Fair-feathered news: Israel welcomes first-ever Chinese pond heron

The bird itself is fairly common, but this is the first time it has ever been seen in Israel.

The Chinese pond heron is spotted in Jerusalem's Botanical Gardens. (Video credit: Dr. Yoav Pearlman/Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel)
 Israel just gained a new type of resident, with a bird species originally from Asia found to be roosting itself in the Jewish state.
The tall, long-legged avian was spotted last Monday at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens by photographer Daniel Katz, who took a picture of it.
The next day, the bird was identified as a Chinese Pond Heron by the birdwatchers at the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI). 
Photographers and birdwatchers were able to spot the heron in the same spot on Wednesday.
The species itself isn't endangered, and is fairly common - in fact, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had labeled it as non-threatened and a matter of "least concern."
But nonetheless, this is the first time the species of bird has ever been seen in Israel.
"The species itself comes from China, but it's known to fly for long distances," SPNI senior birdwatcher Jonathan Meirav said in a statement, explaining that in the past, the Chinese pond heron has been spotted in Europe, the Middle East and even as far as the United States.
As this is the first time the bird has been seen in Israel, there isn't yet a proper Hebrew name for it. So in the meantime, the SPNI has elected to call it simply, anfit sinit (Chinese heron). 

Despite being the first of its kind to enter Israel, it seems likely that the bird is just a tourist, who simply came here on migratory patterns.
"It is always exciting to encounter such extreme vagrants, arriving from distant corners of Earth. However, the phenomenon of extreme vagrancy in long-distance migrant birds is well-known and well-documented. Birds that perform long-distance migrations, like the Chinese Pond Heron that migrates between North East Asia and South East Asia, occasionally get disoriented or get blown off course, and end up very far away from where they had intended to migrate to," Dr. Yoav Perlman, science director for SPNI's BirdLife Israel, told The Jerusalem Post.
He added that this may not bode well for the heron, as "In the short term, such individuals often don't survive."
"In an evolutionary context, these birds can be seen as pioneers or explorers," Perlman explained, "pushing boundaries and crossing frontiers."