Birdwatchers flock to Mayo village after rare bird spotted

Hundreds of birdwatching enthusiasts from Ireland, the UK and Europe are expected to descend on the village of Belcarra, near Castlebar, in the coming days following the sighting of a rare North American bird.

Nestled among the trees on the walk alongside the River Belcarra is a Yellow-crowned Night Heron, which has sparked great excitement among villagers and bird watchers, and there have already been many visitors to the village armed with cameras and long lenses.

As Western People reports, the heron, which is normally only found in North America, was first spotted in Belcarra by local woman Lorraine Ryan Jennings.

Sightings of the bird in continental Europe have been rare; the only previous sighting recorded in Madeira, Portugal, several years ago. Surprisingly, this is the first time it has been seen in the UK or Ireland.

A group of around 50 birdwatchers from the UK arrived at Belcarra on Sunday morning and visitors eager to catch a glimpse of the bird have come and gone steadily since.

Aaron Long and Ian Young drove to Belcarra from Belfast early on Monday morning to see the heron.

“What we have here is a bird that is a first for the UK and Ireland, it is hugely significant,” Aaron said.

Ian said he was intrigued to hear the news of the heron’s arrival.

“You never know what could happen and where, but we couldn’t have expected this,” he said.

A large group of birdwatchers from England are expected to fly into Ireland West Airport this afternoon.

Belcarra Community Council chairman Fionnan Nestor said it was wonderful to see so many visitors flocking to the town to see the heron.

“We are very happy to see so many people coming to town to see the bird. “This beautiful bird lives just above our river walk and we are delighted to be able to show off this part of our town to all the visitors who come.”