Bushcraft backchat.

That big glorious red tail was swishing and flicking about like a considerably classier version of Basil Brush well before the sun elbowed its way over the fields this morning.

Boom! Boom!

In common with most of the birders unable or unwilling to twitch the lockdown bushchat in Norfolk last year, I was not expecting a chance to grip it back quite so soon.

Call it what you will – Eastern Rufous Bushchat, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin or Rufous Bushchat (eastern race), there it was, jaw-droppingly wonderful and filling my bins.

An incredible beast scurrying about the paths and walls and perching just a metre or two away – and there I was too, with June Watt, Mike Stocker and Rob Pocklington admiring the mega mega in a remote corner of The Lizard in Cornwall in the cold pre-dawn light at Treleaver.

As we spent an old school night on the tarmac, none of us had mentioned the huge moon and clear skies as we hurtled deep into the south west – a dip didn’t bear thinking about, although we needn’t have worried, the bushchat was on view from the moment we arrived at Treleaver before 6am.

The bird spent much of its time zipping about underneath parked cars and tail twitching from gate tops, alongside House Sparrows and Robins on the drive of the last cottage.

It would run out onto the track or perch up in bushes or gateposts, swish, swish, swish – look at my tail!!!!

I blagged two videos which you can watch on YouTube here and here.

I do like the meeting of two Robins in the second clip.

A surprisingly small group of just 12 birders (including us) quietly watched the rarity at point blank range from the public footpath and track until the householder woke and expressed her unhappiness at us peering into her garden.

As the lady had seen large numbers of birders on the track outside her house the night before, I could sympathise with her unease to an extent.

The bemused Bushchat watched the exchanges from underneath a parked Peugeot.

So we left having watched the bird for over an hour and before the world started stirring.

Sometimes the price of fame is raised voices and charity buckets…

We pulled out, but not before encountering Ravens, a Pied Flycatcher and Jay around the exciting landscape of Goonhilly Down, and left the dishes and gorse behind by 8.30am, with the day at our mercy.

Rather than push June’s legendary driving stamina too far we stopped off on the way back north at Dawlish Countryside Park near Exeter for an hour or two of fun with the site’s reliable Cirl Buntings.

Up to 15 birds were calling and perching up in the hedgerows and although many were in varying stages of moult, at least two males were still singing.

Later the long haul north slowed to a crawl as the motorway traffic built up, still it was a great day, with great company and a great bird.

Autumn account opened… anyone else seeing anything???