It was a wonderful day for being outdoors with about -10° to -1° C (coldish), but with a bright sun shining all over the snowy countryside. There must have been about 1 metre of snow on the ground. So I had a nice walk into the snow up to the knees (and sometimes even deeper). The walk brought me to my usual "watchpoint" above the lake, where I had a good view over the main unfrozen water bodies. As soon as I began scanning, a huge perched silhouette appeared on a short pole - an adult WHITE-TAILED EAGLE. It was perched near the biggest water body which contained a thousand or more Mallards, +20 Teals, 9 female Tufted Ducks, a few Coots and some Mute Swans. It stayed there for a long time and sometimes changed perches - also seen on the other side of the lake in the afternoon:
OTTER! The animal was quite distant (maybe 1 km away), somewhere right at the centre of the lake. It was showing well, completely out of water, while feeding on the ice. I could watch it for 6 minutes and see all the main features, including the strong, smooth tail, elongated head profile and smooth fur (see pics). Sometimes it moved around a bit and showed even better. Then, after finishing its meal, it dived into the water, never to be seen again.
The third highlight of the day followed shortly afterwards when I heard the characteristic call of COMMON CRANES. I looked up and saw a flock of 17 birds flying SW, high over the lake. The firsts of the season, lovely!
Otherwise it was a bit quiet, with not even a single Great Grey Shrike seen (usually present in the area). The only other thing of interest were some mid-sized flocks of Fieldfares hopping on the ice edges all around the water bodies. Also quite funny to hear two Water Rails responding to a dog's barking.
And here some magnificent landscape views to round up the day