Just walking out of Sandgrounders Hide at 11.45 today with Phil Johnson, pausing to enjoy the Goldcrests and Chiffies rippling through the scrub, when a large, rakish raptor crossed the road to the south of us about 50 feet away, barely clearing the willows of the Sandplant compound, with a Magpie hard on its ass.
Great views of the subtly barred underwing, long barred tail and smooth upperparts of a stonking pale phase Honey Buzzard!
Lovely sticky-out head and pointed wingtips as it moved away from us.
Clearly knackered, the bird flapped slowly off to the south east, allowing Tony Baker to get on it too as it drifted off over Marshside One into the hot, hot, hot haze.
You'll have to excuse the lousy images, but I was just too busy watching the Honey to take closer shots (birding first, then photos), although in this postage stamp, you can just about make out the long tail and forward swept wings if you really use your imagination.
The bird came in from the west, but it was so low, it was tempting to think it may have been roosting in the Sandplant compound, before getting moving (they are notoriously lazy birds, rarely getting up early).
Juv Marsh Harrier up over the outer marsh too, with about 1500 Pinkies trying to cool off on Polly's Pool and Marshside One.
With Skylarks, Mipits, 'crests and Chiffies moving through, it was probably a mistake not to check the Sandplant compound - I believe a Spot Fly was reported in the bushes yesterday - but I was on a tight timescale.
Small groups of Snipe dropping in high from the north east, while most of the wildfowl are still in a parlous condition.
The sooner they finish all this eclipse business, the easier it's gonna be on everyone's eyes.
A few Migrant Hawkers about, and growing numbers of Curlew too - all looking very autumn.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...