Twitchers flock to Yorkshire nature reserve after sighting of rare bird

Twitchers have been flocking to a nature reserve in Yorkshire after the sighting of a rare bird.

Long-toed Stint. PIC: Dave Ward

Around 1,500 people have visited St Aidans Nature Reserve in east Leeds after an extremely rare Long-toed Stint, a bird which has strayed a long way from its normal range, was found on Friday. (October 8)

The Long-toed Stint breeds in Siberia during the Northern Hemisphere summer. The breeding range is very fragmented and includes the Chukchi Peninsula, Koryak Plateau, Commander Islands, Kuril Islands, the area around the Sea of Okhotsk, N Verkhoyansky District and around the Ob and Irtysh Rivers.

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The birds migrate south after breeding to winter in E India, Sri Lanka, Indochina as far as Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and to W and SE Australia.

Bird watchers at St Aidan's. PIC: Dave Ward

There have only been three previously verified occurrences in the British Isles, with records from Cornwall in 1970, Cleveland in 1982 and Ballycotton in County Cork in 1996; so if accepted by the British Birds Rarities Committee this will be the first in 25 years.

Andrew Tiffany, the Assistant Warden at RSPB St Aidan’s, said: "It’s been a fantastic autumn for waders at St Aidan’s, with around 20 different species seen already - but no-one would have thought we’d get a Long-toed Stint to join this list! We manipulate the water levels on site to create large areas of glorious mud which passage waders love to visit.

"We hope to attract some rare waders, but to get a vagrant as rare as this is incredibly exciting. Congratulations to the members of Swillington Ings Bird Group for finding this bird which is an almighty reward for the many hours of birding they put in."