RSPB Phoenix

Macclesfield RSPB Phoenix - Woodcock Walk
at RSPB Coombes Valley

Thursday 13th May 2010

     RSPB Phoenix members from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers visited the
     RSPB reserve at at Coombes Valley near Leek for a Woodcock walk at dusk.

Woodcock Walk (01)
Site Manager Jarrod Sneyd gave a fascinating insight into the history and management of the reserve.

Woodcock Walk (02) Woodcock Walk (03)
We had lots of fun learning about the plant life on the reserve and how parts of grasses (spikelets and ligules!) give clues to their identification. Jarrod's botanical knowledge was a great help when it came to conducting our Bee Scene survey and the walk too!

Woodcock Walk (04) Woodcock Walk (05)            
Dusk was a wonderful time to listen to birdsong at Coombes Valley and the group soon got to grips with identifying the beautiful calls of song thrushes.

Woodcock Walk (06)
Reaching the heart of the reserve we were rewarded with fantastic views of Woodcock displaying.
This was a first view of these amazing 'woodland waders' for many in the group.


Woodcock are very difficult to spot in their natural woodland habitat as they are very well camouflaged. At dusk in the spring and summer, however, the birds make regular circuits above woodland whilst making a series of grunts and whistles.
This behaviour is called 'roding'.


 On our walk round the reserve, we identified:

 Alder
Common vetch
Herb robert
Oak
Soft rush
 Aspen
Cuckoo Flower
Hogweed
Pignut
Sorrel
 Birch
Daisy
Holly
Pink purslane
Sweet vernal grass
 Bittercress sp.
Dandelion
Knapweed
Plantain
Thistle
 Blackthorn
Dock
Lesser celandine
Primrose
Timothy
 Bluebells
Dog violet
Marsh marigold
Red campion
Tufted hair grass
 Bulbous buttercup
Germander speedwell
Meadow foxtail
Red clover
Wood anemone
 Cleavers
Hawthorn
Meadowsweet
Rosebay willowherb
   

From the flowering plants we were able to identify we completed a Bee Scene survey for the reserve.
With lots of different species the reserve is probably very good for bees!
(See our virtual flower on the survey website!)


On our walk round the reserve, we identified:

 Blackbird
Blackheaded gulls
Blue tit
Carrion crow
Goldfinch
 Great tit
Linnet
Pheasant
Robin
Rook
 Song thrush
Wood pigeon
Woodcock 'roding'