On one of the coldest New Year's Days in recent memory (the thermometer read minus 6 Celsius in Kingsteignton at 07.00) Laurie and I covered separate areas of the patch and combined for an above average total of 88 species.
Rackerhayes contained a decent variety of wildfowl including 27 Tufted Ducks, four Gadwalls, three Shovelers, two Pochards and a completely unexpected party of 13 Mandarins. Birds in surrounding woodland were obliging with Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Siskin all noted although Marsh Tit could not be found today. Fieldfare, Chiffchaff and Bullfinch were also added to the day list there.
With the tide falling at Passage House late morning, four Avocets, two Lapwings and two Common Sandpipers showed up to forage and eight Wigeon were on the point. A male Stonechat in the reeds was an unexpected bonus. Another look during the afternoon produced a male Teal, Grey Heron and two Little Grebes.
Hackney Marshes was full of walkers and dogs but still produced a Snipe on some frozen mud and Cetti's Warbler, Reed Bunting and Water Rail were all heard in the reeds. A Kingfisher hunted from the railway bridge, a Firecrest was flitting about in the woods and a Buzzard flew over, this being the only raptor recorded today.
Decoy Woods was busy with birds, with several flocks of Long-tailed Tits moving around. A Treecreeper and Firecrest were both seen on the edge of Wolborough Fen, which it itself looked magical in the glistening frost. The lake only held nine Tufted Duck; well below the usual total of around 30. Raven and Stock Dove both flew over and a Mistle Thrush sang from a tree.
A walk around the ditches and flooded areas at Teigngrace failed to produce the hoped for Green Sandpiper, however, five Snipe were flushed and a few Meadow Pipits foraged on the wet fields.
A look over the sea from Teignmouth revealed six Great Northern Divers, one Red-throated Diver, at least two Razorbill and 15 Guillemot, a handful of Gannet and a couple of Fulmar perched on the cliffs at Holcombe. Two each of Harbour Porpoise and Common Dolphin were also seen.