Main Bay Heath  RSPB


Site Details 

Recorders:  Rachel Tulloch                             Distance: 1400m                             Walk time:  1 hour

Shaped by a long history of coal mining, Fairburn Ings protects a mixture of habitats. Wetland areas created by subsidence include open water, wet grassland, reedbed and wet woodland. While other habitats, including dry grassland, deciduous woodland and lagoons, have been restored on the former coal spoil tips.   

This is a grassalnd area under restoration over magnesian limestone . There are large areas of scrub.


S1 Grassland has good numbers of meadow brown and common blue. S2 has little. S3 is good fro Ringlet and gatekeeper S4+ S5  is very good for Common blue and S5-S6 are best for Large and Small Skippers S8-10 are generally  poorer for species until thinks improve in S11

Results: 2022

Overall a bit down on the previous 2 years. However  its good to see Dingy Skipper feauture. Brimstone numbers well up this year and the county trend was also up while most of the whites were down. Similar to other sites most of the blues and teh vanessids were down. The browns were mixed while on most sites they were well up. In common with elsewhere speckled wood saw a very large increase particularly in September. 

Transect reports

Lindyke Link

Recorders:  Rachel Tulloch                      Distance: 3250                 Walk time:  1.5 hours

From the west car park the route follows the north side riverbank of the river Aire


S1 is a mix of graasland and woodland  with Speckled Wood most numerous along with Orange Tip.  S2-3 grassalnds are favourite  of  Gatekeeper. S4 finds Dingy Skipper. Patterns are similar to S9 which has more Common Blue and good numbers of Small Skippers , Gatekeeper and Ringlet and most counts of these are higher in S10

Results 2022: 

Its three years since teh last full year of data to enable an analysis. Certianly numbeers are well down  and it is difficult to draw any parallels with the county trends. We can see however that as with most localities Holly Blue had a very good year as did Speckled wood that boomed through September.  Although  the Whites, Skippers and Vanessids had a bad  everywhere it was more so here. On other sites Red admiral and Comma in particular had  goood years are less bad here. Although Ringlet held up here Gatekeeper was well down while almost everywhere it boomed.  


2021 results: 

Insufficient data

Riverbank Trail

Recorders: Rachael Tullock                                Distance: 3000m            Walk time:  1.5 hour 

From south of Fairburn village the  route follows theeast side of Main bay down to teh river aire and then follows teh riverbank Westwards  back to the heath and teh visitor centre.


S1 is quiet good for grassalnd species  but with floral inteeest for Smal Torstoiseshells S2-S10 is somewhat treelined and favours Speckled Woods. In S11 back on teh heath good grassalnd with teh best section of teh route particularly Meadow Brown and Small Skipper but also gatekeeper. 

Results 2022:  Insufficient Data