Nothing says romance like a bird survey, so a WeBS survey on Valentine’s Day was a welcome distraction. The cold and overcast weather didn’t help to enhance proceedings but with plenty of floodwater on the fields by the river there were still lots of waterbirds to be seen. The floods south of Buckwish Farm did indeed hold good numbers, but unfortunately these were rather distant, even with the scope. Eventually Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal and Mallard were picked out in various numbers, along with a few Lapwing. Heading up the river added more Teal, these were numerous in the meadows east of the river between New Inn Farm and the tank track, and there was an overall count of 123 of this species. The waterbirds thinned out as I continued up river, but in the ditches south-west of Chates were more Shovelers and my first Gadwall of the year. They marked the final birds of the WeBS survey, but further interest was found in a Barn Owl hunting near Betley and a flock of circa 1,000 Starlings to the west of the river. The latter had been noted by Val a few days previously, and gave an impressive sight as they took to the skies.