Red Grouse first for Isle of May

A red grouse, which has been spotted on the Isle of May. Picture courtesy of Scottish Natural Heritage.

A red grouse, which has been spotted on the Isle of May. Picture courtesy of Scottish Natural Heritage.

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The Isle of May is a stop off for many migrating birds so is well used to unusual visitors but last week it logged an astonishing first - a red grouse.

Six miles from land and around another 20 miles from the nearest red grouse population, the island’s unexpected visitor had the bird world a-twitter.

“Only one word can sum it up - remarkable,” said Scottish Natural Heritage reserve manager David Steel.

“The Isle of May has attracted some extremely rare birds in its time and boasts several ‘firsts’ for Britain but this tops the lot.”

Although reasonably common in upland heather moorlands, red grouse rarely venture away from their favoured habitat.

“Just what was it thinking when it took flight some 25 miles away,” David said.

“The Isle of May is well worth visiting, but to fly six miles over the sea - impressive stuff.”