GREAT WHITE EGRET PAYS A VISIT @ FAIRBURN INGS
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.
As I reached the path that leads from the car park to the visitor centre a Robin was perched on the stone wall on the right hand side of the path and kept moving from stone to stone just a couple of feet away. I continued on to the visitor centre and had a quick look at the two groups of feeders which were quiet apart from a few Chaffinches, Blue Tits and Dunnocks.
As I walked to the Pick Up Hide a pair of Robins were perched in the trees at the side of the path and as I arrived at the hide there were three more Robins. The water in front of the hide was fairly quiet with just a couple of Coots and a lone Little Egret in view. The feeders however were much busier with Dunnocks, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits and Chaffinches making regular visits.
A trio of Reed Buntings descended on the feeders and a lone Siskin perched above very briefly before flying off across the front of the hide. A pair of Coal Tits and Willow Tits now made trips to the feeders before being scared off by half a dozen Greenfinches. A few Long Tailed Tits now flitted around the feeders waiting for the Greenfinches to depart and once they did they descended on the feeders and there were now four Robins in the trees next to the hide.
I now moved on to the second set of feeders about fifty yards south east of the south facing Pick Up Hide. These feeders were just as busy with several Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Reed Buntings and a lone Willow Tit making regular visits as well as a pair of Long Tailed Tits. A couple of Robins occupied bushes just to the side of the feeders and chased off any birds that came near them.
I walked along to the Kingfisher screen to see if one would make an appearance but after half an hour I had seen nothing so walked back to the visitor centre. As I reached the feeders by the visitor centre I spotted more Robins, Dunnocks, Chaffinches and Long Tailed Tits as well as a female Bullfinch perched just above them. I walked across the car park and down to the boardwalk at the edge of the main lake and the water was awash with Mallards and Black Headed Gulls with a few Tufted Ducks & Shovelers further out and a lone Mute Swan in the foreground.
A Great White Egret had been seen in recent weeks from the Lin Dike Hide so I went back to my car and drove up towards the car park for the hide. I was just going past the New Flash as I approached the car park when I spotted two Egrets in the water just by the roadside with one of them considerably bigger than the other and this one was the Great White Egret!
I pulled over to the side of the road and got out with my camera and managed to get a few good photos before it flew away a few minutes later. As I had now seen the Great White Egret I decided not to go to the Lin Dike Hide and head home. I have attached a full sightings list and a few photos from my visit to Fairburn Ings.