Dusky Thrush Another December Derbyshire dash by Chris Galvin

A year and a day since ticking the Crag Martin in Chesterfield as it flew around the famous twisted spire of the Church of St Mary and All Saints I was back jDerbyshire for Britain's 13th Dusky Thrush. I love thrushes, especially after having a memorable few hours with White's Thrush at Easington in October 2004. The only other time I had twitched Dusky Thrush was the Kent individual which had scarpered overnight before I left the North West with my Fizzing Football Fan friend.

Dusky Thrush perched in the small orchard at Beeley.

The bird had been found by Rachel Jones a photographer who was watching the orchard from her home that overlooks it. Rachel didn't know what she had taken photographs of and tweeted out her images to Chris Packham and others. Little did she know what effect she would have on the small rural village on the Chatsworth Estate. Monday & Tuesday several hundred birders descended on the village and the bird made the local BBC East Midlands Today news programme where Stuart Elsom was interviewed. An article in the in the Telegraph also showed the bird with the usual birding clichés littering the article. I managed to see the bird on Wednesday along with other friends from the North West and elsewhere. It was good to see Tom Tams from the North East and Jack Levene from Suffolk who Tom nicknamed Skeletor

What turned out to be some of the best sightings of the bird during the first week, in the best light ensued in front of the delighted massed twitchers. With a fantastic blocker being served up what could make it better? Well, the Duke’s Barn turned the twitch into a fund raising event for the disability outdoor centre. I have been on some memorable twitches before where the locals have gone the extra mile to make the birders welcome. Who could forget the the Chipping Norton Oriental Turtle Dove where you left your shoes at the front door, paid a fiver entrance fee and where shepherded into a deluxe kitchen that had under floor heating? The bird also showing superbly well. Or indeed the Kidlington Baltimore Oriole, where upon arrival I was shown into the back garden where the bird was showing by the owner of the house. How could it compare to watching the Black-throated Thrush in the walled garden of Ina MacDondald in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute? Ina was not accepting visitors but let in both Paul Hackett and I and fed us fairy cakes and cups tea in a china tea set whilst we watched the 1st winter male Black-throated Thrush through her kitchen window. The Duke's Barn though beat all of those experiences. They laid on parking, toilets and even had bacon & sausage sandwiches with chips and tea laid on for a donation. Later that became mince pies and fairy cakes. I can't say as a birder have I ever felt more welcome at a mass twitch. Days later even laid on a free shuttle bus to get to see the bird from the weekend parking site.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.