With only a mild hangover, and John feeling tip-top and thus on driving duty, he arrived around 9am and in company with Nick, whose patch enthusiasm had waned after just 20 pathetic minutes, we headed off on the long drive up to East Yorkshire. Great birds in profusion, but one of my least favourite places to get to. The motorway part is OK, if boring, but the final miles are interminably slow and you feel like you're crawling - and of course this last stretch is the most stressful of all. Stuck behind a caravan doing 35 on the open road with a monster bird only a few miles away. Today was no different, although John's levels of stress far surpassed anyone else's. He'd previously dipped two, in 1997 and 1988, and wasn't feeling good about not having been there at dawn. I'll clean his seat tomorrow. Anyhow, it was all good and he need not have fretted, as the bird showed extremely well in a kale field to at least a hundred green-clad admirers, and was on view from the moment we arrived to the moment we left.
Which was not long! Possibly a mite longer than the Masked Shrike, but we had Pipit business to attend to on the other side of Yorkshire, and at gone 1pm on a dank early January afternoon we were very much up against it. We left the
Unfortunately this mad tickery, all 520 miles of it, means that my Wanstead patch list is restricted to ten - all birds seen or heard whilst chucking optics in the car this morning. Still, there's a long way to go, and it's kind of cool to have seen a Little Bustard before a Little Grebe. Barely 24 hours gone and two lifers added. I'd say that's a fine start to the year, long may it continue!