Siberian Rubythroat - Hoogwoud, Holland 5th March 2016
European Rarity Photo Pages
I've previously only done two Euro-twitches, Hawk Owl in Sweden and Wallcreeper in France, which were both easy and cheap. Although I've seen Siberian Rubythroat a couple of times previously in the UK, a male on Shetland and a female on Fair Isle, as well as in China and Nepal, the draw of this stunning bird in Holland was to much to resist.

I had been discussing twitching this bird with Rich Bonser for sometime so with the bird singing it was time to go before it did. There would be some benefit of waiting to go and see it as there wouldn't be shoulder to shoulder crowds that happened during the birds first few weeks.

The bird had become a regular feature in the alley behind the garden where it had been discovered so we could spend as much time with it as we liked.

After some investigation we settled on an overnight Channel Tunnel which cost only 53 return for the car and a four and half hour drive the other side, not much more than a UK twitch. We rustled up a couple of other birders, Richard Howard from Essex and Brett Spencer from Dorset and all told it cost 42 each there and back. Great Value.

We arrived on site just as it was getting light and whilst both Richards settled down in the car to get some sleep Brett and I went to the alley and almost immediately the bird appeared in the undergrowth stunningly red throat glowing in the gloom like a fires ember. Within less than a minute the bird was just a few feet from the two open jawed birders close by.

After a few minutes I ran back to the car to wake the others before rushing back to the bird.

Suffice to say this awesome bird surpassed all expectation as it would often feed at close range on a near continuous basis with short excursions to some tree's nearby for a sing, a subtle sub-song. As the morning progressed the light got better allowing improvement on the photographic opportunities thus resulting in this extended set of images.

Only a small number of visitors came by during our time there and often just us four had the bird to ourselves. Certain individual in the UK birding scene seems to think this bird is of 'presumably captive origin' which is perplexing as there is no obvious sign of captivity, it's been heard to mimic Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler and Yellow-browed Warbler which I would think seals it as a wild bird. Sibe's are not unheard of over wintering in Europe with some showing very well, and indeed this is apparently the 3rd European January record. There is really no reason this is not a wild bird.

For those who have not yet gone and seen it and are contemplating going all I can say is go, you will not be disappointed, just don't leave it to long.
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