Rare bird sighting raised £1,000 for Pontefract's Prince of Wales Hospice

Hundreds of bird watchers descended on Methley to catch a glimpse of the little bustard in a field of Cutler Lane at the edge of the Mickletown Ings conservation area.
Hundreds of bird watchers descended on Methley to catch a glimpse of the little bustard in a field of Cutler Lane at the edge of the Mickletown Ings conservation area.

A rare bird has brought twitchers flocking to a village and helped raise £1,000 for Pontefract’s Prince of Wales Hospice.

Hundreds of bird watchers descended on Methley to catch a glimpse of the little bustard in a field of Cutler Lane at the edge of the Mickletown Ings conservation area.

A bucket collection has been taking place at the edge of the Laurel Farm-owned field since the bustard was spotted on Monday, August 5.

Visitors have been donating to the bucket appeal, which has raised £1,000 to be donated.

The Halfpenny Lane hospice was chosen to benefit as Laurel Farm farmer James Hughes’ late grandfather David Hodgson was cared for there.

David Hunter, chairman of Swillington Ings Bird Group, said little bustards are generally found in countries including France, Spain and Turkey, adding: “They probably turn up in the UK every five years. There was one reported near Slimbridge in Gloucestershire in June this year and there is speculation that this is the same male bird.

“This is the first one I have seen in the UK. It is very rare in England. It is a really interesting find.”

Farmer James Hughes’ fiancee Jenny Nelson, said £1,000 is going to the hospice with any further donations to be shared among selected local charities in Methley area.

Miss Nelson said: “We have had absolutely amazing support, it has been great.

“Everyone has supported the appeal and respected the farmland.”