Rare booby spotted on UK island sees Brits flock to lighthouse to for a glimpse

A rare booby sighting on a UK island has sent excited twitchers into overdrive as they flock to catch a glimpse.

Birdwatchers in their hundreds have touched down on the Isles of Scilly near Cornwall after word got out that a seabird native to the Galapagos Islands, was in town.

Bishop Rock Lighthouse is the westernmost part of the British archipelago, 45 miles away from mainland England but its popularity this summer has suddenly skyrocketed.

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Presumably stopping by for the island's warmth, a red-footed booby has been photographed making Bishop Rock its temporary home more than 6,300 miles from its native habitat in the Pacific Ocean.

Boasting an unmistakable pair of bright red feet and an almost fluorescently coloured bill, it's easy to see why bird enthusiasts have been whipped up into a frenzy.

Scilly man Joe Pender who takes twitchers on boat trips departing from the island of St Mary’s, was the first person to spot the bird.

He raised the happy alarm on August 7.

A spokesman for the British Trust for Ornithology explained: “The world’s oceans hit the hottest temperatures ever recorded last month.

"This could be pushing birds out of their usual habitats in search for more favourable conditions.”

Ever since news of the booby got out, the Scilly Isles have been swamped with binocular-wielding fanatics.

Joe told the BBC: “We have had around 400 birdwatchers from all over the UK visit the Bishop Rock to see the red-footed booby since Tuesday, [and] about 140 came over yesterday [Sunday] on a day trip to see it.

“I would imagine that if the red-footed booby stays for a while, we will get a steady stream of birders over the coming weeks. I think it’s a long way from home but it seems really happy up there.”

Among the 400 visitors is Andy Hall, from Nottinghamshire, who's paid a visit to the exotic animal no fewer than four times already.

Another, Ross Newham boarded a packed boat of bird lovers bound for the lighthouse on Sunday.

Ross said: “Red-footed booby on the Bishop Rock lighthouse now. What a wonderfully crazy hobby this is.”

It's the first time a red-footed booby has been seen since 2016, although fortunately this visitor appears to be in a far healthier condition than the one found in “an exhausted state” at St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex.

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