Trip reports

Field Trip - RSPB Coombes Valley

Male blackcap in hawthorn bush

Sunday, 17 April 2016

A beautiful sunny day welcomed us as we were greeted by the reserve warden who gave us a short and informative talk on what had been seen around the reserve. At the small information centre, a very busy feeding station was host to a variety of birds including Coal Tit, Willow Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Blackcap and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

The group split up to explore the various trails through the wooded valley, some of these having wonderful viewing points along the way from where Raven and Buzzard could be seen soaring above.

A pleasant walk down towards Coombes Brook in hope of capturing a glimpse of the nesting Pied Flycatchers was rewarded with views of both male and female feeding in the oak trees. Grey Wagtail was also seen feeding down by the stream.

Throughout the woodland, the sound of Chiffchaff, Willow Warblers and Wood Warblers filled the air. We managed the occasional view, usually of birds calling in the tree tops. Goldcrest were seen flitting in the odd conifer with their high-pitched calls easily confused with the similar call of Treecreeper which was also seen. Quite a few Nuthatch were seen and heard calling throughout the valley.

On the open grazed pasture near Clough Meadow Cottage - famous for its nesting Redstarts - Curlew and Pheasant were spotted. Redstart, Mistle Thrush and Song Thrush were seen flying to and fro between mature Hawthorn bushes and trees by the pathway, where they were giving good views.

Back at the Visitor Centre - on the viewing platform overlooking an open pasture - some of the group witnessed a Stoat transferring her kits from the undergrowth to a new location. One at a time, grasping them by the scruff of the neck, she kept bounding back and forth through the grassed area. Our member, Julia Smith, captured a super shot of the event. Another special mammal sighting during the day was of an Otter seen down at the Brook by one of our members.

The finale of the day was the Buzzard Bank wildlife bench. This provided a terrific view down the valley, with a pair of nesting Buzzards attracting the attention of a Sparrowhawk which dared to settle in the same tree as their nest. A steady stream of at least thirteen Buzzards came up the valley - quite a sight!

28 people attended
41 bird species seen