Rare birds seen at County Durham nature reserve

Image caption,
The Trusts said the birds were occasional UK winter visitors

Wildlife experts said rare birds had been spotted at a County Durham nature reserve.

Arctic redpolls have been seen at the Rainton Meadows nature reserve, near Houghton-le-Spring.

Durham Wildlife Trust said the birds were usually seen in countries like Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia.

They are the latest in a series of rare visitors to the site after two bitterns stayed in the reserve at the end of last year.

The trust said the birds were occasionally recorded as winter visitors to the Durham area and elsewhere in the UK.

The first at Rainton Meadows was seen as part of a larger flock of mealy and lesser redpolls over the Christmas period and since then four had been seen, the trust said.

Mark Richardson, trust reserves manager, said: "This winter at Rainton Meadows has proven to be a bird spotters dream.

"As well as a good influx of Britain's favourite winter visitors, one very rare winter visitor has been pulling in the crowds."

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