"Come on Dad, I can't lay on newspaper"
So a weekend treat before the great return to work was an early morning bird-watch at Rainham Marshes http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/index.asp. It's the first time we have visited, no idea why not before as it seems to be our most local RSBP reserve.
Thames estuary on an early sunday morning with the thermometer registering -2 degrees c, it was a real way to wake up and also to wonder how birds manage to seemingly continue as normal in such weather.
Even with the weather and thinking that with such freezing temperatures visiting a marsh (and all that frozen water) was not such a good idea it was in fact wonderful if not slightly bone chilling (as I said before, nesh - gloves don't work as its so long since we had proper cold weather).
However we saw some great birds - a first for both of us was a jack snipe and in the three hours we were there we clocked up 42 species. You can view the list of all the birds we saw at: http://www.birddiary.co.uk/diaryentry.asp?did=6479
Following are some great shots that captured the morning:
Goldfinch on hawthorn and below on fence wire
Grey heron on ice
More chilly coots and gulls