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Pick up a penguin at Polkerris beach?

By CG_Caroline  |  Posted: February 10, 2014

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Penguin spotted at Polkerris beach?

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Could it be a case of pick up a penguin at Polkerris beach?

Cornish Guardian reader Chantelle Smith popped down to the harbour to watch the waves and instead snapped this image of what she believes is a penguin.

The 25-year-old said she and a friend were on the beach to watch the waves early Saturday morning.

“We were walking over to the harbour and I saw it run past. At first I thought it was just a rabbit but when I turned on the torch of my phone to have a look I could see it was a penguin – an actual penguin.

“It sat there for ages and I managed to get quite close and take the picture and then ran off.

“I was just shocked. I thought ‘that can’t be a penguin’ but it definitely looked like a penguin.

“Everybody I have told thinks I am crazy but I am being honest so I have put the picture from my phone on Facebook.”

Miss Smith, from St Blazey, said she can only assume it was washed up by the stormy weather or had escaped from a zoo.

Penguins are aquatic, flightless birds, which live mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, especially Antarctica. The largest living species is the Emperor Penguin.

Our obsession with the black and white bird has extended to many documentaries and films about them, including the animation Happy Feet and a chocolate biscuit bar in their honour.

“I am going to call it Pingu”, joked Miss Smith.

However, it could be a case of mistaken identity. Guillemots and razorbills are similar in appearance and they frequently prompt calls from the public who believe they have spotted a penguin along the Cornish coast.

Stewart Muir, Newquay Zoo director, said: “I can almost certainly tell you what it is and it’s not the first time this has happened. We have had this before over many years. When Guillemots and Razorbills stand up they look like little penguins.

“They can give a fair impression under water as well as they can swim at great speed using their short wings, he added.

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