I'm lying in bed at 5.30am half awake, When the mobile text alert goes off. Message says "Are you up"?
I phone Brian thinking I've missed his earlier message arranging to go out today. Panic over as he has just woke up early and wants to know if I want to try for the Red-backed Shrike at Hayes.
After a mad dash around the house, We meet up at 6am and being a weekend and at this time of day it only takes 35 minutes to reach the car park on Dawley road.
There's a small group of birders already present, and we are told that the shrike has been seen but that it's dropped out of view.
After a short time scanning the small copse, Brian decides to look from the other side and heads further along the path.
I stay behind and start scoping the area. Suddenly the shrike appears in the scope. I call the rest of the group over and after trying to pin down where the shrike is among the vegetation we get good views.
Dad had wandered off with Brian and comes back round to tell us that they have the shrike from their location and that it's in the open.
After walking round to where Brian is standing we watch it for a good twenty minutes as it just sits in the Hawthorn facing the sun.
Suddenly it drops down and out of sight. We wait another hour or so with no further sightings.
Ring necked Parakeets are present here and a small group fly noisily over overhead, Then a Sparrowhawk flies across with prey in it's talons. With the bins on the Sprawk I can tell it's not the shrike, It looks more like a small rodent or maybe a small pipit.
The rain starts to fall and it's time to head for the car and home.
At 5.30am I didn't think I was going to go out, By 9.30am I've been out and returned home, with a cracking male Red-backed Shrike added to my life, year and London lists, I've also met some nice people and some familiar faces.