Just 40 minutes away from my home, a male Dark-eyed Junco turned up in someones garden in East Coker, just outside of Yeovil in Somerset. Today was the first good opportunity for me to go to try and see this American bird.
On the way down, I got diverted due to an accident on the main road to Yeovil, this all added to the tension! Eventually I got there, a quiet road in the small village of East Coker. A lady waiting in a car (birding widow I think) directed me to knock on the door of the house where the bird has been showing and I was invited in by the owner to look for the bird from his conservatory! How gracious of this man to let total strangers into his home. I took my boots off and joined the many other birders packed like sardines (I exaggerate a little bit) into the conservatory which looked out onto the very small back garden. There were plenty of bird feeders out there and bird seed was scattered on the bird table and on the roof of the shed (I think the scattered seed had been put down specifically for this bird). Apparently the Junco had been seen about 1/2 hour before I arrived and not since! Sigh.....
The owner then came in and cheerfully mentioned that the bird very often disappeared for several hours at a time......more sighing......he then went upstairs to look out for it from a bedroom window and said he would let us know if it was about again.
About another 1/2 later, we knew something was up as there were hurried and heavy footsteps coming from above us! (-: The owner came bounding down the stairs.....apparently the Junco had just flown into the top of the large conifer which was dominating the small garden. We all craned our necks and bins to try to get a glimpse. Eventually I saw it in the conifer branches just above the shed and directed everyone onto the bird. It showed partially and briefly and then flew off! Nice to get a glimpse, but everyone wanted better views of this lovely bird. Another 20 minutes wait, and then it came back and settled in a small tree. It seemed to be pecking small insects off the branches. Again it flew off......another wait.........the tension had diminished somewhat amongst my fellow birders, but the atmosphere in that conservatory was still hot and steamy! After another small wait, it showed again, this time coming out onto the shed and showing well while eating some of the seeds that had been put out for it.
So, all in all, a very successful and well mannered twitch (they're not always like that!). The owner was a true gent for showing birders both inside his house and also looking after those that had to view from outside. He had a pot out for voluntary donations which would go to the RSPB which was a great idea. Here are some photos. They were taken in pretty poor light and through the conservatory windows so arn't the best but I'm very glad I've got them.