After making the trip to Berkshire yesterday in what was foul weather conditions to bag the Buff-bellied Pipit, We thought it was about time we made the trip to Aldeburgh in Suffolk to take a look at another real mega rarity.
Having spent the 1st day of 2012 watching Lesser, Mealy and Coues' Arctic Redpolls all feeding in the same tree just outside the reserve centre at Titchwell, a Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll is not what I thought I would be ending the year watching.
Two hours after setting off we are pulling into the badly pot holed beach car park. Parking the car we notice the assembled group of birders all walking back up the beach heading towards us.
Obviously the bird had flown our way and is confirmed by the birders as they head past. I'm the last to exit the car and as I shut the door I spot the bird flying back past the birders and dropping down onto a small patch of vegetation close to me.
We spend the next two hours watching this cracking little bird. The sun is trying it's best to break through but it's mainly hidden behind clouds and only makes brief appearances before being hidden again.
Then without warning the bird is off, heading back down the beach swiftly followed by the assembled birders. It's not flown far and is quickly found again.
Normally we're used to distant scope views of most rarities when they turn up, but the Buff-bellied Pipit and this little cracker show to within a few feet.
Another 30 minutes of it feeding and us watching and it's off. This time it heads out towards the sea and then turns sharply back in land and heads across the car park and off into the adjoining fields.
At this point we decide to head off and try to find the recently reported Bean Geese at North Warren. Scanning the fields we found what looks to be Bean Geese way over in the far corner close to some Greylags. But at this distance and with the geese tucked right up in the far corner we can't get good enough views to confirm it.
It's onto Minsmere, which turns out to be very quiet today.
No sign of the Waxwings around the North bushes, so have to make do with sightings of Bullfinch, Coal and Marsh Tit and Fieldfares instead.
There wasn't much happening out at sea, and even less happening on the reserve.
A quick stop for food and it's back for another look at the Hornemann's.
By now it's back on the beach feeding and the gathered group of birders has grown in numbers from early this morning.
Another session of watching it until it takes flight and we decide to take that as a sign to make for home.