A stranded puffin was rescued from a canal in Brentford this week, hundreds of miles from its natural coastal habitat.
The unusual visitor, who was fished from the Grand Union Canal on Wednesday (April 8), is believed to have been blown off course by strong winds at the end of last week.
Jen Page, who lives in a house boat on the canal, spotted the bird - with its distinctive brightly-coloured bill - floating just upstream of Brentford Dock while she was out walking on Wednesday afternoon.
She said it didn't look at all well so she rang the Swan Sanctuary, in Shepperton, Surrey, which she says told her to try to fish it out and bring it to them.
"I flagged down a passing narrowboat and the kind couple aboard let me on and we tried to get the puffin in a fishing net. We succeeded at one point but it flew out," she said.
"A passing paddleboarder tried to get it but she couldn't either and so the sanctuary sent a couple of people over with an animal ambulance and eventually the bird was fished out.
"I'm a bit besotted with puffins and have puffin wind chimes on the boat but it was very bizarre to see one on the Grand Union. We're all interested to know how on earth a coastal bird could end up so far from home."
According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) website, the closest puffin populations to London are hundreds of miles away on England's west coast or in the north east, around Hull.
The bird is rated as 'amber status' on the charity's list of endangered species, as half the UK's population is located at only a few sites.
Dorothy Beeson, founder of the Swan Sanctuary, said the puffin - who has not been given a name - was doing fine and was due to be transferred on Thursday to a specialist in Dorset.
"He's not too bad at all," she told getwestlondon. "I presume it was the heavy winds we had which knocked him off course. It's very unusual to find a puffin here.
"He's a dear little soul and very beautiful."