It was gloomy but amazingly mild and calm for mid-December which, with a nice array of birds again, made for a very pleasant visit. High Maynard held a pair of Goosander and 50-plus Teal while I broke my record haul of Green Sandpipers for the third time in a few weeks with five on the overflow channel. They were hidden by the overhanging vegetation and were only seen when flushed by a Thames Water truck actually driving - Hollywood movie style - up it. They were checking the concrete, I have since learnt.
The drake Scaup, after a brief foray onto High Maynard yesterday, was back on No 4 while the Black-necked Grebe, which has played an embarrassing game of hide-and-seek with me over its stay, was easy to see today near the hide on East Warwick. Neil B and I also had good views of a Stonechat on the opposite bank.
Given the number of engineers and builders on the reservoirs at the moment, it hardly seems possible that there is going to be more work in 2017. But the anglers are being warned that water levels in No 4 /5 are going to fall over the Christmas period in preparation for work in January which should see mud exposed. Even more exciting was Neil's information that Thames Water are planning to drain down Lockwood from March to carry out major repair work. If this really does coincide with Spring migration, the Avocet-shaped gap many of us have in our patch lists might finally be filled.