On Wednesday I went down to my local RSPB reserve, Fairburn Ings which is located east of Leeds near Castleford. Fairburn Ings was designated as a nature reserve in 1957 under the National Parks & Access to the Countryside Act (1949) and since the 1970s the reserve has been managed by the RSPB.
Before I headed to the Pick Up Hide I had a quick look at the feeders by the visitor centre which were currently being visited by Tree Sparrows, Robins, a single Collared Dove, female Reed Bunting and a male Bullfinch. After a few minutes I made my way round to the Pick Up Hide which looks south westwards over a small lagoon and is a good place to see a Willow Tit.
Right on cue as I looked out of the hide at the feeders a Willow Tit landed on one of the branches above the feeders but had to wait for a Squirrel which was trying to get at the food in the feeders. Once the Squirrel departed several birds made an appearance including Robins, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches and a lone Coal Tit. After about ten minutes there were four Squirrels in the trees above the feeders.
One of the Tits made there way to the supposedly Squirrel-proof feeders and managed to get inside the outer cage and proceeded to get itself stuck. Just in front of me a Wren landed on a branch before moving onto a small blackberry bush next to the wire fence in front of the hide. As I looked round the Squirrel had just managed to extricate itself from the feeder and scurried off along the branch and disappeared.
A couple of minutes later a Robin made a brief visit to the feeders before perching on a branch behind the hide for several minutes allowing me to get a few pictures before it moved on.
After about forty minutes I left the Pick Up Hide and made my way along the path towards the Kingfisher screen. I stopped off briefly at the feeders at the southern corner of the discovery trail and there was another Willow Tit as well as a Coal Tit visiting these feeders. As I continued along the path I stopped a short distance before the pond dipping area as just six feet from me a Robin was sat at the end of a branch watching me and singing.
I carried on to the Kingfisher screen and upon my arrival I could see a Grey Heron sat on a fence about fifty feet away on the right hand side. Milling about in the water were a couple of Moorhens but sadly no Kingfisher despite the new perches that had been placed for them. Fifteen minutes later the Grey Heron moved from the fence to the banking at the edge of the water and proceeded to search for fish without success.
I had now been waiting a good forty minutes for the Kingfisher but there had been no sign. The Heron rose up from the banking to chase off another Heron before returning a lot closer to the screen. As I was waiting several Cormorants and Black Headed Gulls flew back and forth overhead and a Kestrel perched briefly in a tree to the far left hand side. I gave up looking for the Kingfisher and headed back to the visitor centre via the Pick Up Hide which not as busy this time.
As I was getting close to the visitor centre a lone Dunnock was perched on top of the carved wooden Owl and flew off into the bushes when it saw me and the male Bullfinch was hidden amongst the same bush. Before I left I had a quick look at the main lake from the pontoons and on the main lake were several Mallards, Mute Swans, a few Teals and a lone Great Crested Grebe. As I walked back to the car a duo of Long Tailed Tits were calling from the trees.
I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list from my visit.