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Sunday, 2 October 2016

Pectoral Sandpiper in the town park

A rather bizarre birding moment occurred today while driving out of Portmagee, when a medium-sized wader flew alongside the car at speed, narrowly avoiding a high speed collision as it passed mere feet away, before it flew low, up and over the wall of the tiny town park, and plonked itself on a gravel path. A juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper.

Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper, Portmagee park, north of town, 2nd October 2016 (M.O'Clery).

Pectoral Sandpiper, Portmagee park, 2nd October 2016 (M.O'Clery).

After just a couple of minutes of the weird juxtaposition of lawn, well-tended flowerbeds, gravel, and confused-looking Nearctic wader, the bird decided enough was enough. It flew low over the park wall, and even lower over the busy main road, before flying to the far more obvious wader habitat nearby - flooded, muddy field and saltmarsh. 

Pectoral Sandpiper, in proper Pectoral Sandpiper habitat, Portmagee, 2nd October 2016 (M.O'Clery).

It finally found more appropriate habitat, a spot where it was much less likely to be run over by a pram, hit by a frisbee, or step in a dog turd
Adult White-tailed Eagle, south Kerry, 2nd October 2016 (M.O'Clery).