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.
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.
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.
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.