This is the rare bird which has left Leeds twitchers in a flap

This is the rare bird which has left bird watchers in a flap at a Leeds nature reserve.

Sunday, 10th October 2021, 3:01 pm
Updated Sunday, 10th October 2021, 3:04 pm
The 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 spotted 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.

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.

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Bird watchers have flocked to St Aidan's. PIC: Dave Ward

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."

Andrew added: As you might expect with a sighting this rare, we’re currently even busier than usual on site! Our fantastic visitor staff and volunteers are working hard to keep everything running as smoothly as possible – please follow their directions, and be patient and considerate of other visitors and our wildlife.

The visitor car park is the best place to park and is open from 6am - 8pm – where possible, we will have overflow car parking and marshalling available to make sure everyone can park safely. The visitor centre is open between 9:30am and 5pm, where you can get sightings information and refreshments – pop in for the latest updates and to say hello to our team!"

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