Headed south through sleet, snow and rain with Ralph and Eugene at 2am today.
Got down to Westleton Heath, next door to Minsmere in Suffolk at 7.30am, and the place was colder than the bloody Baltic in January!
Blue skies, but a bitter, strong, bitter south westerly made birding difficult all day - not that the local Barn Owl and perchy perchy Great Grey Shrike seemed to mind.
Woodlark, Dartford Warbler, Chiffchaff, Swallow, Green Woodpecker, gazillions of Rabbits and a fair few Red deer were mere distractions as we searched for the Lesser Kestrel, that has been around since Sunday.
The area the bird is usually seen in is about a million miles away from the nearest observation point - you need the Hubble Telescope combined with the Large Hadron Particle Collider thingy and a ten times converter to get a reasonable view.
Strange then, that after hours of freezing and searching to no avail, a small male kestrel flew past me at 150 metres - bright blue head, deep chestnut back and coverts (unmarked), and shocking white underwing, with very little spotting, at 11.15am.
Although Eugene only got on the bird in silhouette as it headed into the sun, he noticed longer central tail feathers.
It was gone behind a clump of birches in seconds and most of the other birders there didn't seem that interested as I called the bird (but as one had claimed Chaffinch as Lesser Kestrel earlier, this was hardly surprising).
Never to be seen again.
Looked like a male Lesser Kestrel to me though!
No one else got on it, and mysteriously, the sighting never made it onto any of the rare bird alert services.
A fine Red Kite came through a short while later, but despite much searching through the Common Kestrels and Sprawks onsite, we never saw the sought after Lesser again.
Some days are like that.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...