As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday 7 December 2018

Little bittern spotted at RSPB Saltholme for first time since 1852

3 December 2018

Birdwatchers descended on a nature reserve in Stockton-on-Tees after a rare bird was spotted for the first time in more than 150 years.

A little bittern was in a reed bed at RSPB Saltholme on 26 November - the first confirmed sighting of the species in the area since 1852.

A RSPB spokesman said after a wait of 166 years, many spent long days in the hide "hoping for a second sighting".

A rare visitor to Britain, the bird is usually found in warmer climes.

Senior site manager Chris Francis said: "According to local records, the last time a little bittern was spotted in Cleveland was on 26 September 1852.

"Having journeyed to Redcar, this unfortunate individual met its end when it was shot by a local. Thankfully the Saltholme bird has received a much warmer welcome.

"The bird's secretive nature and its habit of hiding within the dense reed bed makes the little bittern a difficult bird to see. After a wait of 166 years, there are lots of people willing to try."

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