Has Inca flown further afield?

A TAXI driver has reported spotting a vulture that went missing from an owl sanctuary two weeks ago.

A TAXI driver has reported spotting a vulture that went missing from an owl sanctuary two weeks ago.

David Brett, of Wickham St Paul, near Halstead, believes he saw the bird of prey as he drove home earlier this week.

Inca the Turkey Vulture vanished from Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, at Stonham Barns, after being blown off course during a training exercise.

The bird, which has been at the sanctuary for 14 years, settled in a tree in a neighbouring field but efforts to lure him back proved unsuccessful and he vanished completely.

Sightings have already been reported in Diss and Mendlesham but Mr Brett is convinced he caught sight of Inca near his home in Old Road.

“I saw a large bird sitting in a willow tree overlooking a pond about 500 yards from the house.

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“When I got in I told my wife and she mentioned that there was a bird missing from a sanctuary.

“The only other place I've ever seen anything like that was in the highlands of Scotland.

“When you live in the country nothing really disturbs you very much but I had never seen a bird that size round here before.

“It was the right shape for a bird of prey. There's no way I'd mistake it for anything else.”

Staff at Suffolk Owl Sanctuary are growing increasingly worried for Inca's safety because the two-foot tall vulture is a scavenger rather than a hunter and could starve to death.

He is likely to try and feed on anything that is dead including rats, rabbits and roadkill.

Andrew Farrow, a handler from the sanctuary, said: “Inca was last seen at the weekend in Diss so it's quite a distance to Halstead.

“Our head falconer thinks it is unlikely that Inca could have made it there but anything is possible.

“It's difficult to know where to start looking but if someone could confirm he was sitting right in front of them or in their garden.

Anyone who thinks they may have seen Inca is urged to call the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary on 01449 711425 or 077151 04534.