A rare bird sighting has seen birdwatchers flock to a Thames Water nature conservation site in Kingston in the hope of another appearance.

The black-tailed godwit made its appearance at Hogsmill Nature Reserve.

Its distinctive black and white striped wings, long legs and beak attracted more than 50 visitors to the nature reserve in three days - topping the usual dozen in a week.

Although 44,000 of the birds can be spotted wintering around the coast, there are only 60 breeding pairs in the UK.

Its conservation status is therefore classed as red – meaning its species is globally threatened and is in severe decline in the UK.

Kristine Boudreau, Hogsmill Nature Reserve manager, said: "It is a wonderful indicator that we are managing the reserve to a high standard and creating biodiversity that benefits so many species, including rare birds like this.

“The black-tailed godwit usually nests in north-east Scotland so the fact that it visited Hogsmill is very exciting.

"If it found the habitat once it can find it again, so hopefully it will return in the future.

“In a week we would expect to host around a dozen visitors to the reserve, but over the space of only three days 50 people came to Hogsmill hoping to catch a glimpse of the rare bird.”

A total of 160 different bird species have now been recorded at Hogsmill Nature Reserve, including nesting kingfishers, kestrels and herons and, in 2018, a Cetti’s warbler.

Earlier this year Thames Water announced it was exploring the first ever ‘poo power’ scheme in partnership with Kingston Council, in which millions of tonnes of carbon emissions could potentially be reduced by using the excess heat from the sewage treatment process to power over 2,000 homes in Kingston.

Birds thrive in sewage treatment sites as they’re near rivers and streams where there’s an abundance of insects to eat, and the sites themselves have various ponds and lagoons, along with areas left to grow wild.

The eight-acre wildlife refuge, which is open to the public through its free membership scheme, has two bird hides for visitors to spot the different species and has pathways accessible for wheelchairs and buggies.

The reserve hosts numerous event and conservation days, educational visits for schools, youth groups and guided tours, and has a learning pond allowing children to pond dip and discover the wildlife living underwater.