Rare Coalisland species hit by floods

The flooded canal
The flooded canal

The worst flood in forty years to hit parts of Coalisland’s canal has washed away the young and nests of much-loved birds such as kingfishers, dippers and grey wagtails.

Flash floods during the past week have caused the water levels to rise dramatically along local waterways.

Residents living along some of the affected waterways have been mystified as to how the levels rose so quickly, with concerns that parts of the canal have become clogged with vegetation.

Local naturalist Plunkett Scullion, who has recorded the damage on camera, said it was one of the worst floods he’d seen to hit the canal.

“The heavy rains have come at the worst time possible and have devastated the nests of many wild birds”, said Plunkett.

“Kingfishers and dippers are struggling for survival as it is, and this would have knocked their breeding plans.”

Kingfishers are vulnerable to hard winters and loss of habitat through pollution or management of watercourses not sympathetic to wildlife. Kingfishers are amber listed because of their unfavourable conservation status in Europe.

Plunkett said that most people would be lucky to see a kingfisher once in their lifetime, but that visitors to the canal are spoiled with the abundance of local wildlife.