That doesn't really stop the enthusiasts amongst us from venturing down to the Reserve at any opportunity, and Sunday's sunshine persuaded some of us out quite early with binoculars, scopes and cameras.
And so it was that I found myself in the good company of some of our Friends, including our youngest photographer, Ella.
It was a good birding morning. The birds of prey were out in force before the day had really begun to heat up, and I watched a kestrel, 2 buzzards, and a pair of sparrowhawks circling over different parts of the Reserve and the adjoining fields. Moorhens were strutting about on the grass verges, Chaffinches, Great and Blue tits, along with the ubiquitous Robins, were busy foraging and staking claim to territories, and a flock of 6 Long-tailed tits kept me entertained as I walked the length of the butterfly bank.
The usual suspects were about at the Woodland hide, with the addition of Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, briefly glimpsed but definitely heard, along with a very vocal Little Grebe which refused to show itself whilst I was there.
From the Near Hide I spotted shoveler, heads tucked under, by the reeds, along with teal, gadwall and a pleasing number of mallard. As well as those cormorants sunning themselves on the bund, a flotilla of 15 birds were floating on the far water with plenty of other species of water-fowl about too. On the near-side of the bund a large flock of Common gulls were keeping company with a few Black Headed gulls, Mute swans and Great Crested grebe.
I also counted 6 Herons dotted in and out of the reeds, along with 3 Little Egrets.
The herons are very active at the moment - as are the frogs. There's quite a lot of spawn in the larger of the dipping ponds, and I watched one heron stealthily creeping along the edge of the pond keeping a close eye out for a mid-morning snack. (I couldn't see any 'necklace' spawn yet, but I expect the toads won't be too far behind their amphibian cousins.)
Although some butterflies and other bugs were on the wing, there aren't many nectaring opportunities yet - I didn't find a single hoverfly in spite of all the Sallow flowers. Oh, and I haven't seen a Bombylius yet - I always think that the bee-fly is one of the true heralds of Spring...
I expect that a few other Spring arrivals are also around, but Chiffchaffs are certainly here, and obvious, and seem to have arrived in good numbers. I saw 3 singing birds, and although not quite at full, lusty 'chaffchifff' yet, (yes, i always hear it that way round) they were in good voice.
As much as I love Winter, it's great to know that Spring really is on the way, and it feels as if there are new beginnings all round for the Reserve.....
View from the Woodland Hide
View from the Near Hide
Robin sunning itself in the hedgrow
(Pictures courtesy of Ella - thank you!)