I spent yesterday morning pounding the regular coastal circuit of Carr Naze, the top fields and north cliff, with a brisk, cool easterly and thick cloud keeping the spring at bay. With a few hour's grace before the forecast heavy rain arrived around mid-afternoon, I headed out into the fields in the hope of passerines.... but just as I reached the furthest point from shelter, the heavens opened with a vengence, and stayed open from then until after dark.
With nothing much to lose (once you're soaked, you're soaked), I took my time on the way back through the stubble fields, and was rewarded with five of these beauties looking somewhat forlorn in the downpour. With no sightings over the last week or more (and no sign on the outward journey), I'd assumed they'd finally left - maybe they have, and these are new birds? - but either way, kneeling down in a muddy clifftop field getting drenched under torrential rain is nowhere near as grim as it sounds when you're in their tame and entertaining company.