'Sea hating' rare pelican and vulture could stay in UK

Dalmatian Pelican Image copyright Richard Minari
Image caption A Dalmatian pelican which has been sighted in Cornwall has not been seen in the UK for hundreds of years

Two extremely rare birds which were blown across to the UK due to prolonged wind currents could remain in the country due to their dislike of sea crossings, experts have said.

A Dalmatian pelican which has been spotted in Cornwall had not been seen in the country for hundreds of years.

Meanwhile, a bearded vulture has been seen in Wales, Devon and Cornwall.

Experts said the birds, which are both "major rarities" had arrived in the UK on prolonged south easterly airflows.

The species are more commonly found across south eastern Europe, India and China.

Image copyright Rowena Castillo Nicholls
Image caption A bearded vulture has been seen in Wales, Devon and Cornwall
Image copyright Dale Kedward
Image caption The bearded vulture, also known as a lammergeier, was first seen near the second Severn Crossing

Paul Freestone, from the Cornwall Birding website, said thousands of birdwatchers had travelled from across the country to try to see the birds.

"It's completely unprecedented to have two major rarities in the South West," Mr Freestone said.

'Reached end of the land'

Paul Stancliffe, from the British Trust for Ornithology, said both birds were first seen in other parts of Europe, with the pelican seen in Poland and vulture reported in Belgium before they arrived in the UK.

Mr Stancliffe said both birds, which are currently in Cornwall, "don't like sea crossings" so it was "possible" for them to remain in the UK for the foreseeable future.

The pelican was first seen on 9 May in West Cornwall and the vulture was first photographed close to the second Seven Crossing on 12 May.

The Met Office said that since the beginning of May south easterly winds had been regular across central and southern Europe.

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