The strategy today was to do an anti-clockwise circuit to look for the Dartford Warbler, and then through the turnstile for Rock Pipits at high tide and Short-eared owls late afternoon. It seemed such a good plan. In the event we did eventually see the Dartford Warbler albeit very briefly and at distance, and the rest of the circuit was so quiet that we arrived on the river bank at least two hours before high tide.
As a result there were only one or two pipits present and the only Rock Pipit insisted on strutting its stuff with the sun behind it. I did manage a couple of shots but nowhere near as good as the ones last year. So on to Aveley Bay for the Short-eared Owls.
On the way a pair of Stonechats were flitting among the bushes and this time the sun was from the right direction. Always nice to be able to photograph them with a complement of wild rose or winter dock.
Up by the road a rather dark Short-eared Owl was enjoying the afternoon sun out on the salt-marsh between the river footpath and the river. The bad news was that it had been there since 11.30am and was showing no signs of flying. So nothing for it but to settle down for a long wait. I was able to take a series of shots in slightly different light conditions as the sun went round, and tried the capture even the slightest change of pose. Unfortunately when it did fly at about 4.00pm it did so without warning, and instead of carrying out a few laps it flew straight way and on to the reserve.