It didn't look so good to start with at Leam Valley this morning.
A few of the usuals were about - the finches, some smallish tit flocks, a few Carrion Crows and Rooks etc - but overall I was really struggling for birds. The scrape just about summed things up - full to the brim with water, totally devoid of anything avian.
But I persevered - after all, opportunities to go birding for more than a ten-minute stroll are few and far between at the moment. And that perseverance paid off as one by one, more species were added to the morning's list.
As I headed out of the reserve and towards Offchurch Bury, I had seen just 22 species, a paltry haul (I would normally aim for 30 as a bare minimum at any time of year). But things speeded up when I got to the weir at Offchurch Bury. In among 300+ Black-headed Gulls there were nine Common Gulls. In the field with them were about 30 Canada Geese, a Pheasant, seven Mallards and and two Coots.
Overhead a Buzzard soared, and a flock of 45 Redwings scuttled by. A loud squawk heralded a passing visit from a Grey Heron and then a Cormorant, a real favourite of mine, parked itself on a tree over the weir for five minutes. So I was over 30 species before I knew it.
Flushed with success I pressed on with the walk to Offchurch. Adding a small Fieldfare flock, a Kestrel, a Mistle Thrush and a few Chaffinches and House Sparrows to my list as I went, it turned out to be a perfectly pleasant morning on the patch.