Well here we are at the start of a new year and with several hours rain this afternoon and evening and some more forecast this week it would be nice to think that we could get to the levels of previous winters (below) before the Spring, but I think that's very unlikely.
I was still awake at 02.30 this morning, not because of any New Year's Eve celebrations, not my thing, but because people will insist on sending huge amounts of pound notes into the air at midnight with so much noise. Not the end of the world as such, people get their fun in all sorts of ways, but if like me you have a dog that is petrified of fireworks and takes a lot of calming down it can be a tad distressing and irksome. Especially as always, you get the morons that still have to let fireworks off until gone 02.00 in the morning, meaning several forays back out of bed to re-calm the dog down again.
Anyway, despite that, I still got up at 05.30 as is my way but didn't leave for the reserve until 9.00 seeing as it was a damp and gloomy sort of morning, although very mild thankfully.
I'm not in to all this mad scramble to count birds on day one stuff and so decided to simply give the dogs a run on part of the reserve and round the edge of the RSPB fields today and count birds another day. The RSPB fields had attracted a number of birdwatchers anxious to get the increasing flock of Lapland Buntings there onto their lists and some were lucky as at one stage a total of 30+ were counted by one local birdwatcher. They can be extremely frustrating birds to see there because unless they get spooked up from feeding in the not very long grass they still remain amazingly invisible. I managed to see one party of around 20 get up and even better, in a flock of around a dozen Linnets I had my first 4 Twite on Harty for well over ten years, something for me that was as good as any much rarer bird.
Eventually I made my back along the Harty Road and called into The Raptor Viewing Mound to chat to one birdwatcher there who turned out to be Kevin Duvall the warden of Oare Nature reserve. It was good to meet him for the first time and we swapped chat about both our reserves and other stuff before being joined by several other birdwatchers. Its been good today to see so many birdwatchers out and about enjoying the countryside and I enjoyed being able to point this group in the direction of the Lapland Buntings which they were looking forward to adding to their day lists.