CURIOUS COAL TIT @ FAIRBURN INGS


On Saturday 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 warm sunny day when I arrived at Fairburn Ings and after I spotted a Collared Dove, Reed Bunting, Robin and Chaffinches at the feeders next to the visitor centre I headed for the Pick Up Hide. Amongst the blossom in the trees to the right of the path I spotted a male Bullfinch. The water in front of Pick Up Hide was fairly quiet with just a single Coot, the feeders to the right of the hide were empty. Due the feeders being empty it was quite quiet with just Dunnocks, Chaffinches and a lone Greenfinch present.


I walked along the path to the feeders just a hundred yards south west of the Pick Up Hide and they were a bit busier with Chaffinches, Reed Buntings and Dunnocks visiting the feeders. Underneath the feeder there was a lone male Mallard and as I was about to head off a lone Coal Tit landed in the tree above the feeders. It spent a couple of minutes looking at me before descending onto the feeders and then returning to the tree to eat what it had taken.

It then landed on a rope which the feeders where hanging from, briefly having a look around and then preening itself before visiting one of the feeders. I walked along the path to the Kingfisher screen hoping it might pay a visit but it did not and so after a few minutes I headed up the hill towards the Coal Tips Trail. When I reached the Coal Tips Trail I decided to head round the trail in a clockwise direction and as I walked past the reedbed I heard the boom of a Bittern. It boomed again a couple of times before going quiet.


On the water itself there were Tufted Ducks, Gadwalls, Great Crested Grebes, Greylag Geese and a trio of Little Grebes. I continued along the path, spotting a couple of Reed Buntings moving through the reedbeds as I went, and when I reached the far end of the trail there were three Buzzards soaring overhead. I was now heading back towards the start of the Coal Tips Trail and in the water to my right there were a few Coots and a Mute Swan. Over to the left I could see down to the large Heronry where there were more than a dozen Grey Herons and more than fifty Cormorants.

In the fields next to the Heronry there were more Grey Herons and several Canada Geese. As I reached the final part of the Coal Tips Trail there were a pair of Great Crested Grebes close to the water's edge and a Skylark singing overhead. I made my way back past the Kingfisher Screen towards the Pick Up Hide and I spotted a couple of Robins before I reached it. The feeders were slightly busier now with Dunnocks, Robins, Tree Sparrows, Goldfinches and Greenfinches in the trees above the feeders.

I headed back to the Visitor Centre stopping to have a look at the feeders there which where busy with Long Tailed Tits, Chaffinches, Great Tits, Tree Sparrows, Goldfinches and a Reed Bunting visiting the feeders. Before I left I made a quick visit to the pontoon on the Main Bay which was quiet apart from a few Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Black Headed Gulls and a lone Great Crested Grebe.


I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list from my visit to RSPB Fairburn Ings.

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