I've done precious little birdwatching in December, and absolutely none on my local patch until the last few days. It was good, then, to get over to Cossington Meadows today and be met with not one but two unexpected arrivals (and ticks for the year list).
First was a Water Pipit, picking its way around the margins of a flooded area in the company of two Pied Wagtails and a Green Sandpiper. It's been there a few days, apparently, and seemed to be feeding well.
Second was a Great White Egret, in the company of a Little Egret and no less than eight Grey Herons. It too seemed to be feeding well in a small pool and along some flooded ditches, although it did draw the attention of a pair of Mute Swans, who moved it on from their little corner of the pool. Its pure white plumage and orangey-yellow bill seemed to have antagonised them, either because they thought it was some mutant swan, or because they just don't like to see another species using their colour scheme.
Those two ticks take the year list to a not very impressive 140-odd. Of course, birders being what we are, we're all desperate for the pipit and the egret to stay until Tuesday, so that we can make them among the first ticks on our 2008 lists.