I was never going to be able to compete with the likes of Ballycotton or Belmullet or even Kilcoole/Newcastle in terms of number of species but, now that we're able to use 2013 for a comparative score, the playing field is much more level. Like Niall, I decided to battle through the elements to make a start for the new year.
I drove to Kilpatrick beach first to seawatch and quickly got Gannet, Kittiwake and the expected gulls. Surprisingly, there wasn't a diver to be seen. I could always expect a few scattered along the coast. I decided to have a look at Kilgorman Marsh and picked up Moorhen, Grey Heron and Mallard in a flooded field along the way. The marsh produced Teal, Wigeon and Snipe as well as two full fat patch ticks, Shoveler and Little Grebe. A quick look at Kilgorman beach produced a distant auk on the sand spit. With three Brunnichs in GB, my heart went into optimistic overdrive but unfortunately it was not to be - just an exhausted Guillemot. Decided it was time for lunch so drove slowly back home along the sea road and was rewarded with 4 Little Gulls.
The afternoon brightened up a bit so walked to Kilmichael Point but only added Stonechat and Reed Bunting. Headed home and decided to walk down the road and picked up one of the resident Collared Doves and Song Thrush. Just as I got home I noticed a flock of birds coming in off the sea - Lapwings.
So despite the weather it was a reasonable start to the new year with 45 species, 49 points and 41.88%.