feb 2021
  • Managing Marshes in a Developed Landscape - Scrub:

    Marshside’s coastal grazing marsh is a remaining fragment of a much wider network both locally and nationally. Ongoing habitat loss in the last century has seen the large declines in species such as lapwing and redshank. Standard semi-improved grassland has decreased by 97% since the 1960s, its coastal equivalent must have been hit even more so.  

    Faced with this background, the RSPB at Marshside strives to keep…

    • 2 Feb 2021
  • New Year (ish) 2021 on the Ribble Estuary

    New Year at Marshside and Hesketh Out Marsh

     As the year that was 2020 drew to a close, Marshside saw a few fleeting appearances of Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds. These rare wave like formations take their name from the physicists that first described the complexities of wave formations in air and liquids (The Kelvin-Helmholtz Instability). They occur in clouds when there is a strong vertical shear between two air streams,…

    • 5 Jan 2021
  • What's going on at Fairhaven Lake?

    An update on the exciting new developments in the National Heritage Lottery Funded project to restore the buildings and landscape at Fairhaven Lake.
    • 17 Dec 2020
  • Christmas crafting and family walk at Marshside

    RSPB Marshside Christmas Challenge 

    Can you help decorate Sandgrounders' hide Christmas Tree ? And what can you see on the way? 

    This is a two part Christmas challenge 

    Part One - At home  

    Using your Christmas crafting skills make a decoration for our Christmas tree in Sangrounders' Hide - Marshside Nature Reserve.

    Wrap up warm ready to visit Marshside reserve 

    Part Two - At Marshside Nature Reserve

    Find Sandgrounders…

    • 5 Dec 2020
  • 'My Latest Marshside Highlights' by Martin Campbell

    What are my birding highlights over the last few weeks at RSPB Marshside ?

    Well, there have been spectacular displays of thousands of Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwings and Golden Plovers which make an incredible sight when flushed from the ground by a hunting raptor. This has notably been a Peregrine, which had a real go at them!

    However, this time has provided me with close-up portraits of both male and female Kestrels

    • 5 Dec 2020
  • Breakfast Birdwatching

    Autumn lockdown 

    With the introduction of a second lockdown, the RSPB resurrected #BreakfastBirdwatch 8-9am weekday mornings where we can post sightings of the birds we see from our windows and share them with the online community.  It didn't matter where you live or how big or small your garden was, the #BreakfastBirdwatch community has been a source of great solace for all involved.  Getting involved with a time specific…

    • 2 Dec 2020
  • Marshside / Hesketh - Works and highlights Roundup: November 2020


     Large flocks of birds love our Marshside reserves this time of year. Peak counts of black-tailed godwit still surpass 5,000 while over 20,000 pink footed geese regularly roost on the saltmarsh and graze the inner marshes.

    Wigeon are mobile, but have been giving up super views from Marshside rd recently often accompanied by teal

    Scarcer ducks can be found, with a sleepy scaup settled in by Faircloughs platform…

    • 23 Nov 2020
  • Duck spotting

    It's a strange time for us all at the moment, but it’s lovely to hear how much nature helps lift your spirits through lockdown. We know for many of you, our Ribble Estuary reserves are a big part of providing enjoyment and solace in the natural world, so with that in mind we have a bit of a duck challenge for you this week...

    Fairhaven Lake

    Scaup and tufted duck

    For visitors to Fairhaven in winter the sight of…

    • 19 Nov 2020
  • Introducing Martin Campbell - A new Guest Blogger

    Intro from Wes

    Extra pressures and working arrangements in our reserves team brought by Covid19 has made fitting in some regular blog writing time tricky. So we are delighted to have had an offer from Martin to help us out. We often bump into him (if you can still bump into people from 2m away!?) at the reserves, searching for the best light or telling tales of godwits escaping peregrines or impromptu starling murmurations…

    • 14 Nov 2020
  • Renovations at Fairhaven haven.

    Ribble Discovery Centre renovations.

    Things are moving rapidly at the Ribble Discovery Centre (RDC).  The contractors have now moved in and the internal walls are down already.  The suspended ceiling is also gone exposing the original roof beams.  It is deemed that these will remain on view, albeit I hoping the dangling cobwebs will be removed!  The new office has taken shape, it's much more spacious and warmer than the old…

    • 27 Oct 2020
  • Visiting Ribble Reserves - Updated - January 2021

    Current Restrictions - Opening/closing times and facilities
    • 16 Oct 2020
  • Time for change

    Ribble Discovery Centre It's been all systems go at the Ribble Discovery Centre since the beginning of September with the green light to clear the building in readiness for the re-furbishment. Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heri...
    • 7 Oct 2020