The bird that had them all in a flutter

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A LITTLE bird that caused pandemonium has set up home in the garden of a plush home – and the Mail was lucky enough to be among the select few invited to have a closer look.

Hundreds of birdwatchers scaled a 10ft fence to see the white-throated robin on Hartlepool’s Headland as residents looked on in disbelief.

Bird watchers pictured on the Headland looking for a glimpse of the rarely-seen white throated robin. Picture by Tom Collins.

Bird watchers pictured on the Headland looking for a glimpse of the rarely-seen white throated robin. Picture by Tom Collins.

A house in Friar Terrace fell under siege on Monday afternoon as enthusiasts clamoured to get a look at the Asian bird that appeared on the British mainland for the first time.

But yesterday the owners, who do not want to be identified, allowed a handful of lucky bird enthusiasts from as far afield as Aberdeen and Kent into their home to view the grey, white and orange specimen.

Among them was Chris Brown, 58, who was the first to identify the bird when he caught it in a net on Monday morning as part of his duties with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

(Left, the white-throated robin. Picture by Peter Garbutt

White-throated robin in Hartlepool by Peter Garbutt

White-throated robin in Hartlepool by Peter Garbutt

The Marine Crescent resident said then there would be a surge of interest. But even he was surprised by the scenes on the wall.

Local builders were stopping to offer their ladders and the roofs of their vans for £2 a time so people could climb up and get a glimpse of the bird.

Speaking in the large garden, Chris said: “I’ve not seen anything like it and might not again.

“But it was a buzz and a laugh. There were no complaints and everyone was good natured.”

We watched as the bird happily hopped around the lawn and darted in and out of bushes completely unaware of its new-found fame.

Mike Cottrell, John Tilbrook and Gary Howard had driven for five hours overnight to get to Hartlepool from Kent.

And the trio were not just impressed by their new feathered friend, but the town and its surroundings.

They all planned to spend the full day in the area visiting spots famous for rare birds, such as the RSPB’s Saltholme nature reserve, off Tees Road.

Gary said: “We got the message on the pager and knew we had to get up here.

“It was a fair drive through the night, but we made it for dusk to see the bird. It was definitely worth it.”

Mike added: “We’ve been impressed by the town and the views across the coast. It’s quite beautiful.

“We’ll be spending some time in the surrounding area and will have a look around to see what we can find. We’ve been impressed by what we have seen so far.”