Monday, 23 July 2018

Fairburn Ings

I'm a bit late with this one but other commitments meant I haven't had chance to touch a keyboard (apart from at work!) until now!

On Thursday last week Chris Packham visited Fairburn as part of his UK wide Bioblitz, each place visited has done their own blitz with the results showing wildlife across the country. Fairburn recorded over 600 species on the day, which is pretty impressive. It brought out the crowds and it's certainly the busiest i've seen it! The local news and press turned out, giving it coverage on the evening news, which was good to see.

We had a little wonder and a lovely ten minutes or so watching the dragonflies by one of the ponds including a constantly on the move Southern Hawker, the noise from the wings was amazing, it was joined by a female a couple of times, that one did rest and I managed to get a photo but I didn't do so well with the male! I'm no dragonfly expert but there was attempts at mating but I don't know how successful they were. 

We saw quite a few small red dragonflies, generally staying just ahead of us on the paths, I think they're Ruddy Darters.

The butterflies were out in abundance again, i'm not sure if i'm imagining it but it seems to be a bumper year so far for them, maybe due to the heat?

I saw this tiny little butterfly near the Spoonbill viewing point, at first I thought it was a Common Blue but on closer inspection realised it's a Brown Argus - a new one for me.

Meadow Brown


Small Copper

There were a lot of Gatekeepers around

Speckled Wood

This Barred Yellow Moth was on the visitors centre

A Ruby-tailed Wasp

We took a look at the Spoonbill nest but the Teaspoons have started to move about now and we just saw one of the adults. A couple of Sedge Warblers were in the reeds in front of the viewing point. 

I managed to miss the Green Woodpecker again as it flew across the pickup hide, I was watching a couple of Greenfinch off to the side! Also seen were Tree Sparrows, Chaffinch, a lot of Jackdaws, Lapwings, Little Egret, among others. I also spotted a very yellow warbler too but it was gone before I could get a proper look at it, Willow perhaps?

Tree Sparrow



Young Pheasant


It was lunchtime by now and we went off in search of chip butties, possibly not the wisest things to sit on your lap in this heat but they were good! 

A half hour stop by St Aidan's proved a very good idea as I finally saw a Bittern, in flight across the reeds along Astley Lake, very pleased i've only ever heard them before. It was mobbed by a couple of Herons as it dropped back down into the reeds. Perfect way to end the day!

Grey Heron


  1. I am unfamiliar with Chris Packham, but I am assuming that he is a local luminary in your area. The whole naturalist community seems to be fixated on bio blitzes and inter city challenges these days. Congratulations on seeing your first Bittern - always exciting.

    1. He's quite a big name in the naturalist world in the UK :) a TV presenter too, he does a lot of good work for various causes. Yes it's true there are a lot of these blitzes and such like all with the aim of getting more people especially youngsters involved! I was pretty excited to see the Bittern, i've just missed seeing one a few times this year!

  2. It's good to see the community concentrating on the Natural World and making it news worthy, the more the merrier in support of keeping Nature in the spotlight. SO many awesome butterflies, and great birds too in this post. Glad for your Bittern Sighting!! CaChing!

    1. It is and it gets youngsters involved too, which is important! I love seeing the butterflies, it's a really good year for them so far! I was pleased we stopped off and saw the Bittern!

  3. Chris Packham does so much good work in promoting nature and getting people interested in wildlife. He also isn't afraid to get involved in controversial issues - I really do admire him. :)

    What a great day out you had - well done on the butterfly "tick" and seeing a Bittern. A lovely set of photos too.

    1. I do too (and may have had tiny crush back in the Really Wild Show days....... :0 ).

      Thanks, it was a great day and good to escape from work too!

  4. Hi Pam. You certainly had a very interesting day and well done on your first Bittern sighting … I'm sure there will now be many more.

    My butterfly records indicate at least double the sightings compared to the previous two years and definitely a result of the continuing warmer weather BUT there are still many species suffering overall declines!

    1. Thanks Frank, I hope so!

      I've definitely had more sightings too, especially new species in the garden but yes what's good for some isn't good for others is it.

  5. Had been looking forward to reading this post and to see if you got to meet Chris, often when I am out on my own the only men I seem to come across sadly all look a bit dodgy, not like any of the good looking ones on the TV.
    He has done a lot of good work recently, how great to see a Bitten but I would have been just as excited to see the A Ruby-tailed Wasp. It has been on my list of must see for ages.
    We have a voucher for Fairburn Ings but decided to go when the children have gone back to school in September, it will be interesting to see what's about then.
    Amanda xx

    1. I didn't really get to speak to him as he wasn't supposed to be doing a meet and greet so didn't get lots of time to speak to people and the woman he was with kept him moving! (I may have been a little tongue tied if I had anyway :O ) but it was a good day. I know what you mean about dodgy looking guys!!!

      I was so pleased to see the Bittern. It's only the second time i've seen a (live) Wasp, I did see one at Rodley the other week too. It's always well worth a visit to Fairburn, i'm not sure the Spoonbills will still be about in September?