Blue Rock Thrush

Blue Rock Thrush, Stow-on-the-Wold

Blue Rock Thrush, Stow-on-the-Wold                                                                      photo: Richard Tyler

It’s not often that the sleepy Cotswolds becomes the centre of a nation-wide twitch. The last one was probably the Oriental Turtle Dove in Chipping Norton five years ago.

Over Christmas a male Blue Rock Thrush was found on a housing estate in Stow-on-the-Wold. Never mind a first for Gloucestershire (or our North Cotswolds area!), there have only been a handful of sightings in the UK.

Why it should choose the frosty Cotswolds instead of its usual Mediterranean habitat, who knows, but Birds of the Western Palearctic mentions that vagrants occasionally end up in northern Europe, though rarely in winter.

Apparently the bird had been there a week or so until it hit the web and social media, and then 200-plus birders descended on the area from far and near. Will it still be there on January 1st for the 2017 listers?  Or our own NCOS Short Day Count on January 8th?

If you’re going, please park in the Maugesbury Road car-park, and give a donation to Kate’s Home Nursing, a well-respected local home nursing charity, either via the bucket going round or on-line here.