As the light rose over the garden we started a new Kent anual list. Apart from around our home this list is the only one we enjoy and keep tabs on. By the time we were on the move we had the common garden birds, House Sparrow, Starling etc and we arrived at Prince of Wales Pier, Dover by 8.30am.
As we took to the Pier, we could see 'the Harbour Master' heading back to the Lifeboat station and we joined him for some New Year banter and catch up. The first bird to be picked up was the Black Throated Diver, expected but a great annual tick nonetheless and closer to view were two Razorbills, really nice to compare to Guillemots at close quarters. A shag also ensured the Cormorants played second fiddle.
As the throng of birders grew it started to feel like a bird fair, so we left the harbourmaster to ensure toe paths were respected and we wandered down the Pier. Two seals were frollicking around the hoverport apron whilst to the East a large flock of Great Crested Grebes had accumulated only to be dispersed by the Harbour pilot doing his best to crerate rough water on the millpond.
Kittiwakes patrolled up and down making sure the fishermen kept to their quotas and from the extremity we enjoyed good views of passing Red Throated Divers and fifty plus Gannets fishing directly in front of the Harbour mouth.
When we returned to the Life Boat Station the morning light had improved and it was Cameras at the ready. As the non-photographer I will share a New Year tip. When a Razorbill opens its mouth, it takes on air just before a dive, do not hesitate or the moment will be lost!
Dan needed to get to work, so we departed adding Peregrine on a lamp post on Jubilee Way and four Buzzards in the Elham Valley.
After lunch I headed off to Long Rock. It was very, very wet and the tide was up. This did not deter every half wit from walking round terrorising the birds with their dog(s). I stood on the beach at the Hampton end, slightly quieter to watch a small group of Turnstones and Sanderlings. To my incredulity, a woman stood immediately in front of me and threw stones at the birds to point them out for her dogs to harrass. I wished her a happy New Year and left before I became Father Jack!
PS 12 Snow Buntings were nice.