We'd been reading the records from Wallasea Island of decent numbers of Short-Eared Owls and thought it worth a go. My record with winter SEOs is generally mixed - if they are showing its been brief and distant. Would we be lucky at Wallasea?
We needn't have worried. On arrival we stopped by a car with photographers in action, and a quick scan produced two SEOs in flight. One took exception to a Kestrel and mobbed it at height above our heads. On scanning we found another SEO, just behind a passing male Hen Harrier. Nice.
We went down to the car park, saw a flock of eight Corn Buntings, and then onto the reserve towards the hide but not as far. There were more owls towards the sea wall, and with this number they were constantly hunting and taking exception to other owls being in their areas, so we had a real treat. Another Hen Harrier, this time a Ringtail, quartered the fields around the hide and towards the sea wall.
We didn't spend a lot of time searching the wildfowl and waders, but still detected plenty of Pintails amongst the many Wigeon and Shoveler, several flocks of Golden Plover, and Black-Tailed Godwits and a few Avocets.
It was warm, still, and sunny, and quite fantastic. As time ticked by we got an atmospheric sunset and then with owls still quartering called it a day.
I reckon we had seven Owls. We turned up at 2pm and the owls were busy. If you are thinking of going I would get there an hour or so before then.
Finally some photos. Veteran readers will immediately assume this excellent set are not mine, and you would be right. These are courtesy of David, more on his excellent blog https://davsamp.blogspot.com