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    Bird-watchers flock for glimpse of rare European Roller

    NewsThursday 07 June 2012
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    Visitors have been flocking to an east coast village to catch a glimpse of the "holy grail" of the bird watching world.

    The rare European Roller was first spotted at Spurn Point a week ago and for the past few days has been seen on a country road just outside Aldbrough.

    Martin Garner, of the Spurn bird observatory, was running a guided tour when he spotted it near the coastguard cottages.

    He said: "It was perched on the wires ready to drop down on an insect.

    "The guy I was showing around from Cambridge was bowled over. He was so excited.

    "It is one of the most popular birds to see at the minute and one of the rarest.

    "The first thing I had to do was radio in about it. The other guys were jumping out of bed and rushing down to the site.

    "It then goes out on a national system. Within minutes, hundreds of people will have heard about it through Tweets, e-mails and being paged.

    "Then I got a few photographs."

    The news has led to birdwatchers, or "birders", from all over the United Kingdom descending on the bird's current location, off the B1242, just outside Aldbrough.

    Among those was John Colmans, 64, who drove from London to East Yorkshire yesterday morning.

    He said: "It is a beautiful bird. It was a no-brainer coming here.

    "It is a very rare bird and spectacular to see. It has a distinguished flight and is a very colourful bird.

    "I've seen one once before but that was in Portugal."

    Mr Colmans is known as a twitcher, which means the pursuit of a previously-located rare bird.

    Unlike birders, the word "twitchers" is reserved for those who travel long distances to see a rare bird which would then be ticked, or checked off, on a list.

    Mr Colmans said: "People probably think I'm barmy.

    "What happens is people send in details of sightings of rare birds and I get them on this bleeper.

    "Once a week I go to the rarest bird within driving distance, which today was East Yorkshire."

    An RSPB spokesman told the Mail it is the holy grail of the birds to see.

    He said: "There were initially two in the area.

    "The one near Aldbrough has been there for nearly a week. It is very rare for one to stay in the same place.

    "It will have spent the winter in Africa and on its way to Eastern Europe to breed. It probably got blown off course and is confused and lost."

    There have been so many people visiting the area, police have had to put up warning signs about cars parked on the main road.

    One Aldbrough resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "The bird is beautiful and there have been a lot of people coming to see it.

    "But there has been some inconsiderate parking in dangerous positions.

    "The big issue has been people with binoculars stuck to their eyes getting out of their cars and walking across the road without looking."

    People have also been visiting the RSPB Blacktoft Sands reserve since the discovery of a Marsh Warbler.

    Source: This is Hull and Eastriding

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