I woke up this morning with a bad throat and therefor had a miserable day at work. An early tweet from Tom Spellar at Norton Green had the usual mix of nothing much and I almost replied sarcastically asking where the Ring Ouzels were. Late morning one was found.
I had an early lunch and got there at 1230, climbed the bank and saw an unknown birder by the trees by the gully and Richard Pople not far away lowering his camera. The unknown guy walked past and said it was in the trees. Apparently it was feeding on the grass and Richard narrowly missed getting a shot when it flew off. We waited a bit until Tony Hukin arrived and spent some time searching the wooded gully by the lane and scanning the open areas. Unfortunately we couldn't locate it and I returned to work just after 1300, leaving the other two to search the rest of the site. Sure enough they located it in the NW corner about ten minutes after I left, so I made plans to go back after work.
During the afternoon break I received a tweet from Darren Bast with the cryptic 'back of the camera Bluethroat' message. Not having a good signal it took a while to get the image and I assumed he had been to see the one reported in Kent. I reread it a couple of times and the @HMWTAmwell tag gradually sunk in..... Norton was cancelled.
Rang home, made arrangements for a possible late dinner and got there at 1600, having run up the lane-not good with the sore throat. Needn't have bothered as Ron Cousins said it had only been seen once since the initial sighting flying into the right hand reed block ten minutes earlier. Of course jammy Barry had only just got back from a holiday and seen it, as had Jay, Mike Illet, Alan Reynolds, Mick Cotton among others. Alan was leaving the site to go to Norton when the Bluethroat was found.
Over the next hour quite a crowd assembled and around 1640 Jay, I think picked it up low down at the bottom of the reeds. I went down the fence to get a clearer view and managed to decipher the directions to get everyone looking at the right spot and shortly after we got a nice view of a stunning vision of blue as it hopped through the reeds and briefly across a small clearing before being lost to view.
A while later and with the crowd growing ever larger someone picked it up in the same spot just sitting there. He got his scope on it and some of us got a very nice view before it moved. This time it was visible much longer as it gradually moved through the edge of the reeds and posed extremely well in the little clear patch giving stunning views for a minute or so.
More an afterthought, the Black Necked Grebes are still there, and I got my first Common Sandpiper in Darry's scope. I also got back in time for dinner despite the idiot blocking Amwell Lane because he 'had right of way' and preventing several cars from leaving which would have then created a nice passing bay in the road.