THE sighting of a rare bird in woodland near Worcester was an 'extra special opportunity' say birdwatchers.

Dozens of 'twitchers' descended on the area after reports of a golden oriole heard singing near the Monkwood Nature Reserve on Sunday (May 16).

Dave Throup, the Environment Agency’s Environment Manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire, said: “I only bird watch as a hobby. But to get something that rare on our local patch is extraordinary. I went out a couple times to see and hear it sing but I failed. With birdwatching, I guess that is the thrill of it.”

The protected birds are extremely rare and are endangered globally. Birdwatchers gathered in the car park at the nature reserve on Saturday and Sunday in the hope of catching a glimpse of the bird which is rarely seen in the UK.

Ion Riley, a bird-watching resident of Worcester, said: “Being such a rarity to the UK, it is a extra special opportunity for local birdwatchers. It certainly sounds to be elusive as regards getting views, but just to experience the oriole’s exotic song is something not to be forgotten”.

He added: “I would reiterate both Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s and local birders’ advice to stay on the footpaths to avoid harming other wildlife, park sensibly and just enjoy.”

Birdwatchers from the Midlands took to social media to share their thoughts on the sightings. One Twitter user said: “As the city sleeps, a young male black redstart sings from the rooftops above. Recorded recently and a reminder that even our most urban areas in the @WestMidBirdClub area can hold rare breeding birds. Fantastic to hear its song echo among the buildings.”

Another said: “A frustrating but enjoyable four or five hours at Monkwood today. The golden oriole sang beautifully at times but steadfastly refused to show itself... to me anyway, although others had brief views.”

Worcestershire Birding confirmed the rare bird’s visit to the area, but think it has left the nature reserve.

They tweeted. “Not singing this morning so assumed to have moved on”.

The shy songbirds are a rarity in the UK and tend to make their visits in the summer months. They are rarely seen in the Midlands, as their usual migratory route is through Suffolk. According to the RSPB, only 85 of the birds migrate through the UK each year and they are endangered globally.