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Twitchers invade Dungeness for rare crested lark

A rare visitor to Britain has been drawing crowds at Dungeness.

The crested lark was identified on Wednesday. While they are not unusual on the continent and breed copiously near Calais, they do not like flying over water and are non-migratory.

There have been hundreds of photographers and twitchers lining up to see the bird, which has only visited Britain three times in 20 years. The last time it was seen at Dungeness was in the car park of the Britannia pub in 1974.

Owen Leyshon, of the Romney Marsh Countryside Project said: "It's very hectic down here; this rare bird has been causing some headaches. You would have to be an older twitcher to have seen one.

The crested lark
The crested lark

"The concern I have is for the breeding birds because of the sheer number of people, and the privacy of residents."

Should you wish to spot it, the crested lark looks very similar to a skylark, but with a more orangey underside, rounded wings and and a shorter tail.

The sex of the bird has yet to be established and it has not been indulging in any songflight, preferring to skulk around in the underbrush.

Dungeness is a fine place to spot rare birds as its position - stuck out in the Channel - and its micro-climate make it ideal for birds dropping in.

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