Rare Egyptian Vulture not seen in UK for 150 years pictured in South West

The Egyptian vulture was spotted on the Isles of Scilly Credit: Will Wagstaff / @IWTScilly

A rare bird not seen in the UK for more than 150 years has been pictured on the Isles of Scilly.

The endangered Egyptian Vulture, which has a distinctive bright yellow face and a mane of feathers, has only been spotted in the UK twice before - in 1825 and 1868.

It is native to southern Europe, northern Africa and south western Asia and there are thought to be less than 38,000 of them left in the world.

That is why birdwatchers on the Isles of Scilly were left shocked when one turned up on St Mary’s, and later Tresco.

Will Wagstaff, who was leading a birding tour at the time, said could not believe their luck.

‘Surprised is an understatement’

"Rare migrants are few and far between on Scilly in mid-June,” he explained.

"So, the news that a 'big bird' had been seen in the fog over St Mary's early in the day was intriguing to say the least - especially as the range of species being suggested was rather wide.

Will said he was leading the group between the Abbey and Great Pools on Tresco when they first spotted it.

He added: "Thankfully the bird flew by and sat on the pines on Middle Down where it remained for about an hour and a half before taking off.

"It was over Tresco for a while before being seen over St Mary's.

"All the gulls were spooked again by something in late afternoon but we could not see what had caused their alarm.

"I gather the only accepted British records were in 1825 and 1868, so this was long overdue and has aroused a lot of interest in the UK birding community.”

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