114. A pair of turnstones take the ferry
January 05, 2007
Fly three miles? I'll go by boat, thanks
Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter
A pair of turnstones, birds that fly thousands of miles across oceans, are taking the ferry to save themselves a three-mile commute.
They catch the 8.30am boat from Falmouth to St Mawes, where they are served a breakfast of breadcrumbs by the skipper. They land after 20 minutes then spend the day feeding, before catching the 4.15pm back across the River Fal.
The birds, known as Fred and Freda, have been hitching rides on the Cornish ferry every winter for the past six years. So fond are they of the skipper, John Brown, that if he is captaining another boat they will often fly off to find him.
Mr Brown said: They normally board the ferry as it berths alongside the pier. We always make sure that our passengers know about Fred and Freda some look as though they don't quite believe us.
Turnstones are found on coastlines across the world. Those in Britain migrate each spring to Scandanavia, Greenland or Canada to breed.
A glaucous-winged gull has been seen in Britain for the first time, on a rubbish tip in Hempstead, near Gloucester, 6,000 miles from its usual home in the eastern Pacific.