Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Fairburn Ings 28th - 29th October 2010

Another brilliant RSPB reserve! I hadn't been here for 20 years and how those years have been kind to the area; thanks to the RSPB. A superb visitor's centre, miles of walks with fabulous autumn colours, lots of birds and a special group of great RSPB people.

Met by young Joe, who was exited over having just found a common waxbill. Ah sweet youth and naivity. Me, old cycnic that I am. I wasn't too upset at not seeing it.

Now Joe [Joseph!!!] was fabulous. In fact he has been the first person that I've met on an RSPB reserve who has actually asked whether I was a member! I showed him my membership card and gave him my complimentary one - signed. You should have seen him blush. Brilliant.

A great welcome. Met Zoe, a keen roseate tern fan with a tattoo to show her love and Duncan, a peat bog man.

A quickish walk around part of the reserve with Graham [Thanks!] with kingfisher coming close and lots of tree sparrows, goldfinch and itimice, including willow all seen.

An evening spent in the company of three smashing lads in the RSPB house. Condition of my staying there for the night was that I watched Kate Humble on Autumnwatch. No hardship there.

Friday 29th October

A day of fun with the photo session on an Halloween Theme. The reserve is having a Ghostly evening and from all of the preparations going on in the centre's office I know the children who attend, and their parents are in for a spooky time. I'll put some photos on when Joe sends some that he took to me.

A superb drystone wall is being built and thought you might like to see the progress:-

Thanks to Darren Starkey and everyone who I met there.

Off around the reserve, both in the morning and again until sunset, with a long walk after viewing from the hide near the centre. A beautiful walk surrounded by the golden leaves of silver birch. Goosander, pintail, shelduck, goldeneye and six black swans [bred here this year - future British Bird?] on the water with 100s of coot and other more common species; kingfisher, green woodpecker, willow tits, tree sparrows, siskins, lesser redpoll amongst other titmice, finches etc. Birds of prey also seen, peregrine, sparrowhawk a few times, buzzards and kestrels.Great day's birding with it ending at sunrise with snipe tazzing about and dozens of cormorants coming in to roost. 66 species over the day - the best day's birding numbers -wise in Yorkshire - so far. Will Old Moor RSPB reserve give a better total?

So now for a short rest before the final stretch from Fairburn to Sandy via Lincolnshire, Notts, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, etc. Just a short jaunt really!!!

Thanks to everyone who's donated and thanks for all the messages of support.

All the best everyone,



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