Stoke & Staffordshire

Spoonbill seen at Stafford's Doxey Marshes

Spoonbill
Image caption The European spoonbill is rarely seen in the UK

Bird watchers have spotted a rare visitor at the nature reserve on Doxey Marshes in Stafford.

The spoonbill has not been seen in Staffordshire for a number of years, but has been nesting there this spring.

Scott Petrek from Staffordshire Wildlife Trust said it was an "exceptionally rare sight".

The spoonbill, a relative of the heron, is usually found on warmer shores and mainly breeds in Spain and Holland before migrating to north Africa.

"They are becoming slightly more common and more regularly encountered in the UK. They successfully bred last year for the first time in Norfolk, " said Mr Petrek.

"But they're still rare enough that they'll cause quite a bit of a stir."

A cattle egret - a rare breed of heron which is usually found in Africa - excited local bird watchers when it was spotted last year at Doxey Marshes.

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