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Tuesday 30 December 2014

Wallasea Island RSPB

December 28/29th

After my last visit of December 6th I decided on visiting again spurred on by the Rough legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier and Short Eared Owl sightings on Twitter and the grapevine.

On the 28th in the afternoon and wall to wall sunshine I took my wife Christine with me, as we arrived, and virtually the first Raptor seen, the Rough Legged Buzzard flew over towards the far sea wall where I lost it.

Distant views but good enough to identify before it disappeared.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent watching the Shorties or anything else that passed this included 2 Marsh Harriers and a single distant Hen Harrier, additionally Corn Buntings are abundant.

It is an ideal place to take your other half with all the Shorties on view, it is armchair birding as everything is seen from inside the car, you don’t even have to get out, of course its warmer as well.

Another attraction - Dark Bellied Brent Geese

Short Eared Owl hunting

On the way out in twilight we had a Common Buzzard sitting in a tree and then to cap the afternoon off a hunting Barn Owl.

The 2nd visit, again in the afternoon was on the 29th, with the forecast sunshine myself and Paul headed down arriving about 1.20pm.
We picked out a few Marsh Harriers and also 2 Short Eared Owls, not used to them hunting this early; they would never get away with it at Rainham on the Silts with all the Crows present.

At around 1.30pm Paul picked up the Rough Legged Buzzard, we watched it for about 3 or 4 minutes as it soared and hovered up high before landing distantly towards the sea wall.

Far off views again but good to see nonetheless, must admit to being envious of Brian’s shots on his blog as it flew over the car park on Monday, must have been quite a sight.

Also I must admit that Wallasea rivals Harty Lane when it come to watching Birds of Prey, not sure what’s in the crop there but it must be good for Mice and Voles to pull that many Short Eared Owls in, we counted 6 but have heard reports of 9 over the fields.

I suspect as well that given the abundance of Finches/Buntings and flushed Snipe the raptors are likely after small birds as well.

Potential prey also - Snipe

Other birds of note seen were, 1 possibly 2 Ring Tailed Hen Harriers, 3 Marsh Harriers,2 + Kestrels, male Sparrowhawk and a Common Buzzard as we left sitting in the same tree as seen the day before, no doubt a pre roost/roost tree.

2 very enjoyable afternoons and closer than Sheppy…all it needs is some Peregrines….

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