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Injured sooty tern seabird blown off course by cyclone Trevor, rescued on cattle station

By Kristy Sexton-McGrath, Wednesday March 20, 2019 - 18:28 EDT
ABC licensed image
Jess Jackson and her sister Trixie, who is holding 'Sapphire' the cyclone-battered sooty tern. - ABC licensed

A little seabird has survived being blown hundreds of kilometres into the middle of Cape York in Far North Queensland after Tropical Cyclone Trevor carried the bird from its natural coastal habitat.

The Jackson family from Wolverton Station, west of Lockhart River, discovered the injured sooty tern on the cattle station's airstrip.

Property owner Emma Jackson said the bird probably blew in from the coast during the .

"We were just going for a walk along the airstrip and we found this little bird with a pointy black beak, black and white and we knew immediately it was not from around here," Ms Jackson said.

"It's definitely from the coast and the only thing we can think of is it has been blown in during the cyclone."

Her children Trixie and Jess have named the little bird Sapphire.

"He has a sore wing so my children are looking after the little thing, they're giving him some counselling," she said.

Sooty terns are a seabird normally found nesting on sandy islands on the Great Barrier Reef.

Lynette Ensor from BirdLife Australia said it was "extremely unusual" for a sooty tern to be found inland.

"It is very surprising because they spend their entire life at sea, except for when they breed,'' Ms Ensor said.

"He's obviously been blown in from out at sea."

Ms Jackson said the cyclone had also caused some damage to their property.

"I underestimated Trevor. I didn't think it looked like that much of a system," she said.

"Around 1:00am, he came in pretty wild — we got the tail of Trevor and it was ferocious.

"We've got trees down, we've had 175 millimetres of rain and the creek at the back is on the rise and fence lines will be damaged."


© ABC 2019

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