Bird watchers flock to Northumberland as grey-headed lapwing spotted in UK for first time

02.05.23 Lapwing Birdwatchers Credit: Paul Kingston / ITV Tyne Tees
The grey-headed lapwing sighting is a "British first" and has helped raise valuable funds for a Northumberland nature reserve. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A Northumberland fishing village has founds itself the centre of attention thanks to sightings of a rare bird making its first ever appearance in the UK.

The grey-headed lapwing was first spotted in Low Newton-by-the-Sea with word spreading quickly via social media.

According to the British Trust for Ornithology, there have been no previous sightings in the UK.

One bird-watching photographer was quick to share his photos via social media describing the sight as "a British first."

Birdwatcher Gary Woodburn took the opportunity to raise funds for conservation at the local community's nature reserve with £632.23 made on the day and further funds being raised online.

Mr Woodburn said: "A huge THANK YOU to all the birders at the Grey-headed Lapwing who contributed to the bucket @EmbletonQuarry"

Artist Darren Woodhead from East Lothian tweeted that he was out delivering paintings when news of the sightings came in and made reference to being "in the right place at the right time."

Usually found in East Asia, grey-headed lapwings breed in Japan and north-east China.

In recent years, there have been five recorded sightings in Europe and western Asia.

They are 34–37 cm long with a grey head and neck. The bird has a brown back with a white belly and black tail.

Fortunately, the birds are prolific breeders and are not considered endangered. 

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