Early morning, 1st of January, little sleep, worse for wear, house is an after-party wreck.... time to go looking for birds.
Too cold on the seafront with a cold NE, so we travelled inland, through one of the predicted 'heavy snow showers'. This soon passed, leaving the land crisp and pretty.
Seaton lakes held no smew, but five goosanders and a good number of widgeon, gadwall, shoveller, tufties and pochard.
Geese in surrounding fields made a great noise when something put them up, and when a gun was fired nearby all of the ducks flew into the air, wheeling and whistling with indignation.
This photo from Steve Ray nicely captures a goosander's struggle to become airborne.
Nearby orchards hold plenty of apples, and consequently plenty of thrushes. Fieldfares were the most numerous, with some hundreds seen, while song thrushes and redwings tended to keep to the hedges, in smaller numbers.
This photo was taken with Steve's camera (he was driving) and shows that these hi-spec cameras can turn even a jerk like me into a pro.
58 species were seen, to give the year-list a gentle start, including firecrest and goldcrest together in the usual place in Kingsdown, buzzard at Northbourne, chiffchaff at Seaton and a peregrine over north Deal marshes.