It's May, we're in the north midland, there's one place that screams a visit; The RSPB reserve at Coombes Valley (near Leek), and may I say it was brilliant at the weekend. The star birds are Pied Flycatcher (we saw 4) and Redstart (3), plus Wood Warbler although we didn't find any this visit - largely because we didn't hear any and the leafy canopy is already so full, keeping them well hidden.
There is some disappointing news to report as the hide overlooking the pond has been dismantled I'm told due to H&S concerns. Last year it made for unbelievably close views of the pied flies, but now replaced with a bench out in the open it seems those special encounters are going to be a thing of the past, hence the dodgy digi-binned picture of the female (above). They are apparently discussing options for a more permanent replacement there.
Still, whether 5 or 50 feet away, they are magical birds to see at all, and the pond remains the top spot.
Other birds of the day included Raven, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker(!), Grey Wagtail, and woodland regulars like Sparrowhawk, Nuthatch, and Chiffchaff.
Broadleaf woodland, get thee to one soon!