So, bright and early (ish) this morning I set off this morning for Napton Reservoir, determined to get my feet and eyes back into the swing of birding things. It turns out that a lot of things haven't changed so very much since I last went birding back in October.
Alongside the regulars (c. 40 coot, 25 tufties, a dozen mallard, a few moorhens, a pair of mute swans and a couple of hundred gulls, about 40/60 common and black-headed) were 7 great crested grebes, 12 shoveller, 5 pochard, a few teal tucked into the edge of the reed bed, a snipe which flushed from a drainage dish, a couple of bullfinch near the entrance, plenty of jaunty chaffinches and, high in the sky to my right, a couple of skylark trilling high in the grey sky.
OK, it was hardly a mega haul, but the shovellers were (are) beautiful, the snipe was a nice surprise (thought it was going to take my head off as it flew out), and who doesn't enjoy watching great crested grebes in full courtship?
After a lovely stroll to all corners of the reservoir (and a chat to a couple of the fishermen - I shall be back for Napton tench this spring / summer), I headed up to the hill for something nice to finish the day. Apart from being reminded how beautiful blue tits actually are, there was little added from this short excursion.
Nice to be back though.
Bird of the day: Shoveller (Anus clypeata) - you have to say, that is one striking duck.