Bird News Wednesday 29th February

The Grey-bellied Brent at Killough was now with 478 Pale-bellied Brent. (Chris Murphy)
The two Iceland Gulls were still at McConnells Weir, Ormeau Embankment, Belfast (W Farrelly)
The Ring-billed Gull was still at Groomsport (Birdguides)
A single Purple Sandpiper was with 30 Turnstone at Sandy Bay, Larne this afternoon (Clive Mellon)
At Larne Lough a fem/imm Goosander was with 17/18 Red-breasted Merganser off Glynn. Also present were a near-summer adult Mediterranean Gull and 2 Whooper Swan. 3 Little Egret were at Ballycarry Bridge (Walter Veale).
3 Buzzard were at the Grove Roundabout in Ballymena (Iris Millar).
An adult winter Mediterranean Gull and 2 Sandwich Tern were on Cockle Island at Groomsport. A Red-throated Diver was off Sheep Point (George Gordon).
A Jack Snipe and 45 Snipe were at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB Reserve (Brad Robson).
Many thanks to Chris Murphy for the photo of the Killough Brent goose:

Bird News Tuesday 28th February

The distinctive 1st winter Brent Goose considered to be a Grey-bellied Brent was still present at Killough. (Chris Murphy).

The two Iceland Gulls were still at Lagan Weir in Belfast this afternoon. (Philip West).

Around Strangford the 4 Russian Whitefronted Geese were in the fields at Greyabbey. The Red Necked Grebe was at Herring Bay and 6 Slavonian Grebe at Greyabbey Bay South. A Mediterranean Gull and a Greenshank were in the bay beside the Gasworks. (Joe Lamont).

2 male Brambling, 3 Siskin and 5 Linnet were at Carrickfergus. (Shirley Dunlop).

A Bewick's Swan was with 71 Whooper Swan along Kinnegoe Embankment beside Oxford Island. 60 Tree Sparrow were at Derrytrasna and 30 Fieldfare at Derrycrow. (George Gordon).

A high count of 79 Purple Sandpiper and 5 Sanderling were at Portandoo in Portrush. (Matthew Tickner).

Thanks to Craig Nash and Cameron Moore for todays excellent pictures.

Ringed Plover - Craig Nash

Purple Sandpiper - Cameron Moore

Purple Sandpiper - Cameron Moore

Bird News Monday 27th February

The adult Bonaparte's Gull was seen again at Ballygalley today. (Bird Guides).

3 Goosander, 2 of them male, were at Monvanagher along the River Bann a mile north of Kilrea (Derek McIntyre).

The second-winter Ring Billed Gull, 2 Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver were at Groomsport.

A female Brambling was visiting a garden in Richhill, Co. Armagh. (Irish Birding)

A Sparrowhawk was at Sydenham Bypass in Belfast. (Stephen Maxwell).

Yesterday 10 Snow Bunting were at Magilligan, Lough Foyle (Ivor McDonald).

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for todays pictures.

Gadwall - Stephen Maxwell

Redpoll - Stephen Maxwell

Greenfinch - Stephen Maxwell

Bird News for Sunday 26th February

At Corkey Point; Lough Neagh were 1 Tundra bean Goose, 3 Pinkfeet, 25+ Russian Whitefronts and 300 + Greater Scaup (Ed O'Hara)
The Rough-legged Buzzard was at Chapel Island, just south of Annes Point this morning, beteen 11 am and 2pm (Ed O'Hara \ Ian Graham) The four Russian Whitefronts were also nearby.
The presumed 1w Grey-bellied Goose still with c.350 pale-bellied brents in Killough Harbour. Tentatively identified by a process of elimination: too dark on underparts to be a typical pale-bellied; too pale to be a black brant; and with too much white on flanks, (dark) brown tone to upperparts and dusky bib not extending far enough beyond legs to be a dark-bellied. Possibilty of a hybrid cannot be ruled out but everything seems to fit Grey-bellied. If any photographers are interested low tide is the time to visit currently early to mid morning and again late afternoon to early evening. (Chris Murphy)

The drake Ring-necked Duck was giving good views at Lough Money, Co. Down (Frank Carroll)

The Red-necked Grebe was again at Herring Bay, south of Greyabbey along with 20 Slavonian Grebe. South of Gransha Point, a group of 6 Black-throated Diver and a single Great-northern Diver.
(Richard Weyl)

The Red-crested Pochard was still at Oxford Island (Ed O'Hara)

At Larne Lough 2 Iceland Gull (adult, first-winter), adult Mediterranean Gull, Little Egret and a Greenshank were at Glynn (Cameron Moore).

A Black-throated Diver and 8 Red-throated Diver were off Whitehead (Gerard McGeehan, Shirley Dunlop).

The second-winter Ring-billed Gull and a Red-throated Diver were at Groomsport (George Gordon)

An Iceland Gull was at Portaferry along with 7 Sandwich Tern.
Russian Whitefronts, Lough Neagh - Ed O'Hara
Red-crested Pochard, Oxford Island - Ed O'Hara

Russian Whitefronts - Ed O'Hara

Pink-footed Goose - Ed O'Hara

Tundra Bean Goose with Greylags - Ed O'Hara

Bird News for Saturday 25th February

The Rough-legged Buzzard was seen again around 1:30 at Chapel Island. The bird had not been seen prior to that despite extensive searching. Richard Weyl suggests that a good time is around high tide (which is circa 2pm tomorrow). The best viewpoint is from taking a side road just south of Annes Point. Please respect the privacy of any residents in the area. (Clifford Sharpe \ Joe Devlin)
The four Russian Whitefronts were with the Greylag flock just south of Annes Point. 2 Little Egret were close by (Wilton Farrelly) 
The probable 1w Grey-bellied Brent was with 350 Pale-bellied feeding alongside Station Road, Killough at low tide early this morning. A 1w Kumlien's, 6 Iceland Gull and 1 Glaucous Gull still in Ardglass this afternoon. (Chris Murphy)
The male Ring-necked Duck was still at Lough Money (Joe Lamont).
A Black Redstart, 5 Red-throated and 2 Black-throated Diver were at Black Head. The 2 Iceland Gull were along the River Lagan in Belfast at McConnell's weir (John Pyper).

Yesterday a second-winter Glaucous Gull was at Portballintrae. The male Goosander was seen again along the river at Ballycastle and 2 Great Northern Diver were at Cushendun (Colin Guy).
At Corkey Point, Derrytrasna, Lough Neagh were, 3 Pinkfeet Geese, 1 Tundra Bean Goose, 17 presumed Russian Whitefront Geese. A Bewicks Swan was at Ardmore Point. (Ed O'Hara)

The Bonapartes Gull was seen today at Ballygally (Neal Warnock)
An adult Kumliens Gull was at Sandy Bay, Larne. An adult Mediteranean Gull was at Glynn lagoon and 1st & 2nd winter Mediteranean Gulls were at the Inver River.
Three Red Kite were at Greyabbey, an Iceland Gull at Portavogie and another at Portaferry (Walter Veale)
A ring-tailed Hen Harrier on Big Copeland. A Jack Snipe and 15 Yellowhammer were in a stubble field next to the Cunningham Burn Road north west of Mountstewart J538719. (Richard Weyl)

For anyone who is interested in twitching for a Red-breasted Goose, the Dumfries & Galloway bird is still present with Barnacles at Loaningfoot!

Presumed Russian Whitefronts, Lough Neagh - Ed O'Hara

Presumed Russian Whitefronts & Greylags, Lough Neagh - Ed O'Hara

Presumed Russian Whitefronts, Lough Neagh - Ed O'Hara

Bird News for Friday 24th February.

Probable 1w Grey-bellied Brent Goose in Killough this evening showing suite of features (darker shade of brown above and darker, more uniform, grey-brown below compared to Pale-bellied with dusky bib reaching just beyond area between legs. Large white flank flash gives superficial appearance of a washed-out Black Brant). With c.250 Pale-bellied Brent.

Rough-legged Buzzard looked for without luck. 4 Russian White-fronts still present n. of Greyabbey with 320 Greylag. 1 Black-throated Diver n.of Mount Stewart Gasworks. Mixed flock of c.100 House and Tree Sparrows and c.12 Yellowhammers at junction between Lough Cowey and Marlfield. 6 Sandwich Terns Portaferry.(Chris and Tim Murphy)

3 Iceland Gull were at Enniskillen dump(Irishbirding)

On the Antrim side of Belfast Lough the Black Redstart and 5 Red-throated Diver were at Black Head (Gerard McGeehan). 3 Red-throated Diver and 2 Purple Sandpiper were at Whitehead (Cameron Moore).

The second-winter Ring-billed Gull was at Groomsport.

The drake Smew still showing on Drumgay Lough Co Fermanagh.

Our thanks to both Stephen Maxwell who kindly sent in the Goldfinch photograph and David Hill for the Little Egret (middle) and Greenshank (bottom).

Bird News for Thursday 23rd February.

The Rough-legged Buzzard was seen again at Chapel Island. The four Russian White-fronted Geese and a Little Egret were in the fields north of Greyabbey (Mark Killops, George Gordon)
On the Antrim side of Belfast Lough 5 Long-tailed Duck and 3 Peregrine were at Sea Park (Gerard McGeehan).

A small flock of 50 Redwing/Fieldfare/Mistle and Song Thrush was in the fields above Redburn Park in Holywood (David Morrow).

Two Iceland Gull were at Mc Connell's weir in Belfast. 

A male Goosander was along the River Maine at Slaght near Ballymena (David Steele).
Sparrowhawk - Jim McKeown

Bird News Wednesday 22nd February

The 2nd-winter Ring-billed Gull was still at Groomsport. (Birdguides)
12 Snow Bunting were on the beach at Magilligan Point (Birdguides)
At Larne Lough 3 Little Egret were on the north side of Ballycarry Bridge, and 2 Carrion Crow on the south side. 5 Grey Plover were at Glynn and 5 Purple Sandpiper at Sandy Bay (Cameron Moore).
Approx 30 Greylag Geese were seen near Belfast City centre. 5 Red Kite were in Co Down (Katesbridge area) - (Bill Guiller)

Bird News for Tuesday 21st February

At Strangford Lough the Rough-legged Buzzard was with a Buzzard at Chapel Island. A Red Kite with a blue wing tag was close by (Walter Veale, John Tinman).

The 4 Russian White-fronted Geese were with the Greylag in the fields north of Greyabbey. 4 Buzzard, a Sparrowhawk and a Little Egret were also seen (Stuart McKee).

An Iceland Gull was at Ormeau Bridge in Belfast.(D.Morrow)

A third winter Iceland Gull was of Newcastle harbour.

Late news from yesterday the Cattle Egret is still coming to roost at Hillsborough Lake.

Many thanks to Stuart McKee who sent in these three images of the Russian White fronted Geese which can currently be seen in fields between Mountstewart and Greyabbey.

Bird News Monday 20th February

An adult Mediterranean Gull coming into summer plummage, 2 adult Lesser Black Backed Gulls and 2 Iceland Gulls, a 2nd winter and an adult, were at Killough. (Chris & Tim Murphy)

A juvenile Iceland Gull was on the roof of Central Station in Belfast. (Bird Guides).

2 Bewicks Swans, approximately 100 Whoopers, 450 Fieldfare and 50 Redwing were in fields at Ardmore, the Red Crested Pochard was at Oxford Island with approximately 2,000 Golden Plover in flight there. (Stuart McKee)

Thanks to Stuart McKee, David Hill and Stephen Maxwell for todays pictures.

Rough Legged Buzzard - Stuart McKee

Bewicks Swan - Stuart McKee

Bewicks & Whooper Swans - Stuart McKee

Snow Buntings - David Hill

Bar Tailed Godwit - David Hill

Grey Heron - David Hill
Goldfinch - Stephen Maxwell

Magpie - David Hill

A County Down Dash

Whilst many birders were doing their best to find the intriguing goose from yesterday, well done to Chris, Tim and Keith for flogging their local patch today!
Highlights of a dash around County Down today included 2 Great Northern Divers off Kirkcubbin, Red-necked Grebe off Greyabbey, 300 Pintail off The Maltings, drake Ring-necked Duck at Lough Money, Red Kite, Peregrine, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk (taking a Starling), 10 Sanderling, 25 Twite and an Otter in the sea at Tyrella, 10 Purple Sandpipers, 53 Black Guillemot (most of them displaying) and 2 Iceland Gulls around Newcastle Hbr., Jack Snipe, Sandwich Tern and Carrion Crow between Ballyhornan and Kilclief, min. 8 Iceland Gulls, 1 Glaucous Gull and 1 1w Kumlien's Gull and a Grey Wagtail at Ardglass, Black Redstart in Killough (on shore at bottom of Quay Lane), Crossbill and Siskin at Tolleymore. Total of 117 was two more than last year's effort.
Chris and Tim Murphy and Keith Bennett.

Bird News Sunday 19th February

There was no sign of yesterday's intriguing 'whitefronted' goose at Lough Neagh. 
Reedy Flats had 26 Greenland Whitefronts and 1 Pinkfoot. The Tundra Bean Goose, 3 Pinkfeet and 2 Greenland Whitefronts were at the west end of Ardmore. (Garry Armstrong)
The Rough-legged Buzzard was hunting with a Buzzard over Chapel Island, Strangford Lough. Best viewed from road leading to the shore south of Anne's Point where the 4 Russian Whitefronts can also be seen.
2 Tundra Bean, 3 Pink feet, a prob 1 st w Russian Whitefront, (this was unlikely to be the bird that was photographed yesterday!) c.20 Greenland Whitefronts and a 1st yr male Marsh Harrier, from Ardmore Point, L Neagh (Neal Warnock)
The Red-crested Pochard was at Oxford Island (Ed O'Hara)
In addition to the Rough-legged Buzzard, the saker \ peregrine -type falcon (see post from Saturday 11th) was sitting on a post on Chapel Island, Strangford Lough. In Greabbey Bay at least 16 Slavonian Grebe. South of Gransha Point. 2 Black-throated Diver. A female type Black Restart was at Knockinelder Bay and 4 Sandwich Tern at Portaferry.(R.Weyl)
The Cattle Egret was at Hillsborough Lake (Irish Birding)
The Smew was still at Drumgay Lough (Irish Birding) 
A Short-eared Owl was this afternoon quartering on Chapel Island, Strangford Island. (Shirley Dunlop \ Gerard McGeehan \ Norma Perceval-Price)
A Pink-footed Goose was at Diamond Lane, near Portmore Lough. An adult Iceland Gull and 2 first winter Med Gulls were off Glynn Station. (Neal Warnock)
At Glennoo Mountain, nr Fivemiletown Co Tyrone this afternoon- one group of crossbills including one singing, a different group of crossbills incl at least one juvenile begging. Also 11 whooper swans near a flooded river nr Fivemiletown (Colin Bell)
At Magilligan a flock of 10 - 15 Snow Buntings were along the high tide mark and a Glaucous Gull closeby (David Hill)
'Unusual' falcon, Chapel Island, Strangford - Richard Weyl
Snow Buntings, Magilligan - David Hill
European \ Russian Whitefronts, Annes Point - Stewart McKee

argentatus Herring Gull, Ardglass - Stewart McKee

Our thanks to Ed O'Hara who sent in this image of the Red-crested Pochard which can be currently seen at Oxford Island.

Bird News Saturday 18th February

A bird showing the features of Lesser White Fronted Goose was at Reedy Flats, Co. Armagh this morning, see photo below. (Ed O'Hara)Directions for Reedy Flats: leave the M1 at Lurgan exit, sign posted Oxford Island, follow the signs towards Oxford Island and drive past the entrance, following the road for approx 1 mile to a T junction. Turn right and follow the road for approx 5.5 miles and turn right onto Derrycrow Road. This narrow road runs down to the lough shore at Reedy Flats, the main goose flock was spread along the shore from the point were the road meets the shore for approx 1 mile. The Derrycrow Road runs in a U coming back onto the main road, it is narrow with few parking places so please take extra care and do not inconvenience any of the local residents.  
The Rough-legged Buzzard was at Anns Point at 9.20 - giving good views. The large Saker type falcon was seen mobbing a Buzzard on Chapel Island and the 4 Russian White Fronted Geese were with the Greylag flock south of Anne's Point. 2 Iceland Gulls, an adult and a 3rd winter were at Portavogie and 3 Sandwich Terns at Ballywalter. (Richard Weyl)
The adult Iceland Gull was still at Portavogie (Keith Bennett)
A Tundra Bean Goose, 3 Pinkfeet and 25 Whitefronts were with Greylags at Reedy Flats (Garry Armstrong/Ed O'Hara)
Corbally reservoir had a 1st w Kumlien's Gull, 18 iceland and 6 Glaucous Gulls (Neal Warnock)
2 Iceland Gulls, a 3rd winter and a juvenile were off the sewage outfall in Newcastle. (Birdguides).
2 Bewicks Swans were with 40 Whoopers near the bridge over the Closet from the next minor road west of Derrymacash. (Keith Bennet).
5 Iceland Gull and a Glaucous Gull were at Ardglass Harbour and 60 Whooper Swan along Bucks Head Road between Downpatrick and Seaforde. (Chris Murphy).
Thanks to Ed O'Hara, Mark Killops, Stuart McKee, David Hill and Stephen Maxwell for todays pictures.
Possible Lesser White Fronted Goose - Ed O'Hara
Tundra Bean Goose - Mark Killops

Tundra Bean Goose - Mark Killops

Greenshank - Stuart McKee

Skylark - Stuart McKee

Siskin - David Hill

Long Tailed Tit - Stephen Maxwell

Reed Bunting - Stephen Maxwell

Bird News Friday 17th February 2012

The owl found dead at Kennedy Way in Belfast and originally reported as a Short Eared Owl appears from photographs to be a Tawny Owl. There is currently no information on whether this was a wild bird or not.
 The Red-necked Grebe and 5 Slavonian Grebes were in Herring Bay, Strangford Lough. At least 10 Slavonian Grebe and 2 Greenshank were in Greyabbey Bay South. The 4 Russian White-fronted Geese were still with Greylags in fields north of Greyabbey, by the A20. (Keith Bennett/Stuart McKee)
A male Ring Necked Duck was at Lough Money outside Downpatrick and a Jack Snipe was at nearby Castlemahon Mountain, grid reference J550466. (Richard Weyl).
3 Bewick Swans were with 50 Whoopers at Closet Bridge, Derrymacash on the south shore of Lough Neagh this afternoon. 5 Ruddy Duck, 4 male and a female were at Oxford Island. (Ed O'Hara).
An adult Yellow Legged Gull was at Whitehouse Lagoon. (Joe Lamont).
Around the Ards peninsula 2 Yellowhammer were at Ballystockart. Another 30/40 Yellowhammer were at Herring Bay. 2 Sandwich Tern and a 1st winter Iceland Gull were at Portaferry. Another 1st winter Iceland Gull was at Ballyquintin. The 2nd winter Ring Billed Gull was at Groomsport. (Dave Brooks).
The observers of a bird that they reported yesterday as a ring tailed Hen Harrier north of Greyabbey now believe that the bird was most likely the Rough Legged Buzzard that has previously been seen in the area. (Ron Price).

Thanks to Ed O'Hara, Christine Cassidy and Stephen Maxwell for today's pictures. 

Bewicks Swan - Ed O'Hara

Ruddy Ducks - Ed O'Hara

Greenland Whitefront with Barnacles, Malin, Inishowen - Christine Cassidy

Barnacles, Malin, Inishowen - Christine Cassidy

Great Crested Grebe, Hillsborough - Stephen Maxwell

Bird News for Thursday 16th February.

The 4 Russian White fronted Geese still showing this morning between Greyabbey and Mountstewart, a ring tailed Hen Harrier was also in the area.(R.Price/M.Taylor)
A 2nd winter Iceland Gull was at the RSPB Belfast Harbour Estate.(Jim/Rachel McKeown)
The young male Marsh Harrier was showing again at Portmore Lough.(D.Hunter)
A first-winter Iceland Gull was at Newferry and 487 Whooper Swan in the Lough Beg area (D. Steele)
70 Tree Sparrow, 1 female Brambling and 1 female Yellowhammer were feeding in a garden in Richill.(A.Poots)
The Snowy Owl was looked for again to-day, but again no sighting, although visibility was poor. It would appear though that it has moved out of the area.

Our thanks to Stephen Maxwell who kindly provided these images of a Buzzard(bottom) and a pair of Red Kites,