Grey Catbird in Cornwall
© Graham Jepson
Grey Catbird in Cornwall
Hundreds of birdwatchers have descended on west Cornwall to catch a glimpse of a rare avian visitor from North America.

The grey catbird has been spotted on Treeve Moor near Land's End.

It is believed to be just the second time the bird has been sighted on mainland Britain.

The catbird, which is about 20cm (7.8in) long and grey in colour, is named because of its distinctive "meowing" sound.



The first sighting of a grey catbird in Britain was in Anglesey in 2001, according to the British Birds Rarities Committee.

Mark Grantham, chairman of the Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society, said he thought the bird, which was first seen on Monday, had been brought across the Atlantic on low pressure systems following the recent US storms.

"Birds heading south get carried out to sea on weather systems and then can follow the Gulf Stream before making landfall at the first opportunity," he said.

News of the grey catbird spread on Twitter, and birdwatchers started arriving, with a local farmer opening a field for parking, taking charity donations in return.

"Cornwall is used to seeing its fair share of rare birds, but American birds certainly provide extra excitement," Mr Grantham said.

"To see [the grey catbird] flitting along a Cornish hedge is always going to be extra special."