144. Green Sandpiper
Sorry I havent been writing for a while. I have found my work is taking up alot of my time, plus wife and children gives me less time to bird. Anyway today I was on duty at the Belfast Harbour Reserve. I got there to find Anthony (the warden) had come back from a week at Cape Clear in Co.Cork The lagoon at the Harbour Reserve had dried up completely after the lack of rain and high temperatures we have been experiencing recently. Anthony is going to try and arrange with the Water Service to pump some water into the lagoon so that the waders continue to visit.
We spotted a lapwing in distress near the hide, in that it couldnt fly and was wobbling about.... botulism maybe. Within a very short period of time a Magpie arrived on the scene and started to peck at its eyes with the lapwing screaming away. The lapwing vainly tried to resist but didnt last long before the magpie had taken its eye and then pierced its brain killing it. Not a pretty sight especially as one couldnt do much about it.
As I was leaving the hide I got a text from Derek Charles that a Green Sandpiper had been seen on the Blackstaff river which runs into Murlough Bay . After finding out exactly where it was I headed down there. When I got there I parked near a bridge over the river and walked down the river, which I assume is tidal at this stage and the tide was well out. I immediately saw three common sandpipers and the Green Sandpiper, which I didnt see on the ground , took off and zig zagged down the river. I memorised its call and it was exactly the same as my guide. I tried to get to it quietly but it was very shy and flew off before I could get a really good view off it. There was also a family of young shelduck and a Greenshank chasing fry in the shallows. I will definately come back to this spot as I hadnt been there before.