Pterosaur-like headless bats measuring 5ft could have been spotted in the UK on their way across the Atlantic, a cryptid researcher says.
Mysterious sightings of bizarre winged-creatures span as far back as the 1960s, according to Beasts of Britain author Andy McGrath who has offered a theory explaining why.
In Kent, 1963 four teenagers claimed to have seen a black bat with webbed feet, standing upright at 5ft tall, near Sandling Park.
Another report from a cemetery in Glasgow, describes a man-sized creature with bat wings which "suddenly jumped vertically up in the air and cleared a 20-foot fence in a single movement."
Several pterosaur–like creatures were spotted at Hesketh Park, Southport in 1999, according to claims. Ian Wharton, of the parks department, revealed how Clive Everson, claimed to have seen a grey skinned, bat-winged creature with a long beak and massive wingspan which rose up out of the bushes and flew away.
Andy, who occasionally investigates scenes of bigfoot sightings, said: "Surely a country so thoroughly explored and inhabited, like Britain, could not be hiding a population, however small, of man sized, flying cryptids, could it?
"Well, the witnesses of these extraordinary creatures would certainly say so.
"So, are we talking about a resident breeding population of these animals? I would say no.
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"I suspect that, like many known avian species seen on our tiny island, that the occasional sightings we have recorded, might be explained by Britain being part of a migratory journey that these creatures make.
"A jumping off point or a rest stop if you will, on a long transatlantic journey, or a kind of superhighway, to the uttermost parts of the north."
While Andy is open to the possibility of unknown creatures existing alongside humans, he accepts not all apparent winged beasts have been what first imagined.
He said: "There have of course, been many sightings of large bird-like creatures in the UK, that could easily be mistaken – especially in the dark – for some type of mysterious cryptid.
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"In recent years there have been several very large birds spotted visiting our shores, one of which, a giant Romanian pelican, was photographed in Plymouth in 2015. This bird can stand 6ft high and has a wingspan of 11ft.
"There was also a recorded sighting of a lammergeyer buzzard in Monmouth, as well as an escaped giant rhea in Nottinghamshire.
"It would be perfectly understandable that one might truly feel that they had seen something of a highly unusual nature, if they were to unexpectedly encounter one of these birds at night, in some lonely place."
For all the more likely explanations of many sightings, Andy refuses to believe any animal could be described as a leather-winged pterosaur.
"However, mistaken identity, even with birds as impressive in stature and out of place as these, cannot quite explain away sightings like those of pterosaurs, whose leathery wings and prominent head crests find no twin in avian species," Andy added.
"It would doubtless appear, that Britain is on occasion, a host for many rare avian species and quite possibly, some we have yet to discover."
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