Two rare booby species spotted on the Isles of Scilly at the same time in UK first

The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust says the sighting is 'unprecedented' Credit: Joe Pender Photography

Two birds which have never been spotted at the same time and place in the UK have been seen together on the Isles of Scilly.

The rare red-footed booby, a tropical bird native to the Galápagos Islands was spotted on top of the Bishop Rock Lighthouse, with a brown booby at the bottom of the lighthouse steps on Monday 28 August.

The red-footed tropical species was recorded for the second time in the UK near the Isles of Scilly on 16 August.

An estimated 600 bird watchers have flocked to the Isles to see the birds with some even chartering private boats to get there.

Mark Thomas, a birder from Yorkshire was the first person to spot the brown booby from aboard the boat MV Sapphire.

Mark said: “Whilst enjoying the red-footed booby – sat high on the Bishop Rock Lighthouse – I happened to scan through the closest group of birds perched on the lower terrace of the lighthouse.

"To my amazement, I caught a brief view of what looked like a brown booby. I quickly alerted skipper Joe Pender who skillfully manoeuvred the boat around the lighthouse, to be greeted by the undeniable sight of an adult brown booby at no less than 30 feet!”

Bob Flood, Founder of Scilly Pelagics and global seabird expert said: “This event is already legendary in British birding.

"It couldn’t have been scripted. We’ve seen around 600 birders visit already, which is incredible for the time of year.

"It’s high season and most transportation and accommodation is fully booked – some have even resorted to hiring private jet boats from Penzance!"

The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust has said that although the recent sightings have delighted bird watchers, it could be something to worry about.

CEO Julian Branscombe said: "There is a chance that tropical species, like boobies, are being forced to forage for food further afield; we may see more unusual species in our waters consequently and may find that populations of tropical bird species are negatively impacted if climate trends continue.

"Whilst thrilling in many respects, we need to work with conservation colleagues on a global level to assess the health of our seas and the wildlife that relies on them."