The optimism of birders never ceases to amaze me! This morning, with dire warnings from me and the worst possible weather forecast, no fewer than ten of us turned up at 08.30am!

It was quickly decided that we would not go to Huntspill, but importantly we also decided to reschedule that trip for our February meeting. But since so many of us had taken the trouble to get up early, it seemed a shame not to go birding, so we decided to spend a few hours at Catcott Lows (a Somerset Wildlife Trust reserve) where there is a hide conveniently close to the car park.

En route we spotted flocks of Corvids (mainly Carrion Crow) and Goldfinches, and we also spotted a pair of Little Egret in flight. The Hide at Catcott was empty so the ten of us all fitted in quite easily, while in front of us the flooded field held around 2000 birds. On closer inspection about half of them turned out to be Wigeon! Pretty ducks - yes, and they make an attractive whistling sound, but 1000 of them made it hard to locate what else was around. The most abundant of the others was Lapwing, where a large flock was aloft for most of the time. There were also plenty of Shoveler, and eventually we also found Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Gadwall and Pintail. At one stage nearly all the birds took off at the same moment, prompted no doubt by a Buzzard which flew low over the reserve, hotly pursued by two angry Crows.

Starlings and a distant Great White Egret added to our joy, but by about 11.00 we were all getting cold, and the promised rain was beginning to fall, so we called it a day and returned to Wells.

Our next meeting is the annual lunch at the Mendip Golf Club on Friday 12 February (date changed from 11 February), and our next birdwatching outing will be on Tuesday 23 February when we hope to make it to the Hunstspill Sea Wall. Let hope the Avocet are still there!