Rare bird spotted in Sunderland park

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BIRDERS have been flocking to a Sunderland park in the hope of catching a glimpse of a rare visitor.

A Little Bunting has been spotted at the new Elba Park over the past few days, attracting bird enthusiasts from far and wide.

Senior community ranger Andrea Baxter said “We are delighted to have this new addition to the park and are amazed at how much attention it has generated. Even though the park is only a few years old it’s really starting to develop as a haven for wildlife at a recent Bioblitz event we recorded a vast number of species in just 24 hours. I would also urge anyone else who has spotted any other interesting wildlife to let us know so we can update our records. ”

The species nests in Scandinavia and Russia and then migrates to South East Asia in Winter. Less than 30 of these small birds are seen on these shores every year.

Expert Mark Newsome, the official county recorder for bird sightings in the area, suspects that the bird probably arrived a couple of weeks ago when the weather was foggy, which may have confused it.

He said: “The birds are sometimes spotted around the Shetland Islands and the Isles of Scilly but not usually in Sunderland or County Durham.

“In fact there have been less than ten recordings of the bird in this area.”

Experts say that if the weather stays mild the bird may stay at Elba Park for the winter, latching to groups of similar species.

Elba Park is owned by the Land Trust and managed by Groundwork North East, who coordinate a range of community activities and events.

•If you would like to catch a glimpse of the Little Bunting, Elba Park is located between Shiney Row and Burnmoor, just off Chester Road (A183). Sightings have been confirmed near to the Sewerage works and Lambton Lane.