The last time the white-throated needletale was spotted in the United Kingdom, the U.S. was about to invade Iraq for the first time, so when the rare bird was sighted in the Herbrides, a group of some 40 bird watchers hurried to the region to catch a glimpse.
The group located the bird and managed to observe it for a joyful two hours before watching in horror as it flew into a wind turbine.
“It was really beautiful when it was flying around, graceful and with such speed.” said John Marchant, who made the trip from Norfolk. “To suddenly see it fly into a turbine and fall out the sky was terrible.” The group rushed to the bird’s aid but soon saw that it was beyond their help.
The neddletail, believed to be thousands of miles of course from its traditional migratory pattern, was first spotted in Northumberland and followed north to the Isle of Harris. "Why it is ended up in Harris is a bit of a mystery,” said a spokesman for Bird Guides. “It should be well away in Siberia, Australia or Japan.”