The old jalopy registered minus thirteen (-13) as I drove southward this Boxing Day morning and the two pairs of novelty Homer Simpson socks covering my little piggies were hardly adequate to keep out the cold. As there's more chance of winning Friday nights Euromillions draw than gaining access to Welsh Water reservoirs these days I played my trump card and headed for the much under-rated Pettingale Hide. Admittedly a bit of a trek but its just off a footpath with no Houdini style locks to negotiate and it gets you to where the action is.
'I've lived here a long time but never seen it frozen over like this' said a local Farmer as I breezed past him with purpose in my stride. Sure enough the reservoir was frozen hard but for a few areas of open water towards Green pool and Fishermans car park. In the distance I could pick out at least four goosander a few pochard, good numbers of Canada geese and cormorant, a couple of great black backed gull but the pick of the bunch were at least 14 Bewick's swans.
Magor Marsh seemed even colder, on just a little bit of ice free water was, 6 mute swan, 5 gadwall, 2 little grebe and other assorted commoner wildfowl. A woodcock was also flushed from a wooded area on return.