An exotic new winger has been spotted at Pittodrie Stadium after it was blown off course by Storm Alex.
The hoopoe – a bird which is rarely found in Scotland – has taken up residence in the Pittodrie Stadium car park in recent days.
It’s thought the bird, which does not breed in the UK and normally migrates between continental Europe and the southern tip of Africa, arrived after being blown off course during recent storms.
Now birdwatchers are flocking to Pittodrie to catch a glimpse of the colourful visitor before it departs the Granite City for warmer climes in the next few days.
Leona Lowe, 32, who lives nearby, first saw the hoopoe on Friday morning when she was walking her dog Ollie.
She said: “It looked so unique and people initially thought it would be a woodpecker or a lapwing or something like that, but it is definitely a hoopoe.
“When I first saw it I didn’t have my phone on me to take a picture and I had to go and find it again to prove I’d seen it.
“I posted the picture on Facebook and a few people said they thought it been blown off course during Storm Alex.
“It looks so exotic to be flying about in Aberdeen.
“The first time I saw it was on Friday morning and then I saw it again on Sunday so it does seem to be staying around the same spot.
“It has been pecking away at the gravel and piles of sand in the car park at Pittodrie. It seems quite happy, even though there have been quite a few people out with their cameras.”
Although some hoopoes, which are solitary birds, do appear in the UK, they are normally found on the south coast of England.
However, following stormy weather in the last fortnight, the birds have been spotted in other places, such as Yorkshire.
A spokesman for the RSPB said the hoopoe should be perfectly safe in Aberdeen – despite the city’s infamous seagulls.
He said: “Hoopoes have been known to turn up in the UK. There are a few every year but not huge numbers.
“They come either in the spring or in the autumn when they’re migrating from Africa to Europe. There have been a lot of different types of migratory birds turning up all over the country given we have had strong wind coming from the east over the last 10 days.
“Lots of rare species have been appearing over the last couple of weeks.
“This hoopoe will have blown over here. It will stay for a while, feed to build up its fat reserves and then will fly south.
“They are less common in Scotland than in the south-east of England, so it is quite unusual for one to turn up in the north of Scotland. However, they do turn up from time to time.
“It’s great to see it and they really are stunning birds.
“It’s probably going to be alright because hoopoes and seagulls feed in different places. The hoopoe will feed in short grass where it will look for worms and things like that. That will make it less of a target.
“It is also quite big compared to a lot of things gulls feed on.”
The spokesman added: “There are records of hoopoes staying in one place for quite a long time during the winter, but usually they stay for a few days depending on the weather. It will most likely stay for a few days and then fly off.
“It really depends on how much fat it needs to put on and how good the food source is.
“They are usually not too bothered by people so it will be fine to go and have a look. It is a good thing to see if you are able to.”