So another year goes by, and a new years listing begins. I normally like to go further out than Halling on the first day of the year, but this time I decided against it. Considering how many others would be out doing the same thing, list making I have decided to go a few day later, but it will have to be soon, there are some good birds at Dungeness at the moment, so I thought I would start from home then wander around Halling to see what was about.
I watched from the kitchen window for quite a while from early morning and as I expected the regulars came in to feed apart from a PIED WAGTAIL which is a rare visitor for me. the other species that visits on and off is LONG TAILED TITS but I don't see as many as 11 at once. The other birds was: Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, C/Dove, Wood Pigeon, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, H/Sparrow, Starling, Robin, fly overs was: B/H/Gull, C/Crow, Magpie.
I left home on my walk at about 11am, the weather wasn't brilliant, dull with threats of rain. My first stop had to be to feed Bailey in the paddock around the corner, she loves her apples. I then made my way to the river, nothing different was seen on the way. Once there I saw the usual, B/H/Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Cormorant, Mallard, Mute Swan, Lapwing, Redshank, C/Crow. After a longish rest I made my way around to Marsh Road, to get there I have to go through a large grassed area by the play ground, and no I didn't stop at the swings. There was quite a bit of activity on the grass, first of all a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER flew across in front of me, then the was 3 SONG THRUSH'S picking at food, and they was not alone, spread out there was many blackbirds with them I don't think I have ever seen so many at one time.I didn't stop anywhere else on the way, well it wasn't far down the road to the 5 bar gate at the cattle field.
Once I was there I got myself settled and started scanning around, firstly looking for the winter thrush's that I had seen recently, it didn't take me long, there are a lot of berry bushes and tree's over to the right. I didn't see a great number this time, but there was a small gathering of FIELDFARE and REDWING. I was pleased with that. At this point it started spitting, I was just about to find a tree to stand under when something else caught my eye along with the many Moorhen that I usually see, it was SNIPE. Now on my last visit I saw a few together but I wasn't sure I was seeing what I was. There was Snipe as far out as the Moorhen feeding, and I started counting them and from there, right back to the wet boggy area under the berry tree's there was a total of 11. Now I had to count them again and I wasn't imaging it. for a moment I was lost for words.
I took my flask of single malt with me as I do at this time of year and if I ever needed a sip it was now.
The light rain stopped and after the Snipe I could start looking around the rest of the field. The Teal was doing what they do and a something else caught my eye, 6 wildfowl circled around and dropped in at the back of the field. I haven't see these for a few years here and that was on the river, they was GADWALL, 4 male, 2 female.I thought to my self "I am glad I came out". I had had a good day and I had almost had enough, hurting by now, but I wanted to stay to see if the 2 other species turned up, I have seen them on each occasion lately so I had to hang on so I squatted on the gate the best I could, it started spitting again but it is surprising how quickly you can ignore something, as I hoped the GREY WAGTAIL arrived feeding in the same area as a Pied Wagtail, on the sodden remains of the straw bales, I was able to see if it was male of female I didn't get that good a view, but hey, I saw it. Well I might have over done it but it was worth it, especially when a MEADOW PIPIT landed in the field at the top of Marsh Road. A couple of other species that I saw on my way back that never came in to feed in my garden was Greenfinch and Dunnock.
Well I wasn't feeling too good when I got home I had been out longer than normal, but boy was it worth it, finding what I did yesterday meant more to me finding them on my local patch then all the others that I would have seen else where, what I saw here I may not see again.
I normally pick a "Bird of the Day". I have decided to go for quantity not looks, and that honour has to go the **SNIPE.**.