Set the alarm for 05:20 to twitch Spotted Crake near Abingdon. The bird had been showing well (not usual for this species) all week since last Friday. Positive news yesterday and my only window was first thing this morning. Had a fairly good idea where I was going and the time frames involved. I was also joined by Nik who'd given up his duvet to come along and help me bag this lifer for me. So we set off in the dark for Abingdon, we travelled along the minor roads as much as possible in the hope of seeing some mammals crossing the road but nothing was seen.
Once on site we had to navigate where the hell the complex of pits was. After a quick drive around some dead ends we realised we needed to be getting nearer to the railway line.
(A big thanks to the Oxford birds yahoo group, whilst sat in the wood doing the bat survey last night I had good phone reception for once and managed to log into my yahoo groups, read the latest from the Oxfordshire group and found some important 'gen', even better a map of the pits labelled with the correct pit the bird was on). So nearing 7am we finally found the right combination of path/pit/reed bed and railway line. (Thanks again to Gnomes blog and his pictures showing the area and the bird) Light was still poor and cloudy skies meant the bird wouldn't show particularly well. But after a couple of scan with the scope I finally picked out the Spotted Crake feeding in front of the reeds. Relief. Alas with the light so poor I didn't even bother with digiscoping. Other birds of note included a single Common and Green Sandpiper and a Red Kite over some houses in the distance. Cracking site all in all and hopefully I'll be back if they get another Pied-billed Grebe!
Back home before 9am, still no mammals on the country roads. We took the family down the local Whetherspoons for breakfast and celebratory pint ;-)