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Twitchers race to see rare Canadian gull spotted in Littlehampton
Twitchers have been racing to the Sussex coast to spot a rare gull which has flown nearly 2,000 miles from its usual habitat.
The Kumlien’s gull has been spotted twice in Littlehampton since Sunday, prompting an influx of camera-wielding bird-watchers to the area.
Even in the wet weather the beach has been packed with twitchers desperate to catch sight of the bird, which has been positively identified as the very rare Kumlien’s gull, which is usually found in the Arctic regions of Canada.
The migratory bird is named after the Swedish-American naturalist Thure Kumlien.
It breeds on coasts and cliffs, making a nest lined with grass, moss or seaweed. It normally lays two to three light brown eggs.
Mick Davis was inWarnham Nature Reserve, near Horsham, when he heard about the sighting and made it to the coast in time to catch a glimpse.
Mr Davis, 50, of Crawley, said: “It is still classed as an Iceland gull. It is amazing to spot it.
“I heard the bird was in Littlehampton and immediately went there.”
Mr Davis was joined by a group of people including teenager Harry Ramm, 15, who first spotted the bird, and Matt Eade from the Sussex Wildlife Trust.
Mr Eade added: “There is a good group of people in birding – very calm.
“People are getting increasingly young which is great.
“I dashed down to Littlehampton from Steyning to hopefully connect with a possible Kumlien’s gull, found by Harry Ramm.
“I arrived on the east side of the river mouth – the opposite side to everyone else – but fortunately the bird was on my side and showing well.
“Immediately obvious were the well marked primaries and I set about capturing as many pictures as I could.
“Also present was an adult Glaucous gull roosting on the lowtide with other gulls.”
Harry posted pictures of the bird on the website Rare Breed Alert, adding: “West Beach, Littlehampton.
“Great bird showed well, on and off throughout the day.”