Friday, 8 March 2019

Irish Birding in February - A Redshank Standoff.

It is a dilemma when on a birding holiday and taking so many pictures that you are so overwhelmed you can hardly show any show any of them.  I've been home three weeks from 9 glorious days of birding in Ireland and have just now completed weeding through the 8280 photos. They are mainly personal reference photos but some are quite interesting.  What follows here is a battle between a Spotted Redshank and two different Common Redshanks.  It took place at Timaleague, Co Cork on the south facing coastline of Ireland. Four of us - Anthony McGeehan, Julian Wyllie, Paul Connaughton and myself watched in awe as this battle out of no where formed and then quickly ended.  It lasted for a prolonged two minutes. 


The Spotted Redshank is a very slender member of the tringa group of shorebirds that includes our Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.

The Spotted Redshank uses its long legs and extra reach to reach eatable morsels where normally only a duck would feed. It likes to swim.  

The Spotted Redshank is a scarce bird in Ireland with a few dozen found during fall migration and a few known individuals lingering through the winter season.  The bird under observation flew toward us all standing on a small bridge with panoramic view of the tidal estuary in the strong late afternoon sunlight.  . 

It flew at this Common Redshank minding its own business and getting its fill of invertebrates for the day.

It became apparent that this was not sociable visit as the Spotted Redshank rushed in on the Common Redshank.

Common Redshanks are continually squabbling among themselves and are fit to handle most situations in the feeding zone but an attack from the larger Spotted Redshank  was something to flee from now and consider counter actions later.  







The Common Redshank decided to stand ground and went straight for the jugular.


 Note the white wing wedge classic of the Common Redshank. 

Quickly the redshank advantage is neutralized and the Spotted Redshank takes a breather. 


 Thankful for that breather, the Spot Red would rather obliterate the Common Redshanks and tries for a 'the end all wrestling hold' - a.k.a  the holding the head under water move.

Can't be a good feeling when something as big as you holds your head under water with all its weight.





The squabble ends when the Common Redshank gets free and retreats to an opening. 

The Spotted Redshank  (left) was successful in ousting the Common Redshank (right) from its feeding area.

While the battle was ragging, an another Common Redshank flew into the unguarded length of shoreline mudflats. This outraged the Spotted Redshank once again.

The new King of the Beach is an ankle biter - 
Too tired to fight anymore a defeated, Spotted Redshank retreats to quieter waters.

Flying down the tidal channel.

The Spotted Redshank flew well down the estuary.

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