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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
Plover causes stir on the Solway
White-tailed plover
The white-tailed plover was spotted at the Caerlaverock reserve
A Dumfriesshire nature reserve has recorded what is thought to be the first ever sighting of a white-tailed plover in Scotland.

The bird, which breeds in Iraq, Iran and southern Russia, has only been seen in the UK on a handful of occasions.

The sighting was made at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Caerlaverock on the Solway coast.

The reserve has extended its opening hours to cope with an expected influx of people hoping to see the bird.

It was manager Richard Hesketh who spotted the unusual visitor.

I had not seen anything quite like that ever before
Richard Hesketh
Reserve manager

He was carrying out routine duties on the reserve when he saw what turned out to be the rare bird.

"I didn't recognise it straight away to be quite honest," he said.

"I saw the regular waders I expect to see down there and this rather odd-looking thing.

"I had not seen anything quite like that ever before."

After consultation with a colleague and some field guides they established that it was the white-tailed plover.

'Quite distinctive'

Mr Hesketh believes it is the first such sighting in Scotland and took some time to identify.

"Its body size is much the same as the lapwing but it has got much longer and bright yellow legs," he explained.

"It has quite a distinctive black bill with quite a large black eye and, obviously, a very white tail."

The sighting has already generated interest across the UK.

Staff at the Caerlaverock reserve have extended its opening hours late into the night to accommodate an increase in the number of bird-watchers.

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