It was a cool grey start to the year but it was dry and there was very little wind, the first birds I heard on the morning of the first were the Redwings with their high pitched whistles as they left their various roost around the grounds, if I had bothered to get up a bit earlier I would have heard a Tawny Owl or two!! Lots of commoner birds followed, including Siskins, Bullfinches, Redpolls flying over and a lone Meadow Pipit. Everything slowed down a bit when I got to about 35 species, then as I walked one of the newly planted hedgerows a familiar trilling sound drifted from somewhere over the stream and a single WAXWING flew almost over my head and then veered left towards the woods, I met up with Stephen, who had managed to flush a Woodcock and had Kingfisher near the lakes, I then headed off to a bit of boggy ground that had held Jack Snipe before Christmas, luckily the JACK SNIPE was found easily as were the first 4 Common Snipe of the day, with the days total in the early 40's, it was time to see if the FIRECREST had also hung around it had and gave really close views. Thinking about calling it a day, I checked out the large pond by the sewage works in hope of maybe a Grey Wagtail which didn't materialise but I was still pleased with the first Grey Heron of the day and the only raptor of the morning, a Buzzard perched in a nearby tree. At 49 species, I headed home.
A bit later my wife and I went for a walk so we headed back to the castle and I managed to add Moorhen and Kingfisher for 51. Once at home again I decided to I would do one last visit at dusk as I had not quite made it before first light in the morning, I was rewarded with 2 flyover Mandarin and at least 3 calling Tawny Owls and 1 Little Owl, so 54 was my total, Stephen had managed a couple of different birds including 2 Brambling. 57 for the first day was a better than expected start, we didn't find Collared Dove, Pied Wagtail or Sparrowhawk, so amazingly 60 birds today was quite feasible!!