After a morning in the garden I had a couple of hours to spare and therefore set off for Amwell to try and photograph the Black-necked Grebes that had been present for a few days now. Although currently overcast, the forecast was for the sun to come out mid-afternoon, so that should be just fine.
I parked in Amwell Lane and was making my way up the slope to the viewpoint when Darren Bast appeared frantically beckoning me and shouting "Bluethroat". I didn't need asking twice and run up the remainder of the slope. Apparently, just a few minutes previously, Ian Rose had noticed a bird partially hidden in the reeds which very soon showed itself to be a male White-spotted Bluethroat. This is an extremely rare bird to these parts and is only the sixth record for the county.
The bird had shown itself briefly on the edge of the reeds, long enough for some photos to be taken (makes field descriptions so much easier), but then jumped back into the reeds. If only I had ran up the track. So now we knew exactly what relatively small reed bed it was in, so just had to wait for it to re-appear.
While I was waiting I took the opportunity to grab some photos of the Black-necked Grebes which unfortunately were fairly distant. Still, good enough for the time being until I get another opportunity provided they stick around.
Also over the watch-point was this Common Buzzard, displaying a rather tatty tail which should make it easy to identify for the rest of the summer until it moults in the autumn.
But then the Bluethroat re-appeared briefly, still in the small reed bed into which it disappeared. It was feeding just inside the reeds so always partially obscured, but then flew into the reed bed to the right of the watch-point. Then came another long wait until it re-appeared once again, feeding just inside the reed margin. It was moving the the left and eventually came to a gap in the reeds where it posed for a few photos before disappearing back into the reeds.
What an absolutely cracking bird and my thanks go to Ian Rose for finding it and to Darren Bast for getting the news out quickly so that so many local birders were able to see it before it departed overnight.