Pelican on the prowl: Big-beaked bird sighted in Carrigaline

"I saw it from the side and I saw the massive beak.” 
Pelican on the prowl: Big-beaked bird sighted in Carrigaline

John McDonald, from Glouthaune, was on his way to Crosshaven to work on his boat when he glanced to his left and saw the bird in the muddy bank of the river, which was at low tide. File image

A seasoned ticketholder for Fota Wildlife Park got a free show today when he caught sight of a Pelican sitting in the mud at low tide along the Owenabue River in Carrigaline.

The majestic bird appears to have escaped from Fota Wildlife Park and had headed off on a sightseeing tour.

It is understood the animal had been spotted in Cobh earlier in the day, but had made its way to Carrigaline to perch just off the Greenway on the way to Crosshaven by lunch.

John McDonald, from Glouthaune, was on his way to Crosshaven to work on his boat when he glanced to his left and saw the bird in the muddy bank of the river, which was at low tide.

“I thought it was a Flamingo when I first saw it, but then I saw it from the side and I saw the massive beak.” 

The animal had been spotted in Cobh earlier in the day, but the Fota favourite had made its way to Carrigaline to perch just off the Greenway on the way to Crosshaven by lunch. Photo Chris Martin.
The animal had been spotted in Cobh earlier in the day, but the Fota favourite had made its way to Carrigaline to perch just off the Greenway on the way to Crosshaven by lunch. Photo Chris Martin.

John said he recognised the bird from taking his two-year-old son on trips to the popular wildlife park.

“It’s one thing to see the Pelicans at the park, you don’t blink an eyelid, but outside, in normal circumstances, the bird seemed huge, the size of a young adult, it just seemed so large.” 

John said he seemed to be the only one who noticed the bird.

There were people out walking on the Greenway and everything and no one paid any attention to it, it was mad.” 

Being a conscientious soul, John called Fota Wildlife Park to report the bird missing and said the park was well aware of the missing Pelican.

“I said 'Are you missing a Pelican by any chance?', she said 'Where did you see him?!” 

John said the park had been looking for the bird all day and after a sighting in Cobh had focused their attention on that part of the county.

Last summer a male pelican from Fota Wildlife Park also strayed from the park, making it all the way to Dublin before he was caught.

A spokesperson for Fota Wildlife was unavailable for comment.

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