Well I paid my last visit of the year to Gates yesterday and had a great time. I got there about 1130 and kicked the visit off with a pasty and a flask of Earl Grey on the pillbox. I often sit on the pillbox as there are great views from there. Today I saw thousands of GPs on the airfield and a few flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare.
Post my pasty I conducted a circuit of the Farm. I spent 45 minutes in the hide at Ruan (and did not see a lot!). Just as I was contemplating leaving a Short Eared Owl jumped up out of the grass about 30ft in front of the hide. Before I could get a pic it went down again! It must of been there the whole time that I was. After 5 minutes it briefly popped up, flew about 15 ft and then went down again, I managed to get a couple of record shots. Great birds and I am glad one of them has chosen to have a kip at the Farm.
On my return walk I flushed a couple of Woodcock from the boardwalk (I find they are generally at the southern end of the boardwalk). A fantastic day all round.
Happy New Year to all.