Gloucestershire

Cotswold sighting of rare blue rock thrush raises thousands for charity

Blue Rock Thrush, Stow-on-the-Wold Image copyright Paul Taylor
Image caption The blue rock thrush was spotted feeding in a garden in Fisher Close, Stow-on-the-Wold, just before Christmas

The sighting of a rare bird on a residential estate in the Cotswolds has raised thousands of pounds for charity.

The blue rock thrush was first spotted in a garden in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, just before Christmas.

Since then Fisher Close has been invaded by birdwatchers, who have donated "well over" £2,000 to a local charity to make up for the disruption.

Karen Pengilley, of Kate's Home Nursing, said: "It went a bit mad but it was just such a lucky opportunity."

The last confirmed sighting of the starling-size bird on British soil was in 2007.

Image copyright Karle Burford
Image caption Hundreds of birdwatchers flocked to the town to see the rare bird
Image copyright Paul Taylor
Image caption Residents on the quiet residential estate were taken aback by the interest

Richard Baatsen, county bird recorder for Gloucestershire, said it was "potentially" only the third time the bird had been seen in the UK.

"There's a lot of interest generated by a bird of that sort of calibre," he said.

"And with social media, it just went straight out and all these crowds turned up straight away."

Despite being "taken aback" by the level of interest, the owner of the house where the bird was spotted was advised to wave a charity bucket at birdwatchers.

Image copyright Paul Taylor
Image caption A largely sedentary, elusive and sun-loving bird, the blue rock thrush is a rare sight in northern Europe

"Luckily a couple of our fundraisers were available to go along to where the bird had been spotted with some buckets," said Ms Pengilley, from the end-of-life care charity.

"But they very quickly realised they couldn't cope with the number of people there and the number of donations."

After drafting in more help and offering coffee, bacon sandwiches and cake to hungry twitchers, they managed to raise more than £2,000.

"Day after day more and more people came along and visited the bird and donated," she said.

"It's incredible; it's such an unassuming little bird but it will pay for a good week's nursing."

With food and shelter readily available, the rare visitor is expected to remain in the area until the spring.

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