One of Britain’s rarest birds has been caught on camera at a sewage treatment site.

The green sandpiper, believed to be one of a pair, was photographed by a green energy technician at Basingstoke Sewage Works in Hampshire.

According to the RSPB, there are only one to two pairs of the waders breeding annually in the UK and 910 birds present here from October to March.

As a result, they are classed as amber in the UK’s categories of conservation importance.

Jack Prater, 27, is a green energy technician for Thames Water and a keen wildlife photographer in his spare time.

Basingstoke Gazette:

He took his camera to the treatment works to try to capture animals and birds at the site including buzzards, pheasants, wagtails, badgers and roe deer.

Speaking about the green sandpiper, Mr Prater said: “I’d previously spotted a pair of them here so always wanted to photograph them without knowing what they were, but after sharing the image in a local photography group I was told it was a very rare green sandpiper.

“The one I photographed was the bigger of the two and a bit braver than the smaller one which flies off as soon as you go anywhere near it.

“Apparently only around 900 of the birds usually winter in the UK – and there are only known to be one to two breeding pairs.

“We don’t know if the pair at our works are winter visitors or maybe even a new breeding pair no-one knew about.”

Basingstoke Gazette: Green energy technician Jack Prater who photographed the birdGreen energy technician Jack Prater who photographed the bird

It is believed that ducks, geese and waders like sewage works because the pools and lagoons contain rich nutrients that cause insects and plankton to thrive, and do not dry out in summer.

Mr Prater’s day job helps Basingstoke sewage works produce enough energy from waste to power itself, following a £53m upgrade to treble its energy generation capacity.

This reduces both the site’s carbon footprint and operating costs.

Reactors heat up sewage during the treatment process to produce biogas, which is then converted into around 50 megawatt hours of electricity each day – enough to power the equivalent of 2,850 homes.

In 2019, a three-foot long hydrodynastes gigas, known as a false water cobra, was rescued from the sewage works after being seen slithering across a path.