Winners In The NIOC Photographic Competition 2017





Bird News Thursday 23rd March

A Chiffchaff, 2 Redwing and a Blackcap were at Monkstown Wood (Dot Blakely).

Bird News Wednesday 22nd March

A male Merlin was seen on the road in to Portavogie (Stephen Maxwell)

Below are pics and history on two Black-headed Gulls from Antrim Marina, provided by Gareth Platt. A species that we often take for granted, the records below show the differing origins of these gulls:

'Iceland 571487' above has been recorded throughout the winter at Antrim Marina and this should be the final sighting until next Autumn. It certainly got well fed by folk feeding the ducks, a sign that it is building up for it's return to Iceland. Gareth first recorded it in March 2014.

The second BHG is a first winter that put in it's first appearance at Antrim Marina last weekend.  Gareth, realising it was foreign, it gave him the run-around as he took photos of the ring. He eventually managed to obtain the full code - Lithuania HA24.967. Another nice sighting and many thanks to Gareth for this information.

Thanks to Thomas Campbell for the picture below of a Treecreeper. You can see more pics from local photographers at: :

Bird News Tuesday 21st March

A flock of around 30 Waxwings were still at the Mersey Street bridge in Belfast this morning, see picture below. (Stephen Maxwell).

The drake American Wigeon was still in Dundrum Inner Bay (David Nixon)

A Red Kite was other Gilford (Richard Gray).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen along the Riverside Walk, Ballynahinch this afternoon. (Ian Jackson)

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for this pic of one of the Mersey Street Waxwings:

Bird News Monday 20th March

The first winter Kumliens Gull was at RSPB WOW early this morning (Daniel Newton)

A flock of about 30 Twite were at Whitehead boatyard this morning. (Christine Beggs)

A House Martin was in old Rectory Close, Cookstown this morning (Tony McCormick)

9 Waxwing were near the river bridge on Mersey Street, East Belfast at 5.30 this evening. (Paul McCullough).

Belfast Harbour Reserve: Mediterranean Gull; 3 Breeding Plumage Adults plus 1 First Winter New Ferry, Co. Antrim: Whooper Swan 120+,Lesser Canada Goose Branta canadensis parvipes 1, Ecos Centre, Ballymena: Green-winged Teal 1♂ Mersey Street, Belfast: Waxwing 25+ (Mike Meidlinger & Tom Ennis).

A first winter Iceland Gull was on the shore below St Columbs Park, Derry (Michael Savage)

Thanks to Stephen Foster for the picture of the Jay, to William Smiton for the picture of the Sparrowhawk and to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Brent Geese.


Bird News Sunday 19th March

A female Brambling was in a garden at Richhill this morning. (Andrew Poots) 

A male Brambling was in a garden in Portstewart (Rod Gillan)

The drake Ring-necked Duck was showing in front of the hide at the Quoile, Co Down (Wilton Farrelly)

Four Mediterannean Guls were at RSPB WOW reserve. (Garry Armstrong)

About 10 Twite were at the Boatyard at Whitehead at lunchtime (Christine Beggs).

The drake American Wigeon was still at Dundrum Inner Bay this afternoon (Michael Latham)

12 Purple Sandpiper were in Newcastle (Michael Latham)

Another male Brambling was at Listooder, between Ballynahinch and Crossgar (John Moore)

Two 2nd year Iceland gulls were at the Barmouth, 5 Pink-footed Geese were at Myroe along with a Wheatear (Ivor McDonald)

A Long-eared Owl flew across the Bangor to Belfast dual carriageway this evening,near Hollywood. (Colin Bell)

8 Waxwing were at Mersey Street in East Belfast - in trees beside Connswater Greenway (Simon Morton)
Thanks to Andrew for the Brambling pic, Michael for the American Wigeon, Wilton for the Ring-necked Duck, Thomas for the Red Kite and Rod for another Brambling:

Brambling, Andrew Poots:

American Wigeon, Michael Latham:

Ring-necked Duck, Wilton Farrelly:

Thomas Campbell, Red Kite:

Brambling, Rod Gillan:

Bird News Saturday 18th March

Two House Martins were over the Rathgael Road in Bangor, early this morning.  On 15th a Chiffchaff was singing at Dagger Road, Lisburn.  (Kerry Leonard)

A Sand Martin was over the River Braid at Harryville, Ballymena this morning. (Richard Gray)

Chiffchaffs are now widely reported.

Slightly further afield an Iceland Gull was at Inch Co Donegal along with a Ruddy Shelduck of unknown origin. (Brian Hegarty) see pics below

Below is the Iceland Gull on Inch Lake and the Ruddy Shelduck seen in fields at Inch. The Curlew pic was sent in by Stephen Foster.

Bird News Friday 17th March

A Brambling was at a bird table in Portstewart this morning. (Rod Gillan).

The wintering Chiffchaff was still at Kinnegar and a Siskin at RSPD Belfast Lough WOW reserve. (Daniel Newton).

Two 1st year Iceland Gulls, an adult Little Gull and 290 Sanderling were at the Bann Estuary. (Stuart McKee).

This afternoon at the Belfast Lough RSPB WOW reserve there was a juvenile Kumlien's Gull and 4 Mediterranean Gulls.The Mediterranean Gulls were on the "Tern Island" where the Med Gulls bred last year. At least 2 were adults but one was a 3rd Summer. (Tom Ennis & Mike Meidlinger).

On 14th at Whiteabbey there was a second winter Iceland Gull, 2 juvenile L. a. argentatus Herring Gulls and 3 Carrion Crow types. (Tom Ennis & Mike Meidlinger).

Thanks to Thomas Campbell for the picture of the Treecreeper.

Bird News Thursday 16th March

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Kinnegar Shore (Brian Murphy)

A young Crossbill was with its parents yesterday at Cooneen Road / Foglish Road Fivemiletown. Crossbills seem to be doing wellin the area (Colin Bell)

7 Purple Sandpiper were at Donaghadee (Richard Haydon)

Thanks to Stephen Foster for this pic of a drake Pochard and Wilfie Swain for the Great Crested Grebes:

Bird News Wednesday 15th March

An adult Glaucous Gull was at Corbally Lough, Portrush (Stuart McKee).

5 Purple Sandpiper were just north of Annalong Harbour this morning. (Frank Carroll).

A Kingfisher was on the Connswater in Victoria Park this afternoon. (Rhona Galway).

A 1st winter Ring-billed Gull and 3 Iceland Gulls were at the Barmouth. (Birdguides).

The American Wigeon was still in Dundrum Inner Bay, see picture below. (Tony Donaldson).

Up to 12 Twite were still around the boat yard in Whitehead, 2 Ravens were at Beach Road Nature Reserve. (Des & Michael Loughridge).

A Carrion Crow and 15 Redwing were in Wallace Park in Lisburn. (Suzanne Belshaw).

Thanks to Terry Hanna for the picture of the Dipper and to Tony Donaldson for the picture of the American Wigeon.


NIRSG Annual Conference

Bird News Tuesday 14th March.

The American Wigeon was still on show at Dundrum. (Ronald Surgenor)

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at Corbally reservoir, Portrush.(S McKee)

Two Great Spotted Woodpecker were drumming in Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Co Armagh this morning, one bird was seen. (Frank Carroll)

Two Iceland Gulls were on the shore below St Columbs Park, Derry this afternoon (Michael Savage)

A 3rd winter Iceland Gull was at the river estuary at Waterfoot (Colin Guy)

Thanks to Wilfie Swain for this pic of a Little Egret:

Bird News Monday 13th March

At Lough Beg the probable Lesser Canada Goose was at Newferry (it has been present in swan flocks in the area). Photo below. 480 black-tailed godwit and 3 Sand Martin were also present (Richard Weyl, Hayley McKeown and Rachel Hamill)
The drake American Wigeon, a Ruff and 13 Snipe were at Dundrum South Inner Bay today.  9 Purple Sandpipers were beside the Rock Pool at Newcastle. (David Nixon/Philip McHaffie)

A Chiffchaff was in full song at Prehen House Grounds, Prehen Park, Derry (Christine Cassidy)

2 Crossbill were at Foglish Road, Fivemiletown on Friday 10th. 3 Crossbill were also on Saturday 11th near Crocknagrally nr Fivemiletown (Colin Bell)

A Ruff and two adult Mediterranean Gulls were at RSPB WOW Belfast (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

A Chiffchaff was along the Comber Greenway this morning (Julian Greenwood)

At Dundrum Bay inner north at 12.00pm, high tide- 50+ black-tailed godwits, 7 little egrets, 13 Greenshank & 200 Brent geese. (Spencer & Joan Marshall)

Two Sand Martins were at Reedy Flats, Lough Neagh (Neil McManus)

The Ring-billed Gull was still at Enniskillen (Brad Robson)

Thanks to Brad Robson for this pic of the Ring-billed Gull and Richard Weyl for the Lesser Canada Goose:

Bird News Sunday 12th March

The drake American Wigeon was still showing well at Dundrum Inner Bay. (Philip West)

A Chiffchaff was on Waterside Greenway this morning (Michael Savage)

The Spoonbill was at Anne's Point, Strangford Lough along with a Merlin (Daniel Newton)

The Greenland White-fronted goose and 2 adult Med Gulls were at Steele's point, Larne Lough (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

3 Iceland Gulls were on the fish cages at Waterfoot (2x 1w and a 3w). A Whimbrel was at Ballygally (Neal Warnock).

A Chiffchaff was on Copeland Island, see picture below. (David Stirling).

The Great White Egret was at Drumgay Lough. The 2nd w Ring-billed Gull was still at the Round O Enniskillen (B Robson)

A White-tailed Eagle was at Lower Lough Macnean, Co Fermanagh (A Brady).

An adult-summer Mediterranean Gull was with Black-headed Gulls on fields by the River Main at Slaght near Ballymena this morning (a different individual to the bird seen last week, which was just starting moult). Also a pair of Goosanders were on the river there. (David Steele).

A Merlin was at Dundrum inner bay this afternoon. (Nichola Henry).

Thanks to David Stirling for the picture of the Chiffchaff, to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Buzzard and to Thomas Campbell for the picture of the Siskin.