Saturday bought with it thick cloud and an annoying fine drizzle that lasted most of the day so I decided to leave the camera at home and have a walk around the reserve at Grove ferry. Armed with just my newly repaired Nikon HG binoculars and a flask, I arrived at Grove just before 8 am and made my way to the ramp where Martyn Wilson, Alan Ashdown, Sue Morton and Roger Lawrence were present. Noted from here were 8 Bewick Swans, my first of the year. I tagged along with them as they left the ramp, stopping for a few minutes in the Feast hide for the local Duck fest and then on to the Marsh hide to hopefully add Water Pipit to the Stour Valley list for 2013. The trip down to the hide was hard work, as was most of the reserve circuit, the paths being as muddy and slippery as I can ever remember. We duly got the Water Pipits, about 7 or 8 seen flying in and landing on one of the few areas free of water and a couple of Snipe and a flyby Shelduck was about the best of the rest as we said goodbye to Roger who returned back to Grove. A few Finches seen in the Alder wood, just the normal ducks on the main lake and after a break in the Tower hide the others walked on while I was on the phone, when suddenly I caught sight of a reed mace exploding to my right. I looked and there was a smart looking male Penduline Tit hammering away at the reed mace not 12 metres away from me and in full view. No camera, that was a mistake. Even though the light was poor it was close enough to get a photo if I had the camera with me and I watched as it was in full view for about a minute, making mincemeat of the reed mace head it was sat on. I quickly rang the others to get them back and just a few seconds before they came back into sight, the bird flew from the mace into the base of a bush and was lost to sight. We all remained there for another 2 hours hoping it would reappear but sadly it never did. I would think it is still around and I will have another look tomorrow. The rest of the circuit was uneventful, just mud and water, but the long hard slog was worth it for me. (Sorry about that gang). No camera meant obviously no photos so I have posted some woodland birds taken last Thursday (3rd) where Andy Hills and I had a productive hour or so with our cameras.