Not the best start to 2014 - weather was truly shocking and made 6 hours walking pretty miserable but its the 1st of the Year and I have a pass to go birding so it really must be used.... and cash it in I did.
I decided to split the FootIt patch in to two. Headed south to the fields (famed for my best self-found county bird - Quail 2012) and then back home to continue north in the afternoon. Dogs came with in the morning but both whimped out for the afternoon trek to the River Derwent!
Morning walk was horrid - heavy and persistent rain (although to be fair the afternoon was no better).
First bird of the year was ten or so Redwing in the trees outside the house, quickly followed by Starling, House Sparrow and Wood Pigeon.
The walk south didn't produce much else of note but 20 Common Gulls on the playing fields were nice to see as was a lone (and very damp) male Bullfinch. I was particularly pleased to find this species as it was highly elusive last year and didn't reveal itself until well on in to January 2013.
A quick pit-stop at home to drop the dogs off and to change. Forecast as always was rubbish and it wasn't supposed to rain until 12 o'clock however it started soon after leaving home first thing. Therefore first coat of the day (which wasn't fully waterproof) didn't stand up to well to the onslaught and leaked in a rather epic way! So epic it is still at 2130 still drying!
Walk south was pretty dull to start until I hit the lake at Alvaston Park where I picked up a few duck but not Goosander which was slightly disappointing. Highlight there was a small flock of 50 Linnet plus 7 Shoveler.
The River Derwent was pretty full and fast and the usual Grey Wagtail spots were under water so this species still needs further searching. Hopefully the garden bird will turn up at some point. Goosander was finally found with a single male on the River Derwent as was an exceedingly pissed off looking Grey Heron.
Final highlight of the day was a female Sparrowhawk over the river before I turned around and headed back for home.
Final tally was 40 species out of my predicted / target of 69 plus the female Sparrowhawk which I somehow omitted off my target list so in essence total should be 41 out of 70.
6 hours, two coats, many miles and all for yearlist of 41 - total New Years Madness....... and not even a Chaffinch!!