I have had a bad week at work with my panini and ciabatta sealer breaking down. I have been putting in 10-12 hour days trying to sort it out which is not good when you do a six day week! Anyway I had done alot of preparation for this morning and I finished early. So I decided to head upto Limavady to the Myroe Levels. If you click on the google map it comes up on a page to itself.
There have been regular reports of 2500 Golden Plover and 4-5 Buff Breasted Sandpipers and an American Golden Plover. These have been on land that Emerald Lawns create their turf from. So basically acres and acres of lawn which migratory and over wintering birds love.
I left Belfast at 9.00 and drove the 65 miles to Castle Rock on the Northern Coast of Northern Ireland. I went to the sea front and saw some Cormorants and Common Gulls but best of all about thirty yards offshore three Red throated Divers. I adult and 2 Juveniles. They looked really good in the light with the red throat standing out in the light.
Then I headed down to the Myroe Levels which I hadnt been to before and I ended up at the Magilligan Prison, obviously wrong turning. I did eventually find where I wanted to go but was very alarmed when I saw a man on a mini tractor mowing the lawns and at the opposite side of the lawn about fifty Golden Plover. Not quite the 2500 I was expecting!!! Anyway I met another birder Jeff Campbell and I followed him at a distance as he went further down a sea wall . This wasnt emerald lawn territory but other forms of agriculture. In the next field there were 24 Whooper Swans ( My favourite type of swan) 2 Pink Footed Geese hundreds of Common Gulls and Hundreds of Starlings. Then I moved on round to another field where there were a few hundred Golden Plover and about a hundred Lapwing. In their midst I thought I spotted something different however it wasnt the Buff Breasted Sandpipers but a couple of Ruff which look similar but bigger. Jeff told me that the bulk of the Golden Plover were nearby in a ploughed field. He also mentioned the Dowitcher that had been on the River Bann down from CastleRock and showed me how to get there on my map.
So I left the levels and went to the ploughed field. No sooner had I got my scope out than a police helicopter appeared and the birds all took off and after ten minutes they still hadnt returned so i headed off to the River Bann to find the Dowitcher (Another American vagrant). Plan sadly did not work out as I arrived at high tide and not a bit of mud was showing!! So i dipped on everything I went upto see.
I have been thinking of going to see the Canada Warbler which has been found in Co Clare.It is only the second record of this warbler coming to the Western Paleartic and probably Irelands biggest twitch. With many birders from England coming to see it. There were reports of 130 people seeing it at one time. I dont know if I would like all that attention. I also dont think I have got to that stage of twitching just yet but I can foresee that I might do and then I will regret not going to see it. C"est la Vie.