AMAZING AVOCETS @ RSPB 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 walked towards the visitor centre there were Tree Sparrows flying to and from the hedge and Cormorants flying overhead. I continued past the visitor centre and onto the Pick Up Hide which was very windy. On the feeders to the right of the hide there were Great Tits, Blue Tits, Tree Sparrows and Chaffinches. After a few minutes they were joined by Greenfinches and Goldfinches whilst on the ground a lone Dunnock looked for food.
A pair of Collared Doves landed in the trees above the hide and a few minutes later one of them descended down to a branch next to the feeders. The Collared Dove had only been there a couple of minutes when a Sparrowhawk swooped down and chased the Collared Dove round the trees. The other Collared Dove flew off after them and as they disappeared from view a Reed Bunting and Coal Tit visited the feeders.
Two Jackdaws arrived at the feeders and as one of them foraged on the ground for food the other tried desperately to get at the food in the bird feeders. Once the Jackdaws had departed a juvenile Blue Tit arrived at the feeders alongside a Willow Tit and a couple of Tree Sparrows. A lone Robin now landed on a branch next to the feeders and after a brief look around moved across to the feeders.
All the time I had been there Sand Martins had been making regular visits to the Sand Martin wall in front of the hide. I left the Pick Up Hide and walked the short distance south east to the next set of feeders which were quite quiet apart from a group of Mallards asleep below. Over to the right of the benches there was a Rabbit feeding amongst the grass at the edge of the bushes and it didn't seem at all bothered by my presence.
I now walked along the path to the Kingfisher Screen hoping to see the Kingfisher but after twenty minutes of waiting there had been no sign so I headed back towards the visitor centre. Before I reached it I turned back towards the Pick Up Hide and onto the path leading towards the Spoonbill viewing area, which is not normally open to the public.
As I walked along the path to the viewing area I saw, flying overhead, Sand Martins, Swallows and Swifts. Once I reached the end of the path I was able to see Grey Herons and Cormorants flying around and at the centre there was a pair of Spoonbills and just behind them and a little higher up there was a pair of Little Egrets. On the water just in front of me there were several Coots and up in the trees around the viewing area there was a pair of Chaffinches. I headed back along the path to the visitor centre where Swifts and Sand Martins were still flying overhead.
I continued past the visitor centre, where there was a male Blackbird under the feeders, and down boardwalks at the edge of the main lake. There were several Mallards and Black Headed Gulls on the water and over to the left there were a trio of juvenile Avocets walking along the mud at the edge of the water. Further out there were four more Avocets which, whenever a Black Headed Gull came near the chicks, one of them chased them off. After chasing the Gulls off yet again, one of the adults landed a lot closer to me and I was able to get a good picture before once again it had to chase off the Gulls.
I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list from my visit to RSPB Fairburn Ings.