Driving through Sheringham we saw Blackbirds (2) feeding under the street lights and this was our only 'on the way' bird seeing no owls in the headlights.
We arrived at Titchwell at 6.50am I got out of the car and saw a Wood Pigeon (3) leave its roost. I could hear Redwing and Song Thrush flying over but they could not be seen.
Walking along the path silhouettes could be made out and a Coot's (4) white bill could be seen on one of the closer birds. Greylag Geese (5) and Malards (6) we sat next to Island Hide. Lapwing (7) and Golden Plover (8) flew over our heads as we walked beside the fresh marsh.
Coming up to the Brackish Marsh a tiny bit more light now and a small flock of Curlew (9) came into land. Redshank (10) were also visable on the Brackish Marsh.
Next was the tidal marsh and straight away a close bird was clearly a Spotted Redshank (11) and a mixed flock of Black (12) and Bar-tailed Godwit (13) were also feeding in the morning light. We hung here hoping to see a Water Rail as we have done in previous years plus it was still to dark to really look at the sea.
I thought I had spotted a Water Rail swimming low in the water but this turned out to be a rat once bins were on it.
Slowly as it got lighter more birds appeared/could be identified as a Grey Heron (14) flew over. Moorhen (15), Grey Plover (16), Shoveler (17) and Pintail (18) were soon spotted towards the back of the marsh. Then a party of Litte Grebes (19), five in fact all came out together from the small island in the middle of the marsh. A Black-headed Gull (20) flew over before we then headed down to the beach.
We walked to the concrete for some shelter seeing Brent Geese (21) and Turnstone (22) on the way and started to scan the shore line (it had to be the shore line as it was still to dark to see any further), straight away we could see some Knot (23) running along the sea edge and a Common Gull (24) feeding on the shore. Oystercatcher (25), Herring Gull (26), Great Black-backed Gull (27) and Sanderling (28) were soon added with a scan to the West. To the East Carrion Crow (29) was picked out amongst the thousands of waders.
To be honest that morning was possibly the most waders I have ever seen at Titchwell (and I have been here loads of times), with massive flocks of Knot, Godwits and Oystercatcher.
Now it was light enough to scan the sea and 4 Goldeneye (30) was the only bird present. Still scanning around a Marsh Harrier (31) was hunting over the beach towards Thornham and a skein of Pink-footed Geese (32) were over Brancaster. Another quick scan of the sea and a Great Crested Grebe (33) was seen and a small flock of Cormorant (34) flew through.
We walked back and a scan over the Salt Marsh allowed us to see Wigeon (35) and Teal (36) in a small pool. Then walking back along the Tidal Marsh a Linnet (37) flew overhead and the same party of Little Grebe were still together but now feeding really close to the path.
At the back of the Brackish Marsh Adam spotted a few Shelduck (38) and I then spotted a Little Egret (39) fly over the Salt Marsh. Further along the Brackish Marsh and a small party of Ruff (40) amongst the Redshank and flock of Goldfinch were feeding on the plants growing on the path to the Parrinder Hide.
On the Fresh Marsh Canada Goose (42) and Mute Swan (43) were seen with ease but due to the high winds we thought it was best to scan from inside the Island Hide. Just before reaching the hide a Water Pipit (44) flew in front of my face and onto the Salt Marsh, a Cetti’s Warbler was heard but not seen.
In the hide a top up of the common ducks were the only birds added with Gadwall (45), Tufted Duck (46) and Pochard (47). But it was nice to see large groups of Goldeneye (mostly males) and Pintail on the water and the land covering Golden Plover flock (literally every spec of any Island was covered with a Golden Plover).
We then left the hide and whilst scanning the reeds news that the Arctic Redpoll was showing from the visitors centre we headed straight there, a Reed Bunting (48) flew over whilst on our way.
We got to the back of the visitor centre, and straight away were awarded with great views of the Arctic Redpoll (49) I managed to get a scope on it just before it became obscured by trees and difficult to see. Lesser Redpoll (50) was then seen shortly followed by a Mealy Redpoll (51) a Marsh Tit (52) called in my ear which I then saw fly towards the feeders and disappear before I could get Adam onto it. Other birds added around the feeders were Greenfinch (53), Chaffinch (54), House Sparrow (55), Great Tit (56) Robin (57) and Blue Tit (58). We then headed off not before adding Wren (59) whilst getting into the car.
At this point I felt it was going to be a struggle as 4 out of the last 6 years we had left Titchwell with 75 species I really thought that 100 would not be do-able today, and we have had 100+ for the last 9 years on the 1st Jan.
With such a poor sea watch I had to change my planned route and said that we had to go to Hunstanton. So thats what we done going via Chosley and Ringstead on the way.
On the road up to the Drying Barns we saw a Magpie (60) and at the Barns themselves birds were quiet. Two Red-legged Partridge (61) ran away behind a sugarbeet lorry.
Down the footpath there was a large flock of Redwing (62) feeding on the berry bushes, a Pheasant (63) was in the field and 4 Egyptian Geese (64) flew over fields to the north. We the barns and upon approaching the only houses in Chosley a Stock Dove (65) sat on the wires. Then just to the west of the houses a flock of buntings was a great find that had Yellowhammer (66) and Corn Bunting (67) within, and Skylark (68) were also flying overhead.
Then driving through the village of Ringstead we added Jackdaw (69), Rook (70), Collared Dove (71) and Mistle Thrush (72). It wasn't long until we arrived at Hunstanton seeing a flock of Starling (73) on the golf course.
We drove to the bottom of the car park and you could clearly see the Sperm Whale that was on the beach, a real spectacle.
But back to the birds and sea watching put us straight onto a large flock of Fulmar (74) that were sat on the sea. Common Scoter (75) and Eider (76) were also on the sea, a Meadow Pipit (77) flew over our heads, and back on the sea a Red-throated Diver (78) flew through. I then managed to pick up a Slavonian Grebe (79) on the sea and after some manoeuvring to see further south we also managed to see a large flock of Red-breasted Merganser (80).
Our next planned stop was Flitcham and on the way in Snettisham area we had Fieldfare (81) and Kestrel (82). Coming into Flitcham we had Jay (83) and Buzzard (84). The hide was very quiet with only a Sparrowhawk (85) briefly adding some entertainment. After the hide we then checked the fields, two Grey Partridges (86) ran up the edge of one field and a flock of around 40 Tree Sparrow (87) were in the hedgerow. After this we headed off but not before seeing a flock of 15 Song Thrush (88) and a Lesser Black Backed Gull (89).
Next stop was brief, although I normally enjoy getting great looks at any bird there just wasn't time the Great Grey Shrike (90) was distant but showing well at Fakenham. It was now around midday so on the way to Cley we got some food.
We arrived and waited for the same bird that everybody else wanted it hadn't been seen since 10.30 and it was now 12.30 Dunlin (91) and Avocet (92) added more ticks of the day, and with further scanning Adam picked out some Pied Wagtails (93) and I spotted a distant Peregrine (94) just West of North Scrape.
I then started my 5th/6th full scan of the reserve when someone had spotted the Western Sandpiper (95) showing really well on Simmond Scrape and sure it was, here is a picture and a new video that I have taken.
After this we left and a brief stop at Salthouse we got good views of both Guillemot (97) and Razorbill (98) on the sea.
After this the next stop planned was Ranworth Broad but first a stop at Horstead Mill for a go at Grey Wagtail, but no luck. This is actually a bird I have never seen on 1st Jan which I have always found weird.
Now another weird moment as we park the car at around 2pm and add our 99th bird and imagine a big drum roll for...... the Dunnock (99), and then in quick secession Siskin (100), Goldcrest (101), Long-tailed Tit (102), Great Spotted Woodpecker (103) and Coal Tit (104).
We then walked down to the broad and heard Waterail on the way. At the broad Julian so helped us get onto the bird we wanted the Ring-necked Duck (105).
During the walk back we saw a Treecreeper (106), and I realised we could maybe beat my previous record of 111 if we get a good roost at Hickling so off we went.
A brief stop at Ludham and we saw 20 Whooper (107) and 3 Bewick Swans (108).
We then got to Hickling and on the walk down 2 White-fronted Geese (109) flew over head. Upon arrival at the roost we were straight onto some Cranes (110) at first it seemed to be six but later on the flock took off and it was actually 10, plus 3 others flew in later. Our next bird was seen straight away also, this was a Merlin (111) sat perched in a nearby field. The record breaking bird was a male Hen Harrier (112) that flew through.
We then got to add two more as a Bullfinch (113) flew over and a Woodcock (114) flew past. We also heard a Kingfisher at the roost as well as seeing 40+ Marsh Harrier and a Ring-tail Harrier also.