water rail

Well today was a relatively exciting day in terms of canal walks. Coming home from Lisburn, just in front of the old Barbour threads factory at Hilden a bird took flight from the side of the canal and headed low towards me along the canal and  flew back somewhere into the tangle of grass at the side.

It was like no bird I had spotted before. A bit like a snipe, but bigger and with a less impressive beak or frantic wing beat. It was like a woodcock but with a different style of flying, more like a wader or blackbird. The most recognisable feature, or the thing I’m sure I saw a mousey grey on its under carriage.

I traced my foot steps back up the canal and started peering down into the tangle of grass, but saw nothing.

I’m pretty sure it was a water rail These are the moments that you will never capture on a camera because you aren’t really expecting them and so you have to commit them to memory (or blog) and say to yourself ‘I saw a water rail once near the old factory in Hilden’ . Not that water rails are uncommon but the word is ‘secretive’.



St George’s Market and the waxwings

H___ and I came out of the market weighed down with Egremont Russet and organic chard and headed over to the carpark across the road, in the middle of Belfast.
It was our usual Saturday morning,early afternoon routine.

Except this Saturday was different because directly in front of our car perhaps no more than 5metres away was a flock of beautiful waxwings, maybe 20-30 of them stripping the tree of berries.
What beautiful birds – and unusual too. There is something about them that is unlike any bird I had ever encountered before. The shape, the noise they make, their colours, the way they act, where they are hanging out on a Saturday morning. There like some type of alien bird.

And in the carpark in The Markets in Belfast City centre.