These mild undramatic winters might be good for our birds welfare (and the heating bills,) but they play havoc with the inland birder. No hard weather = very little to see, or at least that is the case in my part of Surrey. Few thrushes, fewer finches, empty hedgerows, abandoned fields, quiet woodland - you get the picture.
Today I visited an old stomping ground of mine, Holmethorpe Sand Pits. The respectable-sized waterbodies were largely undisturbed by wildfowl, (with, needless to say, no bonus sawbills) and my quest to winkle out a Jack Snipe or Green Sandpiper proved futile. I returned home (via a similarly quiet Mogador) somewhat crestfallen. Until the iron grip of Winter falls across continental Europe then there will be no birds fleeing westwards into our welcoming arms.