Just Mike and myself as David continues to be unavailable (get well soon!).
Start at The Naze to see if any of last weekends star birds were still around. On the walk down to the end we heard some zizz-zizz-zizzing and eventually two Firecrests revealed themselves. Still an unusual bird for me - just the second of the year - a treat to see these avian jewels.
On to the beach and up towards Stone Point, and a Shore Lark flew ahead and landed. Possibly a bird of the year as not as vivid yellow and no horns as some, still a terrific sighting. Just after a Short-Eared Owl flew towards us and gave excellent views as it was mobbed by Meadow Pipits. A Peregrine shot past in full hunting mode. There were no Snow Buntings at the end but we had several Marsh Harriers, and a typical selection of coastal waders - Grey Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Curlew, Turnstone, a few Ringed Plover, and Oystercatcher, and the usual accompaniment of Dark-Bellied Brent Goose.
Sandwiches, then Abberton. From the Layer-De-La Hey causeway we had two distant Black-Necked Grebes, 3 Scaup, a female Smew, and over 30 Goosander. Someone kindly pointed out the Little Auk, swimmingly merrily around, diving, flapping, little more than a spec but very cute. Then a short trip round to Wigborough Bay, and a Bewicks Swan, a few Pintail, c10 Black-Tailed Godwit, 2 Ruff, Lapwing, Dunlin, and a couple of Stonechat. Back to the centre and the island hide and two close-in Long-Tailed Duck including a splendid female, and that was it apart from a drive by tick of 4 Cattle Egret just south of Billet's Farm.
A splendid day in Essex.