Ribble Reserves Roundup w/c 28.10.19

Our new Ribble Reserves blog combines news from all of our RSPB Ribble estuary sites; Marshside, Hesketh Out Marsh and the Ribble Discovery Centre providing you with all the latest up to date information about sightings, events, shop offers and educational visits!

Ribble Discovery Centre

It's been a cold crisp week here at Fairhaven Lake.  Many of our regular residents and visitors are on the lake including numerous mute swans, mallards, coots, moorhens and tufted ducks.  We have also had a juvenille great crested grebe on the lake for the last few weeks which is a real delight to see and a couple of little grebes.  There's also been a single pochard hanging about with the tufties too for some time.

There's been a small number of sightings of a kingfisher these last few weeks flitting around at the top of the lake, which really is a fantastic sighting and we are all on the lookout to spot it ourselves.  The cheeky black headed gulls are as noisy as ever and a looking rather majestic in their winter plumage.

We also have a couple of cormorants frequently seen on the edge of the jetty, drying out.

Black headed gulls. Photo credit Jo Taylor                                                                Cormorant. Photo credit Andy Hay RSPB-images

Educational visits

We had a fantastic pre-school and reception class from Copp Primary in Great Eccleston undertaking an Autumn sensory walk last week.  We were very lucky and had a lovely cold crisp sunny morning.  All 27 children were dressed fantastically for their morning and loads of fun was had collecting different leaf shapes, feeding the ducks and spotting all other signs of Autumn.  Loads of conkers from the horse chestnut and acorns from our Holm oak in the park were found.  The children had a really great hands on #OutdoorLearning experience, really hitting all those characteristics of effective learning in the EYFS. 

See our web page here for further information about school visits.  All sessions are linked to the National Curriculum with our coastal sessions also being a perfect match to the Cornerstones curriculum.

Dandelion seed head and caterpillar.  Photo credit Jo Taylor

Visitor Centre and family events

Our Autumn explorer trail running in conjunction with Fylde Council has been very popular.  As half term has been so staggered around the country we will continue to run it till Sunday 3 November, so there's still time to get your entry into the box for the family prize draw!  There's also still time to come and make one of our pine cone creatures!  Bring your little ones down this weekend before school returns.

We are exhibiting the finalists and other entries for the Fairhaven Photographic Competition till Sunday, so there's still plenty time to take a peek at these great photos too.


Our shop has some great stock for all your winter bird care needs, with an vast array of feeders and food.  We currently have 30% off 3kg bags of suet nibbles,which are always a winner with the birds.

We also stock a wide range of binoculars and telescopes for a all differing skill levels.  Our range includes popular RSPB and Viking binoculars as well as other premium brands such as Swarovski and Nikon.  Perhaps treat yourself or someone you love for Christmas.  Call in any time and chat to our experts, there's also open weekend coming up at the end of next month 31 November and 1 December.

We've also got offers on Christmas cards and wrapping paper as well as calendars at the moment.  Get ahead of the game and get organised for the big day!

It's double points on your loyalty card till Monday!

Photo credits Jo Taylor

Marshside and Hesketh Out Marsh

The alternative airshows held recently at both these sites have been very popular with spectators undertaking guided walks across the marsh before the tide came in.  An amazing wildlife spectacle of waders and other birds were observed moving across the marsh looking for roosting sites as the water rose. As the marsh flooded small mammals were spotted trying to escape the water and the hungry raptors above!

Our guided bird watching walks at both sites are also very popular, providing opportunities to learn more about the land management, ecology and wildlife present at the sites. 

The habitat works at Crossens Inner Marsh have been underway and will improve the water levels at the site.   This has been put to the test recently with the bouts of heavy rain and high tides and is being monitored to ensure prolonged flooding is prevented as this will protect the rare coastal grassland.

Thousands of pink footed geese are observed daily feeding in the rich grassland and then flying across the estuary to roost in the evening.  There are also large numbers of wigeon over wintering at the sites too.  The raptors have also been in abundance, with marsh harrier, merlin and kestrel spotted regularly amongst others.

 Merlin photo Credit Chris Gomersall RSPB-images