A bird described as a “very rare visitor to the UK” has been spotted by birdwatchers in Kent.
A black stork was seen at Capel Fleet Raptor Viewpoint on Sheppey earlier this week.
Footage of the unusual visitor was captured by Richard Hanman.
Although the bird is not listed as endangered in the wild, only on a small number of occasions does it land on British soil.
Dedicated bird website ‘Historic Rare Birds’ describes the creature as “a very rare casual visitor to the UK”.
Native to Africa, Asia, and eastern Europe, it was sighted at the RSPB site, between Harty and Leysdown, by members of Bird Wise North Kent.
Project manager for the group, Hayley Taylor, says seeing a stork was a very unique experience.
"They are normally seen in eastern Europe, Asia and Africa, so we think it's a juvenile which has got a bit lost.
"They have been seen in Kent a couple of times during my lifetime, so not very often at all here.
"Sometimes they get spotted in places like Belgium and Spain, but it's definitely rare to see them here.”
The bird-lover admits it is likely the stork will move on.
"I don't think it's likely to stay here though as it's just exploring,” she added.
"It's outside of breeding season too, which means it's unlikely to set up here anyway.
“The stork is bigger than many birds, and bigger than a grey heron which is already quite substantial.
"It also made some of the marsh harriers look tiny when it was nearby.”
One of the likely reasons for the bird’s arrival is due to the stork’s excellent flying abilities – which they do high and in warm currents of air.
They also tend to live in marshy wetlands – terrain the Isle of Sheppey has plenty of – and in woodland areas beside rivers, lakes or ponds.