Checking my phone whilst waiting for the veg to steam revealed that momentary sight that all birders dream of and also fear - three texts from three local birders all within the space of two minutes. The reason - three Cranes had been picked up by Russ over Wheldrake and then again by Alan and Andy over North Duffield before dropping on to Bubwith Ings. This was a species I had missed several times in the LDV in my yoof, so the chance to catch up with this majestic species which had been a regular sight in my previous locale, Norfolk, was too much to miss. So, a very quick dinner was had, before packing up the bairns and Vicky into the car and pegging it down to Bubwith.
I noticed a lot of headlights coming towards me in the gathering gloom and was convinced it might get dark before we got there. Fortunately, Cranes go to roost late and I pulled into Bubwith bridge car park at about 6.15, to find a sizeable crowd had gathered. I nearly ran over some guy who decided he wanted to walk in front of me just as I was skidding in - not wise! And there were the Cranes - cracking!
Three adults, clearly a pair and an interloper. One bird frequently chased the singleton away and a bit of dancing was seen; three is clearly a crowd. I called Andy to thank him for updates - he was in the Geoff Smith hide and told me the shrike was showing. I mentioned this to the crowd who all, and I mean all, promptly ran to their cars and drove off. How to clear a car park!
After Adelaide had had a look at the subject of the panic (she wasn't so impressed- "they're very small"), we all jumped back in the car. Solomon hadn't really been bothered with the Cranes - trying to play it cool no doubt and was too busy dismantling my scope, rather than looking through it. Down to NDC we went to find a packed hide. Andy kindly let me have a quick squizz at the Great Grey Shrike which kindly had stayed up late and put on a fine show on top of a small Hawthorn at the back of the scrape. Just beyond, three tall, grey shapes strutted about on the other side of the river, a fine finale for a special weekend in the LDV.
Big thanks to Russ, Alan and Andy for the news!