As news of this MEGA rarity spread and it seemed to be a stayer, a hastily arranged weekend away in Cornwall seemed a good idea. Watching Birdguides all week to make sure the bird was still present was a little nerve-racking but with fingers crossed and the Old Success Inn at Sennen Cove booked for three nights we set off early (6.15am) on Friday 19th October.
A long drive (6 hours) followed, although I found my foot gradually exerting more pressure on the accelerator the further south we got. We had some "gen" from Roy Twigg who advised the better location at the site and it was seriously exciting as we entered the field arranged for parking at 12.45.
I left my wife in my slipstream as I quickly got the gear set up and legged it around the other side of the farmhouse. It was surprisingly warm but the cloud had rolled in and the light was poor. After what seemed an eternity (about an hour) the bird appeared briefly near the farmhouse. I captured a few images quickly but the bird was partially concealed.
Another longish wait with a small group of birders followed and I moved 80 metres further south down the track where the bird had been seen well earlier. I lost a little confidence and the shout went up that the bird had appeared near the farmhouse again. I went back and positioned myself at the edge of the group of birders. The bird showed again and then moved towards the hedgerow. Myself and one other photographer moved further down the track and fortunately the bird appeared again directly in front of us and started calling. I was closer than expected, with 500mm and 2 x TC and tripod set up, which seemed clumsy at the time. With a relatively low shutter and wide open aperture I wasn't really expecting much but I was happy with the results and managed a very short video.
Within two hours I had got the bird and the images in the bag so was chuffed and we headed off to Sennen to relax and plan our weekend itinerary which would obviously involve a few walks around a number of well watched coastal beauty spots!
As the light was looking good for the next few days I decided to visit the Catbird before breakfast on the Saturday and Sunday. Arriving before dawn, I thought I might be the first birder on site but was very wrong! Being the first weekend the field was packed with cars and birders and I have to admit it didn't make for relax free birding and photography, with the crowd vying for position and the usual noisy chit chat with the inevitable anti-photography establishment present in good numbers. During these short periods before breakfast the bird did not show Kindly for me and I only captured a few distant or grainy/concealed shots. I did get an amusing video though (apologies to the birder in the background). All in all it was a great weekend, with lots of conversation and myself and Mal had some nice walks and good meals in the various cafes & pubs.