NATURE lovers in Largs have been delighted to welcome a new arrival to local gardens.

The nuthatch has been a very rare visitor to the area in the past, but has now been spotted by a number of local bird watchers.

Dave Barr captured this photo of the unique visitor to his parents' garden in Largs, and said: "My parents have a new garden visitor for 2024, the first time they've seen a nuthatch in Largs."

Dave is not alone, however, with reports having been received of nuthatches in Douglas Park as well as in other parts of Ayrshire.

Experts say sightings of the bird in southern Scotland have increased in line with warmer winter temperatures.

A spokesperson for the nature organisation said: "The nuthatch is a plump bird about the size of a great tit that resembles a small woodpecker.

"It's blue-grey on top and whitish below, with chestnut on its sides and under its tail. It has a black stripe on its head, a long black pointed bill and short legs.

"It breeds throughout England and Wales and has recently begun to breed in southern Scotland.

"It is a resident, with birds rarely travelling far from the woods where they hatch."

The Woodland Trust says keen birdwatchers should keep a look out as they are now becoming a more common occurrence in Scotland.

They say: "Nuthatches can be found across England and Wales, but are absent from Ireland.

"The species is becoming increasingly common in Scotland, with milder winters allowing its range to expand north."