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Recent sightings

  • 18 April 2014

    Recent Sightings: The Moth Diaries

    The beautiful splashes of colour butterflies bring to our gardens are definitive of spring and summer, but what about their night-time relatives? Here at Coombes the moth trap is out almost every night so we can see who visits our reserve once darkness falls. It’s really easy to do, you can even do it at home. 

    Set the scene in your own garden...as dusk falls and the sun sets on a still night, the air comes alive with the thrum of all kinds of busy bugs. If you don’t own your own moth trap they are very easy to make at home from a cardboard or plastic box: http://www.bcni.org.uk/downloads/DIY%20Moth%20Trap%20Project.pdf

    Look out for Elephant Hawk Moths later in the year, taken by Simon Gray

    Even simpler is a live moth trap. Around dusk, hang a bed sheet from your washing line with a bright bulb behind. The moths will be drawn in and some will land on the sheet, making it easy for you to look closely and count them. Definitely a summer treat for kids if it means staying up after bedtime! 

    It’s very early in the year but as the season progresses the range of moths will diversify. We’ll keep you updated on our recent moth sightings; let us know what you find at home.

    March Moth:

    The appropriately named march moth was the first catch of the year! Common throughout Britain, these moths are (probably very obviously) active during March and April. As caterpillars they feed on a range of trees including hawthorn and oak, making Coombes the perfect place for them. Perhaps the strangest feature of the march moth is that the females lack wings. So for those first few days of catching only march moths we can be sure that the trap was a bit of a boys club.

    Hebrew Character, image by Steve Brown

    Hebrew Character:

    Hebrew characters are another very widespread species and can be found in almost any British habitat. Like the march moth they are most active in March and April, although they can be active later in the year. The ‘c’ shaped black mark found on their forewings gives them their name because it‘s similar in shape to the letter ‘Nun’ that is part of the Hebrew Alphabet.

    Brindled Beauty, image by RSPB images

    Brindled Beauty

    The brindled beauty has only made one appearance so far but is relatively common, especially at this time of the year. The male moths are much more likely to be attracted to light and are distinguishable by their large feathery antennae, which help them sniff out the females! Their beautiful peppered patterning helps to camouflage them from predators, making them blend into the bark when they rest on trees.

    Early Thorn, taken by Simon Gray

    Early Thorn

    Whenever a new type of moth makes an appearance in the trap it’s very exciting, like an early morning present! On Sunday I awoke to find the first early thorn. Unlike all the moths above the early thorn has two distinctive waves through the year; now and again in August/September. The other obvious difference is that they hold their wings together like a butterfly and so are much easier to tell apart from other types of thorn moth.

    If you want to help wildlife at home in your garden, visit http://homes.rspb.org.uk/ for more information.  Thank you to Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland for their moth trap how to.

    Posted by Carl

  • 1 April 2014

    Unsprung: A Recent Sightings Spring Update

    Spring has arrived and here is a taster of the reserve’s latest seasonal sightings

    Chiffchaff

    This noisy little bird made his debut two weeks ago. Elusive at first, hidden among the trees in the young woodland, chiffchaffs can now be seen belting out their distinctive song atop some of the reserve’s tallest trees. Although it is a migratory bird, the chiffchaff is among the first species to return to their breeding territory in spring and the last to leave in autumn, an unmistakable sign of seasonal change.

    Chiffchaff., RSPB Image

    Mayfly and Stonefly Larvae

    Out surveying the Coombes Brook this week I came across hundreds of Mayfly and Stonefly larvae. Great food for dippers! We used a kick sampling method which involved my wellies and I getting into the water and kicking up the sediment to then be collected in a net downstream. These two larvae look very alike but a useful tip I was told is that mayfly larva have three tails while stonefly have just two. What we find during surveys like this helps us to judge the quality of the water and thankfully these freshwater minibeasts are a positive sign. If you’re interested in creatures that live in watery homes, pond-dipping runs everyday at Coombes, just check the website for details.

    Grey Wagtail

    The banks near fast running streams are the favoured nesting spots of grey wagtails and the bridge beneath the fairy oak makes the perfect viewing platform to watch our newly settled population. Grey wagtails are known for their displays; the male attempts to impress by singing a fast-paced series of high notes as he makes a slow, fluttering descent through the air. Though the reason for the unmistakable wagging of a wagtail’s tail is not entirely understood it is thought to aid them in catching insects, displaying and communicating with each another.

    Forget-me-not, Simon Gray

    Forget-me-not

    Forget- me-nots have begun to spring up in the car park. Their little blue flowers are a common sight in our gardens and in woodland though they really flourish in wetter habitats such as wetlands and riverbanks. There are many stories as to how the forget-me-not came by its name, a famous German legend asserts that when God named all the plants a single unnamed one cried out, ‘Forget me not, Lord!’ and the name stuck. In the past the name also motivated women to wear them as a symbol of faithfulness and endless love.

    What updates to you have? Has your frogspawn hatched? What have you seen growing in the hedgerows? We’d love you to keep us up to date!

    Posted by Carl

  • 14 March 2014

    Recent Sightings: Spring has sprung

     

    Spring has sprung here at Coombes, birdsong fills the air and buds are starting to break through. The familiar sound of a blackbird can be heard everyday from its perch in the trees and blue tits and great tits are already starting to move into their nestboxes.

     

    Skylarks – Out with our work party volunteers on Tuesday we spotted some skylarks flying up high. At this time of year it could be ‘late birds’ flying back to the uplands. In the next few weeks they’ll begin singing in earnest, hanging suspended overhead as their beautiful song fills the air. This territorial display in the sky can last up to five minutes while the male is at the peak of his flight, before he slowly descends. When out around our reserve keep your ears open and you might just see one.

    Skylark by David Osborn (RSPB Images)

    Common Smooth Cap (Moss) – Coombes is currently covered in a mossy carpet and new and exciting species are visible everywhere. A Common Smoothcap capsule can produce over 100,000 spores, which become wind borne after release. They can be jolted from their pepper pot-like capsule by anything from a falling raindrop to a gust of wind. Some other mosses can produce over 500,000 spores per capsule! Many types of moss provide nest-lining material for birds and throughout this week I have seen robins taking pieces away, a sure sign that spring is on the way.

     

     Willow Catkins – Willow Catkins have started to emerge on trees near the pond this week, a sign that we really are saying goodbye to the cooler winter months and heading for better weather (hopefully!). Catkins are a special type of flower that appear before the leaves. Historically the leaves and bark of willow trees have been used for medicinal purposes, the ancient Greeks often crushed the leaves to treat aches and fevers.

     

    Williow Catkins by Simon Gray.

    Common Carder Bumblebee (Queen) – Queen Bumblebees are taking advantage of spring’s early flowers and first warm days. Unlike other species of bee, which often nest underground, Common Carder Bees nest on the surface and are named for their habit of combing (carding) moss or dead grass. On warmer sunny days keep an eye out for big, clumsy queens flitting from flower to flower.

     

    Common Frogs – The damp edges around our pond are perfect for these slippery creatures and it’s actually the first time I’ve seen them on the reserve; I often spot warty toads instead. Their smooth skin is covered with dark, irregular blotches and can be anything from grey, olive green and yellow to various shades of brown. Males tend to be slightly smaller and darker than females and are distinguishable by the dark bluish-black nuptial pads (swellings) on their first fingers. Although common frogs can be active during the day, they tend to be more so at night and during the winter they hibernate in compost heaps, under stones and logs or in water beneath piles of mud and decaying leaves. You can create a similar home for nature in your back garden visit: http://homes.rspb.org.uk/ for more information.

     

    Common Frog by Mark Sisson (RSPB Images)

    Why not come for a walk through our magical woodland this weekend? With your wellies and a spring in your step, you never know what you might find...

    Posted by Carl

  • 8 February 2014

    A fond farewell...

    Well, this week has been very changeable. Some days we have had all four seasons in one day! Anyway enough about the weather; I know how we Brit’s love to talk about the weather until the cows come home!

    As it is the end of the week, it is time for you to find out what we have seen out and about on the reserve this week. Unfortunately, this will be the last time I (Aimee) will be writing this blog as this is my last week at Coombes Valley. I have had an absolutely amazing time here, met so many interesting people and been able to work somewhere with outstanding views and wildlife. I have seen so many species for the first time here, such as redwings, bullfinches, holly blue, roe deer and many more! I have learnt so much, my favourite ‘tit-bit’ of knowledge being that you can get ginger moles; I have told everyone I know! I have had some amazing wildlife encounters too; my particular favourite being a peacock butterfly landing on my head for a rest. Coombes Valley is literally a gem in Staffordshire and certainly worth a visit.

    View from Buzzard Bank- By Aimee Burrows

    That is my emotional part done with; now back to the main task in hand what we have seen this week. Tuesday was a particularly warm and sunny day (back to the weather I know) and as a result Coombes came alive with sounds. Just standing by the visitor centre I heard the distinctive call of the great tit singing his heart out. I remember this was the first bird call I learnt to recognise, described to me as sounding like a bicycle wheel or foot pump; that analogy has stuck with me right to this day. Our warden team were greeted by a chorus of robins and song thrushes whilst out on the reserve. Upon arrival of spring, Coombes bursts into a symphony of sounds. If you fancy experiencing the spectacle first hand, why not join our Site Manager on 4 May for a Dawn Chorus walk?

    Song thrush- By Steve Brown

    A violet coloured creature has been spotted by the team this week, I have discovered that it has some very interesting characteristics. The violet ground beetle, as it names suggests, has a purple sheen and spends its life on the ground! It’s unable to fly because its wings are fused to form a sort of armour. This species can be classed as a gardener’s friend, as their favourite prey is slugs as well as number of other invertebrate species. However, in order to eat their prey the beetle must first vomit on it! This allows digestive enzymes to break down the food to a more liquid form, therefore making it easier to eat. Ground beetles are known to be able to discharge harmful liquid (to its prey/predators, it is harmless to humans) from its abdomen when it is threatened. What’s more, females use this harmful liquid on very ‘frisky’ males; a female ground beetle version of pepper spray!

    Violet ground beetle- By Steve Brown

    If you take a closer look at the trees and rocks of Coombes, you will notice a new world; the world of lichens. The closer you look, the more you will notice the enormous variety in shapes, sizes and colours. It is estimated that there are over 17,000 species of lichen in the world. They have been found to live in the most inhospitable environments such as lava flows. Lichens are classed as being a dual organism. They consist of at least two life-forms living symbiotically. The first life-form is a fungus and because it can’t make its own food it needs a photobiont. A photobiont has the ability to make its own food, like a plant. The photobiont is normally a green alga. Lichens provide shelter to a range of invertebrates. It is not just invertebrates which benefits from lichens. Goldcrests and chaffinches use lichens to camouflage their nests.

    Lichen- By Aimee Burrows

    There are certain words which go together instinctively such as, pillow and case, tree and trunk, light and bulb. I’m not sure that starling and the word murmuration match instinctively, but since the BBC Winterwatch programme perhaps they should be; they used the term a lot on TV. A starling murmuration is where lots of birds flock together, swirling in the sky at dawn and dusk. It is one of the ultimate winter spectacles in areas where they roost; over reedbeds and even city centres. That is what we had here at Coombes this week though on a small scale; a starling murmuration of about 600 individuals flying over the education barn and information centre. Starlings take to the air and gather from all directions for their communal nighttime roost which can contain up to 100,000 individuals. But why do they do this? The biggest draw is safety in numbers; the more of you in a group, the less likely the chance you will be picked off by a predator. The most amazing ‘swirls’ in the sky are when a predator, like a sparrowhawk, flies by. What’s more, these big gatherings are a good chance to exchange information, such as good feeding sites. The bigger the murmuration the more information an individual can acquire.  When starlings eventually settle, gathering in large flocks has thermal benefits; you can huddle up against your neighbour to keep warm. 

    Starling- RSPB images

    Why not come in your wellies to this fantastic reserve, see what amazing wildlife you can discover and create your own memories of Coombes. 

    Posted by Becky Austin

  • 24 January 2014

    Recent Sightings: winter or spring?

    It’s been a topsy-turvy week in terms of the weather on the reserve. Earlier in the week the frost was making the reserve sparkle in the winter sunshine. Later the sun made a welcoming return giving an extra touch of warmth. Then the cold weather made its return with hail showers. What a mixture! No wonder the wildlife on the reserve is confused. Is it winter or is it spring? Well, whilst working on the reserve this week, – I would probably say spring. Birds have been chirping from the depths of the woodland, a gentle reminder that better weathers on its way. So, with a spring in my step, – here’s what has been spotted this week…

    Peacock Butterfly

    Well it has felt like spring this week – but I did not expect to see a butterfly! Whilst out working on the reserve one of our wonderful volunteers, John, came across this colourful sight. It had been hibernating in one of our barns, taking shelter from the cold harsh conditions of winter. Peacock butterflies will often 'shut-down' during winter and reappear early in spring. Butterfly wings are made up of thousands of scales that create the striking colours we all like to see. The Peacock’s spectacular pattern of eyespots confuses predators. This helps to keep it safe from birds that might want to take a munch. Isn’t nature clever? You too could help butterflies overwinter in your own garden, by building a home for them. Visit http://homes.rspb.org.uk/ for more information.

    Peacock butterfly by Carl Capewell

    Deer ­Tracks

    Our biggest mammal visitors have certainly been putting their mark on the reserve. Unfortunately, not in the snow. However, with all this wet weather there’s plenty of mud to make a print. Or should that be hoof-print? The muds good to squelch in too! (wellies are essential)! Deer tracks have two toes (hooves) that make an upside down heart-shaped track. We have three species of deer on the reserve: red, roe and Muntjac. Late last year Rachel, our warden intern and I, managed to get a glimpse of a Muntjac deer. Of the six species that call Britain its home, only the red and roe are truly native.  These 'Bambi' munching machines often snack on brambles, ivy and young tree shots. So, keep your eyes fixed on the ground for the signs. You never know, you might even catch a glimpse!

    Wood Mice & Shrews –

    It’s not just the big mammals that have been making an appearance this week. Wood mice have been venturing out, taking advantage to chomp on the seeds, buds and worms on offer. You can tell if it's a wood mouse as they have golden-brown fur, large ears and large eyes. These beady eyes help it to find food as they are mainly active at night. During winter, they often share a nest, with up to four individuals per nest (cosy!). They nest below ground in a complicated burrow system, which is often used by younger generations. The nest itself is made up of leaves, moss and grass.

    The common shrew is one of Europe’s most abundant small mammals. It is easily recognised by its velvety dark brown fur and long pointy snout. These tiny terrors can devour up their own body weight in just one day. Selecting insects and worms from natures pantry. All that eating should wear down their teeth. However, iron in their teeth helps to keep their teeth strong and turn them red! When disturbed from the nest, young shrews sometimes follow their mother in a “caravan fashion”. They use their flexible snouts to hold on to the tail of the sibling in front, following the leader!

    Common Shrew by Mike Lane (RSPB Images)

    Jays 

    These colourful members of the bird world have been out and about this week. They are often seen at Coombes flying across the woodland giving its screeching call. After you have explored the wonders of the woodland, take five minutes at the viewing platform. You can often get a glimpse of one trying to find acorns. At this time of year Jays, like many other species often take food and hide it away. Its a kind of insurance policy against bad weather, so they always have a fresh supply. Think of it as a kind of treasure hunt. It is estimated that a single bird buries several thousand nuggets each year!

    Elder 

    One of the many tree species we have on the reserve is Elder. It grows in woodlands and hedgerows often near rabbit warrens or badger setts. Elder flowers have both male and female parts on the same flower. After pollination by the busy bees – each flower turns into small purple berries.  It is thought that the name “Elder” comes from the Anglo-saxon word aeld, meaning fire, because the hollow stems were used as bellows to blow air into the centre of a fire. Many moth caterpillars such as the dot moth and buff ermine like to feed on the leaves of elder too. It was thought that if you burned elder wood you would see the devil, but if you planted it by your house it would keep him away. So get planting!

    So, with the Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend, grab yourselves a cuppa and get counting. It only takes an hour of your time.

    Visit https://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/https://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/ for more information.

     

     

     

    Posted by Carl

  • 10 January 2014

    Recent Sightings: Crunching Creatures

    It was a cold, crisp and frosty morning that I decided to venture out into the magical woodland. With a slight crunching underfoot, it’s amazing to think how the reserve changes. All around you can see that the leaves have just a little bit of added sparkle. The sun glistened through the trees and you could hear the frost melting (perfect!) So off I went on my mini adventure, have a look to see what I discovered...

    Dipper - Strolling down to the bridge I took a minute to admire the sights and sounds. But after stopping for what only seemed like a few minutes, something caught my eye. Just in the distance I could see a bird bobbing up and down on a rock. Could it be the allusive dipper? It was! I tried to sneak to get a closer glimpse, but unfortunately it flew away. Since I started at Coombes, this has been the first time I have seen one here. These birds will be feeding on the vast array of insect larvae found in the Brook. Did you know they can spend up-to 30 seconds underwater? So keep your eyes peeled...

    Dipper by Tom Marshall (RSPB Images)

    Fox Footprints – What does the fox say? Well as it turns out not a lot, but wherever you walk their are signs to be discovered. Although I have seen foxes on the reserve – today was not the day. But simply looking for their tracks is exciting! Foxes do not keep to regular trails. A fox track is very dog-like, but far more compact. The print has four digits with the outer two curved towards the inner ones. There’s plenty of mud out there, so take a look – you don’t know what you will find.

    Common Toad – Whilst walking along the Woodcock Trail, I had a warty encounter. Although not quite Mr. Toad of Toad Hall, it was enjoying the moist conditions along the brook. Probably taking up shelter in the log piles – a fantastic home for them. Giving nature a home is simple visit http://homes.rspb.org.uk/ for more information. They secrete an irritant from their skin that prevents most predators from wanting to eat them. Isn’t nature clever? No wonder they can live for almost half a century.

     

    Common Toad by Ben Hall (RSPB Images)

    Goldcrests - After taking five minutes after the climb up Buzzard Bank, I heard a faint sound. It was the sound of a couple of goldcrests, picking off insects from the plants. They are the smallest songbird we have in the UK. Weighing in at between 5-6g, this is about the same as a 5 pence coin! Odd then that such a tiny bird chooses to build its nest at the top of some of the tallest trees. Look out for the striking crest colour - orange in males and yellow in females.

    It’s amazing what you can find in a couple of hours. Plus you can still see our winter migrants: fieldfares and redwings going about their business. After your adventure take a well deserved break on the viewing platform. You’ll be treated to blue tits; long-tailed tits; nuthatches and if your really lucky a sparrowhawk! So with this weekend looking sunny – what’s stopping you coming on your own adventure..?

     

    Cloughmeadow by Carl Capewell

    Posted by Carl

  • 6 January 2014

    Happy New Year!

    Hello everyone. Sorry for the silence over the Christmas and New Year period although I’m sure you’ve all been kept busy unwrapping presents, feasting and popping the corks on some bubbly.

    It’s been lovely here at Coombes Valley discounting the weather of course which has been a bit wild for a couple of days. There’s been plenty of dry and bright spells however and the temperature's still barmy! Great news for the birds and small mammals who all seem to be finding plenty to eat. I am secretly hoping for at least a sprinkling of snow before I leave. Who wouldn’t when our already magical woodland can look like this...

    Snowy Steps - Simon Gray

    It really is like something straight out of the lion the witch and the wardrobe, Narnia here we come!

    There’s been lots of birds to see on the reserve especially now the trees are bare. The great spotted woodpeckers have really started to show off now. The reserve is echoing with their drumming and call. I saw two yesterday from the hay meadow next to the education barn. They were fantastic to watch with their undulating flight and flashes of red showing up particularly well against the grey sky.

    The tawny owls have quietened down now, having probably set up most of their territories its time for them to take a back seat. Stepping in to the limelight however we have the fabulous raven’s who have been very vocal shattering the idyllic silence with their very rude sounding burp like calls. They have also been showing off tumbling from the air, a sign there breeding season is underway.

    Raven - RSPB Images

    Mammals are still active through out the reserve. One reason to be thankful for the muddy tracks is the ample footprints you can see with fox, deer and rabbit prints all over the reserve as well as some other mammals. Why not come and check them out, you might even get a glimpse of one of these elusive mammals. One of our long term volunteers Aimee had one of these lucky encounters when she saw three roe deer.

    Finally last but not least is this very lovely toad that I spotted when walking past the weevil field on the young woodland loop. It goes without saying I didn’t give him a kiss to see if my prince would appear, as I am not sure that applies to toads as well as frogs.

    Prince Charming  - Becky Austin

    The sunrise sand sunsets are still fantastic from the viewing platform and I’m sure you’ll agree that we are very lucky to get to start and end our day with sights like these. Why not spend a day exploring the reserve and start or end your day with a serene moment of tranquillity at sun up or sun down.

    Sunrise by Becky Austin

    Sunset by Becky Austin

    A very happy new year to all our blog, facebook and twitter followers. Thank you for your support over the last year and we look forward to having you all back to visit the reserve in 2014.

    Posted by Becky Austin

  • 6 December 2013

    Performing from the platform...

    So here’s your weekly recent sightings blog. Another great week on the reserve and an amazing place to see wildlife has been the viewing platform next to the visitor centre. The great spotted woodpeckers are now making regular visits to the bird feeders along with robins and blue, great and coal tits. A male sparrowhawk has been seen regularly as well in the top meadows and in the education field. Two pied wagtails have been enjoying picking bugs out from the tiles on the roofs and making lots of noise in the process. Treecreepers and jays have also been spotted from the platform with the jays making their presence known with their vocal screeching and the treecreepers silently making their way up and down trees. Other species spotted include raven, nuthatch, goldfinch, rabbits and lots of tawny owls to hear from 4pm onwards.

    (Great Spotted Woodpecker by Simon Gray)

    The trees are starting to lose a lot more foliage since the temperatures dropped. Making the wildlife easier to spot and also ensuring there’s a lovely crunch underfoot. It’s been fantastic to see the reserve change, from the lush greens when I arrived to the array of colours over the last month and now as the leaves fall and the temperature drops I look forward to the next instalment of seasonal change. Maybe a nice hoarfrost to set the wood glistening.

    A species which gave us a bit of a surprise on the reserve this week are a very cute wood mouse who we noticed when we were doing the annual nest box empty. He’d made quite a home for himself for over the winter, so we left him in there looking very sleepy and completely unperturbed by our intrusion. Wood mice are one of most common small mammals and make a tasty snack for many other species such as foxes and owls. To increase their chances of survival they are active mostly at night, can leap great distance, have great night vision and will even shed the end of their tail if they are caught.

    (Wood Mouse by Chris Shields - RSPB Images)

    I had a particularly interesting encounter with nature this week when I came across a pheasant not the most exciting species I grant you, not even native having been introduced to the UK by the Romans. This pheasant however was quite territorial so much so that he followed me 200yards down the track and then through the wood for the rest of the day. He spent at least three hours following me around. He was completely unfazed by me, practically sat on my feet at some points. I did manage to get this lovely picture though and luckily he didn’t display any of the aggression that males are renown for when defending territories.

    (Pheasant by Becky Austin)

    I hope you all have a great weekend of fun and exploration, keep an eye on the weather forecast and stay safe.

    Posted by Becky Austin

  • 22 November 2013

    Recent Sightings: Stop and Stare!

    This week it has been noticeably cooler on the reserve with the signs of winter starting to show. Leaves are crunching under foot and you can’t help notice that you need to put a couple of extra layers on in order to keep warm! But with the trees almost bare, the amount of wildlife you can see now is enough to warm anyone up on a cold winter’s day…

    Starlings Late one night just before the darkness fell on the reserve me and Becky, one of our warden interns had a little treat – a mini starling murmuration! With over 100 birds all swooping together the sound was amazing as they flew over our heads, possibly to their communal roosting site. At this time of year their legs are pink and their bill is black, whereas in summer this changes to iridescent colours, with their feathers glistening in the sun. Their talent is being able to mimic other birds which also gives them fame, so much so they are even mentioned by William Shakespeare!

    Starling by Andy Hay (RSPB Images)

    Turkey Tail There’s still an array of fungus to be found on the reserve, just get looking under those decaying logs and you’ll be in for a surprise! Like most other types of fungi, Turkey Tail is the name for the part we can actually see. Most of the fungus is hidden away from view. This particular fungus helps to break down old logs and tree trunks so that their nutrients can be used again, isn’t nature clever?

     

    Turkey Tail by Carl Capewell

    Woodcock Whilst out and about this week these mainly nocturnal birds have been spotted a couple of times. Both Becky and Steve have managed to get a glimpse of this bird during the week, which is quite a rare sight! However, during the winter months woodcocks often come down to the lowlands in order to feed, so if you make a visit you might be lucky too. These bulky birds will be feeding on the large amounts of worms; beetles and small snails on the woodland floor.

    Common Smoothcap It’s often easy to overlook the little things but there are plenty of different types of mosses here at Coombes. Did you know... that each Common Smoothcap produces over 100,000 spores? The spores are released from “pepper pot” like capsules if they are hit by a single raindrop or carried by the wind.

    Colourful woodland The trees are still looking amazing and colourful to the eye – so much so it almost looks like it needs to belong in a picture frame! Seas of colour meet you wherever you walk and cheer you up on a gloomy winter’s day. Keep an eye out for the larch trees which are looking incredible at the moment.

    Valley View by Carl Capewell

    With shorter days there’s even less time to get out and enjoy the outdoors, but fear not you don’t need to spend hours. Sometimes it’s just a matter of standing still for a couple of minutes and keeping an eye out for what snuffles, chirps and grows…

    Posted by Carl

Your sightings

Grid reference: SK0053 (+2km)

Pied Flycatcher (1)
13 Apr 2014
Singing/breeding calls heard
Grey Wagtail (1)
13 Apr 2014

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Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 53.07781,-1.98803
  • Grid reference: SK009534
  • Nearest town: Leek, Staffordshire
  • County: Staffordshire
  • Country: England

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