Doing more birdwatching, mainly in Essex where I live, since I suddenly had more time. Today from Beaumont Quay (an old smuggling quay) along the sea-wall alongside the mudflats of Hamford Water and The Wade to Thorpe-Le-Soken and a pint in a pub before returning mainly the way I came.
On the outward journey the tide was very high and waders clung to almost swamped small islands. On the way back the tide was receding and muddy areas expanding. I'd seen nothing spectacular, though a late Wheatear and Sandwich Tern, summer visitors hanging on, were welcome. Then a Short-eared Owl exploded from rank grass a couple of feet from me. It didn't seem much worried as it circled inland and back close past me to settle on low saltmarsh vegetation, staring at me with its yellow-fringed eyes. This is always an exciting bird. A good view like this allows you to see the beautiful chequering of the back and wings - buff, darker reddish-brown, amber almost orange, white. Large brown bird is a very, very rough description.