On the 1st January a bird race around the reserve produced 97 species, an amazing total for January. Highlights were three Glossy Ibis found by Ian going over the Reedy Ditch before they headed over to Park Farm. I saw one of the Glossy Ibis again on the 10th flying over the Reedy Ditch.
Also on New Year’s Day four Brambling were calling close to the Reedy Ditch and sea watching produced an unexpected Kittiwake. Around midday a bat was seen flying near Long Pits Gate, I didn’t have my Echo Meter but assume it was one of the pipistrelle species.
On the 6th seven Red-throated Divers flying west was the highest ever count at Needs Ore.
On the 10th I watched a Woodcock, via thermal camera, feeding in Long Pits prior to dawn. Shortly afterwards Little Owls were heard calling from the western end of the reserve and a Barn Owl was quartering over the reeds towards Park Shore. The same day Otter spraints were found on the boardwalk bridge.
In the gardens at Rye Errish (Park Lane) on the 10th a Siberian Chiffchaff was discovered wintering with two Common Chiffchaffs and several Firecrests and Goldcrests. I saw the Siberian Chiffchaff again on the 13th and the 23rd but despite visiting on at least four other occasions it wasn’t heard to call.
On the 13th a Crossbill was seen flying over Rye Errish and an unseasonal Red Admiral settled on a tree near Shore Hide to bask in the sun.
The Pale-bellied Brent Goose was with the large Brent Goose flock on the 16th and later that day a ringtail Hen Harrier (initially found by Nigel) was quartering along Warren Shore.
A pair of Goosander flew west on the 19th and then another five flew west on the 27th.
86 Black-tailed Godwit on the 23rd is my highest count on the reserve although I can see from historic records (10-25 years ago) that there have previously been counts of 500 or more.
25 mobile Eider were off shore on the 27th and over at the hides 63 Golden Plover appeared from the north and were spooked by one of the White-tailed Eagles before landing on the Gins.
Two pairs of Mandarin Ducks were unexpected and brief visitors to Black Water on the 27th. This is the first Mandarin Duck at Needs Ore for three years and a patch tick for me.
A Spotted Redshank was heard calling at the Sluice Gate on the 29th, my first definite winter record since December 2020. Park Shore hosted 53 Mediterranean Gulls on the same day with just one 1st winter bird amongst them.
Birds present all month included the wintering Avocet group whose numbers had increased to 17.
The two Cattle Egrets remained close to Park Farm. Dartford Warbler numbers appeared to fall in the month and the last one I saw or heard was on the 19th. Razorbill and Guillemot numbers also appeared to decline towards the end of the month.
The 1st winter Purple Sandpiper remained on Warren Shore throughout January and was also seen with the roosting Dunlin on Inchmery Saltmarsh on the 29th.
The number of wintering Slavonian Grebes increased to five during the final week of January and the wintering Spoonbill group remained at 14 adults. The first winter female Scaup remained on Black Water throughout the month.