Twitchers who flocked to Exmouth to catch a glimpse of a rare mockingbird have been fined by police for breaking Covid travel rules.
Officers dished out £200 penalties to five people from out of the area on Saturday, February 13.
They were clocked trying to get a photo of the scarce feathered find which had been sighted in a resident’s garden.
The mockingbird – rarely seen on UK shores – was spotted by a local who tweeted the news on social media earlier this month.
It is thought to be only the third British record of the bird, normally found in North America, and the first for more than 30 years.
The discovery had some wildlife enthusiasts in such a flutter they headed to the East Devon resort despite government guidelines that people shouldn’t travel out of their local area.
Officers attended and fines were issued to five people for breaches of Covid regulations…
A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: “We were contacted at around 8.20am on Saturday 13 February with reports of a potential Covid regulations breach in an area of Exmouth.
“It was reported that a number of individuals, suspected to have travelled from outside the area, were trying to photograph a rare bird which had been seen in a garden.
“Officers attended and fines were issued to five people for breaches of Covid regulations.”
The grey, long-tailed northern mockingbird is known for its mimicking ability and is found in southern Canada, across the USA, Mexico and the northern Caribbean.
The UK sighting of the bird came after two in the 1980s – at Saltash in Cornwall in 1982, and at Horsey Island, Essex, according to experts at BirdGuides.