Bird News Monday 31st December

A Long Eared Owl has been rescued after becoming entangled in fishing line in a tree at NT Glastry Nature Reserve at Ballyhalbert, the owl has been taken into care to recuperate, see pictures below. If you come across discarded fishing line please gather it up and dispose of it safely to help prevent other incidents of this kind, thanks to Fulton Somerville for the details above and the pictures.

The Black-throated Diver was giving close views again inside Groomsport Harbour and the adult Ring-billed Gull was at the car park (George Gordon).

A pair of Bramblings and two or three male Blackcaps are visiting a garden in Brunswick Road in Bangor. (Derek Polley).

8 Waxwings were seen resting in trees in Belfast City Golf Course grounds in Mallusk, at the rear of the McLaughlin & Harvey offices. (David Smylie).

2 male Long Tailed Duck were among hundreds of Common Scoter at Murlough NNR. (Eric Randall).

The adult Bonaparte's Gull was at the harbour outfall in Larne this afternoon.(Bird Guides).

The male Brambling was seen again in Kinedar Cres, Belfast.(P.West)

Our thanks to Fulton Somerville for these pictures of the rescued Long Eared Owl. Also to Noel Austin for the Little Gull which is still present at the Balancing Lakes to-day. 


Castle Espie WWT - Tick and Twitch Event 1st January 2013

Tick and Twitch - 1st Jan, 10am - 4.00pm

Come and get your New Year’s bird list off to a flying start! How many different species of wild birds can you find during your visit? Families welcome. Suitable for all ages, novices and experts. All competitors will be entered into a prize draw for a £10 gift voucher for the Loughshore Cafe. see link -  

Bird News Sunday 30th December

A female Brambling was at the feeder by the cafe window at Castle Espie. (Keith Bennett).

At least 50 Waxwing and a female Great Spotted Woodpecker were at the reserve along Balloo Road in Bangor (Aaron Devlin).

A pair of Goosanders were at Portmore Lough RSPB reserve. Late news from yesterday was of an inland Knot, with Golden Plover, at the Craigavon Balancing Lakes, see picture below. (Ed O'Hara/R Hunter).

A leucistic Jackdaw was at Carnhill Estate in Derry this morning, see picture below. (Martina Boyle).

The Ring-billed Gull was still at Groomsport, see picture below. (Stephen Maxwell).

18 Waxwings were in Ardarawood in Comber this morning. (Chris Shaw).

10 Waxwings were outside Largymore Primary School on the Hillhall Road in Lisburn before flying into Hillhall estate. (Eric Randall).

A Great Northern Diver was in Glenarm harbour late this afternoon, see picture below, 2 Razorbills
were just outside the harbour. (Pauline Majury).

3 Bramblings and 130 Tree Sparrows were in a garden in Richhill, see picture below. (Andrew Poots).

There were at least 11 Great Northern Divers off Newcastle harbour late this afternoon. (Ian Jackson).

A Bittern was at Inch Lake and the Cattle Egret was still at St Johnston in Donegal. (Irish Birding).

Thanks to todays photographers, to Noel Austin for the Buzzard picture, to Martina Boyle for the picture of the leucistic Jackdaw, to Ed O'Hara for the Knot at the Balancing Lakes, to Stephan Maxwell for the Ring-billed Gull and the Eider, to Pauline Majury for the Great Northern Diver Picture and to Andrew Poots for the Tree Sparrow picture.


Bird News Saturday 29th December

The Buff-bellied Pipit was seen again first thing this morning near Ringsallin, Tyrella, 2 Twite and 300 Sanderling were also present. A Whimbrel was at Castle Island at the Quoile and 300 Teal outside the hide. (Kerry Leonard).

Late news from Boxing Day is of a male Merlin at Bishopscourt airfield, perched on a straw bale, a female Merlin has also been seen nearby during December. (Karl Partridge).

Around thr outer Ards 5 Purple Sandpipers were at Millisle, a Knot at Drumfad Bay south of Millisle and 2 Great Northern Diver at Burr Point at Ballyhalbert. (Keith Bennett).

A Long Eared Owl was at the Dromore Road just outside Ballynahinch this afternoon. (Anna Starbuck).

The Little Gull continues it stay at the south Balancing Lake, Craigavon, and 50+ Tree Sparrows were at Portmore Lough, see pictures below. (Ed O'Hara).

A single Waxwing was feeding in a garden in Ardarawood in Comber this morning, later 2 Siskin and a male Blackcap were feeding in the garden. At least six Waxwings were sitting on top of of the tall Poplars opposite Comber Health Centre on the road to Newtownards. At least four Waxwings were present at the top of the Donaghadee Road in Newtownards, opposite the bank of tall berry bushes near the petrol station, there may have been more birds present as there are good numbers of berries still on the bushes. 2 Buzzards were in the field beside Donaghadee Garden Centre. (Chris Shaw).

A Short Eared Owl was at Inch Lake, at the carpark on the Inch Island side, in Donegal. (Boyd Bryce).

Two Short Eared Owls were at Ballyquintin Point on the outer Ards. (Richard Weyl).

3 Great Northern Divers were close inshore at Glenarm this morning, viewed from the river mouth, there was no sign of the Bonaparte's Gull. (Ian Enlander).

3 Red Kite, 5 Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk were all in the Leitrim area of Co Down. (Bill Guiller).

A flock of 30 Twite were at Tyrella, see picture below. (Tom & Zach McCreery).

The Cattle Egret is still at St Johnston, see pictures below. (Christine Cassidy).

The adult Bonaparte's Gull and an adult Mediterranean Gull were at Larne Harbour (Jeff Larkin).  

A pair of Goosander were at Portmore Lough (Paul Toner).  

16 Fieldfare and 2 Redwing were along Steeple Road between Antrim Hospital and Kells (Dot Blakely).   

A Black-throated Diver was giving close views at Groomsport (at one point coming into the harbour), Also noted were 3 Red-throated Diver, a Great Northern Diver, 3 Carrion Crow and the adult Ring-billed Gull (Francis Duffin, George Gordon, Jim Whitla and Fulton Somerville). Along the Outer Ards a Red-throated Diver was off the car park on the east side of Orlock Point and 2 Black-throated Diver at Ballywalter. 20 Siskin were at Glastry clay pits and 50 Redwing on the road to Kircubbin (Jim Whitla, Fulton Somerville).

7 Common Scoter, 3 Great Northern Diver and 4 or 5 Red Throated Diver were in Carnlough Bay. (Pauline Majury).

A large mixed flock of Redpoll, Siskin, Goldfinch and Chaffinch were at Belfast Lough RSPB reserve and a Razorbill was just off Kinnegar shore. (Chris Henry). 

Thanks to today's photographers, to Ed O'Hara for these pictures of the Craigavon Little Gull and the Tree Sparrow at Portmore, to Christine Cassidy for the Cattle Egret and Redwing, to Zach McCreery for the Twite, to Tom Mccreery for the Stonechat and Noel Austin for the Whooper Swans. You can see more NI bird photographs at


Bird News Friday 28th December

The Bonaparte's Gull was feeding along the shore at the river mouth at Ballygally. Yesterday 5 Twite were near the river mouth at Waterfoot and a single bird was at Glenarm. (Neal Warnock).

A male and female Brambling are visiting a garden at Kinedar Crescent off the Belmont Road in Belfast. (Philip West).

Over 100 Whooper Swans were at the Closet Meadows, Oxford Island, see picture below. (Ed O'Hara)

At least 4 Twite, 4 Sanderling and several Stonechat were at Tyrella Beach. (Stuart Matthews).

A Buzzard and 30 Lapwing were at Randalstown Road in Antrim, 2 Bullfinch and a flock of Long-tailed Tits were in Cullybackey. (John Loughlin).

6 Redwing were mobbing a Sparrowhawk at the Glendun viaduct. (John McKillop).

At Larne Lough a second-winter Mediterranean Gull, 5 Greenshank and 5 Snipe were at Glynn. 200 Teal, 220 Wigeon, a Scaup and Little Egret were at Ballycarry Bridge (Cameron Moore). 

Thanks to Ed O'Hara for todays picture of Whooper Swans.

Bird News Thursday 27th December

26 Waxwings still in the car park at the Antrim Forum. (Bird Guides).

A Buff-bellied Pipit and a Black Redstart were west of the house at Ringsallin Point at the west end of Tyrella beach (Stuart McKee).

The Little Gull was still on the south Balancing Lake at Craigavon. (Ed O'Hara).

4 Brambling were with a flock of Chaffinches visiting a garden in Whitehead this morning. (Bill McCullough). 

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for todays pictures of a Merlin and a male Smew taken at Inch in Donegal. You can see more NI bird pictures at


Bird News Boxing Day

The Bonaparte's Gull was feeding at Larne harbour outfall this morning. (Neal Warnock).

29 Waxwings were at the Antrim Forum at 10am this morning, a further flock of approximately 11 Waxwings were at North Road in Ballymena at 12.30. (Iris Millar).

Along the Antrim coast a male Goosander was at the river at Waterfoot. A Great Northern Diver was close inshore and 20 Waxwing at Carnlough (Richard Gray).      

2 Waxwing were along Holywood Road in Belfast near the Park Avenue Hotel (Simon Morton).

Bird News - Christmas Day

Late news from yesterday is of 15 Waxwings at Edenvilla, Portadown briefly before being scared off by a Sparrowhawk. (James O'Neill).

A male Brambling is visiting a garden at the Spa near Ballynahinch. (David Nixon).

A female Goosander was at Portmore Lough this morning. (Keith Bennett).

The Little Gull was still at the south Balancing Lake in Craigavon. (Ed O'Hara).

6 Sandwich Terns were in the Briggs Rocks area. Yesterday a 1st winter Iceland Gull flew over Springhill Shopping Centre in Bangor. (Colin Guy).

A Chiffchaff was at Orlock feeding in scrub above the coastal path about 150 metres from where the southern end of the path meets the road. (Ron Price).

The unusual Chaffinch is still visiting a garden in Richhill, see pictures below. (Andrew Poots0>

10 Purple Sandpipers were with Turnstones at Groomsport today. (Sam Scott).

15 Waxwing were at Pentagon end of Linenhall Street in Ballymena (Richard Gray).       

A male Brambling and 16 Tree Sparrow were in a garden in Castlerock (Mervyn Guthrie).   

There was another sighting of the Iceland Gull seen yesterday at Springhill in Bangor - today it was close by at Carnalea/Station Road and Wandsworth area of Bangor West (Derek Polley).   

The adult Ring-billed Gull, a Great Northern Diver, Red-throated Diver and Sandwich Tern were at Groomsport (George Gordon).
Thanks to todays photographers, Dessie Loughrey for the most appropriate of Xmas birds, the Robin, Ed O'Hara for the female Pheasant and Andrew Poots for the unusual Chaffinch visiting his garden. 


Merry Christmas to everyone.

We at the blog would like to thank everyone who has contributed news or pictures during the year , it is down to all of you that the blog is so popular, it is equally satisfying that so many people find it helpful. Looking back over the year, 2012 has produced some fantastic birds, hopefully 2013 will be just as good. It just leaves us to say we wish everyone a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.


Bird News Monday 24th December

The Little Gull was still at the south Balancing Lake in Craigavon, see picture below. (Ed O'Hara).

A male and female Brambling are visiting a garden in Gilnahirk, Belfast. (Ron Price).

80 - 100 Waxwings were seen flying over Dundonald late this afternoon. (Dave Allen).

3 Waxwing were still in the car park at the Antrim Forum today. (Bird Guides).

A flock of at least 32 Waxwing have been feeding on berry bushes in Ardarawood in Comber today. Waxwings were also in flight at Donaghadee Garden Centre and in Newtownards. 25 Whooper Swans and 700 Lapwing were feeding in fields along the dual carriageway between Comber and Newtownards. (Chris Shaw).

On the outer Ards a jack Snipe was at Ballyquintin and a Sandwich Tern at Knockinelder Bay. (Keith Bennett).

30 Waxwing were along Manse Road in Newtownards near the shopping center (Ian and Margaret McKee).       

There were still 11 Waxwing near the boat club along the Lagan in Belfast (John Pyper, Alan Gallagher).     

3 Little Egret were at Ballycarry Bridge in Larne Lough. A male Brambling was in a garden in Whitehead and 2 Purple Sandpiper along the seafront (Cameron Moore).

A Buzzard and a Kestrel were at Dundonald. (Stephen Maxwell).    

Thanks to todays photographers, Ed O'Hara for the Littel Gull picture, Christine Cassidy for the Goldeneye picture, John Johnston for the Pheasant picture and Stephen Maxwell for the Long Tailed Tit picture. Check out more NI bird pictures at


Bird News Sunday 23rd December

The Little Gull is still on the south Balancing Lake at Craigavon, see pictures below. (Ed O'Hara).

23 Waxwings were in the car park at the Antrim Forum. (Rickie Hunter).

The Cattle Egret was seen again at the pig farm at St Johnstone in Co. Donegal before being flushed by a Buzzard, see picture below. (Brian Hegarty).

A female Blackcap and a flock of Redpolls are visiting a garden in Groomsport. (Sam Scott).

A female Brambling was in a garden in Brunswick Road in Bangor (Derek Polley) and 9 Red-throated Diver and the adult Ring-billed Gull at Groomsport (George Gordon).

The photograph of the Waxwing with the coloured leg rings by Cameron Moore which we posted on Friday was ringed at Aboyne in Aberdeenshire on the 27th November.

Thanks to today's photographers, to Brian Hegarty for the Cattle Egret picture, to Ed O'Hara for the Little Gull pictures and to John Johnston for the Bullfinch pictures. You can see more NI bird pictures at


Bird News for Saturday 22nd December.

A Black Brant was a Dundrum Inner Bay South.(D.Nixon)

64 Waxwing were at the Boat Club on the Strandmillis Embankment.(Birdguides)

24 Waxwing were on the Ballyhenry Road Glengormley.

A Long-tailed Duck was on the Lower Lough Erne.(B.Robson).

Bird News for Friday 21st December.

At Greyabbey Bay 14 Slavonian Grebe and 3 Black-throated Diver. Another 2 Slavonian Grebe near Chapel Island and 2 Jack Snipe north of Horse Island.(R.Weyl)

5 Waxwing were on the Knockeen Road, Ballymena.(Birdguides)  

Our  thanks to Cameron Moore for this photo of a Waxwing showing coloured leg rings. Also to Noel Austin for this male Bullfinch.


Bird News Thursday 20th December

Lough foyle had 8 Little Egret, 3 Snow Bunting at Myroe and 25 Waxwing at Faughanvale (Matthew Tickner and Brad Robson)

A pair of Great Northern Divers were in Belfast Lough very close to the shore at Greenisland (Roger Woodward)

A drake Smew and a Ruff were at Inch, Co Donegal (Chris Ingram)

A late report, for 12th December was this Gyr Falcon in a field beside the B510, near the Burnfoot River. The photo was taken through the car window by Shirley & Greg Alexander, Coleraine. It is presumably the escaped bird that has been along the North coast - although there have been a few in Scotland!

Bird News Wednesday 19th December

The blue phase Snow Goose was still at Lough Macnean, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

12 Waxwing were at Nelson Drive, Derry (Theo Campbell)

The adult Ring-billed Gull was at Groomsport and 20 Waxwing along Groomsport Road in Bangor (George Gordon)

Thanks to Rob McAlister for these pics of a Redwing and a Waxwing at The Boat Club, Stranmillis:

Bird News Tuesday 18th December

120 Waxwings were still at Queens University Boat Club in Stranmillis, Belfast, see picture below.  (Keith Bennett/Andrew Johnston).

A Whinchat, a very unusal wintering bird, was on the beach at Tyrella, in the vicinity of the toilet block, 200 metres east of Tyrella car park. A total of 12 Stonechats were along a five kilometre stretch of coast going west from Ringboy/Murphystown. Also seen were 3,000 Common Scoter, although distant, 20 Red-throated Divers, 15 Great Northern Divers, 40 Sanderling, 4 Twite, 80 Linnets, 30 Greenfinch, a Carrion Crow and 2 Otters. (Chris Murphy).

Late news from yesterday was of Waxwings and a Brambling were in Whitehead, see pictures below. (Cameron Moore).

9 Buzzards and 9 Red Breasted Merganser were around Lough Foyle and Myroe, see pictures below. (Christine Cassidy).

30 Waxwing were along Bloomfield Road South in Bangor near Tescos Garage (Dot Blakely).    

On the Antrim side of Belfast Lough a Slavonian Grebe, 11 Common Scoter, 12 Red-throated Diver and 250 Dunlin were at Loughshore (Gerard McGeehan).     

14 Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch and 4/5 Siskin were in a garden in Castlerock (Mervyn Guthrie).     

A possible Great White Egret was near Warrenpoint - the size of a Grey Heron but it would need to be confirmed (Jerry McKay).     

On the Antrim Plateau 17 Mealy Redpoll were at a small plantation along Star Bog Road at D324031 feeding on the ground and approachable. They had streaked white rumps. A Red Grouse and Snipe were in the same area (Karl Hamilton).   

Thanks to todays photographers, Cameron Moore for the first two Waxwing pictures and the Brambling picture, Christine Cassidy for the Whooper, Buzzard and Red Breasted Merganser pictures, Alan Gallagher for the Kingfisher pictures and Andrew Johnston for the picture of a tree full of Waxwings. You can see more bird pictures at