DEPARTING SPOONBILLS @ FAIRBURN INGS


On Wednesday, after thinking about going to either High Batts or Adel Dam, I decided to go to Fairburn Ings instead as I hadn't been during midweek for more than a month. In recent weeks Spoonbills have been breeding at the reserve for the first time at an RSPB site and the first time in over 400 years in Yorkshire.


Upon arrival I went to the Pick Up Hide which overlooks a small lagoon to the front and has several feeders to the right. The lagoon itself was quite quiet with just a pair of Mute Swans and Moorhen mothers feeding their young chicks. The feeders were much busier with Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits and Robins visiting. Soon after sitting down a lone Jay flew across in front of the hide and into the trees on the left.


Whilst I was focusing on the feeders an inquisitive Robin landed on the low branches behind me, hopping about on the branch whilst looking at me. After a minute or so it flew across to the feeders and was joined by a juvenile Robin which looks remarkably different. It has none of the red but is a mottled brown colour.


As I was watching the juvenile Robin I noticed something scurrying about on the ground below the branch the Robin had visited behind me. After watching it come in and out of a hole in the ground I managed to get a couple of good pictures and later identified it as Field Vole. Back at the feeders a pair of Greenfinches along with a juvenile Blackbird and a Great Spotted Woodpecker paid a visit.


After 20 minutes I was about to get up and move onto the Kingfisher screen when a pair of Willow Tits arrived at the feeders. This bird is often confused with the very similar Marsh Tit, they can be separated by the fact that the Willow Tit has a brighter coloured breast. After moving about on the branches and feeders for a few minutes I was able to get a couple of good photos until they were scared off by the much larger juvenile Blackbird.



Once the Willow Tits had moved on I decided to go to the Kingfisher screen. Upon arrival at the screen I was not very hopeful of seeing it as the water was awash with algae making it difficult for the Kingfisher to see the fish. During the 45 minutes I waited there was no sign of the Kingfisher and the only birds to make a brief appearance were a trio of Willow Warblers.


I decided not to go up to the Coal Tips trail as the RSPB were carrying out some work to improve the paths. I made my way back to the visitor centre, enquiring as to whether the Spoonbills were still in residence, however the previous couple of days wet and not so warm weather had led to them moving on to a warmer climate. I then walked back through the car park to the pontoons overlooking the main bay.


From the pontoons the water in front was awash with Mute Swans, female Mallards, a couple of Black Headed Gulls and a few Common Terns perched on posts in the distance. After a few minutes I started to make my way back up to the car park but was stopped in my tracks half way there. Flying from bush to bush was a female Stonechat, but alas it would not sit still long enough for me to get a photo before disappearing from view.


I got back in my car and headed home. The road leads in between several of the reserves lakes and lagoons. As I drove along in the Phalarope Pool was a lone Grey Heron and Little Egret and hovering over one of the pools further on before diving was another Common Tern. I have attached a few pictures and my full sightings list.


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