Rare bird sighting

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A RECENT sighting at Montrose Basin has had local twitchers twittering to catch a glimpse of a rare bird which rejoices in the nickname of the “flying pig”.

An adult water rail and three of its chicks were spotted on the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s (SWT) wildlife reserve by two rangers on July 11 with a second sighting four days later, by which time a fourth chick had hatched.

Its unusual nickname arises from its distinctive call which consists of a series of grunts followed by a piglet-like squeal and is used in territorial disputes and when the bird is alarmed.

The water rail is also known for its aggressive tendencies and has even been known to kill smaller birds by drowning them.

Both sightings were near the visitor centre and the nest is believed to be in that vicinity.