South Scotland

Hoopoe 'thinks Innerleithen is the south of France'

Hoopoe Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The hoopoe spends the summer in southern Europe but a small number "overshoot" into the UK

An exotic-looking bird is thought to have overshot its migration to southern Europe and ended up in the Borders.

The hoopoe arrived in Innerleithen on Sunday and was spotted outside a bed and breakfast in the town.

Lesley Foster, the guest house owner, was only able to identify it thanks to bird-watchers staying with her.

Mike Fraser, of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said: "We do get one every three or four years but usually along the coast.

"It is an over-shooting migrant and probably thinks Innerleithen is the south of France, with the recent warm weather we have had.

"It is great to see a bird like this in the Borders - it is difficult to say how long it will stay."

Ms Forster said she was delighted by the unusual visitor.

'Pretty excited'

She said: "My neighbour mentioned that a strange looking bird was hanging around our garden but I was so busy I had never noticed it.

"The two chaps who were staying with us came down on Tuesday morning and asked if we knew there was a hoopoe in the garden.

"They were pretty excited about it and now that we have seen it so are we."

She said the bird had a "fantastic long beak" and spent all day "pecking away" at her lawn.

"When I go out to take a photo it flies up into the plum tree and comes back down when I go inside," she added.

Hoopoes spend the winter in Africa before returning to southern parts of Europe for the summer.

A small number "overshoot" their route and end up along the English south coast but they are rarely seen as far north as Scotland.

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