I have worked all over Christmas and New Year and had my first day off today and as is the case with getting older, you find that the frequency of funerals starts to increase.
And so today I headed north to Colchester to pay my last respects to my Great Aunt Ivy who passed away just 27 days shy of her 100th birthday. With a nice bright clear day I stopped at Abberton both on the way up and back and spent a short while in the sunshine on the causeways and although I did not find the Smew I did see some gloriously pink Goosanders fishing with Cormorants and Great Crested Grebes around the Layer-de-le-Haye Causeway outflow. Further out both gleaming Slavonian and dusky Black-necked Grebes fished among low swimming Goldeneye while Wigeon grazed the banks under the watchful gaze of two very full looking Peregrines who were perched up on the shoreline. A great raft of Pochard was loafing between the causeways and five Bewick’s Swans were similarly snoozing in Wigborough Bay.
Soon it was time to head off to the second funeral of the day, this one at Pitsea, for one of my original Boozy Birders, Michael Merrick, who sadly passed on the 19th December. I needed some air again before joining the crowd and the crematorium is right on top of RSPB Bowers Marsh so a ten minute stroll at dusk was much appreciated and I was joined by over a hundred Fieldfares, a distant Cetti’s Warbler and a ghostly Barn Owl that came out of the cow shed and silently drifted out across the marsh.
It was standing room only for Mike, with a good few birders amongst the congregation and he got a fine send off as the last of the light left the sky.