Nearly four months after my last birding-by-bike trip, I chose today in all its freezing glory to get back on my bike and head to Napton.
The day was about the cycling as much as the birding - battling the freezing temperatures, icy roads, aching knees and a complete lack of fitness, all with the help of a very welcome stop-off at the Long Itch diner.
At least there were actually some birds when I finally got to Napton. The reservoir was largely, and unsuprisingly, frozen, with just three holes left open on the main water. The first of these featured six mute swans (three adults, three first winter), five little grebes and a mix of common and black-headed gulls. The second was home to perhaps 80 mallards, along with a few tufties and a solitary pair of wigeon (possibly the same pair that have been here for most of the winter so far). The final, and largest, hole was home to the the coots, about 160 in all.
On the ice itself were six lapwing (unusual for the reservoir itself, usually they are a fly over sighting) and three snipe huddled by the reeds at the back.
On the way there and back I was kept company by the usual mix - finches and tits darting along hedgerows, none more conspicuous than the many bullfinches I rolled past; fieldfare, redwing and blackbirds everywhere, gulls and rook sp. in all the fields, and a couple of kestrels.
Bird of the day: Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), a common wader at their regular wintering spots (such as Brandon and Draycote), I don't often see them on the ground on my patch. A longstanding favourite of mine, they look and sound great.