IT was business as usual for bowls enthusiasts who carried on playing despite hundreds of onlookers keen to get a glance at a rare bird on their green.
It has now been three days since the little white-throated robin set up home in Hartlepool thousands of miles away from where it is usually found at this time of year – in Asia.
Twitchers from across the country raced to the Headland Moors Bowls Club, in Marine Crescent, to catch a glimpse as did the national media.
But despite the club falling under siege it hasn’t stopped the keen bowls players from continuing to play.
While the cameras flashed and the lenses zoomed in on the bird – which was sat at one end of the bowling green throughout Monday – the members played their usual game on rinks at the other side.
They were back on the green on Tuesday with a slightly bigger crowd than usual and the members were again practising hard yesterday in preparation for a game this afternoon.
Club secretary, Jimmy Robb, 80, said: “It’s brilliant for the club and it’s been a fantastic few days but it isn’t going to stop us.
“We have just missed out a bit, if we had knew this many people were going to come we could have had a tea and coffee stall and raised some money for the club.”
Jimmy, who lives in Priory Court and has been playing bowls for more than 25 years, added: “It has been quite amazing to see so many people here.
“If the hundreds watching it didn’t scare the bird away then we thought we would be fine playing at the other side of the green.”
The Asian robin at the centre of all of the attention is a bird which has only been seen twice in the British Isles before.
News spread fast that the bird had landed in Hartlepool and twitchers were still making their way to town yesterday to catch a glimpse.
After spending Monday on the bowls green the bird opted for a nearby garden on Tuesday.
But it had hopped back on to the green yesterday morning.
Experts say they don’t know how long it will stay.
Toby Collett, assistant warden at the RSPB’s Saltholme Nature Reserve, at Seal Sands, said: “It could be gone tomorrow or it could stay for the next two months, we have no idea but what a few days it has been.
“It’s been really good for the area as well, people who have been to see the bird have been visiting other sights in the town.
“We have had a lot of visitors to Saltholme.”