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Squacco heron sighted at WWT Welney reserve

image captionThe last sighting of a squacco heron at WWT Welney was in 2007

The squacco heron, a bird rarely seen in England, has been spotted at a nature reserve on the border of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

The adult bird was sighted at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), Welney, at the weekend. The species was last recorded on the reserve in 2007.

Warden Steve Wiltshire said: "It is exciting to see a rarity on site. This particular individual is striking."

WWT experts said the species usually spends summer in southern Europe.

Emma Brand from WWT Welney said: "We really don't know what's brought it to the reserve. There's been no sudden change in weather conditions or local food sources to bring it this far north from its usual base in Europe.

"The bird is in full breeding plumage so we know it's an adult bird rather than a lost juvenile.

"It was spotted by a visitor to the reserve on Saturday afternoon and around 150 people came to see it on Sunday."

The heron has been making itself at home in the shallow flooded washes.

Mr Wiltshire added: "The bird is in full view of our reed bed hide and seems quite content fishing in the ditches among all the other birds".

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