A RARE feathered visitor made bird watchers' hearts flutter on the outskirts of the borough.

Twitchers were intrigued when a red-breasted goose, more commonly spotted on the barren wastelands of Siberia, popped up on open land near Holcombe Sports Club.

But for James Walsh, otherwise known as the Manchester Birder, it wasn't the first time he had come across interesting finds within Bury's boundaries.

Earlier in the year James and fellow enthusiasts were enthused to find three pink-footed geese near Elton Reservoir.

On the red-breasted goose, he told the Bury Times: "It is potentially the first record of this colourful species in Greater Manchester.

"The red-breasted goose is a very rare visitor to the UK. It is globally endangered and breeds in Siberia, wintering in Eastern Europe.

"I cycled up to this area on Tuesday and spent hours looking in the picturesque fields around Greenmount and Summerseat, but, unfortunately, couldn’t find the bird. It looks like it hasn’t been seen since the original sighting.

I made my way to Elton Reservoir. Whilst filming some ducks and gulls on the shoreline adjacent to the yacht club, I heard an interesting call, and to my amazement, a group of four barnacle geese flew in.

"They circled the reservoir and then flew off to roost on the green belt. Barnacle Geese breed in Spitzbergen and huge numbers migrate into the UK in October.”

The reservoir has also been a favourite more recently with pink-footed geese, with three spotted there earlier in the year.

James added: "These sightings highlight how important our green belt is for wildlife.

"Green belt land, if saved, could be managed as nature reserves and provide employment to local people.