RSPB Fairburn Ings Reserve, 1st May 2018
Leader: June E. Atkinson
A sunny day was very welcome for the ten members who met in the reserve car park and a good start was made from the observation platform with Reed and Sedge Warblers, a pair of Common Whitethroats choosing a nest site and an Avocet which came into view just in time for a tick. During a walk from the centre to the first hide, House Sparrows were noted at the feeding station and, continuing on, a few Greylag Geese were seen with a Moorhen, while Blue and Great Tits were on the feeders. We continued our walk along the streamside where a Large Red Damselfly was found, Orange Tip butterflies were on the wing and Chiffchaffs were singing. On our way up to the coal track, a Willow Warbler gave good views and, once on the coal track, a Sky Lark and a Green Woodpecker were heard and an Oystercatcher was at a pool. News of Black-necked Grebes on the new pool quickened our pace and we had excellent very close views of five of them in breeding plumage; Little Grebes and Pochard were also present.
We moved along to the highest point which overlooks the reserve towards the main road, our main objectives being Great White Egret and Spoonbill. It was essential to use a telescope to view both species some distance away at their breeding site in the willows. A Cuckoo flew by then perched obligingly for us and, before we left, a Bittern began booming from the reedbed. Well satisfied with our morning, we made our way back to the centre for lunch before taking in Lin Dyke, as Egyptian Geese had been reported there. After much searching, a single goose was found. Due to the heavy rainfall in this area recently, the water level was very high. Gadwall, Shoveler and Shelduck were among the ducks present, two Common Terns gave good views as did a Little Egret. From the willows, a Cetti’s Warbler gave us a few bursts of song but remained elusive, as usual!
We continued towards the canal bank where a Willow Tit was seen by two lucky members. Garden Warbler and Common Whitethroat were present along the way and another Common Tern and Avocet were on Higson’s Pool. On our return, Yellowhammer, Goldfinch and Greenfinch were added to the list and, as we approached the car park, a singing Lesser Whitethroat was heard and eventually seen. Few raptors had been seen during the day and so an effort was made in the car park to find some. After much sky-watching, a Common Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk were found and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen from the bridge — a fine end to the day.
Thanks to the weather and a great team effort by the members, a total of 75 species was seen.