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Pelican spotted in Alderney

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A PELICAN was seen in Alderney this week, possibly after being swept to the island by Hurricane Ophelia.

The pelican photographed by Alderney resident Sammy Hogg

The visitor would normally be found in the hot coastal regions of Africa, Asia, Australia or the Americas. It is believed to be the first sighting of such a bird in the Channel Islands.

Sammy Hogg, who photographed and videoed the pelican splashing around in the sea and flying over the island, said: ‘I saw a large white bird on the sea – I immediately knew what it was because of its distinctive long bill and its throat pouch.

‘It stayed on the water for a little while then flew off towards Raz Island. I’m glad I was able to take pictures of it because otherwise I don’t think people would have believed what I’d seen. For me, it was a real privilege to see this bird on Alderney.'

The Alderney Bird Observatory believe it was most likely a great white pelican or an American white pelican.

Great whites have a wingspan of 8-9 ft and have patchy distribution from the eastern Mediterranean, east to China and south to South Africa.

The American white has a wingspan of 8 ft. It is found inland in North America in summer and migrates to Mexico for the winter.

John Horton, ABO warden, said: ‘It could be an escapee from a zoo. There’s also the chance it came in ahead of the weather system causing Storm Ophelia. Either way, it’s very exciting.’

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