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Caspian plover eludes twitchers

EDINBURGH, Scotland, May 3 (UPI) -- Two groups of birdwatchers say they chartered planes when an off-course Caspian plover was sighted on a remote Scottish island.

The twitchers, as they are known in Britain, managed to reach Fair Isle within hours of the sighting Friday morning, The Scotsman reported. After spending $4,000 per group on planes, they found no sign of the plover anywhere.

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Deryk Shaw, warden of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory, believes that the plover has gone elsewhere.

"They were very disappointed but they are used to it, I think," he said.

Shaw himself got a look at the bird, which was first reported by Jane Reid of Aberdeen University. Reid was on Fair Isle doing research on starlings, a far more common bird in Britain.

He believes the bird was a female because of its fawn-and-gray breast feathers. A male would have had a bright chestnut band as well.

The sighting was the fourth ever in Britain of the Caspian plover, which has a range in central Asia about 2,500 miles from Fair Isle.

Fair Isle, a 3-mile-long island between the Orkneys and Shetlands with 70 human inhabitants, is considered the most remote inhabited island in Scotland. It is famous for its bird life -- a combination of nesting sea birds and migrants using the island as a rest stop -- and its sweaters.

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