Sticking to the them of not wanting to go far at the moment we decided to take the short but sometimes tortuous drive to Sandwell Valley and have a look at the new RSPB Visitor Centre.
We parked near the farm and went anti-clockwise around Forge Mill Lake. Stopping at the first bench, directly opposite the hide, as usual for coffee and to see what was about. First impression was surprise at the number of Cormorants, usually we see half a dozen, but counted 25. On bird forums this seems to have been as high as 35 at some point in the day.
From there we also spotted 4 or 5 Snipe, one of our favourite birds. I decided not to take photos at this point as they were fairly distant. After coffee we carried around the lake towards the Visitor Centre finding, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Teal, 50 or so Lapwing, Goosander, Great Crested Grebe and a fair number of Starlings.
We popped to the screens before climbing up to the Centre and was surprised that the pool here was dried up, this is usually a good spot for Shoveler but not today. So we carried on the Centre and very nice it is too, a good job, well done RSPB.
The feeders were back in their original place to the right of the Centre, we stayed a while looking for Bullfinch and possibly Willow Tit, but the only takers while we were there were Blue and Great Tit and Chaffinch. So off down to the next screen for more light refreshment, but nothing to report.
We were surprised as we carried on that the hide was still open at 3.30 so we popped in and sat a while without adding anything new. The volunteers then shut op shop at about 4pm so we carried on, finding what looked like a young Willow Warbler in the trees.
As we joined up with thee main path along the river Tame we found the Shovelers, so that was nice to add to our sightings. Then a bit further on I decided to actually take a photo! A Teal was showing nicely in the sun, so it had to be done:
We returned to the car and then popped over to Swan Pool, found a bench for more light refreshment (Tea this time!) We didn't add anything new, but the Tufted Duck deserved a photo:
So another nice stroll in the sun.
The following day still being nice we spent some time in the Garden, doing some trip planning and enjoying this Sunny spell, so I took a few snaps as well: