Bird News Tuesday 31st December

The Surf Scoter was still showing south of Garron Point, Co Antrim. (Gerard McGeehan).

8 Ruff were feeding on the short, cut grass at Lough Beg National Nature Reserve along with 100 Lapwing. 19 Gadwall were seen on the flooded grass in front of Church Island, along with 2 male Pintail. (Ciaran Burns).

Two Red Throated Diver were in Groomsport Harbour by the rocks at 4pm. Also present were Cormorants, Shag, Black Guillemots, Great Black-Backed Gulls, Lesser Black-Backed Gulls, Redshanks, Turnstone and Eider. (Kevin Kirkham-Brown).

A first winter Mediterranean Gull was roosting on the pontoon at Antrim marina with the Black-headed Gull flock. (Adam McClure).

A Red-throated Diver was with the Surf Scoter at Garron and 2 Great Northern Diver at Ballygalley (Joe Lamont, William Smiton).  

6 Gannet flew east at Downhill (David Clarke, John Pyper).   

600 Lapwing and 500 Golden Plover were in the fields opposite Killough brickworks (Declan Clarke).

The Cattle Egret was at Hillsborough Park lake again. (Bird Guides)

A Goosander was on the Kellswater River, where the river intersects with the Doagh Road, Ballymena (not far from Ross Park Hotel). (John Parkinson)

We wish everyone a happy, peaceful and bird filled New Year.

Thanks to Ed O'Hara for this picture of a Buzzard with a Rook and to John Parkinson for the drake Goosander.


Bird News Monday 30th December

The Surf Scoter is 1.5 miles south of Garron Point, Co Antrim (Stuart McKee)
It was showing well from the layby of the Tower Road/A2 Garron Road junction north of Carnlough c.D296219 (16:00) The bird has been reported a few times throughout the day and seems to be showing well.

N'ards sailing club had 2 Black-throated Diver and 2 Long-tailed Duck.(R.Weyl)

The Spoonbill was on the Saltmarsh at Castle Espie this morning.

The Goosander still showing on the Craigavon Lakes.(Ed O'Hara) 

The adult Ring-billed Gull was still at Carrickfergus Harbour (Adam McClure)

2 Blackcap were visiting a garden off the Belmont Rd.(P.West)

Our thanks to Stuart McKee for the Surf Scoter pic. Also to Dick Glasgow for sending in this pic of a male Brambling, currently visiting his garden, there has been very few reported this winter.  


Bird News Sunday 29th December

A 1st winter male SURF SCOTER is approx 1 mile south of Garron Point. (Neal Warnock) see photo below

A fem. Goosander was at Craigavon Lakes.(Ed.O'Hara) see photo below

A Slavonian Grebe was off Carnlough (Neal Warnock)

At Whitehead were 12 Red-throated Diver and a group of approx 15 Bottlenose Dolphin close inshore. 
Portmuck had 30+ Red-throated Diver and 8 Harbour Porpoise (Ian Enlander)

4 Crossbill where at Jenkin Lough County Fermanagh (south of Fivemiletown).  Six Whooper Swan were also in the fields at Cleen, one mile south of the town. (Clive Mellon)

A mixed flock of Redwing and Fieldfare were on the Lylehill Road on the junction with Bernice Rd which runs of the Mallusk Rd Newtownabbey. (Ivan Dalglish)

Our thanks to Neal Warnock for this picture of the Surf Scoter. Dessie Loughrey for the pic of a Buzzard. Also to Ed O'Hara for the Goosander. Dick Glasgow for the Sparrowhawk and Jay. Cecil Smyth for the Long-tailed Tit. 



Bird News Saturday 28th December

A juvenile Mediterranean Gull and the Ring-billed Gull were at Carrickfergus Harbour, Co Antrim (Kevin Kirkham-Brown).
An adult Iceland Gull was at Enniskillen dump, Co Fermanagh. (Brad Robson)

A redhead Goosander was off Glynn Station this afternoon in Larne Lough. (Neal Warnock).

9 Bullfinch, 5 male and 4 female were feeding on Sorbus bushes at the Grove roundabout in Ballymena this morning. (Iris Millar).

 At Ballyquintin Point there were 42 Great Northern Diver, most close inshore, 1500+ feeding Kittiwake, 300 Razorbill and a Gannet. A further 27 Great Northern Diver were elsewhere on the Outer Ards at Quintin Bay (7), Knockinelder Bay (4), Cloughy Bay (4), Portavogie (6), Ballyhalbert (1, there were 8 yesterday), Ballywalter (4) and Ganaway Bay (1). (Richard Weyl).

Groomsport and Ballymacormack Point had 1 Blackthroated Diver, 5 Great Northern Divers and 10 Red Throated Divers, 1 Sandwich Tern and 1 Gannet, plus good numbers of Guillemots and Razor Bills. Between Copeland and Portavoe were c16 Red Throated Divers. (R Hart, M Richardson & F Somerville).

A Jay was in the trees at Stormont Estate. (Sharon Barry).

The Greenland White-fronted Goose, 4 Greenshank, 2 Whooper Swan, 74 Teal and a Kingfisher were at Glynn between 8.15 and 9.15am (Cameron Moore).

Portmore Lough RSPB Reserve had 100 Whooper, 50 Tree Sparrows, 2 Kestrel, a male Sparrowhawk and a Kingfisher. (Ed O'Hara).

Thanks to today's photographers, to Iris Millar for the picture of the Bullfinch, to Dick Glasgow for the pictures of the Jay and Red Squirrel and to Ed O'Hara for the picture of the Whooper Swans. You can see more NI bird pictures at


Bird News Friday 27th December

Oxford Island today had a Great Northern Diver, a Ruddy Duck, circa 1000 Pochard, 500 Tufted Duck, 20 Goldeneye, a Water Rail, 40 Whooper Swan and 4 Greylag Goose (Ed O'Hara)

Killybeggs had three Glaucous Gulls whilst St Johns Point had an Iceland Gull and a Little Auk. (Birdguides)

A male Merlin and a solitary juvenile Whooper Swan were in the River Bann adjacent to Portstewart Golf Club. Also a flock of Bramblings were around the NT hut/cafe Portstewart strand. (Peter Hough)

Thanks to Ed O'Hara for the pic of the Ruddy Duck:

Bird News Thursday 26th December

The Ards Peninsula had the hybrid Ring-billed \ Common Gull at Millisle Beach Park, 7 Sandwich Tern between Donaghadee and Millisle, the adult Mediterranean Gull and 2 drake Long-tailed Duck at Newtownards Yacht Club, 8+ Slavonian Grebe and 3 Barnacle Geese (presumably feral) at Annes Point (Wilton Farrelly).

At Orlock Point were 4 Blackcap and 8 Scoter. Offshore 1300 kittiwake were feeding west of Lighthouse (Richard Weyl)

A male Marsh Harrier was at Portmore Lough RSPB reserve (Kevin Kirkham-Brown)

The drake American Wigeon was still at the mouth of the River Drowse, Co Leitrim. A Black Brant was at Raghly, Co Sligo (Seamus Feeney)

The juvenile Spoonbill and 2 Little Egret were at the Floodgates at the north end of Strangford Lough (Ian McKee).

The female Goosander and 3 Otter were at Craigavon South Lake (Mark Killops).

A Chiffchaff was at Castleview Estate in Killyleagh (Spencer and Joan Marshall).

500 Golden Plover, 100 Fieldfare and 100 Lapwing were in fields near Kelly's Wood on the way down to St John's Point (David Clarke and John Pyper)

A barn owl was spotted flying across the road on the Lisnahunshin rd, Cullybackey at 5 45pm (Peter Mcallister)

Three Kingfisher were seen on the River Bann at Portglenone (John Loughlin / Irene Miller)

Below is a pic of the hybrid Common \ Ring-billed Gull. Thanks to Angus Kennedy for the Fieldfare pic: 

Bird News Wednesday 25th December

Merry Christmas to everyone.

A Goosander and a Kingfisher were at Craigavon Lakes (Mark Killop / Ed O’Hara)

A Sooty Shearwater, 2 Little Auks and a Puffin were seen off Malin Head (Ronan McLaughlin)

A Chiffchaff was feeding in the vegetation on the east side of Sandeel Bay, Orlock Co Down. (Ron Price)

40 Whooper Swan were in a field one and a half miles along the Comber Greenway (Warren Fowles)

Thanks to Ed O'Hara for this pic of the Goosander, Dick Glasgow for the Jay and Angus Kennedy for the Knot. You can see more bird pics at

Bird News Tuesday 24th December

A Slavonian Grebe was very close in off the town car park at Kircubbin. Also a large flock c400+ of Golden Plover was in a field beside kirkistown race track (Chris Henry)

There was no sign of the Grey Phalarope at Carnfunnock, yesterday nor today (Tom Ennis / Robert McDowell)

2 Jack Snipe were at Church Island at Lough Beg and 6 Ruff at Mullagh (David Steele)

The adult Ring-billed Gull was still at Carrickfergus Harbour (Warren Fowles)

Blackcaps continue to be seen in gardens with a male in south Belfast (Clive Mellon) and a female in East Belfast (Wilton Farrelly)

The Pectoral Sandpiper was still at Ardmore Point, Lough Neagh (Birdguides)

Thanks to Robert McDowell for this pic of a Turnstone and Kevin Kirkham-brown for the male Sparrowhawk:

Merry Christmas

All of us would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone who contributed news, pics or used this Blog by whatever media network, a very Merry Christmas. It is down to all of you that the blog remains as popular as ever. Looking back over 2013 we once again had some wonderful birds and pictures for all of us to enjoy, who knows what 2014 will bring - perhaps that elusive Ivory Gull! So please keep supporting the Blog, we couldn't do it without you.

Wilton, Garry and Ian (with kind assistance from George and Adam)

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for this wintery Robin.


The NIOC's annual photographic competition provides an opportunity for bird photographers resident in Northern Ireland to share their work with a larger audience. The show depends on the support of bird photographers like you for content and of course it costs nothing to enter. This year they have introduced a new Junior category for photographers who are aged 15 or under on 22nd January, 2014. If you know of anyone who would qualify please let them know about this and encourage them to enter. Remember sophisticated camera equipment is not essential. Perfectly good photographs can be taken on Point & Shoot cameras or even Mobile Phones.

Full details of the competition Rules, a Code of Conduct, FAQs and Categories can be viewed on the club's website and Entry Forms can be downloaded.  Also on view are pictures of the various trophies including the latest award for the new Junior category. You will also find background details for David Cottridge who will be judging the entries for the 2014 show and who will be delivering the 2014 Sam Penney Memorial lecture 'Birds of the Sacred Mountain, Nepal'. 

The Work of Northern Ireland Bird photographers 2014 will be shown in the Lecture Hall of the Ulster Museum on 19th March, 2014. The club now has to pay for the use of this accommodation and so there will be a small charge for those who wish to attend. For NIOC members admission is £1:00 and for non-members it is £3:00. So if you are a keen bird photographer please consider entering one of the categories but do please take note: the last date for submission of entries is Wednesday, 22nd January, 2014

Bird News Monday 23rd December.

2 Goosander (male and female) on river in Randalstown, upriver from bridge. 4 Jack Snipe and 26 Snipe at Carn Hill windfarm, above Monkstown/Glengormley (Dermot Hudges)
30 Curlew, 10 Golden Plover, a mixed flock of 50 Chaffinch/Greenfinch, 20 Redshank and 40 Turnstone were at Glencraig Community at Craigavad (Warren Rainey).

Our thanks to Kevin Kirkham-Brown for this photo of a Redpoll. Also to Dick Glasgow for the Goldfinch.

Bird News Sunday 22nd December

 The Grey Phalarope was still at the north end of the bay at Carnfunnock. (Garry Armstrong).

Randalstown forest this morning had 3 Jay, 2 Redpoll, 3 Treecreepers, 2 Goldcrest, 5 Fieldfare, 12 Long-tailed Tits, 30 Goldfinch, 5 Teal and 4 Little Grebe. (John Loughlin & Irene Millar).

2 Jack Snipe and a Slavonian Grebe were at Horse Island near Kircubbin. (Richard Weyl).

The Spoonbill was showing well at Castle Espie. 500+ Golden Plover, 100+ Grey Plover, 100+ Dunlin, 16 Little Egret and half a dozen Gadwall were also present. A Kingfisher made a brief appearance. (Kevin Kirkham-Brown).

The adult Mediterranean Gull was still at Crawfordsburn beach (Stuart McKee).

1,000 Lapwing, 500 Golden Plover and 80 Curlew were in fields beside Killough brickworks (Declan Clarke).

The Ring-billed Gull was still in the car-park at Carrickfergus harbour and 3 Little Egrets were at Ballycarry Bridge. (Philip West). 

Thanks to todays photographers, to Dick Glasgow for the pictures of the Tree Sparrows and Coal Tit at Breen Wood, to Cecil Smyth for the pictures of the Grey Phalarope and the Fieldfare and to Kevin Kirkham-Brown for the pictures of the Spoonbill. You can see more NI bird pictures at



Bird News Saturday 21st December

A Pomarine Skua was seen at Burial Island,  Co Down at 11.30. (Richard Weyl)

The Grey Phalarope was still at Carnfunock (William Smiton)

An Iceland and a Glaucous Gull were at Greencastle Co Donegal (Birdguides)

At least 12 Great Northern Divers around Newcastle Harbour. (David Nixon)

The adult Mediteranean Gull and three Carrion Crow were at Crawfordsburn, Co Down (Wilton Farrelly)

3 Sandwich Tern were at Portaferry marina (Jack Foster)

Keep a look out for a Glossy Ibis. Birds have been seen in Donegal and Cavan in recent days!

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for this pic of a Turnstone and William Smiton for the Grey Phalarope:

Bird News Friday 20th December

The two Glossy Ibis were still at Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal this morning (Chris Ingram)

The Spoonbill flew over Castle Espie WWT this morning. (Castle Espie)

The Grey Phalarope was still at “Tweeds Port”, right/south of the slipway, Carnfunnock (Brenda Campbell / Geoff Campbell).

A male Bullfinch was at the Ecos park in Ballymena today. (Celine Loughlin).

Thanks to Rob McAllister for the picture of a Jay in his garden and to Chris Henry for the pictures of the Spoonbill taken at Castle Espie this morning.


Bird News Thursday 19th December

2 Iceland and 2 Glaucous Gulls were at Killybeggs, Co Donegal (Chris Ingram)

Our thanks to Chris Henry for the Red-breasted Merganser and also to Christine Cunningham for the House Sparrows.
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Bird News Wednesday 18th December

The Ring-billed Gull was still at Carrickfergus Harbour today (Brian Murphy)

Thanks to today's photographers. Tony Donaldson for the drake Shoveler, Noel Austin for the Redpoll and Dick Glasgow for the Bullfinch. You can see more pics at

Bird News Tuesday 17th December

Two Glossy Ibis were at Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal today (Ralph Shepperd)

Two female Goosander were on Lough Island Reevy, Castlewellan this afternoon (Adam McClure)

The Grey Phalarope was still off the jetty at Carnfunock this morning (Brian Murphy / Neal Warnock)

226 Whooper Swans were on Portmore Lough along with 1732 Pochard and 648 Tufted ducks (Amy Burns)

Yesterday 18 Shoveler were at Lurgan Park Lake. A female or immature Goosander, 17 Gadwall, 2 Wigeon and an Otter were at Craigavon Lakes (Stephen Hewitt, Glen West).

 60 Chaffinch, 30/40 Lesser Redpoll, 20 Goldfinch, 20 Curlew and 4 Lapwing were at Glencraig Community Centre at Craigavad (Warren Rainey).

The adult Ring-billed Gull was still at Carrickfergus Harbour and an adult Mediterranean Gull at Greenisland Sea Park (Gerard McGeehan).

A Snow Bunting was on Slieve Gullion, Co. Armagh. (David Knight).

8 Little Egrets were feeding along the edge of the small lagoon by the causeway to the Quoile Pondage. (Tony Donaldson).

A single Pink-footed Goose was at Lough Macnean, Co Fermanagh (no Now Goose this year) and 2 Goosander at Lough Alowney,South Donegal (Brad Robson)

Thanks to Cameron Moore for the three pictures of the same Mediterranean Gull with the leg ring 32LU taken in July, November and yesterday at Sandy Bay, Larne, to David Knight for the picture of the Snow Bunting from Slieve Gullion and to Tony Donaldson for the picture of the Little Egrets at the Quoile.