A Saturday morning window of opportunity, so pop down to the local park to look at the ducks. I mean drive to Abberton to see what is around.
Quick stop at Layer De La Haye Causeway. Three Scaup females asleep in with the Tufties and Pochard, a couple of Goosander at the over flow, and on the other side a Red-Necked Grebe happily swimming around amongst the thousands of Tufted Ducks. Then round to Hide Bay to get 3 Bewick's Swans. Nice views too as they paddled away stirring up the base of the bay before sticking their heads in to feed. A couple of Slavonian Grebes distantly from Island Hide and that was my lot. The support cast of Pintail, Black Tailed Godwit was pretty decent, and a small flock of Fieldfare was just about my first of the winter. There was a Long-Tailed Duck out there somewhere, but I've seen it already this winter and time was pressing, and I drove past the Cattle Egrets and could not be bothered to stop.
Way back in the last century it wasn't like this. Abberton was smaller, and full access was for the select few. But then the expansion happened, and the whole reservoir was opened up, and now there's all this stuff available pretty much all winter.
So it's clearly a big improvement, but ... part of me says birding isn't meant to be like this. You should have to work for birds like Red-Necked and Slavonian Grebe. If you went to Minsmere and saw this you'd think it a red-letter day, but its just every day at Abberton. Hanningfield is quite a decent reservoir and a bit nearer, but what's the point?
Perhaps I grumble too much. Enjoy them whilst they are there.