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Exceedingly rare feathered visitor has twitchers flocking into Highland community

By Gavin Musgrove

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The eyebrowed thrush snapped by Keith Ringland in Kincraig.
The eyebrowed thrush snapped by Keith Ringland in Kincraig.

A very rare visitor raised more than a few eyebrows when it paid a visit to the Highlands.

Usually native to Siberia and Mongolia, the rare eyebrowed thrush was spotted feeding on berries on a rowan tree in Kincraig on Thursday late afternoon.

Since then twitchers have flocked into the village in the hope of spotting the exotic arrival.

It is understood to be only the second ever mainland Scotland sighting of an eyebrowed thrush – and the first for more than 25 years.

It is just the 30th time the species has been recorded in the UK.

The eyebrowed thrush was among a flock of redwings which are annual winter visitors to the strath.

Kincraig-based photographer Keith Ringland said: “I was filming redwings and mistle thrushes feeding on rowan berries and it just turned up. I didn’t know what it was until I researched it after.”

It is about the size of a song thrush but lacks the familiar speckles on its breast, instead it has a buff or orange upper breast with a white lower breast.

Around 50 birdspotters arrived in the village after initial confirmation of the report and some were still turning up earlier this week in the hope of seeing the rare visitor.

One local said: "I have spoken with folk from all over UK including Norfolk and Midlands and some en route home from Orkney – a different thrush apparently – and others, having just returned from Orkney, hurried back north in hope of seeing this visitor.

"So that explains all the parked cars and people in camouflaged clothing peering at every rowan tree."

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