The weather forecast was looking good for the day though, beautiful clear skies with some winter sunshine, there was a light covering of frost on the vegetation, a good day for some winter bird photography.
As I pulled up at Rainham RSPB, the car park was full, everyone else seemed to have the same idea, many armed with long lenses. My usual instincts at times like this is to walk the other way, but I was in desperate need of some fresh air and to walk the marshes, so I stuck with it.
I begun by walking around the woodland trail, this female Blackbird was busy feasting on the last remaining rose hips, other birds noted were Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Long Tailed Tit.
The Kingfisher had found some open water near the bridge, I felt very guilty disturbing its search for food on this cold icy morning, when most of the waterways were frozen.
I did not linger and passed by quickly.
The woodland feeding station was manic with birds flitting about in all directions, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Blackbird and Collared Doves were all noted.
This Chaffinch and Robin looked like they were suffering from the effects of the cold night, and were still trying to warm up.
Several Dunnock were feeding around the boardwalks.
A couple of Brown Rats under the feeders, were being admired by the gathered photographers, any other time, people are usually take avoiding action.
The walk through the marshes was exhilarating, lots of birds distant on the frozen pools,
but no sign of the Water Rails, although they could be heard hidden in the reedbeds.
Stonechats were stationed all around the reserve, managed to capture one in flight for a change.
Several Blue Tits were dismantling the Reedmace heads, a shame they were not Penduline.
I sat in the Purfleet hide for a while, watching the Wigeon on the frozen pool.
These Wigeon had flown from the marsh after being spooked by some unseen foe, only to find the relative safety of the pool frozen, they seemed very unsure of themselves.
And finished the day with this Moorhen, strutting out on to the ice, panicking, and trying to run across the frozen pool.