What a day we had on Sunday! The extra drive and time proved to be well worth it.
Ten of us set off at 07.30am in three cars for Coombes Valley RSPB Reserve, two from Sapcote and one from north Leicestershire.
I had forgotten how beautiful that part of England is, especially in the sunshine with its rolling hills and dry stone walls.
As previously described, this site is an absolute little gem.
We were met by Murray, who described what we were likely to find and where - pied and spotted flycatchers, redstarts displaying and many warblers including willow and garden. The site is set in a lovely valley, organised into zones to accommodate all users. Nearest to the small centre are accessible areas with families in mind. Lots of activities to encourage children to explore the environment. But for those who would like more peace and quiet to observe the birds you don't have to go very far to the zones beyond.
Down into the wooded valley we walked passing hedgerows, steeply wooded slopes, meandering streams and meadows full of flowers; birds were calling from every direction and in spite of the abundant foliage we soon began to spot them. Good views of both species of flycatcher were had - 2 male pied and a female and a pair of spotted, five species of warbler, a pair of redstarts and swifts. Thirty species in all were seen. (Full lists available on meetings and talks page) After a short lunch break it was decided on the advice of the staff to go onto Carsington Water for the afternoon.
Carsington Water was busy as expected, but less so in the area of the hide and further on. Here we added the sedge warbler to our tally of warblers for the day. A real treat were six whimbrel on the far bank who then did a fly past and, to our surprise, two barnacle geese and a pink-footed goose. It was thought that the latter three were likely to be non-breeders this year. Thirty-five species were seen at Carsington. (List also on meetings and talk page)
A huge thanks to those who helped to organise the day Nev, Graham and Angie and to the car drivers.