Dull and dank all day, light airs - Kicked off the decade in company with CP and PL for our regular, light hearted birding tour of the Marsh and near environs. At Park Wood, Appledore a Woodcock on the deck in a car park puddle was virtually the first bird of the year, followed by a second over the woodland canopy. Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, at least five calling Tawny Owls and a pair of flyover Ravens were the pick of the woodland birds.
Moving down to the canal zone and a wide range of additions to the day list included Great White and Little Egrets, Buzzard, Jay, Stonechat, Bullfinch, Meadow Pipit, Yellowhammer and Tree Sparrow with the latter four species only seen here in single figures. Traversing the Marsh we picked up a few winter thrushes in the hedgerows and 32 Bewick`s Swans at Midley, but by and large passerines were few and far between.
With noon approaching we headed for the coast and Lade bay where nine out ten shorebirds were eventually located including 250 Knots, 30 Barwits and 120 Turnstones, although we couldn't find a single Ringed Plover. Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser and large flocks of Great Crested Grebes were on the sea, plus 10 Mediterranean Gulls on the sands. At Dungeness, Gannet, Razorbill, Red-throated Diver and Kittiwake were logged along with a distant Peregrine on a pylon.
At Scotney pits the Long-tailed Duck tally rose to four where Merlin, Golden Plovers and range of wildfowl were noted. On the bird reserve at Burrowes, Firecrest, Chiffchaff, Goldeneye, Black-tailed Godwit and Caspian Gull were all added to the list. We finished off in fine style on ARC with protracted views of a Bittern in front of Screen hide (that sadly appeared to have a damaged left wing), calling Water Rails and Bearded Tits, 11 Little and two Great White Egrets to roost and eight Bewick`s Swans flying in to roost.
Considering the weather conditions (a Mordor-like gloom all day) we ended up with a respectable 105 species of birds. As always NYD is a bit of a social occasion and it was good to see so many familiar faces in the field. A great days birding in fine company, and many thanks to Chris for driving and Phil for listing.