As is traditional on New Year's Day, a birding session to kick the new year's list off and as usual it starts with the garden. Not that the garden was very busy at first light.
The first birds on the year list were four Greenfinches which arrived on the top of a bush next to the empty seed feeder!! With it soon filled they made a brief re-appearance before being chased of by the arrival of the Starlings. Over 80 of them to be exact and it didn't take too long for the feeder to be empty again.
A look from all the main windows of the cottage added four Blackbirds to the list and a solitary Rock Dove. A single female House Sparrow was spotted under the ground feeder.
Out in the field around the cottage there were single Great Black-backed Gull and Common Gull. A quick walk over to our heathery moorland bit of ground in the hope of flushing a Snipe didn't work but did net an over flying Raven and 13 Greylag Geese which took off from a nearby field.
Then the rain set in for a bit and put birding on hold for a bit.
Once the rain cleared it was off down to Echnaloch Bay and Loch. There are at least three seal carcasses on the beach at Echnaloch Bay at the moment which are attracting a few gulls. Mainly Great Black-backded gulls, which on this occassion had four adult and four juvenile ones tucking in. But the bird I was looking for was one I first saw on the 29 Dec 14. A scan of the carcasses produced a blank for this bird but a scan behind the tide line picked it up and added a first winter Glaucous Gull to the list.
Other birds out on the water included 16 Long-tailed Ducks, four Eiders, four Wigeon and a single Shag. A scan of the cliffs on the North side of the bay picked out a solitary Fulmar while a long the beach there were three Oystercatchers, three Redshank, four Rock Doves and a very well camoflagued Common Snipe. A flock of over 100+ Lapwing flew out over the bay on several occassions.
Switching across to the otherside of the road attention turned to Echna Loch. Tuckedin the corner close to the road as a Little Grebe. Twenty Tufted Ducks and 7 Mallards added to the list, while other birds on the loch included four Great Black-backed Gulls and 9 Wigeon.
Next stop was the South end of Barrier 3. As I pulled into the small parking area there was a single Hooded Crow sat on a nearby fence post. Other birds for the list included a Grey Heron, two Curlew, seven Red Breasted Mergansers and a male Goldeneye. A single Oyster catcher and 20 Long-tailed Ducks provided a supporting cast.
A drive round the back of the Fossil Centre and across to Barrier 4 only produced several fields with Greylag Geese in and from the car park at Barrier 4 only Eiders and Red-breasted Mergansers were seen.
A quick drive around the village only added a Collared Dove to the list, giving me a total of 28 species to start the year.