Well, having fully made up my mind not to twitch (by car), and having recently bemoaned the 'unpalatability' of the whole twitching business, what should turn up half an hour away? Only one of my 'most wanted' species - Isabelline Wheatear - Aaaggh! A brand new bird for me and one I've been sorely tempted to go and see (outside of Devon) in the past, but always talked myself out of. I'm glad I made the dash and I suppose 20 miles isn't going to cause me too many sleepless nights, but I still intend to curtail any such future madness.
Bathed in golden afternoon sun - it was everything I hoped it would be - a really lovely bird. Subtly quite distinctive but I guess I've stared hard enough at enough late autumn Northern Wheatears to find it so. The head pattern was particularly striking - a lovely black line to the eye, and strong bill. The broadly, sandy-fringed greater coverts were concolorous with the mantle and formed a 'shawl' - particularly noticeable from behind. I found the famous 'isolated dark alula' difficult to see as it was mostly obscured by fluffed-up flank feathers, but the buff-edged (as opposed to rusty-orange) secondaries were pleasingly evident.
Good to see some familiar faces this afternoon and a huge 'thank you' to Martin for letting me take some photographs through his scope, using his phone adaptor. In my haste I'd left my camera and bins at home, thinking they were in the boot of the car. Not a nice feeling, but at least I had my scope and notebook.