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Last Updated: Monday, 13 December, 2004, 14:49 GMT
Blue robin in rare festive visit
A Bluethroat by Gordon Langsbury and rspb-images.com
The bluethroat has been spotted in Aberdeenshire
A rare bluethroat robin is set to spend its first Christmas in Scotland.

The bird has turned up at the Loch of Strathbeg RSPB reserve in Aberdeenshire and was spotted in mid-November.

It is believed to be the first time the species, which normally lives in Asia and Scandinavia, has spent the festive season in Britain.

The birds are very close relatives of the native British red robin and they are only normally seen around the UK coast during the spring.

They are small with a dazzling bright blue throat, containing flecks of scarlet and black, which gives rise to their name.

Dr Paul Walton, species and habitats officer for RSPB Scotland, said: "To find a bluethroat on our reserve in May or June would have been thrilling enough but this bird has decided to spend winter here, which is quite unique.

"We welcome lots of birdwatchers and wildlife fans at Strathbeg.

"They can witness the spectacle of thousands of wild Arctic geese feeding around the loch and now they have a chance to see the December bluethroat as well.

"That's the best icing on the Christmas cake we could ever have hoped for."

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