Last modified: 24 April 2017
A pair of rare birds have been spotted at the RSPB’s Belfast Window on Wildlife (WOW) nature reserve.
Avocets, which are the symbol of the nature conservation charity, aren’t resident in Ireland so the arrival of the unusual visitors on Sunday had birdwatchers flocking to the Belfast Harbour Estate to catch a glimpse.
It’s not known where they have travelled from, although investigations are underway to trace the coloured rings spotted on the leg of one of the birds.
Chris Sturgeon, warden at Belfast WOW, said: “I couldn’t believe it when one of my colleagues got in touch with the news. I arrived early this morning and they’re still here, with reports they have been seen mating!
“There’s no reason why they couldn’t breed successfully here. The reserve is in great condition and there is ideal feeding habitat for wading birds.”
These distinctively-patterned black and white waders have a long up-curved beak, perfect for foraging in the mud for insects, crustaceans and worms.