Was a mystery visitor who appeared in the Isles of Scilly this week on a half-term break – or could he, or she, have had more permanent intentions?
Those were the sorts of questions being asked both in the islands and on the Cornish mainland after a chough turned up from out of the Atlantic blue and perched on lonely St Martins.
Ornithological experts were immediately in a state of excitement – because Cornwall's extremely rare "national bird" doesn't tend to just materialise out of nowhere…
"Very exciting news
!" declared the RSPB's Cornwall projects manager, Claire
Mucklow, when she first heard news of the mystery appearance yesterday. "I
wonder if it is a West Penwith chough on half-term holiday or a new incomer
from Southern Ireland again?"
Later Ms Mucklow got back to the Western Morning News having been told that the St Martins chough was wearing no official jewellery… "It is not ringed apparently, so it is very likely from Ireland given the wind direction recently.
"There has been a stranger chough in Penwith for the past two winters," Ms Mucklow went on, explaining that every other resident Cornish chough was ringed and therefore identifiable.
"We have always said it is only a matter of time until new birds find their way to Cornwall – like the original Lizard pioneers did – and this is the third year in a row it has happened.
"We just need the bird to stay and make friends with the resident choughs near St Just," she added.
Such hopes are based on a report earlier this year that DNA testing had discovered how the choughs, which came back to Cornwall 11 years ago, had somehow made their way nearly 200 miles across the ocean from the nearest Irish coastline.
Read on: http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/RSPB-chuffed-Irish-choughs-arrive-bolster-Duchy-s/story-17216077-detail/story.html