Something like 20 years ago Colin and I were up in Norfolk when news broke of a Blue Rock Thrush in the less than likely surroundings of the BP building in Hemel Hempstead. Unfortunately the bird was less than inspiring with a deformed bill and foot and only one eye. Needless to say it was never accepted as a wild bird.
There have only been a few accepted records, with several escaped records of the far eastern subspecies, and it has never been an easy bird to get so when news broke a couple of days ago of one in Stow on the Wold it was met with some scepticism. Funny time of year, some plumage details seemed to be questionable, and it didn't seem quite right for the usual expected sub species. But with the many extraordinary records of asian birds this autumn it is assumed to have arrived with them and is likely to be one of the asian forms.
Colin and I went there today and it was a pleasant day out. There were a few problems on the road-one car embedded in a lamp post in Milton Keynes, another upside down in a tree on a very icy stretch near the Rollright Stones, and a bit of fog, though nothing like as bad as yesterday.
When we arrived at Stow on the Wold mid morning it was nice and sunny, and not too cold, though with a bit of frost in the shade. It was only a few minutes stroll from the car park to the assembled crowd, but no sign of the bird. One calling Nuthatch, a few tinkling Goldfinches, plenty of Jackdaws and a few Starlings trying hard to deceive us.
Eventually after about half an hour it was found on a roof not too far off, but rather hard to see. It then flew off and I joined a small group behind the house in a garage complex where it posed quite nicely for a bit a lot closer this time. The local Blackbird wasn't too keen on it and flushed it a couple of times and over the next half hour we got some lovely views of the bird perched on roofs, chimneys and window sills-not quite the usual mountainous habitat but it seemed perfectly happy with the houses as a substitute.
I eventually found myself back on the main green where we were treated to very close views and I managed to get a few great images-only need to post this one as I cannot better it.
Before we left Jay Ward turned up so I had a quick chat and we also bumped into the Cheshire guys from way back in the 90's again.
Several interesting Stonechats look like being an attraction for New Year-will make a change from the usual Norfolk run.