With all of this superb cold weather I fancied a nice mini trip out. The Western Sandpiper had not been reported and to be honest, with all of the dodgy roads around, I didnt want to travel to far so I decided to head for Rutland Water. A good day can get you plenty of birds here and ideal to give the year list a good kick up the arse. I was eventually on site about 08.50 (after breaking down in Melton Mowbray) and it was bloody freezing, easily minus double figures with at least four inches of snow still on the ground. Fantastic. I started at the Egleton reserve and headed around Lax Hill before trying the lagoons but I was hampered by two things, fog and ice. Birds noted were Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Robin, Collared Dove, Blackbird, Tree Sparrow, Redwing, Dunnock, Greenfinch, Kestrel, Wren, Moorhen, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Mallard, Black Headed Gull, Bullfinch, Green Woodpecker, Egyptian Geese, Wigeon, Coot, Shelduck, Gadwall, Meadow Pipit, Pochard, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Goldeneye, Teal, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Dunlin, Nuthatch, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Pheasant, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Pintail, Greylag Geese, Goldfinch, Fieldfare, Linnet, Song Thrush, Black-tailed Godwit, Starling, Lapwing, Knot, Water Rail, Reed Bunting, Siskin, Long-tailed Tit and Rook. Next stop was the Lyndon reserve for Smew and Scaup, or so I thought!!! I turned down the fairly clear track and kept driving downhill towards the car park, no shut signs or no entry signs etc. I rounded a bend and strainght on to ice and snow and I was thinking it would be a struggle to get out. This became very evident when I reached the car park and it was shut. Doh. I managed to turn the car in a gateway but that was as far as I was going. I was well and truely stuck. In nearly twenty years of motoring this was the first time I had ever got proper stuck. A phone call to the reserve centre and I was eventually freed after a couple of hours driving through the car park then along the track adjacent to the bird hides and on too the roads. I decided to give up looking around here and tried for another bird in another part of the reserve. Not having seen a Long-tailed Tit for several years the one that has been in the north arm for sometime was well needed. I parked up near a carpark and was soon watching, at long range, a cracking Long-tailed Duck. I also added in this area Woodpigeon, Buzzard, Goosander, Buzzard and Little Grebe. With not much else to find I headed home. It wasnt till later that evening Birdguides mentioned a Black-necked Grebe that was seen not far from the Long-tailed Duck but my pager wasnot working properly that day and so I never got that message. I went home.
I was heading down the A50 and there was still a bit of daylight left so I decided to divert to Foremark reservoir to look at the gull roost. I arrived just as dusk was falling and noted the following. Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Black Headed Gull, Cormorant, Carrion Crow, Mallard, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Blackbird, Wren, Pheasant, Goldeneye and Pied Wagtail. Having only done this roost once when the Franklins Gull was present, it seemed a difficult roost to check out as the birds were spread over a very wide area meaning it was hard to keep scanning through and try to be thorough when the birds are well spread and mobile. This could have been the reason why no one else was present. I went home.