Wednesday 30th June News

Pale-bellied Brent Goose - 1, Blackstaff River, Dundrum Inner Bay North, Co. Down
Red Kite - 1, Coleraine University, Co. Londonderry (Robert Bolton)
Little Egret - 2, Blackstaff River, Dundrum Inner Bay North, Co. Down
Common Sandpiper - 4, Blackstaff River, Dundrum Inner Bay North, Co. Down
Reed Warbler - 1, Oxford Island, Lough Neagh, Co. Armagh (Ed O'Hara and Mark Killops)
Hen Harrier- 1, Male Antrim Hills
Buzzard - 4, AntrimHills
Kestrel - 1, Antrim Hills
Whinchat - 4, Antrim Hills
Swift - 30, Antrim Hills
Swift - 500+ Antrim Marina
Swallow - 300+ Antrim Marina
House Martin - 300+ Antrim Marina
Tree Sparrow - 1, Tardree Forest Co.Antrim

Still not many bird pics coming in. In fact not many pics at all. It's not as if there aren't rare birds out there (if I can find one then anybody can). Anyway, we don't mind photos of common birds either - in fact we'll post (almost) anything!!

At the same time - you can't say these aren't pretty good! Thanks to Geoff Campbell for these pics of Meadow Cranesbill (top) and Fragrant Orchid. Before anybody asks - yes these were taken in Northern Ireland!!

By the way the Lesser Yellowlegs was in 2006 (15th August to 5th November to be precise) and Derek knows rightly I found it. There could be a potential split in the NIBA on the cards!

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For the latest UK bird news visit the rarebirdsinbritain blog

For the latest Irish bird news visit irishbirding

Killer Chicken!!!!

This brute has been reported several times recently but this iis the first photo confirmation of a monster on the loose. Possibly the answer to a recent spate of attacks on people and livestock in County Down (rumours also abound of links to the mafia). The only reason I got so close was because I darted it with curare - worked for about ten seconds and then he nearly had my hand off. If seen report immediately to the Crimewatch and do not approach.


I do like to be beside the seaside

Don't we all - and doesn't everybody love gulls and terns? Aren't they cute? I don't think so (they're alright). Everybody knows Derek loves gulls so no doubt he'll get hot under the collar at these pics. Thanks to Mark Killops again for a great series of shots - taken last weekend at Groomsport, Co. Down. What's the secret Mark - do you use a pan loaf or chips bait? Tin of sardines for the terns?

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis

Arctic Tern Sterna paradisea

Herring Gull Larus argentatus

Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Spot the Bird (Part 34)

This is a tricky one. Thanks to Nick Haycock for the image

Answer to Part 33: Pochard

Moths on the Wing Special

It's been a few days now since there's been any moths on this blog - too long! Here's a bucketload to keep the masses happy

Light Emerald Campaea margaritata

Marbled Coronet Hadena confusa

The Olive Ipimorpha subtusa

Beautiful Golden-Y
Autographa pulchrina

Monday 28th June News

Red-throated Diver - 1, summer plumaged, Whitehead, Co. Antrim (flew west) (Ian Enlander)
Little Egret - 1, Dundrum Inner Bay South (Jim Whitla)
Greenshank - 3, Dundrum Inner Bay South, Co. Down (Jim Whitla)


Two bird pictures in the one day, its hard to believe! (and one of them wasn't a chicken!)
But its back to the Damselflies both taken at the Montaighs Co.Antrim.
Variable Damselfly (male and a blue form female)
Blue Tailed Damdelfly (immature male)

Thanks to Tristan Reid for advice on these. You can check Tristans id articles here:

Sunday 27th June News (Bee-eater on Rathlin!!!)

Canada Goose - 1, Lough Beg, Co. Londonderry (Brian Nelson)
Shoveler - 2, Lough Beg, Co. Londonderry (Brian Nelson)
Red Kite - 1, Annsborough, Co. Down (Derek Polley)
Little Gull - 1, (1st summer), Quoile Pondage, Co. Down (Keith Bennett)
Spoonbill - 1, Lough Beg, Co. Londonderry (Brian Nelson)
Bee-eater - 1 on Rathlin Island, between Keeble Reed Bed and the West Lighthouse (James Robinson)
Reed Warbler - 1, Kinnegoe Hide, Oxford Island, Co. Armagh (Ed O' Hara, C. Mc Quillan and G. Armstrong)
Kingfisher- 1, Ballycastle Co.Antrim
Eider - 1, first summer male, Portbalintrae, Co.Antrim
Dunlin - 12, Bann Estuary, Co.Londonderry
Grasshopper Warbler - 1, Bann Estuary, Co.Londonderry
Sandwich Tern - 40, Bann Estuary, Co.Londonderry
Pied Wagtail - 35, Myroe Levels, Co.Londonderry
Yellowhammer - 4, Myroe Levels, Co.Londonderry
Sedge Warbler - 6, Longfield Point, Co.Londonderry
Reed Bunting - 15, Longfield Point, Co.Londonderry

Republic of Ireland
Little Egret - 2, Blanket Nook, Co.Donegal
Greehshank - 1, Blanket Nook, Co.Donegal
Dunlin - 6, Blanket Nook, Co.Donegal
Whooper Swan - 5, Blanket Nook Co.Donegal
Whooper Swan - 3, Inch Lake Co.Donegal
Wigeon- 1, Inch Lake Co.Donegal
Chiffchaff - 1, Inch Lake Donegal
Grashopper Warbler - 1, Inch Lake Co.Donegal
Black Tailed Godwit - 29, Inch Lake Co.Donegal
Snipe - 1, Inch Lake Co.Donegal

Arguably the rarest sighting of the day:

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly - 1, Lough Beg, Co. Londonderry (Brian Nelson)

Visit the Dragonfly Ireland website here 

Spot the Bird Special - the answer!

Some of you have emailed me to ask what the answer to the Spot the Bird Mystery Special was:

It's a Red Jungle Fowl Gallus gallus with recent analysis revealing at least some traits of Grey Junglefowl Gallus sonneratii. Its a chicken

Just to prove it - here's some more poultry pictures.

Young Marran hen

Light Sussex hen

Moths on the Wing - 26th June

The Flame Axylia putris
by Malachy Martin, Murlough NNR, Co. Down

Saturday 26th June News

Little Egret -1, Dundrum Inner Bay North, Co. Down
Common Sandpiper - 4, Dundrum Inner Bay South, Co. Down (Dan Bailie)
Greenshank - 4, Dundrum Inner Bay North, Co. Down
Yellow Wagtail - 1, (flava), Dundrum Inner Bay South, Co. Down (Andrew Crory and Ed McGuiggan)
Cuckoo - 4, Murlough NNR, Co. Down (Dave and Orcilla Hadrick)

Friday 25th June News

Little Gull - 1 (1st summer) at the yacht club end of the Quoile Pondage, Co. Down (David Nixon)

The Terek Sandpiper was seen again today at Rogerstown Estuary, Co. Dublin. Reports are coming in that an intrpid team of northern irish birders couldn't take the pressure and twitched it today. They tried to flush it north but to no avail.

We always try to break new ground on this blog so as there's no new photos of birds - here's a jellyfish (reminds me of how I feel when I think about not seeing the Terek)

Never mind spiders, what about fish?


Narrow Bordered Five Spot Burnet

Another photo sent in by Ethan Veale who i am reliably informed is one of our youngest viewers. So well done to Ethan for finding and photographing a pretty rare Moth. A Narrow Bordered  Five Spot Burnet which is different to the Six Spot Burnet (which has appeared on this blog before). I wonder what the difference is in the two!!!

Thursday 24th June News

Cuckoo - 1, Murlough NNR (Malachy Martin)
Hooded Crow - 104, Dundrum Inner Bay South (David Nixon)

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In the meantime here's some butterfly pics

Dark Green Fritillary
by Malachy Martin, Murlough NNR, Co. Down

Marsh Fritillary
By Dave Hadrick, Murlough NNR, Co. Down

If anybody has a picture of a Hooded Crow please send it in (probably the best contender so far for the national bird of Northern Ireland).

For the latest UK bird news visit the rarebirdsinbritain blog

For the latest Irish bird news visit irishbirding

Bulgaria Trip Report (still waiting)

Swifts in Belfast!


Crescent Arts Centre
Wednesday, 30 June 2010
19:30 - 21:00

A talk and guided walk on swifts in Belfast. Here for just three months each Summer swifts bring drama to the skies.
Come and learn about this fascinating species and what is being done to help it survive. Meet at the Crescent Arts Centre.

For more info on the Crescent Arts Centre visit their website:
For google maps click here

Spot the Bird Special

I'm tempted to say this bird is 6ft tall but it's actually about 9 inches. If you squint your eyes it could be a Capercaillie which is on the NI list honest!

(I promise not to stick any more pictures of chickens on.)

Moths on the Wing - 24th June

Archer's Dart Agrotis vestigialis
by Malachy Martin, Murlough NNR

Puffin Photos Kerry

Three Puffin photos sent by Nick Veale. These were taken by Nick on a recent visit to the Skelligs off Co.Kerry.

Greater Butterfly Orchid

This picture of a Greater Butterfly Orchid has been sent in by Ethan Veale. Ethan photographed this in the Belfast Hills.

Due to technical problems we are unable to post the long awaited Bulgaria Trip Report on this blog! Blogger doesn't accept Microsoft Word Documents or cut and paste photographs! Our technical department has looked at all ways to get round this but blooger has beaten us! You can rest assured its not only the Coot pulling its feathers out!

Wednesday 23rd June News

No bird news so far today. No news is good news (I don't think so)

Wrong Again! There was some news from today:

Hen Harrier - 1, Antrim Hills (Neil Harrison)

For those interested the Great Skuas from the other day would be the first breeding record for Northern Ireland.

No sign of the Terek Sandpiper today at Rogerstown, Co. Louth - it must be heading up here (if it has any sense).

Lies Lies Lies!

The Terek Sandpiper WAS seen last night - 19.00, Rogerstown Estuary, Co. Dublin. Near Blakes Cross before flying towards Beaverstown. Associating with Redshank (

Thanks to Geoff Campbell for alleviating the birdlessness with this picture of a Large Heath butterfly
Coenonympha tullia (above) and a Spring Hawker dragonfly Brachytron pratense (below)

The really good news is we've been in the top 200 in the Fatbirder Top 1000 rankings for a while now. Not bad considering we've posted more pictures of Herring Gulls than any other bird (usually the same individual!). We can safely say we're the most popular wildlife website in Northern Ireland - still plenty of room for improvement so if you feel like taking pity on us click on the Fatbirder link (bottom lefthand side of the page) and give us a vote! (How sad are we?)

For the latest UK bird news visit the rarebirdsinbritain blog

For the latest Irish bird news visit irishbirding

Tenuous Links

Here's some pictures of my bantam chickens. Chickens are birds.

Tasty-looking aren't they? My mate Matt is a potter, he makes chicken bricks

Chicken bricks are the easiest way in the world to cook a tasty chicken.

Visit his pottery site here!!!!

(What about that for shameless flimsy linking?)

Spot the Bird (Part 33)

Answer to Part 32: Redstart

He hasn't gone away you know!

Life is still a struggle if you're a shopper at the Lidl car park in Newcastle, Co. Down - this rudeboy has been running the show for months. In the interests of science I decided to shed some light on the dietary habits of this gangster. Would bacon sandwiches (uncooked) do the trick?

The trap is set

Approximately 0.005 seconds later

"Watch the paintwork - this is my wife's car!"

"Taxi for Gull?"

Whilst this is all a light-hearted bit of fun there is a serious side to this scientific investigation. Health and safety is paramount - all risk assessments were checked, rechecked and checked again, suitable personal protective equipment was worn and the emergency services were on standby in case things turned nasty. If at any time I had left the secure confines of my vehicle he would have had me. After all, as far as the gull is concerned I'm just a walking, talking, uncooked bacon sandwich.

What? No Trip Report?!

Here's a picture of a juvenile Coot looking thoroughly miffed that Derek hasn't been able to come up with the Bulgaria trip report today as promised. In fact, it's so annoyed it's feathers are falling out. It just goes to show you what a callous, umsympathetic individual he is that he would do that to a cute animal like this.

Moths on the Wing - 23rd June

Northern Eggar Lasiocampa quercus callunae


Thanks to Geoff Campbell for this one. Not often you see them on the deck - usually they just motor past at 20 miles an hour.

Tuesday 22nd June News

Osprey - 1, Oxford Island, Co. Armagh, from the Croaghan hide (Glenn Rutherford and Derek Bolton).
Common Sandpiper  - 1, Quoile Pondage, Co Down (Stuart McKee)
Black-tailed Godwit - 70, SW corner of Lough Beg, Co. Londonderry (David Steele)
Greenshank  - 2, SW corner of Lough Beg, Co. Londonderry (David Steele)
Greenshank - 3, Quoile Pondage, Co Down (Stuart McKee)
Little Gull - 2, (1st summer), Quoile Pondage, Co Down (Stuart McKee)
Spotted Flycatcher - 2, Portadown, Co. Armagh (Mark Killops)

Spotted Flycatcher, today, Co. Armagh (Mark Killops)

As to the question as to what the National bird for Northern  Ireland is (or if it exists)? As ever if you want an answer to Northern Ireland bird questions George Gordon is your man

"I was contacted by someone who is compiling a list of National
Birds and he thought that Oystercatcher might have been the logo
of the Ulster Society for the Protection of Birds (the precursor of the RSPB in Northern Ireland). I
asked Tom Ennis and he seemed to remember that it may have been on their
headed notepaper. So I got in touch with Jim Wells and he kindly went
through the legislation passed in Stormont. There is no mention of a
National (official) bird for Northern Ireland so it looks as though we do
not have one."

I think this is worth starting a debate - we must be one of the only countries in the world without a national bird. (Oystercatcher would do fine but let's make it official, unless anybody comes up with something else!)

Just on that topic what are the national Birds of the UK (Scotland, Wales and England as well as Northern Ireland - not forgetting the Isle of Man, The Channel Islands, the Dependencies and others)?

They're taking over the world!

They aren't taking over the world but they do have a tendency to turn up anywhere there's a sandwich. Thanks to Ed McGuiggan for sending us these pics which were taken on the top of Mount Snowdon in Wales! As mentioned before on this blog Herring Gulls are having a tough time in Northern Ireland - love them or hate them they do provide entertainment. Now that the Corncrake is extinct here we should adopt the Herring Gull as our national bird. On that subject - what is our national bird?

We may as well use this as an excuse to show this classic clip.

Who can get tired of watching a seagull steal a bag of Doritos?

More photos from Ed's trip to Scotland and Wales can be found here

The Terek Sandpiper has been found again at Rogerstown Estuary, Co. Dublin - it's less than 50 miles from the border so let's hope it's flushed north! Now the world has suddenly got 2.5% more expensive it's best to distract ourselves with nonsense.