I started the New Year with a half-hour watch from the garden. A Buzzard flying east just a few minutes after sunrise was most unexpected and a male Great Spotted Woodpecker appeared in a neighbouring garden.
After dithering for a while about where to go birding, I opted for Brooklands Park, which turned out to be a pretty good decision. A male Kingfisher was offering superb views along the stream and was proving popular with birders and members of the general public. A Cetti's Warbler called there, too. Crucially, the drake Pochard remained on the lake, along with eight Teal and two Little Grebes. Two pairs of Mute Swans were on the lake, along with a lone adult male and three of last year's young, so there's bound to be some conflict over the next few weeks. A female Stonechat was feeding near the boardwalk. Looking offshore was where it got interesting. It was hardly bustling with birds but after the sea being so dead for so long, it was refreshing to actually see some birds out there. A feeding Great Northern Diver made my day, while four Shovelers, 11 Wigeon, 13 Red-throated Divers, 30 Gannets and 10 Red-breasted Mergansers were also seen. 20 Dunlin flew along the beach.
The flowing tide at the Adur Estuary RSPB reserve produced the wintering Greenshank and Curlew, along with a good many Snipe, Redshank and Lapwing. 20 Oystercatchers, a Reed Bunting and a Grey Heron were also present. Nipping around to the Shoreham Sailing Club was rewarded with close views of the wintering Black Redstart, while round on the wooden jetty by the fort were two Purple Sandpipers, with four Turnstones on the harbour arms.
A late plod around Burpham and The Burgh then produced the 10 adult Bewick's Swans, two astronomically distant Cattle Egrets, a Marsh Harrier, a Barn Owl, a Tawny Owl, three Red Kites, a few Buzzards, 10 Grey Partridges, three Red-legged Partridges, a Raven and a Fieldfare.