Bird News Friday 30th November

The Comber Estuary today had a Green-winged Teal among 750 Teal. Also: c. 300 Wigeon, 1 Pintail, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 350 Shelduck, 200 Black-tailed Godwit, c. 1000 Dunlin, c. 200 Redshank, 4 Little Egret, 2 Whooper Swan. (Chris Murphy).

A winter plumaged Little Gull was at the Balancing Lakes in Lurgan, see pictures below. (Noel Austin & Tom McCreery).

A male Brambling was in a garden at Grove roundabout, Ballymoney Road, Ballymena. (Iris Millar).

A male Brambling was still visiting a garden at the Spa near Ballynahinch, 3 Redpolls and a male Siskin were also present. (David Nixon).

A male Brambling is also visiting a garden at Gilnahirk in east Belfast. (Ron Price).

2 Brambling were at Lough Shark, Poyntzpass, Co. Armagh. (Joe Devlin),

2 Waxwings were along the road in Crawfordsburn. (Kerry Leonard).

7 Waxwings were a mile outside Carryduff on the Saintfield Road heading towards Saintfield. (Garry Armstrong).

3 Woodcock flew over the M1 at Moira this evening. (Ed O'Hara).

11 Red-breasted Merganser were in Belfast Lough. (Stephen Maxwell).

30 Waxwing were along Toome Road in Ballymena (David Steele).     

3 Purple Sandpiper were west of Pickie in Bangor (Derek Polley).       

25 Waxwing were at Cairn Road in Coleraine but flew off at 1.20pm (Lowell Mills, Richard Hoy).      

On the Antrim side of Belfast Lough a Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver and 48 Red-breasted Merganser were off Macedon Point and a Great Northern Diver and 40 Common Scoter at Loughshore Park (Stuart McKee).             

At Whitehead 2 Brambling and a Tree Sparrow were in a garden and 39 Waxwing along Islandmagee Road. At least 3 Little Egret were at Ballycarry Bridge and a Common Scoter and 2 Red-throated Diver at Mill Bay (Cameron Moore).        

A Short-eared Owl was along the Ulster Way above Sallagh Braes (Karl Hamilton).     

Yesterday at Lough Foyle 32 Slavonian Grebe, a Great Northern and 10 Red-throated Diver were off Myroe and 60 Greylag, 350 Whooper Swan, 300 Curlew, 100 Lapwing and a few Greenshank at the Levels (Richard Hoy).   

Thanks to Tom McCreery for the first picture of the Little Gull, Noel Austin for the rest of the Little Gull pictures, Stephen Maxwell for the picture of the Whooper Swan and Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Buzzard. You can see more NI bird pictures at

Bird News Thursday 29th November.

The putative Siberian Chiffchaff found originally by Neal Warnock (Nov 26) was again at Craigavon North Lake, Co Armagh this morning and responded instantly to both song and call of P.c tristis played on an MP3 player. (Dave Allen/Clive Mellon).

5 Waxwing were along Sandholes Road in Cookstown (Tony McCormick).

12 Waxwing were in Omagh opposite  Homebase.

A Great Northern Diver was at Smelt Mill Bay west of Bangor (Derek Polley).

6 Siskin were at Castle Espie (Dot Blakely).

Our thanks to Guy Hamilton for sending in this unusual angle of the now resident Ring-billed Gull at Groomsport.
Our thanks also to Alan Gallagher for this lovely image of a Redshank. 

Bird News Wednesday 28th November

At least one of the Buff-bellied Pipit was still west of Tyrella. 3 Great Northern Diver were off the west end of Tyrella and 2 Red Kite, a Buzzard and a Peregrine Falcon near the entrance to Tyrella (Stuart McKee)

6 Waxwing were in Ballymena along Cullybackey Road at the junction with Woodtown Road (Jeff Larkin)

17 Waxwings were opposite M&S, Cresent Link Retail Park, Link Road, Waterside, Derry (Christine Cassidy)

24 Waxwing were at Ormeau Bridge, Belfast this morning

Yesterday 68 Waxwing were along Dublin Road in Antrim (Nigel Ireland)

A red head Smew and 2 Great Northern Divers were at the west end of lower Lough Erne, Fermanagh this afternoon (Brad Robson)

16 Waxwings were in a garden outside Carndonagh and two separate Great Borthern Divers near Malin Head, Inishowen (David Hill and Raymond Fulton)

2 Woodcock were at Drumcairne Forest near Stewartstown (Tony McCormick)

4 Waxwings were yesterday in a garden on the Ahoghill Road, Randalstown (near Whiteside’s Corner) yesterday. They were eating cotoneaster berries (James Steel)

As well as the Norwegian ringed Black-headed Gull at Christie Park in Coleraine a Polish ringed Black-headed Gull was also present (Lowell Mills)

You can report sightings of Waxwings or any other rare or scarce birds to

Thanks to Tom McCreery for this pic of a Goldeneye and to David Hill for the top Waxwing pic and James Steel for the bottom Waxwing pic. You can see more pics at

Bird News Tuesday 27th November

27 Waxwings were in garden at Grove roundabout, Ballymoney Road, Ballymena, this morning (I Millar)

6 Waxwings visited a garden at 10.00am at Prospect Rd,Carrickfergus (Pauline Majury)

4 Waxwings were along the Promenade at Larne (Adam McClure)

50 Waxwing were at Balfour Street near the Ormeau Bridge in Belfast at 10.30 (David Clarke)

12 Waxwing were on the Low Rd, Islandmagee. (There is a church called St Johns CoI - just past church on right hand side of road is a large house where the birds were feeding (Tom Ennis /A Dodds )

38 Waxwings were in Portstewart this afternoon, see picture below. (John Clarke).

An unspecified number of Waxwings were at Waterfoot, Co Antrim. Unusually they were described feeding this evening in the streetlight.

A male Blackcap was in a garden in Bangor (Derek Polley).

The adult Ring-billed Gull and 7 Red-throated Diver were at Groomsport (George Gordon).

The Norwegian ringed Black-headed Gull was seen again at Christie Park in Coleraine (Lowell Mills).

A Goshawk was reported near Ballyboley Forest.

There was no sign of the Buff-bellied Pipits at Tyrella today but 2 Red Kites were opposite the car park. Approximately 1,400 Common Scoter and 7 Red-throated Diver were off Ballykinler. (Dermot Hughes).

A Whimbrel was feeding in the lagoon beside Groomsport this morning. (Sam Scott).

Yesterday one of the Buff-bellied Pipits was still at Tyrella (Birdguides).

Thanks to John Clarke for the Waxwing picture, Charles Harkin for the Song Thrush picture, Stephen Maxwell for the Linnet picture and Noel Austin for the Long-tailed Tit picture, and Alan Gallagher for the Kingfisher pictures. Check out more NI bird pictures at

Bird News Monday 26th November

6 Waxwings were on the Ballymoney Road, Ballymena, this morning, increasing to 20 in the afternoon (I Millar)

About 40 Waxwing flew across Sydenham by Pass coming from Victoria Park direction and heading towards Glentoran football ground, probably the same flock that has been seen around the Short Strand district over the last few days.(I.Graham)

A male Brambling was visiting a garden in Spa Co.Down.(D.Nixon)

A flock of Waxwing was along Thornleigh at the junction with Kenmore Drive in Lisburn (Garry Wilkinson).

The adult Ring-billed Gull, 4 Red-throated Diver, a Gannet and 3 Carrion Crow were at Groomsport.(G.Gordon)

Thanks to John Johnston for this pic of one of the Short Strand birds on Saturday. Also to Stephen Maxwell for the Turnstone photo. You can see further pics at www


Possible Siberian Chiffchaff

Below are pics of a Chiffchaff today taken at Craigavon Lakes and found by Neal Warnock, showing characteristics of tristis. The bird was heard calling on a few occasions, but was not sound recorded.

The bird was favouring a single willow and tall trees in this area:,-6.380782&hl=en&num=1&t=h&z=16

Bird News Sunday 25th November

A Crane has been reported on the southeast side of Antrim which flew over Nutt's Corner.

The Bonapartes Gull was at Sandy Bay, Larne this evening (Gavin Ferguson)

Groomsport this morning had 1 black-throated diver (on sea), 1 great norrthern diver (on sea), 1 red-throated diver (in flight) and the Ring-billed gull (Keith Bennett)

A single Waxwing was on the Moneyscalp Road, Castlewellan this morning (Adam McClure)

Two Waxwing were in a private garden in Donaghadee (James Robinson)

Two little egrets were on the estuary mudflats, one either side of the bridge on Island Road Lower (B90), at Islandmagee yesterday afternoon (David Rice)

A Wilsons Phalarope was reported from Trawbegga Bay, Inishowen. Also 10 Waxwing at Clonmany.

A Brambling and 10 Twite were with a large finch flock on the Derrycrow Road which leads to Reedy Flats, see picture below. (Ed O'Hara & Colm McQuillan).

9 Waxwings were in Thornleigh Drive off the Antrim Road in Lisburn. (Garry Armstrong)

The 2 Black-throated Diver were at Groomsport but not together (Tom Ennis, Alan Gillespie, Jeff Larkin)

Thanks to Ed O'Hara for the picture of the Brambling and to Mark Killops for the picture of a Curlew at Bartins Bay, Lough Neagh. You can see more pics at

Bird News Saturday 24th November

The two Buff-bellied Pipits were still on the beach west of Tyrella along with 8 Twite. 8 Waxwing were along Ballyloughlin Road near Dundrum. (Joe Devlin & Clifford Sharpe).

The adult Bonaparte's Gull is back at Larne harbour on the ferry platform, see picture below. Larne Lough had a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull, 65 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Red-throated Diver, 5 Common Scoter and a Carrion Crow. Carnlough had 32 Common Scoter. (Neal Warnock).

This afternoon Whitehead had 15 Waxwing at Brooklands Avenue. Portmuck had 300 razorbill + 26 Harbour Porpoise (best count for a few years). - (Ian Enlander).

A flock of Waxwing were on the Middle Road, Islandmagee, see pictures below. (Cecil Smyth).

A female Hen Harrier was near Larne. (Bill Guiller).

A Little Egret was  near the Ballygawley Roundabout, Co Tyrone this morning, it was about half a mile on Augher side, it flew down near a river beside A4. (Colin Bell).

The 2 Black-throated Divers and 2 Great Northern Divers were still off Groomsport this afternoon. (Ron Price & Ronnie Milligan).

On the Antrim side of Belfast Lough an adult Mediterranean Gull, Little Egret and 2 Long-tailed Duck were at Loughshore (Gerard McGeehan).      

7 Waxwing were at the gates of Whitehead Primary School (Cameron Moore).       

10 Waxwing were at Springfield in Fermanagh (Gareth Buchanan/Brad Robson).     

At Strangford Lough 80 Pintail, 30 Turnstone and 300 Shelduck were at the Floodgates. 2 Little Egret, a Buzzard, Kingfisher and 64 Wigeon were at Anne's Point and 18 Gadwall at Kiltonga. 20 Skylark were along Ballyalton Road (Jim Whitla, Bangor RSPB).    

Our thanks to Neal Warnock for the picture of the Bonaparte's Gull, Cecil Smyth for the first two Waxwing pictures, Stephen Maxwell for the next three Waxwing pictures, Mark Killops for the Buzzard picture and Dick Glasgow for the Long Tailed Tit picture. You can see more NI bird pictures at

Bird News Friday 23rd November

About a dozen Waxwings still ca 10:00 at Short Strand / Albertbridge Rd junction (N side, gardens of Madrid Ct) - (Keith Bennett)

75 Waxwings were at Ballycrochan Road, Bangor on Friday at 12.10 pm.(Hugo Ritchie)

The 2 Black-throated Diver are still at Groomsport, as well as 2 Great Northern (one in partial summer plumage). The adult Ring-billed Gull was at the harbour (George Gordon).


Thanks to  Alan Gallagher(top) and also Stephen Maxwell for the Waxwing photograph's  and also to Dick Glasgow for this close up of a Rook. You can see more pics at

nibirds on Twitter

For those of you on Twitter, don't forget that you can follow key bird news @nibirds

Bird News Thursday 22nd November

60+ Waxwing were around the Short Strand and later between the Short Strand and the M3 Bridge, Belfast (Stephen Maxwell)

4 Waxwing were about 2 miles east of Farrancassidy crossroads along the Lough Navar road, west Fermanagh feeding on roadside berries (Brad Robson)

At Low Road Islandmagee, 25 Waxwings feeding on hawthorn bushes beside the road. Also 3 Purple Sandpiper at the pier Whitehead. (Cameron Moore, R.Bennett. B Campbell)

At Castlewellan Forest today were 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 1 Crossbill (Joe Devlin)

There are now 2 Black-throated Diver feeding together between Groomsport harbour and Briggs. The adult Ring-billed Gull was at the harbour (Derek Polley, George Gordon).

A male Brambling was in a garden in Ballyholme (George Gordon)

3 Red Kite and 8 Redwing were at Leitrim near Castlewellan (Dot Blakely)

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for the pics of the Short Strand Waxwings, and Tom McCreery for the Meadow Pipit below:

Ringed Goldfinchs

On Sunday we received a picture of a Goldfinch with a yellow ring on it's leg taken by Charles Harkin in Muff, Co. Donegal, today we received another picture of a Goldfinch with a yellow ring from Dick Glasgow, see pictures below.

Does anyone have any information on a ringing scheme for Goldfinchs or what type of ring these are?

Coming To A Neighbourhood Near You

Waxwings are being reported right across the country, if you want to catch up with these exotic visitors look out for flocks feeding on Hawthorn, Rowan or Cotoneaster berries or listen out for their high pitched trilling calls.

Let us know if you come across some of these exciting birds.  

Thanks to Guy Hamilton for these excellent pictures of some of the birds feeding at Short Strand/Alberbridge Road in Belfast today.

BTO Winter Thrushes Survey

Help monitoring winter thrushes...   

During the winter months the Northern Irish countryside supports large numbers of several thrush species and already this winter we are seeing large numbers of redwing and fieldfare across the country.   

The BTO is currently conducting a Winter Thrushes Survey which aims to find out more about the numbers and distribution of thrushes here, as well as the resources they need to survive to spring and the next breeding season, and they are asking for volunteers with help in carrying out the survey.  

Extremely straight forward and easy to do, the survey involves walking a 1km square and simply recording any thrushes seen, the location of each sighting, habitat and food resources associated with each thrush or flock of thrushes detected.  

  The minimum coverage required is a single visit between 27th December and 10th January, so it’s a good excuse to go for a walk and burn off that excess turkey!     

If you would like to participate in the survey, please contact your local organiser listed below:   

Co. Antrim (including Belfast) – Adam McClure;   
Co. Armagh – Stephen Hewitt;  
Co. Down – Kerry Leonard; 
Co. Fermanagh & Co. Tyrone – Michael Stinson; 
Co. Londonderry – John Marchant;  

Bird News Wednesday 21st November

One of the Buff-bellied Pipits was seen again at Tyrella. (Chris Murphy & Bert Montgomery).

70 Waxwings were at the Short Strand / Albert Bridge area, Belfast (Neal Warnock / James Robinson).

At least 2 Long-tailed Ducks were off Greenisland in Belfast Lough this morning. (Roger Woodward).

A juvenile Great Northern Diver was in Waterfoot bay, 400m offshore. An adult bird, still showing some of its summer plumage, was in Carnlough bay, 200m offshore, close to the beach side playpark, along with 4 Brent Geese. Another adult Great Northern Diver and a winter plumaged Black Guillemot was in Glenarm Harbour (John McKillop).

40 Waxwing were along Ballycrochan Road in Bangor (Jim Whitla, Michael Richardson).  

20 Waxwing were in a garden in Island Magee before flying off towards Ballycarry Bridge and 3 Long-tailed Duck off Fisherman's Pier in Carrickfergus (Robert McDowell).   

A male Brambling and 2 Tree Sparrow were in a garden in Whitehead (Cameron Moore).     

2 Brambling were at Peatlands Park (Stephen Foster).   

The Black-throated Diver, 4 Red-throated Diver, the adult Ring-billed Gull, 3 Carrion Crow and a Little Egret were at Groomsport (Anthony McGeehan, George Gordon).

Yesterday a Great Spotted Woodpecker was at the junction on Monlough andMill Roads in Carryduff (David Clarke).

A Little Egret was at the Roe estuary along with large numbers of Brent Geese, see picture below. (Chris Colhoun). 

 Many thanks to Mark Killops for this picture of a Kingfisher, Noel Austin for the picture of the Buzzard and John Colhoun for the picture of the Little Egret.