Golden yellow eyes at sunset

After another bout of illness that kept me from venturing anywhere with the camera for a whole week I have been eager to get down to Goldcliff. Especially as the weather is looking not too promising  this coming weekend.

With the clear skies today and good weather predicted for the evening I decided to spend a few hours at Goldcliff Lagoons. Hooray.

On arrival I had the reserve to myself. Not a soul in sight. It was fairly quiet to start with. A small flock of lapwings and the odd Curlew in the first lagoon and then a flock of Greylag and Canadian Geese flew in from the fields honking as they did so.

This evening I was planning to take some sunset pictures with a new wide angle lens I have got.

I spent a bit of time on the sea wall watching the tide start to come in. There was a lot of Oystercatchers out on the mud and in the far distance big numbers of Curlews.

The sky was unbelievably clear of clouds and the the autumn sun starts to set further out across the estuary so it gives the incoming tide an orange glow.

Then hoards of bird started to drop out of the sky into Lagoon 3. Its been a while since I have seen so many birds, there was hundreds of Curlews, Black Tailed Godwits, Dunlins, Oystercatchers, Redshank, Shelducks and Shoveller. I used the scope to watch from a distance but I am sure there were more species than that.

I got all excited and decided to ditch the sunset shots for a while and go and get a closer look. I am always careful on approaching the sea wall hide as I don't want to startle any birds on the lagoon. Usually I have bad luck and a bunch of teal hiding in the reeds decide to explode out making a raucous noise and everything on the lagoons decides to make an exit.

This evening my stealthy approach worked - perhaps it was the setting sun and sea wall at my back. As I got closer to the hide I scanned across the grassy mounds that shield the seawall hides approach and I thought I saw a Buzzard sat on a fence post. I dumped all my kit and  I sneaked up and lay flat on the mound and sneaked up. I popped my head up and the camera and was really pleased to see I had been mistaken. It was not a buzzard. A big pair of golden yellow eyes had turned to look at me- the bird was a Short Eared Owl! My first at Goldcliff. Hoot Hoot. Very happy.

I managed to get a few pictures before it flew off across the lagoon. Its a big bird and impressive to watch.

It stayed around most of the evening. I picked it up later  with the scope perched on  a fence post near the sea wall . It was busy preening itself for ages.

I ended the evening watching the sun finally set and trying some more starry night pictures - I need a lot more practise at those but its early days so far.

Short Eared Owl at Goldcliff Lagoons

Lots of waders on  Lagoon 3 at last!

Setting autumnal sun

Almost sunset at high tide

After dark a view of Hide 1.



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