Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 12:55 UK

Rare bird sighting draws hundreds

Eastern Crowned Warbler
The bird is usually found in the Far East. Pic. Dougie Holden

Hundreds of birdwatchers have flocked to a South Tyneside quarry after a bird usually found in the forests of Asia was spotted there.

Twitchers from all over the country have descended on Trow Quarry in South Shields after the sighting of an eastern crowned warbler.

News quickly spread on internet message boards after a photo of the bird was posted on Thursday night.

The last reported European sighting of the bird was in Holland in 2007.

It is believed the bird landed in the quarry after becoming disorientated for some reason.

Significant sighting

Birdwatcher Paul Cook, from Whitburn, near South Shields, told the BBC: "There has been nothing like this in Britain before. This is massive.

"Within minutes of the discovery last night pagers were going into overdrive and my phone has never stopped since.

"I would say about 300 people have been there already and I would imagine the numbers will run into the thousands come the end of the weekend."

The most recent sightings of the bird in the last four years have been in Holland and Finland but it is normally a native of the Far East.

Lee Evans, who runs a website called the British Birding Association, said the sighting was "significant" and that he was on his way to South Tyneside from Buckinghamshire.

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