On Sunday morning I went to Marsh Lane for the first time in ages.It was bitterly cold and the light was poor.There was only one other birder silly enough to be out on a morning like this and we struggled to find anything decent to look at other than the usual large number of Gulls,Ducks and Geese.We were so desperate to find something good that we tried to turn a Reed Bunting that had a very pale chest virtually unmarked and with a fine bill into a Pallas's Reed Bunting.How desperate is that!!!!!
I soon left and headed home.Funnily enough I did much better bird spotting in my back garden than at Marsh Lane because during my RSPB hour long garden survey I had both male and female Blackcaps, some Goldfinches, a small flock of Long-tailed Tits and a lone Goldcrest. Did these birds know a RSPB garden survey was being done?
Early Monday morning I went to the Grandborough valley after the Great Grey Shrike.It was pretty cold but very sunny ideal for getting better shots than I managed last time.I should have known I would fail because there were no other cars parked in the lay-bye and near the path gate I slipped on an iced up puddle and only a hedge saved me from disaster ( more about the hedge later).A search lasting 90 minutes failed to get even a distant glimpse of the Shrike and all I got was getting absolutely perished.
After leaving the valley I resisted a visit to Draycote Water and headed to Brandon Marsh as at least I could get a warming cup of tea.Wrong!!!! The cafe was closed.Feeling a bit grumpy by this time I then went to the East marsh hide where I knew some of my birding friends would probably be after the Bitterns.Had some entertaining chat for a couple of hours but the Bitterns didn't show which was a shame as some of the birders had been there since the early hours and some had come a long way to see them.
When I got home I noticed there was a lot of white fluff on my car seat.I soon found out where this was coming from.My new thermal coat bought at great expense in the sales!!!! My falling into the hedge at Grandborough had pierced the wafer thin outer cover of my coat and was letting out the duck down filler.Brilliant!!! I should have known the might be a problem when I bought it as the manufacturer was a firm called "Puffa" .I think these coats are only suitable for wearing in bedrooms.It has now been patched with duck tape.