For the last year East Angia’s birdwatchers have been thrilled by the incongruous sight of an escaped flamingo living wild in the Norfolk countryside.
The bird, named Fiona by locals, escaped from Marwell Wildlife Park in Hampshire just before Christmas 2010, and made its home in Aldeburgh’s RSPB site at Minsmere. Birdwatchers flocked to catch a glimpse of the elegant bird with her distinctive red and black wings.
But Fiona disappeared from Minsmere last autumn, and embarked on a whistlestop tour of the UK, including a visit to Manchester Airport, where her presence on the runway caused it to be closed for four hours.
Now, much to the delight of Aldeburgh’s birdwatchers, Fiona has returned. Ian Barthorpe of RSPB Minsmere told the EDP:“She looks in good health – she is obviously feeding well and because she is fully winged she is able to move where she likes,” he said. “From our point of view, she has become quite a visitor attraction and one of many escaped waterbirds we’ve seen at Minsmere.
Mr Barthorpe was optimistic about Fiona’s future at Minsmere: “It’s not unusual for escaped birds to survive for a long time. Unless she flies back to Marwell zoo, there is no chance of her being recaptured.”
So if you want to catch a a rare glimpse of a tropical bird in East Anglia, why not join Fiona at Minsmere before she decides to head off on another holiday?