Sandhill crane spotted in Suffolk for first time

Sandhill crane [Pic: Pauline Johnson]
Image caption The sandhill crane was also spotted at the Loch of Strathbeg, Scotland

A species of crane usually based in North America has made what is thought to be its first visit to Suffolk.

A sandhill crane is believed to have been blown off course by Hurricane Katia and has been spotted at several places on the county's coast.

The bird has so far been seen at Kessingland, North Warren, Sudbourne and Boyton Marshes.

Ian Barthorpe, reserve manager at RSPB Minsmere, said the sightings of the crane were "really exciting".

The RSPB said the latest sightings were only the fourth time a sandhill crane had been seen in the UK since records began.

The latest visitor was first thought to have been spotted in north-east Scotland and was believed to have made its way down the eastern coast of Britain, attracting crowds of birdwatchers.

Mr Barthorpe said: "It's a really exciting when you get a chance to see a new bird and we'll probably never see it again here."

He added: "It managed to miss Minsmere, but I was quite lucky because I was out on the coast with the family and got a text, so we changed our plans and headed down to Boyton Marshes to see it.

"Cranes are always a joy to watch - they're big, have some fantastic behavioural characteristics and a bugling call."

RSPB experts said it was possible the bird would stay in the UK or spend the rest of its life migrating up and down the eastern side of the Atlantic.

They said it was unlikely the crane would fly back to North America.

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