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The arrival in Britain of rarely seen marsh birds meant a bonanza for bird-watchers at the weekend. The top attraction was a young black- winged pratincole, whose nearest nesting grounds are in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions, which was discovered at Leighton Moss nature Reserve near Rarnforth, north Lancashire. It has drifted more than 2,000 miles off course while migrating to southern Africa for the winter.

Meanwhile, a solitary sandpiper appeared on the Isles of Scilly, off Cornwall, after being wind-blown across the Atlantic while migrating from Canada to South America. Another unusual wading bird, a terek sandpiper, migrating from northern Finland to Africa, turned up at Rosslare, Co Wexford.