Tuesday, 7 June 2011

White Throated Robin, Hartlepool, Durham 7th June 2011

Ive just got home from a tiring day. I finished me night shift at 0700hrs and drove straight up to Hartlepool to see the cracking White Throated Robin. I didn't expect to see the bird as it had been found yesterday in a mist net, then been ringed, fed all day, and whilst driving north this morning I felt that the clear night would move the bird on.
I got up yesterday at 1400hrs having been in the middle of a set of four night shifts, to a phone full of texts, and voicemail messages from people wondering where I was. Mike Watson, Ian Corbett, Mike and Jane Malpass had all been good enough to think of me whilst I snored the morning away.
Talk about amazed when I read the text of what bird had been found, a White Throated Thrush was in Hartlepool which certainly wasn't a million miles away.
So with that, I went to work last night at 1900hrs, accompanied with all me birding gear. Bins, camera, tripod, waterproofs etc willing the hours away so i could drive north this morning.
At 0645 hrs I had a missed call from Mike Watson.  I rung him back asking him whether he knew whether the bird was still there.
He quickly asked,
'Are you on ya way?'
'I didnt know it was still, there, and I finish in 15 minutes'
'Its been on BirdForum that its still there'
'Superb, im on me way'
As soon as it was 0700am, I was on me way up the M6 north. It only took me 2 hours to get to the site which was a doctors garden near the headland. I had seen the images of yesterdays twitch which looked manic, with twitchers stood on a van roof, ladders, even peoples heads to get a vantage point over the large perimeter wall that surrounded the garden.
No such antics today. When I arrived, around 20 - 30 birders were stood at the garage door waiting to be asked into the garden where the bird still was.
The doctor was asked by a local birder, (I presumed the actual ringer of the WT Robin) and access was gained.  Some familiar faces had made the journey, Rob Pocklington from Cumbria, Lee Fuller had made the long journey from Hampshire and John Dempsey had travelled from Merseyside.
Immediately the bird showed in the far corner of the garden, frequenting the compost heap and the surrounding wall that divided the gardens.
It was too far away to photograph, but  a record image of this superb rarity would suffice as at least Id seen it, not worth keeping or publishing though.
The bird seemed settled in its area and so I made my exit after a few hours watching it. Superb little bird.

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