Trip reports

Coombs Valley 24/05/14

Male blackcap in hawthorn bush
Blackcap - RSPB images

Saturday, 24 May 2014

9 members ignored the weather forecast to head off to Staffordshire and the RSPB reserve of Coombs Valley. Situated just south east of Leek, this reserve is a haven for woodland birds. Various trails snake through the mixed woodland including the new Woodcock Trail which had only been open about 6 weeks.

We began by watching the feeders by the visitor centre - nuthatch and great spotted woodpecker joined chaffinch & goldfinch for a morning snack.

We then headed out into the reserve. The birds were in full song - blackcap, song thrush & blackbird all doing their best to proclaim their territory. As we reached the bottom of the hill we found a nest box occupied by a pair of pied flycatchers - we stopped a while to watch them coming in & out with food.

We made our way along the sides of the valley and heard a garden warbler. Sadly it was tucked right into the vegetation and we couldn't even get a glimpse. A treecreeper had made its nest in a dead tree and every time it visited the nest it seemed to climb the trunk and then just vanish.

Towards the far end of the reserve we found a redstart but unfortunately we also found the rain. On the return journey it rained pretty persistently and we didn't really see much else.

We had lunch back at the car park, hoping the rain might ease so we could head off somewhere else. Sadly it only seemed to get worse and, since we were all pretty soggy, we decided to call it a day.