HUNDREDS of avid birdwatchers have flocked to a Sussex nature reserve to catch a glimpse of a phenomenally-rare visitor.
The Hudsonian Whimbrel – Numenius hudsonicus – was first spotted on Tuesday (June 12) at the RSPB’s nature reserve at Pagham Harbour.
“It’s very rare to see it in this country,” said Tim Webb from the RSPB. “As far as we’re aware it’s the first-ever official confirmed sighting of a Hudsonian Whimbrel in Sussex.”
He said the bird had been flying from one side of the harbour to another, with hundreds of people coming to see it.
The bird is normally found in North America.
“Somehow it’s managed to go across the Atlantic and ended up at Pagham,” said Tim.
This latest sighting is only the 11th time a Hudsonian Whimbrel has been recorded in the UK since records began in the mid 1950s.
Out of these, the majority were on the Scilly Isles, meaning this is only the third sighting of one on mainland Britain.
“You can completely understand why so many people want to see it,” said Tim.
He said generally people had been behaving very well at the site, however the inevitable influx of people has caused more congestion than usual on the roads around the reserve.
The future of the bird is not yet know, with Tim saying no one knew whether it would attempt to fly back across the ocean to its home.
“It can survive here in this country, it could stay,” he said.
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