It was an early 6.00pm rise for me and the start of the obligatory New Year bird race around the old Whitstable Urban District Council Area (WUDCA). Starting in Clowes Wood I soon picked up a couple of tawny owls calling, 1 woodcock, crow and blackbird and at 7.30ish the light improved and a few great tits, robin and wood pigeons appeared. Back to the car park where I found goldcrest, long tailed tits and blue tits plus a possible redpoll but it was still rather dark especially at the top of the tree so its not on the list.
Moving around the corner to Thornden Wood CP I added coal tit, kestrel, chaffinches, great spot and c.50 golden plover overflying.
On route to Swalecliffe I added jackdaw, hse sparrow, starling and collared dove. At the seafront, brents, gulls, g c grebe, 2 gannets, 73 ringed plover, sanderling, merganser, red-throats, 8 snipe, 2 lapwings and turnstones.
Back on home ground at Seasalter I saw 2 gadwall in the pumping station dykes plus coots and moorhens. Further west by the Sportsman PH I added 1 marsh harrier, grey plovers, c.3000 knot, a count of 370 bar-tailed godwits, shelduck.
Inland, along SS Lane 6 stock doves, pheasant and 1 heron and up on Wraik Hill, 3 redwings.
I finished at 12.30 the final tick being goldfinch at home where I get loads and the mornings tally being 60 species.
Blessed with this grey cloudy weather I went to SS trying to boost the SS list only adding a large flock of c.75 goldfinches opposite the Sportsman and by the pumping station it was nice to see a kingfisher. Spent lots of time getting photos.
I couldn't get close to the kingfisher plus had to try and view through narrow bars of the fence.
Some of the knot coming in as the tide receded
Redshank on the water's edge, always difficult to get close
Bar-tailed godwits are always one of the first to arrive as the tide begins to leave the beach.
A lucky shot to get the redshank in flight with something to say
Several dunlin along the water's edge
An icy north wind blowing this morning.....didn't fancy getting out of the car but at the SS pumping station the kingfisher was present again.
However, I didn't venture further at SS and drove over to Hampton looking for the purple sandpipers picking up jackdaw for the SS list on the way. No luck with the purps but from the car park a Mediterranean gull flew past and circled a few times.
Another grey day at SS the only thing of note were a count of 17 sanderling and 4 teal in the pumping station dyke.
I took a walk along the South Swale LNR adding 7 linnets, pheasant and 3 robins to the list. The c.60 curlew flock were still using their new roosting field behind the white post, why they have taken to there, who knows. The reedbed appeared totally dead to my eyes and ears, I did see one skylark plus the c.1000 golden plover flock were still present and lapwings. I noted the numbers of brent and knot were reduced, maybe they were moving north or maybe they have moved elsewhere to feed.
Still time to spare I went over to Hampton again missed the purps again but found the MED gull sat on the beach in front of the car park.