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Last Updated: Monday, 16 October 2006, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Rare bird is spotted by schoolboy
Daniel Jones (picture: Andrew Price)
Nobody believed Daniel - but he was proved right
Nobody believed nine-year-old Daniel Jones when he said he had spotted an avocet on the banks of the Dee estuary.

Now twitchers are flocking to catch a glimpse of the rare black and white bird seldom seen in north Wales.

Daniel, of Nercwys, near Mold, Flintshire, said he knew the bird by its colour and how its beak turned up.

He said: "People didn't think I was right because you don't see them on Deeside. Then people started to listen, they looked as well and saw it too".

The avocet - the emblem of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds - is normally found on the east coast of Britain in summer, or on the River Exe.

When they realised he was right... he was the star of the day
Daniel's mother, Joanne Jones

It became extinct in Britain in the 19th Century, but after its re-introduction in 1940, has bred successfully in the south.

Daniel was taking part in an open day at Deeside Naturalists' reserve with his grandmother Barbara Collings when he saw the avocet through his binoculars near Connah's Quay.

The avocet was nestled among thousands of other birds, but the youngster was convinced he had seen it.

Mrs Collings said: "I had never seen an avocet because they are normally down south or in the east.

"We were in the hide and he said that he had seen one but I said, 'I don't think so'. A man said 'no,' they would not be up here but Daniel stuck to his guns.

"Another man was listening to him and said that the little lad seemed positive, looked out and he found it.

"Everyone was coming to the hide to see it. Daniel was absolutely chuffed."

The avocet was extinct in the UK 100 years ago

Daniel's mother, Joanne, said: "He took a long time to convince the adults that it was an avocet. When they realised he was right they were very pleased with him. He was the star of the day.

"People were telephoning others to say what he had seen and they were coming down to see it as well."

The birds are so rare they are protected by law and anyone caught killing one faces a fine of up to 5,000 or up to six months imprisonment.

The avocet is also known as a "cobbler's awl" due to the shape of its beak.

Alan Davies, site manager at RSPB Conwy, said: "It's very rare to see them in north Wales.

"My only other record of a sighting was three years ago, when a pair dropped in for a couple of days.

"The lad's done very well - hopefully it's the start of a fantastic bird-watching career."

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