Alan Hull who was in the band Lindisfarne wrote one of the best songs about winter, called, Winter Song. It was written over 30 years ago when winters were much colder, though Alan did come from Newcastle in the North East where the climate is generally colder than London. The song for me sums up the feeling and the atmosphere of winter, and at this time of year I often listen to this song. But Winter Song now seems to be depict a time long past, winters are rarely like this now, apart from 2010. I used to love birding in winter, less people about, large flocks of birds and always the chance of something unusual turning up. But so far this winter the birding has been totally uninspiring and predictable. At EIDB a number of species (Little Grebe, Shoveler, Shelduck and Common Snipe being examples) have either failed to show or are scarce. Usually in December you cannot spend more than a few minutes on the pier at EIDB that juts out into the Thames, but today you could have had a picnic. One of the great things about winter birding is the cold weather movements and EIDB's position on the tidal Thames is an ideal place to watch these movements, and the composition of species could change every day.
Today's birding was almost predictable apart from a Kingfisher on the basin, a species that has been a bit scarce this year. The long range weather forecast is still predicting mild condition's so when is winter going to come howling in.