After weeks and weeks without any birding at all, I got up early, wrapped up warm and... boiled.
OK, so it wasn't exactly hot at just over 1 degree C, but there just hasn't been a real bite in the air yet this year (or at least if there has I've been stuck in a heated office and missed it). Still, it was just nice to get out, even if no one told the birds I was coming, and it was cool enough to get a nice mist rising off the River Leam.
A trip round Leam Valley produced most of the regulars, including a nice number of Bullfinches (five in all), and up to five singing Song Thrushes. It was also nice to meet a fellow birder in the hide - that makes three of us who I know keep a regular (in my case currently less than regular) eye on the place.
I pressed on to Napton and found a large number of Coots (around 160), plenty of Common Gulls on the water (80 in all - they seem to be more numerous here than elsewhere in the winter months), and a Grey Wagtail - always a welcome flash of colour on a winter morning.
A pretty poor haul by normal standards, but like an ice cold beer to a thirsty man after more than a month without any birding.