© Andrew Moon
Seven of us this year gathered on the causeway at half past eight for a walk round the lake. The weather was sunny, but chilly and blustery and even the sun had largely disappeared by the time we finished. We saw or in many cases only heard most of the expected birds. There were good numbers of swallows, house martins and swifts over Bury and Stockers Lakes. We had only glimpses of most birds. They were really well buried in the foliage which was in most cases well developed. Several Cetti’s Warbler called from various points round the lake but as ever remained well hidden. Warblers - Reed, a few Sedge, Garden, Blackcap, Chiffchaff - were heard at many spots and we debated about a Whitethroat near the Iron Bridge. Otherwise Blackbirds, Wrens (in profusion), Robins, Chaffinches, and plenty of Blue, Great and Long Tailed Tits (with young) were seen. They serenaded us as we passed along.
Different again this year. Spring really had sprung. There were lots of Little Egrets in the trees among the Grey Herons although it did not look as though they were nesting yet. But the herons were well on with raising their next generation with some chicks still in their eggs, some a few days old and even some 3 or 4 weeks old meaning they were laid around the end of January! How do we know all this? Because the cameras are up and running this year. 
It was a glorious sunny day although the breeze had a bit of a bit to it. This year we had a recruitment tent on the causeway thanks to Russell and Nelish in particular together with help from Larry, Linda and the Lees to name those I know about. They had the laptop with pictures and videos of the nests, taken the day before by our offshore cameras. See this news article.
Unlike last year it was dull, dull, dull with a cool breeze. But at least it was not raining for the five of us as we walked from the causeway down the canal side. Unsurprisingly birds generally were conspicuous by their absence. Again without some really cold weather further north bird numbers on the lake tend to remain low. But that does not explain the lack of birds among the trees. Of course they are not calling yet and the light was poor, which makes spotting and identifying them harder.

Dick Beeden and Anna Marett led the walk which was attended by about a dozen people. Like last year it was dull but not too cold. Unlike last year it was windy and the sun came out during the latter part of the walk. Fortunately the light was good enough for identifying the birds.