Monday, 17 January 2011

RSPB Fairburn Ings, Yorkshire - A Birdwatching Bonanza!

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A very tame robin in the undergrowth

Swans aplenty at fairburn Ings
RSPB Fairburn Ings, Newton Lane, Nr Ledston, Castleford, West Yorkshire WF10 2BH

Right in the heart of what was the Yorkshire coalfield, about two miles out of Castleford town centre lies Fairburn Ings. Where once there were slag heaps now there is an impressive bird and nature reserve.
During two recent visits we spotted goldfinch, chaffinch, greenfinch, a beautiful deep pink, black headed bullfinch, a tiny wren and a wild baby rabbit!

Other highlights have included a robin so bold it virtually sat on my hand, a rare water rail and a distinctive shoveller duck. Additionally at one point there were so many adult and mature signet swans around the river viewing platform we felt almost under siege.

There are numerous hides and feeders at Fairburn Ings. The feeders are mainly near the visitors centre so you can watch with a cuppa or at just a short stroll from your car. The feeders seem to be very well populated with a variety of birds whenever you go which is impressive.

The cafĂ© is however a little disappointing: coffee from a machine, a limited selection of pre-packed cakes. But don’t let this put you off as this isn’t what the place is about, and lets face it you can always take a flask. Plus there are plenty of picnic tables dotted around this cleverly adapted landscape.

The hides are situated along the visitors trails which include an invigorating walk along the river. There is a Kingfisher viewing point en route too where sightings do occur. The whole area is infact a haven for waterfowl enthusiasts.

On the way back into Castleford you can stop at Lin Dike, still part of Fairburn Ings, which has it’s own hide and viewing points across the wetland. Here we saw teales and shoveller ducks as well as mallards and other more common species.

If it’s this good in January imagine what Fairburn Ings must be like at other times of year.


A Bullfinch on the ground at one of the bird feeding stations

A view of Ferrybridge power station across the wetlands from the Lin Dike trail

1 comment:

  1. Working in pest control Leeds I get amazed at the amount of people who consider birds pests, such beautiful animals - I even like pigeons!


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I have always enjoyed problem solving for friends and family and as a teacher for the last 18 years this is part of what I do every day. During the last year I have been rediscovering a passion for writing and I have recently produced a short story and several reviews for my blog - Places to visit and eat/drink in Leeds, Yorkshire UK. I am also offering my services as a freelance writer.