Quicker than tv detective Wycliffe could shout "You stole my pasty", the empidonax flycatcher darted down the bracken and briar covered slope at Nanjizal yesterday morning.
Never mind my rubbish digi-shots, it was a gorgeous little sprite, all wingbars and big white eye-ring, and shiny pale underparts.
A gem - which meant the long haul down overnight with Neill, John Mercer, Mike Stocker and Ralph Jones (excellent driving by Mr Hunt) was well worth it.
Hyperactive as most flycatchers, it perched up occasionally, allowing great 'scope views for the masses. Ringing later in the day confirmed the id as Alder (a first winter male), which meant everyone could have a tick, but given that some bird obs in the US maintain you can't even separate Alder from Willow even in the hand (song is the thing), I don't think this is the last we'll hear of the Alder v Willow debate.
Alder is the most likely...but my pix are hardly likely to help the discussion....
After 45 minutes with the Alder Flycatcher, everyone legged it to Nanquidno Valley, where a Yellow Throated Vireo had been reported - no sign of the "large yellow bird with wingbars" (although there were quite a lot of blue and yellow Grey Wagtails with wingbars about - hmmmmm).
Nanquidno basked in the sun, and Mike S picked up a Grey Phalarope bobbing about offshore amongst the Gannets, while the bushes held Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, titmice etc.
Buzzards galore, frequently getting mobbed by passing corvids.
From there, we headed to the wonderful tangle of greenery that is Cot Valley, the perfect place for yankee rarities to hide - it was quiet until we came across a roving flock of titmice, goldcrests etc which contained two Firecrest and Blackcap.
We finished the day scouring the hillsides around Church Cove on the Lizard in case the Nighthawk showed - it didn't, but as we waited Buzzard, Merlin and Kestrel felt the wrath of the local crow population, with Raven, Jackdaws, Rooks and even a Chough in the air.
Advancing dusk saw us wandering back to car, pausing to check out a big Green Bushcricket as it walked across the path, before the nightmare drive home.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...
Neill Hunt's Alder Flycatcher pix
Thanks to Neill for sending me these three shots of the Alder Fly - much better than mine. Cheers buddy.