A sunny morning with a frosty start, temperatures reaching around nine degrees by mid-day in a gentle north-westerly breeze. Despite the frosty start the sun had the desired effect and brought some invertebrates out in sheltered areas. Several Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum noted, mainly along Dryham Lane with a single Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta also still on the wing at the start of the Butterfly Walk. A couple of Shieldbugs also made the most of the sun with Spiked Shieldbug Picromerus bidens and Common Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina found in the brambles along the car park area. A few 7-spot Ladybird Coccinella 7-punctata were also encountered, along with a Sitonia sp beetle. Finally a few Eristalis tenax hoverfly were also noted.
The birds now starting to get a real look in, especially the winter wildfowl which look stunning in the winter sun. Highlight was the immature Scaup Aythya marila present on Island Lake. At the rear of the reserve a couple of skeins of Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhynchus passed over, one skein heading west quite low, allowing for some photo opportunities. A Green Woodpecker Picus viridis was showing well along the North Path, where a Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra was in its usual spot in the small trees in North Field. Always a nice sight to see was a Barn Owl Tyto alba which flew over the southern half of Carp Lake late in the morning. A nice drake Pochard Aythya ferina was putting on a good show in front of South Hide on Main Lake. A drake Goldeneye Bucephala clangula has joined the female here, though both remained distant. A Red Kite Milvus milvus was viewable from the hide over the eastern ridge.
Full set of photos from this visit can be found on my Flickr site.