The pictures are not very good and my first thoughts were not to bother with a blog, but how often do you see a Short-toed Eagle in Sussex. It's certainly worth recording.
I sat at home on Sunday watching the reports coming in but guessed that there would be a lot of people at the twitch so did not bother going. However, Monday morning we went, arriving at Long car park to be told that it was showing well and also receiving an alert confirming where it was. Ten minutes too late again. When we arrived at the viewing point it had just flown back into the trees.
Two hours later it made a brief appearance flying low over the trees and then vanished once again. It was a sighting but not a very satisfactory one. I did not have a decent picture and I could not identify it from what I had seen. All I really new was that it was big and that it was not a Buzzard or a Red Kite. The experts around me were confident and I guess I would have counted it as a life tick even though it did not really meet my criteria of being able to make the identification myself.
Fortunately the weather was poor and there was no point in following our original plan of going butterflying in the afternoon. Instead we visited some of the other look out points in the forest and ended up at Gills Lap where it was clear as we drove in to the car park that other birders had the Eagle in their scopes.
This time we got much better views as the bird hunted across the ridge in front of us, stooping on and catching prey. We watched it for about an hour this time. It did not come close but it did give good enough views to confirm the sighting.
There is not much you can do to rescue a poor set of pictures other than go back when the weather has improved. That's probably what we should have done as there were some good pictures taken on the Tuesday. See for example Mick Davis' blog. That was not possible though, as we had Tuesday scheduled for the Heath Fritillaries down in Blean Wood Kent.