The mudflats held pretty much the cast I would expect for this feature. Dunlin, Common Redshank, Shelduck, Ringed Plovers, Lapwings, Curlew and a few Black-tailed Godwits. As I trod carefully along the seawall trying hard not to slide in the rivulets of muddy water that lay hidden below innocent patches of grass, I noted Meadow Pipits and a few Skylarks. Every now and then I would stop and scan the distance – across to Foulness Island and Holiwell Point for a glimpse or suggestion of the star performer, a real A-Lister, the Hen Harrier. Nothing doing. Was I going to fail again or would this epic end happily ever after?
|View across to Foulness Island|
After some time spent scanning the horizon, an agile raptor flew low across the banks of the shoreline on Foulness. At first I thought it was a Marsh Harrier due to the darkness of it’s appearance but as it flew out into the sunlight more, I could clearly see the telltale tail with the white rump that meant I had a 'Ringtail' or rather a female Hen Harrier. Eventually it disappeared behind some farm buildings and was gone. I was well happy.
I decided to head back along a path that would test Indiana Jones, as I hoped from one safe bit to the next while still trying to keep one eye out for birds. And then it happened; the twist in the storyline. Just when I thought it was safe to go home a happy man, a raptor flew right beside me, teasing me with it’s beauty and grace. Another ringtail but this time I could almost touch it. It quickly realised its mistake and started to veer away from me. I quickly grabbed my compact and tried to zoom in on it but it was all a bit fiddly and the result a bit pointless.
|Hen Harrier in flight from me.|