Forecasts of blizzards, torrential rain and a hellzapopping hooley didn't deter us when we set off up the M6 and over the Pennines to have a butcher's at the superb Yellow Rumped Warbler at High Shincliffe in County Durham this morning.
Excellent driving by Chris Tynan, and equally excellent company from Ralph Jones and Eugene McCann, and even better the Yankee mega was ready and waiting for us as we walked round the edge of the village in bitter winds and snow at about 9.30am.
The warbler spent the morning repeatedly coming into the hedgerow to feed on carefully placed half coconuts stuffed with goodies, giving wonderful scope views.
It really loved the coconuts, spending most of its time on them, rather than moving about higher up in the open.
If I remember rightly from Cape May and more recent New World days, they usually prefer spending most of their time lower down anyway.
Unfortunately the critter was next to impossible to digiscope without focus going off-beam in the tangle of branches - a selection of my embarrassing attempts appear below (the one at the top of this entry was the best I could manage).
As you can see, hardly my finest hour, but it didn't matter with such prolonged views of the mega as it shovelled down food from the coconut shell deep in the vegetation spaghetti.
And wonderful to see its bright yellow rump zipping through the branches as it was pursued by a local Robin.
Luckily another member of the team, who unaccountably wanted to remain anonymous did far better.
For the sake of argument, let's call him Ralph.
Good big eye-ring, wingbars, splash of yellow at the shoulder, nice supercilium making it a Myrtle rather than Audubon's, and lovely streaking at the sides of the breast - even in relatively dowdy plumage, American wood warblers are such stonkers!
My first British tick for longer than I care to admit.
No sign of the Waxwings reported in the village, but Siskins, Bullfinch and Goldfinch in the bitter winds, and Lee Gregory showing well with a proper big-boy camera.
We headed for home late morning having spent a fine few hours with the Myrtle Warbler, managing to hit the promised white-out on the A66, before Chris steered us safely back into Merseyside in the strengthening gale.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...