Happy New Year, 2015 is here and I met it with a trip to Farlington Marshes, and a blank notebook.
As I left the house I saw my first birds of the New year. 1: Wood Pigeon, 2: House Sparrow, 3: Starling. Nothing to set the world on fire but birds none the less. Considering the considerable decline in House Sparrows, I am glad to say there is a thriving population around my area, owing to the Terraces my neighbours and I have up for them. The Starlings too have an impressive roost nearby.
Arriving at the Marshes there were a lot of families walking along the seawall so I opted to go the reverse route around. I walked across the field where a Jack Snipe flushed from next to the path and along the stream where I picked up the usual suspects; Blackbird, Greenfinch, Linnet, Wren, Stonechat, Black Headed Gull, Herring Gull, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Green Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Black Tailed Godwit, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Mute Swan etc....
In every field were small to medium flocks of Brent Geese, knowing that a few Black Brants winter in the Harbour, I scanned each flock for the tell tale characteristics, however there was no sign of one amongst the birds present.
At the hut, I scanned the reeds and picked out Bearded Tits pinging across the reed bed. As I did the entire avifauna around the reeds exploded into the air, after a couple of seconds of feverish scanning I picked out a cracking adult male Marsh Harrier Quartering the reeds, no doubt after the Bearded Tits I had just been enjoying.
On the East wall of the Marshes, I had Red Breasted Merganser, Slav Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant and two Med Gulls. Headed towards the Deeps I watched a Peregrine dive into the Starling flock in the fields sending them the Brents and the Canada Geese skywards.
At the deeps there were Shoveler, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Little Grebe, Reed Bunting and Buzzard, Carrion Crows, Magpies in the adjoining fields.
The point field was fairly quiet with a Cetti's Warbler, Linnet, Greenfinches and the resident Blackbirds all in attendance.
I wandered round to the Lake where a Spoonbill dropped in for 20 minutes before taking flight out across the harbour. On the lake were a decent head of Pintail, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Dunlin, Redshank, Snipe, Black Tailed Godwit, Grey Heron with Grey Plover, Curlew, Little Egret all out on the mudflats in the Harbour.
Walking back along the seawall, I saw a Robin flitting on a fencepost until a female Kestrel flew over and spooked it.
Back at the car a flock of Redwing flew over towards the North field which was a nice way to round off the first birding outing of 2015
56 Species on day one :D and probably the best day birding at Farlington I have ever had.