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An unusual visitor flies in from Europe

Bermuda's birdwatchers were excited to recently spot a group of Glossy Ibis on the Island.

And while the birds have been seen in Bermuda before, one of the four birds that arrived on the Island last month has a tracking tag on its leg.

Andrew Dobson, president of the Bermuda Audubon Society, said that using digital photography, society members were able to read the code on the tag to discover where the birds had come from.

“The code was submitted to the central database in the United States, but they had no record of the bird,” Mr Dobson said.

“Following further investigation, it turns out that the bird was banded in the Doñana region of southern Spain earlier this year.

“Had the bird not been banded, the ibis would have been assumed to have come from the eastern seaboard. There are only two previous confirmed records of glossy ibis from Spain in North America.”

He said the tagged ibis was first spotted in Bermuda on September 14, and has since been seen at various locations around the Island.

“It may well have been driven off course by tropical storm Humberto which moved off the western African coast and into the central Atlantic in the second week of September,” he added.

While the species is found around the world, with populations in North, South and Central America as well as Southern Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, glossy ibis are rarely seen in Bermuda.

The birds are migratory, with populations in Europe travelling to Africa in the winter, and birds in North America flying south. They typically feed in shallow water and nest in fresh or brackish wetlands.

In full flight: A Glossy Ibis (Photo by Andrew Dobson)

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Published October 07, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 07, 2013 at 1:04 am)

An unusual visitor flies in from Europe

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