A RARE ground-feeding bird has been spotted in the Tamar Valley.
Lower Metherell resident, Lester Roberts who spotted the bird says it’s the rarest bird he’s seen in this area.
A Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) was spotted by Lester in Lower Metherell and he couldn’t believe he had spotted the scarce visitor.
The Little Bunting is a bunting with a sharply pointed bill and a short thin tail that mainly feeds on seeds.
The species is widespread across Scandinavia and its normal migration ranges from northern India, southern China and the northern parts of south-east Asia, so it’s a rare visitor to these parts, explained Lester.
Lester recalled the moment he spotted the bird while out for a walk on the footpath from Clampitts at the bottom of Lower Metherell to Comfort Woods.
‘I was with my daughter walking the dog and I noticed something a bit different sitting on a hedge and thought ‘that’s something unusual,’ said Lester.
‘I went down a couple of days later and saw it and identified it.’
Lester explained that Little Bunting can be found hanging around with Reed Buntings, which are indigenous. Proceeding to explain that they are found in stubble fields, like the one he spotted this one bird in.
They can be seen picking up seeds off the ground and can be differentiated from Reed Buntings as they are paler in colour.
Lester, a lifelong birdwatcher since being taught by his father when he was young, explained that there are not many of these birds seen in Cornwall. Adding that the last one of this species that he spotted was around 15 years ago on the road to Torpoint.
Lester said he was very excited about the rare find.
Lester said: It’s great to find a rare bird as you don’t often find them.
‘It was a great find and I felt very excited.
‘It’s 100% the rarest bird I’ve seen in the Tamar Valley.’
Since the find, other birdwatchers have flocked to the area to catch a glimpse of the visitor.
‘There’s been loads of birdwatchers down there’, said Lester.
‘Some days you go down there and there are about 10 to 15 people down there if the weather’s fine.’
Lester who estimates that the bird has been in the area for a couple of months, but could’ve been longer, is still visiting the bird to check in and can still be seen in the area.
‘I keep putting seed down there for it... it’s costing me a fortune!’ he said.
‘We’ve sort of contained the bird right by the gateway so people can see it easily and it’s now having a good feed there.’