The Pelican Brief
Ever since their introduction in 1969, pelicans of the crossing variety have been commonplace in the UK, punctuating most streets of Britain. Pelicans of the bird variety, specifically the Dalmation breed, are however incredibly rare, and have not been seen in the UK for hundreds of years. Time to reset the clock, for a Dalmation pelican was recently spotted at Land’s End in Cornwall. The RSPB describes the pelican as “one of the most beautiful and charismatic breeding birds in Europe” and photographer Josef Fitzgerald-Patrick would appear to agree “When you see it take off out of the water it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. This particular bird had a 1.6m (5ft 3in) wingspan, and a buzzard has a metre (3ft 4in) wingspan – this made them look tiny.” It is believed this particular bird, which was recently spotted in Germany and Poland, was blown off course and ended up in Land’s End. Just as well the bird landed in Cornwall as it could well have ended up crossing the Atlantic. That would have to be one of the largest pelican crossings ever.