I was having a lazy morning , telling myself that the clocks would go back tonight so still being in bed at 9.40 was okay. I rolled over and looked at my phone only to see a message from Neil, timed at 8:05, asking if I wanted a lift up north to see the Eastern Black Redstart.
This bird is not a separate species to the Black Redstart we regularly see here, but it has come from a long way East along with many of the other Eastern vagrants we have had this autumn and it is a very handsome little bird. I have never seen one before.
I immediately rang Neil to find that he was already passing just north of me. I asked him to detour while I got dressed and grabbed a coffee.
A few hours later we were in Cleveland, driving down a small valley into a little place called Skinningrove, parking up and walking along to a stunning beach. It was good to meet some of the birders I know from the north-east.
The Eastern Black Redstart was drawing a steady stream of admirers, but was playing hide and seek under the piles of boulders which protected the jetty from North Sea storms.
Eventually, though, it hopped up onto the top and as the afternoon warmed up it put on a fine display right below us, snapping up numerous flies. It looked very at home in amongst the boulders and you could just imagine it hopping about amongst the rocks by some river far to the east of here.
I even managed to grab a few half decent shots by phonescoping.
I was back at home just after dark, just in time to get the news that there had been a Pied Wheatear about 10 miles up the road, only reported and identified from photos after dark. That's the third time recently I've seen a bird a day too early and missed other goodies.
Maybe I should start delaying my journeys by a day.