WHAT KIND OF BIRD IS THIS? Ballina man, Graham Telfer, was keen to have this bird he photographed from North Wall identified.
WHAT KIND OF BIRD IS THIS? Ballina man, Graham Telfer, was keen to have this bird he photographed from North Wall identified.

Feathered friend provides a thrill

BALLINA man, Graham Telfer, was understandably excited when he thought he had photographed a rare sighting in town.

Standing on North Wall, he captured an image of a bird swooping over the entrance to the Richmond River.

His first thought the bird was a wedge-tailed eagle, which he said isn't common in these parts.

He emailed the photographs to The Northern Star in the hope that the feathered friend could be identified properly.

Jeannette Olley, the co-ordinator of the Byron Bird Buddies, was happy to oblige.

She said it was difficult to identify birds in flight, as was the case with the image Mr Telfer captured.

However, she said the bird was likely to be a welcome swallow, and several other members of the group came to the same conclusion.

She said the white in the forked tail was typical of a swallow.

According to the Birdlife Australia website, the welcome swallow is "Australia's most widespread swallow".

"The welcome swallow can be seen fluttering, swooping and gliding in search of flying insects in almost any habitat, between city buildings, over farmland paddocks, in deserts, wetlands, forests and grasslands and every habitat in between.

"Sometimes they even occur at sea - the name 'welcome' swallow comes from sailors who knew that the sight of a swallow meant that land was not far away."

While Mr Telfer's hunch wasn't quite on the mark, his photograph is a reminder of the number of spectacular birds we share our part of the world with.