08:15-13:00 – sunny and calm, frosty with the east flood mainly frozen. A single Canada Goose was at the bottom of the slipway. Birds on the open water of the east flood included a pair of Mute Swans still with their five cygnets in tow and a single Little Grebe. The scrub to the east of the cottages was noticeably devoid of small birds. A Peregrine was on the Nagden pylons, a Greenshank was feeding at the mouth of the creek and c300 Golden Plovers were on Horse Sands. A walk to Uplees produced five Great Crested Grebes on the Swale, a flock of 20 Goldfinches, two Rock Pipits and at least five Skylarks on the saltmarsh. On the return, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers flew down the Swale and landed behind Horse Sands and a sleeping female Common Scoter was between the slipway and Horse Sands.
11:50-14:30 – Sunny and mild with a fresh westerly wind. Visiting at high tide. On arrival, I met John Cantelo and Chris Cox as they were leaving. They had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier over Mockett’s Hill. A Kingfisher flew across the road onto the west side. There was the usual flocks of Black-tailed Godwits and Avocets on the east flood but only two Golden Plovers and five Ruff. A single Gadwall and nine Tufted Ducks were on the main dyke by the west flood. A flock of 14 Greylag Geese circled over the east flood several times before setting down on the water. Five Fieldfares flew across the creek heading towards the cottages.
08:30-12:45 Sunny with a light westerly wind. A very hard frost had frozen the east flood overnight but thi showed signs of thawing during the morning. A Water Rail was feeding in the open along the side of the road. Two drake Red-breasted Mergansers flew up the Swale. A walk up to Uplees found very little. A Rock Pipit was feedinng along the shoreline and a Kingfisher flew across the saltmarsh towards Dan’s Dock. Looking across the Swale on the return, a Buzzard wasperched on Mockett’s Hill, a Short-eared Owl circled over the hill and then headed east towards Sayes Court and a ringtail Hen Harrier was harrassing a Marsh Harrier that was trailing something from its legs (earlier Ted Lee had seen male Hen Harrier flying east across the east flood). The ice on the west main dyke was thawing and seven Gadwall had appeared. Another two Rock Pipits were feeding along the shoreline between the slipway and the creek. 150 Avocets were roosting in front of the sea wall hide and a Peregrine was roosting on the Nagden pylons. A single Fieldfare and Mistle Thrush flew into the trees to the south of the east hide. Back at the east flood, a single Little Grebe was present and c20 Greenfinches were in the scrub behind the sea wall.
14:05-16:20 Cloudy, dull with a little rain. A brief visit in the afternoon to kick off the year. An Egyptian Goose, that flew acoss the creek and continued up the Swale at 3.25 pm, and a Barn Owl hunting along the sea wall by th ee ast flood were the only birds of note.