I left home just as it was starting to get light this morning and thought it was a bit chilly but was really surprised on getting to the reserve to find that it was coated in a hard white frost with a rising mist. As a result I didn't see an awful lot as I wandered across the marsh, along the seawall and then back across the marsh. A couple of Marsh Harriers appeared out of the mist and around 50 Mallard passed by overhead. A Water Rail squealed from the Delph reed beds as I stood watching a small party of Bearded Tits working along the seed heads and they were joined soon after by another group of Reed Buntings. Making my way along one of the boundary hedgerows I had a total of 1 Blackbird, 1 Wren, 3 Chaffinch, and 3 Robin - not exactly the expected invasion of migrants predicted.
A fox walked out of one the reed beds quite close to me and I don't know who was the most surprised, the fox or Midge, but she pursued it for a short way before realising that her short legs were never going to catch it and so quickly gave up. One thing that did surprise me was catching sight of a medium-sized black bird at the top of a large hawthorn bush, pecking at the berries, when I looked at it through the binoculars it turned out to be a Moorhen!
This is the scene from the top of Capel Hill on the Harty Road as I drove out, with the mist just beginning to spread across the marshes.
This one was taken from the top of the sea wall looking across the reserve and showing how at field level it was difficult to see much around you, only upwards.
But its always atmospheric being out so early in such conditions and eventually at 07.15 a huge red sun came up above Seasalter and quickly began burning the mist away. This second view along the sea wall at 07.45 shows how quickly it had made a difference, although on the shady side to the right you can still see the white of the frost.
Getting to the end of the sea wall, this shot of the Delph fleet shows the extent to which it is drying out now. Quite a grim sight.