This weekend was a tale of two halves and I lost them both. Yesterday on the patch with recalcitrant Stonechats and nothing new. Today nine hours at Wallasea Island dipping a Pallid Harrier whilst Thrushes including Ring Ouzel piled into Wanstead. You can't win them all, but at least I've seen several Pallid Harrier before and it was my first visit to the reserve (and it was brilliant). Marsh Harriers everywhere, a Hen Harrier, millions of Skylark, Reed Bunting, and probably more Little Egret in one place than I've ever seen anywhere. I had a lovely day out on the coast in unseasonal October sunshine, a far cry from where I shall be tomorrow... No doubt the Pallid Harrier will show all day.
Early on a couple of Short-eared Owls were flying around the reserve, always keeping their distance. Later on everyone in Essex who owns a camera turned up to try and photograph them, as is the norm. There is something about SEOs that is impossibly attractive for the no-bins togger brigade. I'd attemped a few shots in the morning before reluctantly concluding I was wasting my time. I need to get back into the swing of things and it would be helpful if the birds played ball, this weekend has been a good reminder of how difficult it actually is and how there is simply no substitute for being really close. And of how heavy my camera is!