A final foray out this morning before storm Isha pummels us with wind and rain. On balance I think I prefer the crisp cold, although if I worked outside like Gav I would no doubt feel differently. Mind you, working outside in a raging storm probably isn't much fun either, and I imagine that more than a few people in outdoor professions will be finding reasons to have a short hiatus from work over the next day or so. I'm lucky, or unlucky depending on your point of view; my job continues no matter what. Pretty sure I've not missed a single day due to weather ever. Once, when high winds cancelled a return flight from Spain back to London, I simply worked from my company's office in Madrid. There are literally no get out clauses!
Anyway I may have missed 100% of the Lapwings that the cold weather brought, but that Ferruginous Duck more than makes up for it. That won't happen again for a while, in fact never again is the most likely scenario. Walking around the patch this morning the ice largely persists but you can feel the warmth in the air, and pretty soon than warmth will also continue moisture - lots of it! I made the most of the brief window and went through the Park and across the Flats. Despite the continuing ice there was definitely a bit more clear water, especially under the overhanging trees, and I was pleased to find a couple of drake Pochard hanging out. Even better a pair of Little Grebe made themselves known, and then on my way back home a Linnet chupped overhead. That puts me on 62 for the year, a vaguely acceptable total for this point in January. In years past I've got to this number on January the first, but these days I don't have either the stamina or the inclination. Well, more the inclination I suppose, I could still toddle around all day if I absolutely had to!
Changing the subject completely, I've just got back from The Gambia and Senegal, and I had time over the last few days to have a quick spin through the many photos I took whilst out there. I've not had sufficient time to process them all, but here is one that jumped out, a glorious Red-throated Bee-eater. Birds like this lift the soul, the perfect tonic for a cold, wet, blustery and generally miserable January.