GALLERY: Rare and beautiful birds spotted at Skegness nature reserve

A wood warbler with green plummage by Ben Ward (@benwardbirds).
A wood warbler with green plummage by Ben Ward (@benwardbirds).

May has seen a bird-spotting bonanza at Gibraltar Point with over 100 species seen daily - including rare visitors not normally found in the UK.

Wardens at the nature reserve say the unusally warm spring weather has influenced the migration paths of some European species.

A black cap photographed by Paul Johnson (@paul_L_Johnson)

A black cap photographed by Paul Johnson (@paul_L_Johnson)

However, some very surprising visitors from further afield have also been spotted.

A Wood Duck - which normally doesn’t leave its American homeland, and an Azure tit native to Russia/ Asia have both caused a flap.

Kevin Wilson, Nature Reserve Warden, said: “Azure tit is a major rarity in Europe and is a visually stunning species - I have only ever seen one, during a winter trip to Finland. The two birds that turned up here on May 11 initially caused great excitement but then it was realised that they must be escaped birds from a collection. One had a cage-bird ring and both showed feather damage consistent with being kept in captivity.”

He went on: “May is one of the most exciting times of the year with the arrival of the summer migrants. There are so many birds coming and going all the time. It is possible to see over 100 species in a day.”

A yawning great crested grebe photographed by Paul Johnson (@paul_L_Johnson)

A yawning great crested grebe photographed by Paul Johnson (@paul_L_Johnson)

Avid birdwatchers and photographers have taken to Twitter to share a large number of their sightings.

Other visitors, while not unusual to the UK in May, have included hoopoe, whitethroat, red-rumped swallow, spoonbill, wood warbler, linnet, pied fly-catcher, crossbill, firecrest and great white egret.

Explaining how the hot weather in April and May may have brought the species to Lincolnshire, Mr Wilson added: “The warm southerly airstreams no doubt influenced the migration path of some more European species that overshoot their typical breeding ground destinations and ended up in Lincolnshire. It is possible, that given changing climatic conditions such species may start to colonise the UK in future years similar to the little egret that has become a regular sight in the last 20 years and now breeding in Lincolnshire.”

Visitors can take a guided walk around the reserve this Saturday, May 19, from 8.30-11am. The Spring Birds Guided Walk will enable nature lovers to see and hear a large variety of birds. A spokesman for the reserve said: “May is also an excellent time of year for rare and scarce species – who knows what we may discover.”

A linnet photographed by Paul Johnson (@paul_L_Johnson).

A linnet photographed by Paul Johnson (@paul_L_Johnson).

Participants are asked to meet at Visitor Centre car park.

For more information about Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve visit www.lincstrust.org.uk/gibraltar-point or follow @gibpoint on Twitter.

He may not be exotic, but this colourful racing pigeon was another interesting visitor to the reserve, stopping for a rest and a drink. Photo by by Paul Johnson @paul_L_Johnson

He may not be exotic, but this colourful racing pigeon was another interesting visitor to the reserve, stopping for a rest and a drink. Photo by by Paul Johnson @paul_L_Johnson

A stunning shot of a whitethroat by Paul Johnson @paul_L_Johnson

A stunning shot of a whitethroat by Paul Johnson @paul_L_Johnson

A rare Wood Duck which normally doesn't leave its American homeland. It is believed to be an 'escapee'. Photo by @gibpoint

A rare Wood Duck which normally doesn't leave its American homeland. It is believed to be an 'escapee'. Photo by @gibpoint

A yellowhammer by Paul Johnson @paul_L_Johnson

A yellowhammer by Paul Johnson @paul_L_Johnson

Male and female pied flycatchers at Gibraltar Point - photo by Ben Ward @benwardbirds

Male and female pied flycatchers at Gibraltar Point - photo by Ben Ward @benwardbirds

One of the rare Russian/Asian Azure tits recorded at Gibraltar Point. Photo by @gibpoint.

One of the rare Russian/Asian Azure tits recorded at Gibraltar Point. Photo by @gibpoint.

A distinctive male pied flycatcher. Photo by Ben Ward (@benwardbirds)

A distinctive male pied flycatcher. Photo by Ben Ward (@benwardbirds)