47. More feathery invaders!
In the November of 2007 a huge, dark-coloured bird was sighted in the skies over Battersea. The flapping wonder was photographed by a Brian Barnes as it glided near the power station. The mystery bird left local press puzzled. Was it an eagle? A buzzard? Was it the same creature seen two weeks previous in Kingston? Whatever the case, it wasn't the only mysterious aerial anomaly to visit the skies over the capital.
Three years previously, in March 2004, an eagle escaped from London Zoo and was tracked by park keepers, where it was eventually recaptured at Primrose Hill. In 2006 another large bird was on the loose – this time it was believed to be a vulture! Bird watchers pointed out the bird in Richmond Park, and experts believed the bird had escaped previously from a zoo in Staffordshire. Strangely, at the same time there had been sightings over Croydon and many miles away in Devon and Snowdonia!!
On 11th October 1984 the Evening Standard reported on a very bizarre import, stating:
An Arctic penguin crash landed in London's Sloane Square, in September 1984 after being "...blown hundreds of miles off course". It was believed to be the first such visitor to London under such conditions on record. Named Marianne, the young bird was looked after by an RSPCA inspector, who released her at Portland Bill, Dorset on 10th October after nursing her back to health.
Of course, scepticism arose at the fact that the penguin is a flightless bird! So, was a penguin really waddling around the capital, or was the story a hoax ? Ten years previous a London radio station commented on a huge bird seen in the vicinity of West Drayton, echoing the eerie legend from several decades ago in the area (see previous post). However, on this occasion the flying thing turned out to be a West African Crowned Crane. After a flurry of sightings, other witnesses came forward to speak of their own observations, from two years previous.
In 2007 a large condor was seen soaring across north Kent into London. The bird was identified as 'Tiny' who had escaped from a Dartford centre for birds of prey. The condor, known for its dark plumage and white frill around the throat, was eventually found after a helicopter pursued it.
Photo by BobMachines on flickr