Hundreds flock to Isles of Scilly hoping to catch a glimpse of tropical red-footed booby

The seabird is usually found in the subtropics and doesn't migrate. Credit: Joe Pender

More than 400 birdwatchers from across the country have travelled to the Isles of Scilly this month hoping to spot a tropical seabird usually only found in the southern hemisphere.

The red-footed booby was first seen on Bishop Rock Lighthouse, around four miles west of the Isles of Scilly, in the second week of August.

The seabird is usually found in the subtropics and doesn't migrate. It has only been spotted on the British Isles once before, in 2016.

Jaclyn Pearson, Conservation Manager at the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, said: "What has happened to this bird to be able to come here, it's unprecedented. Now and again, these things can happen obviously. But you would never think a red-footed booby would make it this far."

It is thought the bird may have been caught in a storm. Credit: Joe Pender

According to the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, it is likely the seabird found itself in the British Isles after being caught up in a storm out in the oceans.

Describing how it ended up on Bishop Rock Lighthouse, Pearson added: "It always amazes me how they find us, because we're so small. But we are the first landfall that birds might find, because we're this little archipelago."

She said that she is encouraged to see how well the bird is doing: "At the moment, what makes me feel really happy, is seeing it feeding and holding its own on top of Bishop Rock Lighthouse, which is in itself a feat.

The birdwatchers were ready for photos. Credit: Joe Pender

"And then hopefully, when it departs, we'll all feel it had the best time it could in the UK, and hopefully it'll find its way back."

The arrival of the seabird has led to excitement amongst birdwatchers, with locals monitoring its location in a WhatsApp group called Bird News.

Toby Carter, a visiting birdwatcher, was amongst one of the first groups of people to see the bird on the British Isles.

Describing the moment the group saw the bird, he said: "There was a huge eruption as people cheered and jumped around, followed by the sound of many camera shutters firing off as the booby was sat on the lighthouse.

"The hunt for the Bishop Rock Lighthouse booby was a success!"

It is not known how long the seabird will remain on the Isles of Scilly, but wildlife experts are encouraging those hoping to catch a glimpse to head over as soon as possible.