Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blown off course

Tropical bird drops into Tenterfield pool  25 Apr, 2012 04:21 AM

It may be getter cooler, but Tenterfield is still attracting some tropical visitors.

Last week, an endangered red-tailed tropic bird usually found on Lord Howe Island made a landing at the Tenterfield Memorial Baths to the surprise of the local manager.

“I arrived at the pool in the morning and I saw this bird sitting on the grass, it was a pretty big shock,” Jeff Moss said.

“It is not something you expect to see in Tenterfield.”

Mr Moss said he called the National Parks and Wildlife office in Tenterfield who got in touch with the Australian Seabird Rescue (ASR) in Ballina who have been looking after the bird for nearly a week.

“He is doing pretty well and eating fairly steadily now,” ASR manager Keith Williams said.

“We usually see one or two of these birds a year but I think Tenterfield is about as far inland as they’ve ever come. I don’t think we’ve had one from quite that far away before.

“He probably got caught right in the middle of the strong north-easters we had earlier… and was taken a bit off course.”

The bird (pictured) is believed to be between 18 months to two years old.

Mr Williams said the adult birds have a very distinct long red tail and have a large breeding colony on Lord Howe Island.

“As a true seabird he doesn’t work that well on land so the poor guy would have been a bit shaky on the land,” he said.

“He’s obviously tried to stay near the water though, and I reckon the pool is probably the closest you’re going to get in Tenterfield.”

The bird has been kept under observation at the ASR’s office in Ballina and Mr Williams said he and his team would wait for a slight south-easterly wind before the bird was released.

 
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