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Last Updated: Friday, 1 September 2006, 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK
Island gold rush of bird species
American golden plover (Pic: RSPB Images)
An American golden plover
Birdwatchers have been excited by the arrival of all three world species of golden plover in Scotland at once.

The RSPB believe it is the first time American and Pacific golden plovers have made rare visits to Scotland at the same time.

They were spotted on Tiree in the Hebrides which is home to 2,000 birds of the European species.

Visiting birdwatcher Keith Gillon spotted the American plover before finding the even rarer Pacific.

John Bowler, the island's RSPB officer, has been delighted by the birds' arrival.

As one of the most westerly of the Hebridean islands we do get our fair share of American species dropping in
John Bowler RSPB officer

He said: "This really is quite an exceptional occurrence for Tiree, Scotland and perhaps even the UK to have all three world species of golden plovers on the same small island - especially with both the American and Pacific golden plovers being such rare visitors.

"As one of the most westerly of the Hebridean islands we do get our fair share of American species dropping in - often pushed across during stormy weather in the Atlantic, but this is a real treat indeed."

Mike Betts, of the Scottish Ornithologists Club, said more American golden plovers were being spotted than ever before.

He said: "There have been less than 20 confirmed records of Pacific golden plovers in Scotland since 1976 and most of these birds were recorded in the Northern Isles or the Outer Hebrides.

"American golden plovers are now becoming a more frequent visitor, with advances in optical equipment and people's knowledge of these birds probably boosting the increase in sightings."

The RSPB hope photographs taken of the plovers on Tiree will help to confirm their place in the British Birds Rarities Committee records where all rare birds seen in the UK are listed.

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