A few days ago we drove all the way to Norfolk to stare at a tree.
The tree (no, not the one in the photo) stands in the middle of a paddock. We spent most of the very chilly morning staring at it.
Not content with that we walked all around the field to view the tree from different angles and we used binoculars and a telescope to explore every bough and twig. But to no avail.
Perhaps I should explain. We were not really looking at the tree itself, but for some birds which like this tree above all others in the forest in which it stands. This is what the bird looks like, if you'd like to join in our search.
Luckily the low sunlight was playing games with the mist that snaked its way in among the trees and around the Highland Cattle. OK, the photographer got the better of the birdwatcher and I let my attention wander from time to time during the morning.
If you get fed up with searching for the mysterious Hawfinch, you can go to the little bridge on the way back to the Arboretum, where they scatter some feed for other birds who rate a free feed above secrecy and personal privacy.
Among them was this Nuthatch which, while not a rare bird at all, is extremely uncommon in the little bit of country that I call home, so it's always nice for me to see one.
Time to wander back to the car and eat some packed lunch before going off on another stroll towards the lakes along the valley of the River Wissey. Sometimes it's best to forget your intended goal and just see what turns up.
We did see some common water birds and a very dapper little Stonechat, who was showing himself off in the sunshine. But there was just about time to go back for one last attempt to find our Hawfinch. And there it was, rather distant as they always are, and too far away for a photo, but unmistakable with that huge seed-crushing beak.
That put the cherry on the cake for us, as they say, though the light and atmosphere of the Breckland forests had kept me entertained all day, even without the belated appearance of the Hawfinch.