Rare bird sightings '˜must be millions to one' says amazed Derbyshire spotter

A north east Derbyshire bird-watching site is rapidly gaining a reputation among twitchers for spectacular sightings.

Tuesday, 5th September 2017, 6:03 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:30 pm
A Caspian tern seen at Carr Vale in 2016 (photo: Glyn Sellors).

Carr Vale Nature Reserve in Bolsover – which is owned by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust – has seen multiple visits by two ‘incredibly rare species’ over the last 13 months.

The sightings, of sabine’s gulls and Caspian terns, are so unusual the popular spotting site is, according to volunteer reserve manager, Mark Beevers, becoming ‘the envy of county birders’.

He said: “It’s absolutely incredible that these two species turned up once at the same site but to do it two years running is beyond belief.

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“The chances of it occurring must be millions to one.”

The story began last year when the reserve was visited by the two species within 48 hours of each other.

A sabine’s gull turned up on July 12 and remained to July 20, attracting an estimated 800 visitors.

This was just the seventh time the bird had been recorded in Derbyshire and the first since 1997.

A sabine's gull seen at Carr Vale in 2016 (photo: Glyn Sellors).

Two days later, on July 22, another, even rarer, bird turned up.

A Caspian tern – which is rare to see anywhere in the UK – was spotted by 200 people in its eight hours at the reserve.

This was only the eighth time one had been seen in Derbyshire and the first since 1993.

“That in itself was pretty remarkable and the observers at Carr Vale were the envy of the county birders for some time,” said Mark.

A sabine's gull seen at Carr Vale in 2016 (photo: Glyn Sellors).

This year, however, the reserve surpassed itself by seeing another two birds of the same rare species.

On August 3, local birder Ian Swain found another Caspian tern, which as it wasn’t wearing a red ring was identified as a different bird to the one they saw last year.

This bird stayed two-and-a- half hours and then left - only being seen by a few people.

To complete an astonishing sequence of luck, Mark himself found another sabine’s gull on Friday, August 25, this bird staying for 45 minutes until all the gulls flew south.

Despite the fact the birds only stayed a short time this year, Mark said both sightings were ‘absolutely amazing’.