Thursday, 29 December 2016

Stow-on-the-Wold's Blue Rock Thrush delights Christmas twitchers

Breaking light scenes
First views
It's a thumbs up from the Squire
Chimney views
Thrush on chimney of right house (viewable if clicked)
Chimney views

I didn’t really take the reporting of a Blue Rock Thrush seriously on Tuesday afternoon given I couldn’t quite comprehend how a shy bird from the southern Europe was in a garden in Stow-on-the-Wold. I had only seen this species this August when visiting the Steppes mountains outside Madrid. As the evening progressed social media was getting vey excited that the bird was a genuine wild bird and not an escapee.

The Squire was keen for a mornings birding so we decided to go and have a snoop. Despite some icy & foggy roads we were duly parked up in the designated car park within thirty minutes. It was a shame this advice was ignored by many who insisted on parking in the residential area. It was also noted that the same people were ignoring the collection for a local care home. (Apparently the later birders were more generous pushing the collection to a pleasing £800)

As we turned into Fishers Close around 200 birders were already in place and watching the bird sat in the residents back garden tree. Despite the light we could clearly see the long bill and the distinctive blue colouring. Looking up the bird in field guides it suggested the bird was a first winter male which may give some credence to it being an accepted record.

Once the sun had risen the bird flew to a nearby chimney pot where I was able to get a few decent record shots and a short video clip. The bird looked very dark when in this location. As news spread more birders & twitchers arrived, the locals seemed very friendly if not bemused of what all these strange people were doing outside their houses. What ever the origin of the bird we had a excellent hour watching the bird well and meeting up with a few faces old and new.

We then made the short journey to Hawling for a bit of real birding. A Kestrel posed as we crossed the main road whilst the first two Stonechats were going about their morning duties. The hedgerow was full of Redwing & Fieldfare whilst there were at least two different Red Kites hunting. As we edged east we found a Red Kite sat on a fence post grooming itself, to far for a photo but it looked great in the scope. On the other side of the road we found two Corn Buntings in the same bush as 7 Linnets & 3 Yellowhammers, a cracking sight. With us feeling the effects of the freezing temperatures we headed back to home with a good mornings birding in the bag. In the afternoon I was contacted to do a interview for South West news. All in a days fun.

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