It's not very often we use words like 'astonishing' and actually mean them. Well, here is what happened on the beach last Thursday.

I sat down on the beach platform at 130pm, settling down for an hours sea watching. Within three minutes I had seen three short-eared owls coming in off the sea on the final stage of their long migration flight from the continent. Half an hour later the owl count was ten! Something special was taking place!

More owls followed until at the hour mark the tally was nineteen! I was beginning to get very excited, something amazing was happening before my very eyes. Word spread around the reserve and birders began arriving on the boardwalk to witness the spectacle. The owls kept on coming....it was just like a postal delivery at Hogwarts!

At the hour and a half mark the tally was almost thirty and still they kept on coming.....

Some of the owls were very tired. We thought one was going to ditch in the sea and contemplated wading out to rescue it. Fortunately, it found energyy from somwewhere and made land fall towards Thornham Point.

When I packed up the tally was an incredible forty-six, including groups of six and five in the scope at the same time. I have since spoken to many birders including some old-timers: no one can ever recall a passage of owls like it!

It was surely the specatcle of a lifetime and one I will never forget.

It was truly... astonishing!!

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