"50. Spray. Slow down."
That's what the signs said on the motorway as we hurtled south, except whenever I looked at it, it said "Buff Bellied Pipit. Farmoor Reservoir. Oxfordshire. Go Faster".
Such is life.
Blissfully unaware of the Yankee pipit I rose at Dempsey Towers this morning and had a leisurely breakfast, even did the washing up, but all that changed when Neill finally got in touch with me, and off we went.
Got to the res about 1.30pm, where very helpful fishing people told us where to go and we tootled round the big concrete bowl till we got to a crowd of birders.
Scopes out and there was a Buff Bellied Pipit, all the way from the States, feeding with Rock Pipits at the water's edge.
Sometimes it is just as simple as that. Even the rain stopped when we got there.
Superb scope views, but my pictures are pretty lousy.
Neill's will be better.
The bloody thing wouldn't keep still, pumping its tail like a wagtail, preening and feeding at the water's edge until it flew up onto the reservoir wall about 50ft ahead of us.
Really striking double wingbars, pale edged tertials, dark tail, with white outer feathers, obvious malar stripe and warm buffy underparts - very nice.
Shame you can't see anything of that on these pics.....
Dark tip to the pale bill, bigger than a Meadow Pipit (not far off the Rock Pipits there), but overall warm coloured.
Looked greyer and a bit like a Water Pipit from behind.
After an hour or so the pipits flew up and went off to the other side of the reservoir, and the bird called - like a Meadow Pipit, but a single note, and perhaps a bit shriller.
What a day.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...