Friday, 10 September 2010

New Places to visit.

My move to S.Yorkshire has meant that I have some new places to visit. One such place was Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve. Situated near Castleford and alongside the river Aire the areas of open water on the reserve were formed by the subsidence of coal workings up to half a kilometre underground, (ok, I stole that bit of speil from the brochure) What I can tell you is that there was an abundance of stuff there to be seen and some good stuff to photograph too.

If you find yourself in Yorkshire and are kicking your heels for somewhere to go you could do a lot worse than visit the reserve. I would advise that you take a packed lunch. The visitor centre has sandwiches, cakes and a drinks machine but the 2 ends of the reserve are 3 miles apart (appx) and the reserve is located smack bang in the middle so realistically its a 3 mile round trip to get from the centre to either end. There are five hides and a few viewing areas, there are 3 feeder stations located near the visitor centre and these attract a wide variety of birds. I saw Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Tree Sparrow, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Collared Dove, Pheasant, Coal Tit and amazingly Willow Tit. How do I know its Willow and not Marsh Tit? apparently the reserve don't get Marsh Tit so it had to be.

Willow Tit:

On the reserve I wasn't disappointed either, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Kestrel, Kingfisher, just to name a few. The weather in the morning was disappointing, the cloud cover was almost constant and a few spells of quite heavy rain, during one lull in the rain a Kingfisher came to the front of the Pickup hide, I managed only two frames.


He returned some 20 minutes or so later and I managed another 3 frames, this was the best.

I decided not to wait any longer and set off to explore. Back outside the visitor centre I sat and waited for the Tree Sparrows, I wasnt disappointed.

It was starting to rain so I only grabbed a few shots. Tree Sparrows are a bird that I used to see a lot when I was a kid but they are not so common now.

They are so characterful aren't they?

I'm quite pleased with the results. Around the reserve there were lots of birds, at the Lin Dike hide I was advised there was a Wood Sandpiper. I have to take the word of the three other birders with scopes who assured me that, that was what it was. I'm going to include it as a yearly tick because over the last few days a number of birders have idetified it as such, so thats good enough for me (or is it?) There were some examples of my favourite cattle on the reserve. Yes you guessed it Highland Cows.

Again so full of character.

I got a shot, albeit from a distance, of a Greenshank.

and another of a Green Sandpiper.

Or is it? I think it is, I saw the white rump when it flew off but it looks nothing like this Green Sandpiper I saw at Old moor the other day

and here it is the very distant shot of the Wood Sandpiper, or is it? you tell me?

I have no idea what it is, but I do know its not the same bird as the Greenshank above they were 150 yards apart. Is it another Greenshank or a Green Sandpiper? I really would like to hear your views, you can leave a comment on this post or email me at

I did manage to get some other stuff, a Common Darter dragon fly.

and a Hawker, which I believe is a Migrant Hawker.

I was amazed at how close it let me get this next shot is the camera's full frame (yes I know the camera is a 1.3 crop Chris).

All in all I had a great day, I met a really nice old chap who was so full of info about the origins of the reserve and how he'd seen the area change since the 60's. Would I go again? You bet I will.