On Sunday I went down to my local RSPB reserve, FairburnIngs 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.
I had just driven past the Lin Dike Hide car park and the New Flash lake appeared on my right where in amongst the Tufted Ducks I spotted a single male Goldeneye near the edge of the water. By the time I had stopped the car and got my camera out the Goldeneye had made its way round to the other side of the lake and spent the next quarter of an hour there so I got back in my car and continued down to the main car park.
It was a sunny day when I arrived at the main car park for Fairburn Ings and after a quick visit to the visitor centre to check the latest sightings book I headed for the Pick Up Hide. On a branch near the hide a Robin was singing away and after watching it for a couple of minutes I walked the final yards to the Pick Up Hide. Out on the water in front of the hide were several Gadwalls and a couple of Moorhens.
On the feeders to the right of the hide there were Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Tree Sparrows, Blue Tits, Great Tits and a single Greenfinch. A Squirrel kept trying to get at the feeders until it was chased along the branches by another Squirrel and a waiting Robin took this opportunity to visit. There were a couple of Blackbirds and Pheasants on the ground below the feeders picking up the scraps that had been dropped.
The Greenfinch now made its way through the branches and perched just behind the feeders as a Reed Bunting appeared from behind the hide. A little further off a Dunnock emerged from the bushes and hopped through a wire fence and landed on a log before heading back through the fence towards the feeders. Near the feeders a Willow Tit flew in and landed on a branch as the sun re-emerged from behind the clouds bathing it in sunlight.
The Willow Tit spent a couple of minutes preening itself before making its way across to the feeders, but not long after the Squirrel returned and proceeded to tuck in. I left the hide and walked the short distance south east to another set of feeders where there were a few Mallards sat below and a Great Tit and Chaffinch sat in the trees above them.
A female Reed Bunting landed in the trees just to the right and it was soon followed by two male Reed Buntings. I continued on to the Kingfisher screen where sadly the Kingfisher had just departed before my arrival. Whilst I waited to see if the Kingfisher would return a flock of around a dozen Linnets flew overhead, briefly landing in the tops of the trees before continuing on out of sight. A minute or so later a Grey Heron flew low overhead towards the Pick Up Hide and I decided to make my way back towards the visitor centre.
Before I went back to my car I made my way to the boardwalk that looks out over the main lake. On the water there were several Black Headed Gulls, Mute Swans, Mallards and amongst the Tufted Ducks there was a single male Goosander. I now headed back to the car and made my way back down the road to where I had seen the Goldeneye as a Grey Heron flew overhead. When I arrived there were plenty of Black Headed Gulls and a trio of Shovelers and the in the distance a Whooper Swan, but no sign of the Goldeneye.
Only a few seconds later it rose to the surface of the water amongst the Gulls and it spent the next fifteen or so minutes constantly diving for food. It came closer and closer not at all bothered by me watching it from the roadside just about twenty feet away. As I was watching the Goldeneye, groups of Canada and Greylag Geese flew overhead and landed on the water and after getting a few good photos of the Goldeneye I got back in my car and headed home.
I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list from my visit to Fairburn Ings.