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.
It was a cold and cloudy day when I arrived at Fairburn Ings and, as I normally do, I went straight to the Pick Up Hide. The water in front of the hide was quiet, but to the right of the hide there were Great Tits, Blue Tits, Tree Sparrows, Pheasants, Dunnocks and Robins visiting the feeders and picking up scraps from the ground. There was also a very large number of Chaffinches in the branches above the feeders and I counted at least fifteen at one point.
Behind the hide in the bushes a Robin made regular appearances watching me and singing as a Coal Tit flew through and visited the feeders in-between raids by three Grey Squirrels. After a while I headed off to another set of feeders about fifty yards away and a group of Long Tailed Tits were making regular visits along with Chaffinches, Robins, Great Tits, Blue Tits and a lone female Reed Bunting.
As I walked from here to the Kingfisher Screen a Robin was sat at the edge of the path on a branch just a couple of feet from me and wasn't at all bothered by my presence. On the stream which runs the other side of the path a group of Mallards were making their way towards the feeders I had just left. Upon my arrival at the Kingfisher Screen it was very quiet and in the distance I could see two Little Egrets wading through the water looking for food.
I now headed up the hill towards the Coal Tips Trail, but as I neared the top I turned left onto the Riverbank Trail. I was heading for the Bob Dickens Hide as Goldeneye had been spotted on the Main Bay near the hide. Upon my arrival at the Bob Dickens Hide I could see a couple of Pochards and a single Little Grebe diving for food on the water just in front of the hide. Further out I could see around twenty Tufted Ducks and well over one hundred Shovelers on the far side of the lake.
Sadly there was no sign of the Goldeneye I had hoped to see, but as I left the hide and started to make my way back towards the Visitor Centre I spotted down on the River to my left a pair of Goldeneye through the trees. As I walked back past the Kingfisher Screen I had a quick look but there was no sign of any Kingfishers so I carried on. Before I left I had a quick look down at the western end of Main Bay from the pontoons and I could see several Mallards, Black Headed Gulls, Gadwalls and Mute Swans as well a Tufted Duck and Shelduck.
I have attached a full sightings list as well as a few pictures from my visit to Fairburn Ings.