Park Wood - 0700hrs - cold, frosty, clear, light airs - Together with CP, MH and PL the first port of call on our traditional NYD bird count route was in the woods in perfect weather conditions. As soon as we pulled up in the car park several Tawny Owls were heard and a Woodcock flew over the canopy. Over the following hour we pretty much cleaned up on all the common woodland species including, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Goldcrest, Long-tailed and Coal Tits, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Jay and Bullfinch.
Walland Marsh - Down on the flatlands, beside the canal and criss-crossing the farmland, at least 10 Common Buzzards were located along with a selection of typical and localised species such as Golden Plover, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Mipit, winter thrushes, Mistle Thrush, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer, Reed and Corn Buntings.
Scotney - A Black-necked Grebe was new here, plus 2 Avocets and a Tundra Bean Goose amongst the feral Greylags and all the usual winter ducks. A circuit of Galloways produced Great White and Little Egrets, Raven and Linnet.
RSPB - The bird reserve was packed with birders, many enjoying the wintering Long-eared Owl that was back at its usual roost site behind the discovery pond. On Burrowes the first `white nun` of the winter had appeared, while all the usual Marsh Harriers, egrets and wildfowl were present, plus Sparrowhawk, Chiffchaff and Yellow-legged Gull new for the day.
Dungeness - With the weather closing in and the wind picking up from the south-east we headed for the fishing boats and what turned out to be a cracking afternoon seawatch. A steady stream of Gannets, Guillemots, Red-throated Divers and Kittiwakes headed down-Channel, plus 6 Common Scoters, 4 Little and Mediterranean Gulls, a Bonxie, several gaggles of Brents east bound, and for me, bird of the day, 2 close drake Eiders. On the beach a gull flock contained the `resident` 1st winter Caspian Gull. Despite the deteriorating weather conditions people were everywhere.
Greatstone Beach - It was busy here too with kite surfers and an incoming tide keeping the waders on the move. However we eventually found six species including Grey Plover and Knot.
Dengemarsh - We finished the day from the ramp overlooking Hooker`s reedbed where White-fronted Goose, Cetti`s Warbler and Water Rail were added to the day list, which finished at 104 species.
It had been another bird-rich NYDay in great company, and many thanks to Chris for driving.