Bird News Friday 18th April

Lower Lough Erne islands RSPB reserve Co Fermanagh had 6 White Wagtail, a Common Sandpiper and 5 Sandwich Terns back for another season (Brad Robson)

Habitat Damage

At this time of year we get many reports about hedgerows being cut / damaged and fields being drained - a reflection of diminishing habitats in NI for our birds and wildlife. However two recent reports demonstrate that the NI environment continues to be under enormous pressure.

Firstly Dick Glasgow contacted us regarding a Heather fire in north Antrim. As you can see in his pics below, this is only one field away from Breen Forest & less than a mile from one of our national treasures: Breen Oakwood National Nature Reserve. Had this fire travelled further it could have resulted in a real disaster. However no doubt this destruction has decimated a number of ground nesting species.

A second habitat to be affected during the breeding season was brought to our attention by Lindsay Hodges and involves damage to Kinnegar shore (see third pic below). The drainage channels have been widened and water levels have dropped in the ponds. Enquiries seem to show that this work has been carried out without any consideration on birds breeding and feeding in the area.

Both of the above highlight the continuing challenges that our wildlife face.

Bird News Thursday 17th April

A first winter Iceland Gull, an Arctic Skua and two Manx Shearwater were seen from the ferry to Tory Island (Chris Ingram)

A Great-spotted Woodpecker was seen at Lagan Meadows, Belfast (Brian Murphy)

Portmore Lough RSPB reserve today had a male Wheatear, 2 Grasshopper Warblers reeling, 6 Swallows, 4 House Martins, a Kestrel pair, 250 Golden Plover and 60+ black-tailed godwits (Amy/Laura/Ken/Phyllis)

The two Glossy Ibis were still at Oxford Island (Bird Guides)

This morning 3 male Wheatear and 2 Swallow, Myroe Levels Co Derry (Brian Hegarty)

5 House Martin were along Castlewellan Road in Banbridge (Karen Elliott)

Three Sedge Warblers were at Lough Neagh (Irish Birding)

Copeland Bird Observatory today had a Ring Ouzel (the first ringed  there in 14 years), 6 Greenland Wheatear,  a Carrion Crow, 6 Willow Warbler and 2 Chiffchaff (Chris Acheson)

Thanks to Viviene Beck for this pic of Long-tailed Tits collecting cob-webs for a nest. Also Stephen Maxwell for the Great-crested Grebes:

Bird News Wednesday 16th April

A male Wheatear was in a garden this morning in Brookeborough, Fermanagh (John Young)

A Grasshopper Warbler was singing near Claudy today. A Jack Snipe was at Glenshane on 14th. (Kerry Leonard)

2 Tree Sparrows were with house sparrows and finches in a garden in Scarva this evening. (Fulton Somerville)

At least one of the Little Gull was at Quoile Pondage (Garry Wilkinson)

A Spotted Redshank was at Kinnegar Pool (William Smiton)

An adult summer Ring-billed Gull and a first-year Mediterranean Gull were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon and a Grasshopper Warbler at Woodburn Forest (Stuart McKee)

Thanks to Noel Austin for this Wheatear pic, Dick Glasgow for the pic of a pair of displaying Buzzards and Christine Cassidy for the Buzzard being mobbed by a Hooded Crow:

Bird News Tuesday 15th April

A rufous phase female Cuckoo flew across the Ballygowan Road this evening at 5.00 from farmland into the memorial daffodil garden at Roselawn cemetery. (Chris Shaw).

There were still 100 Whooper Swans at Inch Levels in Donegal, a Common Tern was also present. (Christine Cunningham).

A pair of Chough and a pair of Raven were on the Inishowen Peninsula today. (Christine Cassidy).

A dead Long-eared Owl was at the verge at Killycolp one mile south of Cookstown (David Steele). 

A House Martin was at Aghalee (Brad Robson).  

Yesterday evening 12 Whooper Swan flew into Ballykeel fishing lake (Garry Wilkinson).

A male Cuckoo was calling this morning near Kileter in Co. Tyrone (Richard Donaghey).

Swallows have been widely reported today including in Portaferry, Newtownards, Millisle, Donaghadee and at Inch in Donegal. (Nicholas Sanders, David McCormick, Christine Cunningham) 

The Mediterranean Gull with a white ring E742 photographed by Cameron Moore at Glynn on 8th was ringed at De Kreupel Island in North Holland on 21st June 2012.

A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling at the Newry Canal near Moneypenny's Lock today. (James O'Neill)

Two Glossy Ibis were still at Oxford Island (Birdguides)

A sub-adult Golden Eagle was observed at 4.30pm being mobbed by hooded crows, adjacent to Enagh Road between Slieve Croob and Waringsford, Co Down. Also at least 4 singing skylarks near to path/road leading up Slieve Croob earlier in afternoon. (Andrea Johnston)

Thanks to today's photographers, to Dick Glasgow, Chris Henry, Christine Cassidy, Thon Shannon, Christine Cunningham, Karl Martin,Stephen Maxwell and James O'Neill. You can see more NI bird pictures at

 Meadow Pipit - Dick Glasgow
 Stonechat - Chris Henry
 Chough - Christine Cassidy
 Raven - Christine Cassidy
 Black Guillemot - Thon Shannon
 Shelduck - Christine Cunningham
  Willow Warbler - Karl Martin
Little Egrets - Stephen Maxwell
Grey Wagtail - James O'Neill

Bird News Monday 14th April

Between Scarva and Pontzpass this morning were 17 Chiffchaff, 22 Blackcap, 43 Willow Warbler, 6 Swallow, 6 Bullfinch, 6 Buzzard, 5 Lesser Redpoll, 8 Tree Sparrow and a Little Egret flying NW from Lough Shark. (Fulton Sommerville)

A Short-eared Owl and male Shoveler were at Balloo Wetland in Bangor (Aaron Devlin).

The Spoonbill still remains at Castle Espie.(Birdguides)

Skylark - Noel Austin.
Blackcap - Fulton Somerville.
Sparrowhawk - Christine Cassidy.
Willow Warbler - Zach McCreery.

Bird News Sunday 13th April

The drake Green-winged Teal & the 2 Little Gull (ad and juv) were still at the Quoile Pondage. 2 Blackcap, a single Redwing & a female Wheatear were at St. Johns Point. (Richard Hunter)

A Glossy Ibis was seen at south-west Lough Beg. It was observed from 10:00 am until 10:45 until it disappeared behind rush. Also 440 Black Tailed Godwit were feeding at Paddy's Dubh. The Glossy Ibis was still at Lough Beg at 19:15, along with 2 Pintail and 19 Ruff (1 in summer plumage), with an increase of Black Tailed Godwit to 750. (Ciarán Burns)

This morning 2 House Martin's were in Plumbridge, Co Tyrone (Brian Hegarty)

A 1st winter Kumlien's Gull was at the mouth of Inver River, Larne Lough. (Neal Warnock)

Two white wagtail at Brigg's Rocks. (Richard Weyl)

A Goshawk few across the A1 towards Hillsborough at 18:25 today (Fulton Somerville)

Swallows now seem to be widespread.

Thanks to Karl Martin for these pics of a feeding drake Eider and a Sandwich Tern:

Bird News Saturday 12th April

The female King Eider was still at Portnoo, Co Donegal along with 9 Long-tailed Ducks (Chris Ingram)

The Spoonbill was still at Castle Espie this morning.

A drake Green-winged Teal and 2 Little Gulls (adult and juvenile) were at the Quoile Pondage today. Male and female Pintail too. (David Nixon)

2 Red Grouse were this morning at Glenoo mountain nr Fivemiletown,Co Tyrone. (Colin Bell)

A Mediterranean Gull was on the shoreline at Brompton Road , Bangor West today (Colin Guy)

There were about 30 summer plumage black-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel, 15 Swallows and 3 Shoveler at Reedy flat, Lough Neagh (James O'Neil)

The Glossy Ibis was still at Glynn and an adult summer Ring Billed Gull at the RSPB Belfast Harbour reserve (Stuart McKee)

31 Pale-Bellied Brent were still at Millisle Beach this afternoon (David Mccormick)

500 Golden Plover were on the roof of the Enkalon factory in Antrim (Mark Smyth)

Thanks to Karl Martin for the pics of a Rock Pipit and Fulmars, Colin Guy for the Mediteranean Gull and Stuart McKee for the Glossy Ibis and the Ring-billed Gull:

Bird News Friday 11th April

270 Brent Geese were still in Killough Harbour (Doris Noe)

The Spoonbill was still at Castle Espie today.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Lagan Meadows in Belfast (Garry Wilkinson / Stephen Maxwell)

A Little Egret was in Ramelton, Co Donegal. See picture below. (David McIlveen)

Scarva to Poyntzpass this afternoon - 12 Chiffchaff, 38 Willow Warblers, 23 Blackcap, 2 Bullfinch, 5 Linnet, 6 Tree Sparrow, 2 Tree Creeper, 4 Great Crested Grebe. 3 Little Grebe, 2 Buzzard, 4 Raven. (Fulton Somerville)

Willow Warbler - Zach McCreery.

Dunnock - Noeni Bryars.

Bird News Thursday 10th April

Seen over Saintfield at 1245 today : 5 Buzzards and a Red Kite wheeling northwestwards. A Raven harried the first Buzzards to split from the group. The Red Kite eventually made its way alone westwards. (Philip Ferguson).

Late news from yesterday, a 2nd year Mediterranean Gull and the hybrid Snow Goose were at Glynn in Larne Lough. The Mediterranean Gull had a white ring on it's left leg which appeared to read e742. (Cameron Moore).

An Osprey was just to the north of Dundrum Bay this morning. (Dan Baillie).

Holme Bay near Killyleagh had a Great Northern Diver, 20 Pale-bellied Brent, 3 pair of Eider and a Swallow (Spencer and Joan Marshall).

Thanks to Cameron Moore for the pictures of the Mediterranean Gull and the hybrid Snow Goose and to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Meadow Pipit chasing lunch.

Mediterranean Gull - Cameron Moore 

Hybrid Snow Goose - Cameron Moore
Meadow Pipit - Christine Cassidy

Bird News Wednesday 9th April

A late Redwing was at Ballyworfy near Annahilt, Co Down earlier this morning (Adam McClure)

A Grey-bellied Brent is in Dundrum Inner Bay, Co Down (Birdguides)

An adult Golden Eagle was in the Knocklayd area of Ballycastle this morning (Kerry Leonard)

A high count of 1,100 Black-tailed Godwit were along the western shore of Lough Beg. 10 Ruff were at Paddy's Dub and 12 Whimbrel at Mullagh (David Steele)
2 Little Gull (adult and immature) were off the hide at Quoile Pondage (Derek Polley)
A Chiffchaff, several Willow Warblers, 2 Swallow, a Dipper, Grey Wagtail and 2 Wheatear were at Collin Glen (Dot Blakely)

The Red-crested Pochard was still at Oxford Island (Alex Coroliu)

Thanks to Neil Cartmill for this picture of a Lesser Redpoll. Also thanks to Jim Crozier for the pic of a probable Goldfinch / Linnet cross. The Red-crested Pochard is from Alex Coroliu:

Lesser Redpoll - Neil Cartmill

An unusual finch! - Jim Crozier

Alex Coroliu - drake Red-crested Pochard

Bird News Tuesday 8th April.

Scarva to Loughbrickland this morning produced 8 Blackcap, 2 Bullfinch, 17 Chiffchaff, 5 Goldcrests, 7 Linnet, 2 Raven, 3 Reed Bunting, 20 Tree Sparrow, 24 Willow Warbler.(Fulton Somerville

A Reed Warbler was in song at a tiny wetland one and a half miles from Katesbridge on the Banbridge side.(Joe Furphy).
Song Thrush - Fulton Somerville.

Coot - Rob McAlistair.

Willow Warbler - Tom McCreery.


Bird News Monday 7th April

2 Red-legged Partridge, a Chiffchaff and four Buzzard were along the Windmill Road and a Swallow at Legacurry and a Red-legged Partridge was also in a garden at Aghnaleck near Hillsborough. (Garry Wilkinson).

5 Long-tailed Duck and 6 Common Tern were off Greenisland in Belfast Lough. (Roger Woodward).

4 Swallow were at the police station in Lisburn (Dave Brooks).

An adult Little Gull was at Quoile Pondage, Killyleagh Road end, about 5.00pm today. (Ian Jackson).

At Larne Lough 5 Sandwich Tern, 3 Mediterranean Gull (2 adult and first-summer), a Whimbrel, 127 Pale-bellied Brent, a Pintail, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and 2 Swallow were at Glynn (Cameron Moore).

Bird News Sunday 6th April.

A Glossy Ibis,summer plumaged Slav. Grebe, Pintail, 2 Med Gulls. (ad and 1st sum.) were at Glynn in Larne Lough. ( Neal Warnock, Gerald McGeehan, Cameron Moore, Shirley Dunlop) see photo below.

Lough Beg NNR and Long Point wood produced 2 Willow Warbler, 16 Swallow, 2 Blackcap, ca.450 Black Tailed Godwit. Paddy's Dubh produced 4 Pintail. Toome Canal had 8 Sandmartin, and Creagh Road had roughly 60 Sand Martin 30 Swallow and 1 House Martin (Ciarán Burns)

A Manx Shearwater and Gannet were off Groomsport and 78 Sandwich Tern on Cockle Island (George Gordon).

Our thanks to Tony Donaldson for kindly sending in this pic of a Swallow, they where widely reported to-day. Also to Cameron Moore for the Glossy Ibis.


Bird News Saturday 5th April

A Great Spotted Woodpecker and 4 Crossbill were at Playrock viewpoint, Castlewellan. (Adam McClure).

A single swallow has returned to Tynan, Co Armagh. (Matthew Scott).

2 Brambling (male and female) were in a garden along Brunswick Road in Bangor and a Raven in flight overhead (Derek Polley).

Thanks to today's photographers, Karl Martin, Tony Donaldson and Stephen Maxwell. You can see more NI bird photographs at

Razorbill - Karl Martin 

Pied Wagtail - Karl Martin 

Reed Bunting - Tony Donaldson 

Bullfinch - Tony Donaldson 

Chaffinch - Stephen Maxwell