I was originally intending to be south of London by 3.00pm (clearly now impossible). Even with a good run, I had to find the location on Portland and then - hopefully the Pipit!!
Weymouth and Portland are such a drag to drive through even on a quiet day. Following my nose, I ended up in Easton with about 20 minutes to spare (I had to get away by 2.30!!) No-one had heard of the web location 'Barleycrates lane' but luckily a local pointed me in the direction of 'Barleycroft lane!! Two more minutes lost....
I found the cliff top car park and could see birders in the distance. I legged it to the path and would you believe my luck, just 20m away where the access path joined the cliff path - there feeding at the edge of the path - a 'large' upstanding Pipit!!! The other birders soon cottoned onto my lucky 'find'.
Straightaway that distinct supercilium and malar stripe shone out and checking out the finer detail with the scope, Tawny Pipit indeed!
Camera was out of the bag and my only problem was the gale force wind - raging in off the sea (how most of these pictures are reasonably sharp, I do not know). I was shooting into the sun and whilst enough detail of the bird was possible, I opted for a change of direction down the path for better photographs. What a cracker and judging by the dearth of images on Birdguides, not a bird that many folk have got their lens onto!!
Now, I just had the not entirely minor task of driving to Leatherhead in Surrey for an evening talk (which I managed in 2 1/4 hours - even the M25 behaved). Without a doubt, this was perhaps the best or maybe luckiest day's birding of 2008!!!