Avocet tops the bill at Ballycarry bridge

Whitehead wildlife enthusiast Cameron Moore captured the avocet in flight at Ballycarry bridge. INCT 15-702-CON
Whitehead wildlife enthusiast Cameron Moore captured the avocet in flight at Ballycarry bridge. INCT 15-702-CON

Birdwatchers have been flocking to Ballycarry bridge in the hope of viewing a visiting avocet in flight over Larne Lough.

The large wader with its distinctive black and white markings and up-curved beak has made the area its home in recent days.

The distinctive up-currved beak and black and white pattern as photographed by Cameron Moore. INCT 15-703-CON

The distinctive up-currved beak and black and white pattern as photographed by Cameron Moore. INCT 15-703-CON

Whitehead wildlife enthusiast Cameron Moore, who has enjoyed several sightings of the avocet, said the arrival has caused a stir within the birdwatching fraternity.

At one stage, Cameron explained, there were so many people present police had to request they move their cars off the bridge as they “were causing an obstruction”.

More usually associated with the south-east coast of England, Cameron said: “They (avocets) are as far as Larne Lough or even Northern Ireland are concerned, regarded as a rare bird.

“It is a large wader with a turned up bill. It sweeps its bill from left to right when its feeding.”

Speaking to the TIMES on Monday morning, Cameron explained his attention was drawn to the special visitor by local biodiversity officer Maurice Turley.

And he has subsequently shared his local knowledge with colleagues.

“The bird is still in the lough. Another guy from Omagh, he did not see it. I was able to lead him to it. People have been coming from Sligo and other parts too.”

Cameron believes the avocet has been in the area since the middle of last week and was sighted again on Monday morning.

Cameron, who has participated in a number of events to encourage birdwatching, added that he would like to see a “bird hide” built in the area.