PEREGRINE FALCON MAKES A FLYING VISIT @ FAIRBURN INGS
On Wednesday I went down to my local RSPB reserve Fairburn Ings which is located east of Leeds near Castleford. The rare Cattle Egret had departed, but the Caspian Tern had been sighted again over the reserve early on Wednesday morning, but had moved on to St Aidans by the time I arrived. When I got there the weather was cloudy and I had driven through a couple of rain showers on the way down.
I first went to the Pick Up Hide which looks over a lagoon towards the Coal Tips Trail and has bird feeders to the right of the hide. Currently feeding on the fat balls were a group of six Long Tailed Tits with Blue Tits, Great Tits and Chaffinches visiting the other feeders. During the next half an hour the feeders were visited by Goldfinches, Dunnocks and a Greenfinch. Also visiting was a lone Coal Tit as well as a Willow Tit.
On the Lagoon were a pair of Mute Swans, Moorhens with their chicks and female Mallard with eight chicks in tow. A Jay flew over the lagoon to the trees at the far left hand side as the Mallard mother brought her chicks on to the banking in front of the hide. A few minutes before I moved on a Whinchat made an appearance on a fence post in the distance, sadly not within decent picture range.
I moved on to the Kingfisher screen and most of the water was covered in algae, making it difficult for the Kingfisher to see fish, and after ten minutes I went back towards the visitor centre. I decided to go to the Lin Dike Hide, but before I did I went down to the pontoons that overlook the main bay. On the water there were at least twenty Mute Swans, fifty Mallards, a lone Great Crested Grebe and a group of fifty to sixty Greylag Geese.
As a couple of Common Terns flew over I was about to make my way back to the car and drive up to the Lin Dike Hide when a Crow & Wood Pigeon flew towards me making a lot of noise. The Crow quickly dived for cover in a nearby tree as chasing them was a Peregrine Falcon, the Wood Pigeon banked round behind me to head back down the lake as the Peregrine Falcon closed in and both birds then disappeared over tops of the trees.
I then made my way back to the car and drove up to the 2nd car park which is at the entrance to a path leading to the Lin Dike Hide. During the journey there were several Goldfinches and a lone Collared Dove perched on the telegraph wires at the side of the road.
From the hide I was able to see a few Swifts, Black Headed Gulls and Greylag Geese with a lone Little Egret looking for food in the shallow water on the right. Wading through the mud at the right hand edge of the water was a single Green Sandpiper, which I spent a few minutes watching. During this time another Little Egret flew in and then flew off away from the hide with the other Little Egret. A lone Common Tern also made a brief visit to perch on a wooden pole out on the lake and clean itself before it was scared off by wave after wave of Greylag Geese flying in and landing on the lake and before long more than 200 had arrived.
After a few more minutes trying to get a good picture of the Green Sandpiper I made my way back down the path towards the car, stopping to get a view of a bird singing in the trees. After watching it for a few minutes I was still not able to get a clear view of the bird and had to later identify it through its call which identified it as a Willow Warbler. I have attached a few pictures from my visit and full sightings list.