1st January 2012
I got down to Whitlingham for the first time in the afternoon, and the country park was completely packed with people who have made a New Year's resolution to get fit. Luckily they will have probably given up by next week. Along Whitlingham Lane a Green Woodpecker was feeding close to the road. Scanning from the slipway I picked up the usual common stuff plus a Little Grebe (the first of five seen), a Grey Heron and the presumed Lesser White-front x Ross' hybrid. The Little Broad held some Shoveler, but little else was seen until I reached the bird screen. Here there was a large number of gulls, including a large argentatus race Herring Gull, the first I can remember seeing here. My recced Snipe was still present, and had in fact found a friend.
Not much on Thorpe Broad, and it was starting to drizzle, so I power-walked the south shore, pausing to scan at convenient spots. The light was going, but I headed along the Little Broad to look for Siskin and Redpoll (no luck with either). Finally I decided to pick a likely spot and wait in case a Water Rail walked past, and I was duly smug when one did exactly that, picking its way slowly along the waters edge. A double "zee" alerted me to two Kingfishers, which flew past at speed. 36 species was a low-key start, but we can't be too far from a cold snap now, with its attendant increase in waterfowl.