Birdspotters in frenzy after extremely rare Hudsonian Whimbrel seen in Britain


© Jake Gearty/Solent News
An extremely rare bird which has only been seen a handful of times in the UK

More than 1,000 bird watchers have travelled to Pagham Harbour near Chichester, West Sussex, in the last four days to catch a glimpse of the Hudsonian Whimbrel.

It is thought to be the only bird of its kind in the UK and only 10 others have been seen in this country since 1950.

The bird is so rare because it is native of North America and is hardly ever seen in Britain.

Tim Webb, communications officer for the RSBP said: "It is definitely confirmed that it is here and is still here.

"On these shores this is about the eleventh one in our recorded history, which goes back to about the 1950s.

"This Hudsonian Whimbrel is the only one in the UK right now to our knowledge.
"It is incredibly unusual and rare for this species to be seen in this country.


© Matt Eade/Solent News
More than 1,000 bird watchers gathered to catch a glimpse of the rare bird

We do have Whimbrel in this country but not this type."

It is believed this particular Hudsonian Whimbrel got lost and with the help of jet streams ended up in the UK as this country is not a usual flight path for it.

The Hudsonian Whimbrel has an unusually long beak and is a coastal bird with a long curved beak that it uses to stick in the water to catch food.

George Kinnard was the first person to see the bird and became the first person to spot a Hudsonian Whimbrel on main land Britain since 2007.

The 17-year-old said: "It was completely unexpected - it felt really surreal."

George, from East Preston, West Sussex, added: "I was out bird watching with my grandad, we were going to look out in the harbour and were just looking for anything when we saw it appear out of nowhere flying with two normal Whimbrel.

"We saw its distinguishing feature of its upper uniform - normal Whimbrel have a white 'V' and this one was completely brown.

"Because it was in between two other normal Whimbrel we could see the features clearly.

"It is a once in a life time find - it is certainly the best bird I have ever seen.