The first sighting of a pied flycatcher has been reported here at Coombes Valley on Tuesday 14th April. A male was spotted and photographed close to the pond on the woodland valley loop on Thursday. The pied flycatcher was seen competing with blue tits for a nest box which the blue tits have already began building a nest in. Pretty cheeky flycatcher if you ask us! We’re not sure who is going to win that battle but clearly the pied flycatcher certainly thinks he has a chance!

First pied flycatcher - Katy Fielding

Guarding the nest box! - Katy Fielding

The first redstart has officially been seen today! A photographer taking shots of a peacock butterfly saw a flash of red in a tree close to Clough meadow cottage. A pair of redstarts often nest in the cottage so this might be one of the pair! 

Willow warbler and chiff chaff can both be heard singing throughout the reserve now. They can even be heard from the car park which makes for a wonderful greeting first thing in the morning for everyone here at Coombes.

Swallows can be seen soaring overhead from the Visitor Centre and have recently been joined by house martins making a great sight for visitors of all walking abilities.

Swallow - Katy Fielding

Additionally, the bird feeders are still alive with birds preparing to and feeding young, so it is well worth spending some time watching these when you visit. You never know when the sparrow hawk might swoop by in the hopes of catching a bird unaware – I watch it try a couple of times a day!

Smooth newts can be seen in the small pond by the yurt with their breeding crests in full glory. This is great to see but while the newts are mating we’re asking guest to admire these incredible animals and not pond dip for a short time.

Smooth newt with breeding crest - RSPB image

Peacock and small tortoiseshell butterflies have been seen on the reserve, and as the weather improves we’re expecting to see orange-tip and brimstone butterflies soon.

Keeping watching for updates of spring migrants and fauna and flora of spring.