Water diviners or wrong turn?

IT’S not every day you see a couple of pelicans moseying about the Westdale flood plain, especially in the midst of a drought.

But that’s the picture that greeted The Leader’s senior photographer Barry Smith last Wednesday when he spotted the water-loving birds.

Bellingen ornithologist Richard Jordan said the birds have an innate ability to pick up weather patterns from great distances and travel according to the availability of surface water – which is why their appearance in Tamworth was even more baffling.

“It is a bit strange when it’s been so dry there,” he said.

“It’s a puzzle. Maybe they are forecasting wonderful rain to come.” 

There has been much speculation regarding the birds’ ability to keep track of available water. 

“There has been a lot of conjecture on how they find good water for them –  how they suddenly turn up in areas that have recently had a lot of rain and then start breeding,” Mr Jordan said.

While the duo’s presence could be a sign of fortuitous things to come, this week’s rain forecast is patchy at best, according to the Bureau of Metrology’s Matt Glasson.

“There will be isolated showers on Thursday and looking a bit further ahead, isolated showers on Friday, mainly on the slopes and a possible shower on the weekend,” he said.

“But it will be very patchy. 

“Most people will miss out.”

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