Down on the river, water birds have been struggling with the Beast from the East: when mudflats freeze, their food is ice-bound. And as bad, if not worse, the severe wind chill means they must feed as much as possible, wherever possible, so that they turn up in strange places. Although the freeze is now lifting, the parameters remain altered for now.
Avocets are frequently seen over Wivenhoe river frontage, and feeding both downriver and upriver. But rarely see them feeding off West Quay, like this one today. Also numerous Black-tailed Godwits, where there have been fewer than usual this winter; Grey and Ringed Plovers, normally most numerous in the outer estuary; and a single Spotted Redshank – one of the few winterers, or an early spring migrant?