Flamingos sighted in Scotland01/04/2011 18:33:43 Surprise flamingo visit to Cemex quarry
1 April 2011: A quarry in Scotland, which is owned by building materials company, CEMEX, has played host to two unusual visitors, when two birds thought to be Greater Flamingos were spotted wading in the restored loch in Cambusmore Quarry near Callander in Perthshire, Scotland.
According to Europe's largest wildlife conservation charity, RSPB, this could be the first time Greater Flamingos, which are better known for being resident to Africa but does visit parts of Europe including Spain, have ventured this far north.
CEMEX's Quarry Manager at Cambusmore, Alistair Kerr, says he was surprised to see two pink birds wading through the quarry's restored loch: "I was out doing my usual early morning site inspection, when I saw the two birds down by our lake shore. I thought they were strange looking herons! Luckily, I had my camera in the office and managed to get a couple of snaps before they took off. While the quarry is a haven for wildlife, including deer and swans, I never in a million years expected to see flamingos here at Cambusmore."
The flamingo is a large, pink and red wading bird, unrelated but similar to herons, storks and spoonbills, but with a longer neck and legs, and with webbed feet. There are six species of flamingo in the world. Other than The Greater Flamingo, one resides in Africa and the others in central and southern America, including Mexico.
CEMEX's dedicated RSPB biodiversity advisor, Dr Sam Tarrant, said: "A flock of greater flamingos was seen flying past a North Sea gas platform some years ago, but they really are a rare sight this far north. However, birds such as these do occasionally reach our shores if they are blown off their migration course. I have never heard of flamingos landing in the UK, though! It's great for people to see such amazing birds on quarry sites. Quarries are great for wildfowl and birds of prey, but the flamingo is certainly a new species to add to the list!"
The RSPB is interested in following the flamingos' movements, and is appealing for any sightings to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.