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News / Pine grosbeak causes excitement

This pine grosbeak is only the third such bird ever recorded in Shetland - Photo: Hugh Harrop/Shetland Wildlife

A RARE woodland bird has attracted flocks of birders to a garden in Northmavine.

The pine grosbeak currently feeding on conifers near the Collafirth Pier is only the third ever recorded in Shetland, and the 12th for Britain.

Ironically, the bird seems to have been around since early November but only came to the attention of Shetland’s many bird watchers during the last few days.

It has emerged that local resident Alistair Williamson from the neighbouring village of Urafirth had taken photos of the very same bird three months ago.

On Sunday Williamson said he had initially posted them on his Facebook page. Since no one had commented on the photos he assumed it was an ordinary crossbill.

“It was only on Saturday when birders circulated pictures of the pine grosbeak at Collafirth that I realised it was the same one I had.

“The fact that they had missed it for so long has created a bit of excitement among local birders.

“There are a lot of Christmas type trees around here, so there are places to hide. They obviously like to eat that kind of thing too,” he said.

Pine Grosbeaks are usually found in the coniferous woods of Alaska, Canada and subarctic Siberia.

Local birder Hugh Harrop said: “Once again Shetland proves that it is one of the best – if not the best places in the UK to see rare birds. 

“Up until this weekend it had been a relatively quiet winter for rarities but hopefully this absolutely stunning bird sets the scene for the rest of the year.”

More pictures of the bird can be seen on the Shetland Wildlife Facebook page.

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