Ribble Reserves Roundup w/c 06/01/20

The Ribble reserves blog combines new from all our Ribble Estuary sites: Marshide, Hesketh out Marsh and the Ribble Discovery Centre at Fairhaven Lake.  Providing the latest news on sightings, events, shop offers and educational visits.

Fistly, welcome to 2020, we are aiming for this year to be even better than ever.  

Fresh for 2020, we will now have a specific Ribble Estuary Facebook page  

This page will cover the three RSPB sites across the estuary, as well as the work we do with the NNR, farmers, companies and partners.

Please Like and Follow    

We will wholeheartedly welcome your photos and contributions to the page.   

Ribble Discovery centre

We start the year with news that the female kingfisher is still being regularly spotted around the lake, we have received some wonderful photos and videos of her in action, so many thanks for those and keep them coming.  The lake is also alive with the call of the redshank.  A small number of redshank have taken to frequenting the slopes of the lake to probe.  They are quite jumpy little birds, agitated very easily and if startled take off rapidly crying their tew-hoo-hoo alarm call.

We've also maintained the regular cormorant drying off spot, frequently all 4 of a regulars stand together airing their wings, looking eerily prehistoric, especially in the wintry light.  

  Photo from archive by Andy Hay

The water level in the lake has been very low this week, whilst the contractors work on the sluice gate.  This has led to the little egrets being able to stand in the lake to hunt.  The egrets often roost in the trees on the islands at high tide and in the evening, but we rarely see them stalking prey standing in the lake.

  Photo from archive by Matt Wilkinson

Meanwhile, up on the sand dunes there a small flocks of linnet flitting about, a lovely sight to see and hear as they twitter in flight.  Linnet populations are currently down and they are of red conservation status.

Education and Visitor Centre

It's not long now till the ##BigGardenBirdwatch.  For further information about this vitally important and fun to do survey please see our page here.  The survey helps understand how our garden birds are doing and monitor trends and problems, which we can then all act on.

We are already looking forward to half term and our nestbox building event on Wednesday 19 February 10-12, which coincides with National nestbox week.  This is a limited and bookable event so please call the centre to reserve your places, £5 per nestbox or £4 for RSPB members.


After the mele of Christmas, our shop is now fully stocked with new exciting ranges and products.

We also have a fantastic offer on suet nibbles, with 50% off 3kg bags, a great offer and will go down a treat for the ##BigGardenBirdwatch

(Cover photo from archive by Any Hay)


A long-billed dowitcher has been discovered (first seen by Peter Carman) on Crossens inner marsh. This scarce American visitor should have made its way to central America, rather than hopping the pond. A grand little bird to watch sleeping in the winter light. Hopefully it will stay around and treat us to some 'sewing machine' feeding views.

 long-billed dowitcher on Crossens inner marsh - Photo Credit: WesDavies

Work removing the willow scrub on the marsh edges has got back underway on Rimmers marsh. Clearing the banks will help elevate predation in the winter, as well as keeping the marsh marshy. 

 Brash fire, Rimmers Marsh - Photo credit: WesDavies 

Banks Marsh NNR

A North American Canada goose has been discovered on Banks marsh, within a flock of pink feet's.

 North American Canada Goose Photo credit: Stuart Darbyshire 

We are used to seeing the introduced populations of this species (Canada Goose), but this is an unusual find. There are slight differences in the birds appearance from the introduced population, but its association with the pink-footed geese is one of the strongest clues. The bird has migrated here with them , and could have even formed an attachment to the group at a young age.