Sunday, 10 May 2009

Fairburn Ings

We headed out on a trip to Fairburn Ings this afternoon. The weather stayed nice despite the rain forecast and got quite warm in the end. The first birds spotted where a couple of Dunnocks around the visitors centre. The feeders were pretty quiet compared to our last visit in January when they were covered in Goldfinch. We walked up towards the Pickup Hide with instructions for my little one to keep quiet so she doesn't scare the birds off. She doesn't do bad for 3! It was quite busy and after hearing a couple of comments, picked up on a deer that was way over the other side of the water. My first Roe Deer! There were plenty of Canada Geese, Coots and a few Shelducks, which was another first for me. A guy pointed out a rabbit and another soon joined it and we also watched rat around the bottom of the feeder table.

My daughter was getting a little restless after seeing the animals and so she didn't get too loud we moved on. I stopped to watch a couple of Blue Tits fly in and out of a house on one of the trees before looking through the wall holes at the feeder station. Again very quiet apart from a lone Chaffinch. There were however an awful lot of insects about on the nettles along the water there, which got the little ones interest (apart from anything that looked like a bee then she was off the other way!)

The most abundant were little green shiny beetles and some rather odd looking ones, which i'll try and id.

Also there were quite a lot of butterflies about mostly Small Whites, with the odd Orange Tip and a Speckled Wood too. Just by a bridge I saw a couple of birds fly across and went back to try and see what the were - either Willow or Marsh Tits they didn't hang around long enough for a definite id though, which is unfortunate as I have seen neither before. We saw a pair of Coots with their babies at the dipping pond. The babies were bigger than the ones we saw last week and quite different in their markings too. Their parents had quite a squabble with three Mallards that had settled near by.

A rather scruffy looking Robin followed us up the path a little as we headed upto the riverbank trail. Just through the gate is another wall with viewing holes which overlooks part of the river. There was a lone Mallard sat on the bank.

Not that you can see him well in this picture! As we walked up the slope we saw a three guys with much better scoping equipment than I could ever dream of, they had been watching a bird of prey quite high up in the sky. I am not good at all in identifying these unless I can see them up close so I quite often miss out on these birds quite a bit. But one of these guys very nicely told us it was a Buzzard - yet another first for me. It soon flew off though and not long after that we saw 3 Cormorants fly over head at various intervals.

The woods were full of bird song including one I have never heard before - a Cuckoo, my husband has not heard one before either and we stopped to listen, of course we didn't see any sign of it. We decided to walk to the first hide (Bob Dickens) as we were pushed for time. From there we saw a Heron flyover, several gulls which were too far away to id, Swans out to the middle of the lake, a couple of Tufted Ducks and a Great Crested Grebe.

So we headed back spotting a few damselflies on the way. Back at the visitor centre as we ate ice cream we saw another rat by the feeders there and then a Pheasant appeared too.

It was quite a nice afternoon. I do feel a bit guilty dragging the whole family along as I don't think the boys are so keen on me stopping with the binoculars for ages :-) and I know my hubby gets bored with it after a while too. Perils of not driving myself though. At least its exercise for everyone and my daughter is of the age to be interested in everything and likes to know what she is looking at!


  1. Hi Pam, your mystery Tits will have been Willow Tits as Fairburn is a well known place to see them. Marsh Tits are very rare at Fairburn.

  2. That's great to know, I guess they can go on my list then. Thanks for that!

  3. I've just been catching up with your latest posts, I do struggle to keep up with all the lovely blogs I follow. It sounds like you had a wonderful outing and saw and heard some interesting things, I haven't heard a Cuckoo at all this year so far but they used to be a common sound, and often sight, on our local walks.

    I think it is wonderful how you are instilling your love of nature in your daughter and I'm sure it will stay with her all her life. My Mother did the same for me and it was a wonderful gift to be given.

    By the way, I will put you on my sidebar so I can keep my eye on you more easily!! ;~D

  4. There is a lot of good blogs out there, you could spend way too much time on here looking at them :-) I finally figured out how to put the blogs I follow on the side too, makes it much easier!