Below is the view from Capel Hill across Harty marshes as a spectacular dawn began to come to life.
After stopping at the Raptor Viewing Mound to speak to three birdwatchers who were peering into the gloom through their telescopes, trying to add as many birds to their New Year lists as possible, I arrived at the reserve barn as the sky was beginning to brighten and change colour.
This one, taken from alongside the barn and looking across the grazing marsh, shows a light mist that quickly formed and hung around for about an hour, making bird counts difficult.
And yet, by the time that I had walked across the marsh to the top of the seawall, where this photo was taken, the sky had changed colour again, you can just make out the silver strip of The Swale between Sheppey and the mainland.
I could see another birdwatcher further along the sea wall in the mist and the poor light and so walked along to him for a chat. There were three wildfowlers out on the saltings and so I didn't want to go out into the reserve and disturb the geese and risk them getting shot, much as I get on with the wildfowlers, I'd much rather the White-fronted Geese remain unscathed. Gavin, a local birdwatcher, was searching for the pair of Hen Harriers that have been roosting on the saltings near Shellness for around a week and I was anxious to see them for myself. Did we see them, did we heck, unlike most other people that have been out there lately.
The mist had more or less cleared and the frost was thawing, all in all, it was a really nice morning to be out so early, although I needed to be elsewhere quite early and so had to head back across the marsh. A flock of c.130 White-fronted Geese were ahead of me, grazing the marsh grass, and so I circled round them at around 150yds distance and they totally ignored me and as I did that, the Hooded Crow flew past. It had been a brief visit but made spectacular by the sunrise and the geese, that'll do until a longer walk there tomorrow.