Bird News Sunday 31st March.(Easter Sunday)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Belvoir forest, Belfast  it was seen and heard drumming nr the car-park. (Daniel Barry)

A Brambling was seen along the Newry Canal.(Alistair Prentice)

A Chiffchaff was at RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve (Chris Sturgeon)

Whitehead seafront this evening had 200+ Kittiwake feeding offshore with approx 12 Manx Shearwater also present. (I.Enlander)

28 Waxwing at Sainsbury's Carpark Carrickfergus today. The Ring billed Gull was at Carrickfergus harbour. A Med Gull adult was at Carrickfergus Leisure Centre ponds.(Paul McCullough/Ann Dowling) The flock of Waxwing at Sainsbury's had numbered 40 birds.(Pauline Majury)

Our thanks to(from the top) Alistair Prentice for this fine photo of a freshly arrived Wheatear. Also to Tom McCreery for the Jay. Stephen Maxwell for the Black Guillemot. 

Cetacean information

In the past week there have been 2 dolphin strandings at Whitehead - an adult
Bottlenose Dolphin on monday and a sub-adult Common Dolphin today - this is unprecedented especially for species that are both comparatively uncommon in these waters. 2 ending up within a few hundred metres of each other at Whitehead may suggest there are more out there.

I would be grateful if anyone noting a cetacean corpse could contact Ian Enlander with the details and/or report it through the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group website. Northern Ireland Environment Agency are keen to recover any corpses for post-mortem and this can be arranged more quickly if you let Ian have the details.

mobile: 07860408345

Bird News Saturday 30th March

A Chiffchaff was at kiltonga reserve this morning around 7:20 am (Chris Henry)

The blue phase Snow Goose was still at Lough Nacnean, Co Fermanagh (Wilton Farrelly)

The drake Ring-necked Duck and Green-winged Teal were still at Dunfanaghy New Lake, Co Donegal.

Killybegs had at least 3 juvenile Glaucous Gulls this afternoon; also 3 juvenile Iceland Gull and an adult Mediterranean

The adult Ring billed Gull was at Carrickfergus Harbour today. Also ten Waxwing at the Sainsburys carpark. 5 Long tailed Duck from the harbour (Paul McCullough)

On Rathlin were long-tailed duck, 4 wheatears, merlin, 2 scandinavian rock pipits (Neal Warnock)

Two Mediterranean Gulls at the bay at Kilclief, beside GAA grounds. One was an adult in full breeding plumage and the other was coming into 2nd Summer plumage. A Brambling was also in a Garden at Spa (David Nixon)

A Brambling & 12 Waxwings were in a private garden in the Waterside, Derry (Christine Cassidy)

A Short-eared Owl was at Ballyquintin Point and 4 Black-throated Diver and 2 Great Northern Diver south of Gransha Point in Strangford Lough. (Richard Weyl)

A Red Kite was 2.5km south west of Slieve Croob today around 1pm (D Wilson)

A Brambling was at Acton lake in a mixed flock of Chaffinch and Redpoll. Two Chiffchaff were calling on towpath between Scarva ANC Acton lake. A male Blackcap was also present (Mark Elliott)

8 Snow Bunting were at the old landfill site along Hightown Road above Glengormley and 2 female Brambling in a garden at Waterloo Park in Belfast (Larry Toal)

A Mealy Redpoll was at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Stuart McKee).

At least 18 Redwing, a Grey Wagtail and Treecreeper were along the Lagan towpath at Drum near Hilden (Margaret Adamson)

There was no positive news on the Kildeer today.

Some excellent pics received today which are at:

Thanks to Paul McCullogh for the Waxwing pic, Christine for the Brambling and Dessie Loughry for the Mallard pic.

Rings & Things

Stephen Maxwell took these pictures at Belfast Lough RSPB reserve, all featuring Black-tailed Godwits. The first two birds showing their BTO rings and the third with a Cockle hitching a lift on it's foot, something that has been seen more than once at the reserve.

Bird News Friday 29th March

A drake American Wigeon is at the Quoile Pondage, to the left of the hide, with Wigeon and Teal. An adult Mediterranean Gull was in Killyleagh harbour. (David Nixon).

(At 2pm the American Wigeon was visible from far end of road past countryside centre. Not visible from hide in current location - Keith Bennett)

A Kildeer has been reported at the north part of the estuary at Killybeggs in Co. Donegal. Viewed from the R263 causeway G724780.

The drake Lesser Scaup was still off the Discovery Centre at Oxford Island (Jeff Larkin)

Two adult Mediterranean Gulls are at Sandy Bay, Larne (Neal Warnock)

16 Waxwings are back in Whyte Acres Banbridge this morning (Karen Elliott)

A male and 3 female Bramblings were still visiting a garden off the Belmont Road, Belfast (Philip West)

The blue phase Snow Goose is still at Lough Macnean, Co Fermanagh.

The Iceland Gull is still at Corbally Reservoir.

A small flock of Waxwings were at Springhill House National Trust today, circa 25, eating berries in the walled garden at 2 pm. About 5 were still some there at 3:30. (Kevin Kirkhambrown).

A Mealy Redpoll is visiting a garden in Richhill, Co. Armagh. (Andrew Poots).

At Larne Lough a Pink-footed Goose, adult Mediterranean Gull and Greenshank were at Glynn (Gerard McGeehan).      

Last night at 10pm a Barn Owl was seen at Annagh lane at Lough Beg (Seamus and Ciaran Burns). 

Thanks to today's photographers, to Andrew Poots for the pictures of the Mealy Redpoll, to Kevin Kirkhambrown for the pictures of the Waxwings, to Dessie Loughrey for the picture of the Grey Heron and to Alistair Prentice for the Treecreeper picture. You can see more NI bird pictures at


NI Black-headed Gull Ringing Project

In November 2012, Adam McClure began a colour-ringing project looking at Black-headed Gulls here in Northern Ireland. The main objective of the project is to learn more about the species here, through determining dispersal / natal fidelity from a colony, movements of adults from breeding and wintering grounds and migration movements within Ireland and from Great Britain and continental Europe.

Over this winter, 36 Black-headed Gulls have been caught (by hand!) and fitted with orange colour-rings which are engraved with a four digit, alphanumeric code. Currently, there have been over 100 re-sightings of NI study birds and although there have been none away from wintering grounds, it’s very encouraging that people are seeing and reporting their sightings.
It is hoped that this spring, as wintering birds disperse, we will receive sightings from breeding grounds and in the summer young birds in several colonies will also be fitted with colour-rings which will provide accurate information of when and where they were born.

In an effort to raise awareness of the project and to encourage the reporting of colour-ringed birds in Northern Ireland, Adam is running a blog which the public can access to keep up to date with how the study is progressing: and he can be contacted at

Adam is also keen to hear about reports of Black-headed Gulls from elsewhere, seen in Northern Ireland, which will provide more detail and allow a bigger picture to emerge of where birds are coming from to breed or winter here. During winter 2012-13, there have been colour-ringed birds from as far away as Norway, Poland and Lithuania recorded in Counties Antrim and Down, as well as birds from closer to home from Scotland, England and Co. Mayo.

Below are pics of an example of a NI BHG colour-ring (by Kevin Mawhinney), a pic of re-sighting of 2ABF (by Neville McKee) and locations of sightings.:

Bird News Thursday 28th March

14 Waxwings were in Killaire Avenue, Bangor this morning. There was also one in Birch Drive, Bangor, on 25th March. (Kerry Leonard)

About 30 Waxwing were still at Culmore Point, Derry (Martina Boyle)

A 1st year Iceland Gull was at Corbally Reservoir, Portrush A Wheatear was at Ballintoy and the Glaucous Gull still at Ballycastle (Colin Guy)

The blue phase Snow Goose was seen at Lough Macnean, Co Fermanagh.

9 Waxwings were still hanging around Ross Bay, Waterside, Derry. 8 Buzzards were around Myroe. 2 Little Egret on the Foyle. A flock of approx 300 Greylag Geese , One wearing a Orange neckband ABZ ... (probably one of the 27 caught and ringed at Inch a few months ago) (Christine Cassidy & Ray Brogan)

A Cormorant was showing at RSPB Harbour Belfast along with 5 Snipe & Black Guillemot. (Jim McKeown)

3 Chough are back on Rathlin (James Robinson)

3 Swallow, a Peregrine Falcon and a possible Saker (with jesses) were at Sandy Cove caravan site near Millisle (Aaron Devlin)

32 Waxwing were at Sainsbury's car park in Carrickfergus (Gerard McGeehan)

2 Sandwich Tern and a Gannet were at Briggs Rocks near Groomsport (Margaret Adamson)

Thanks to Martina for these pics of the Culmore Waxwings:


Occasionally we do publish non bird pics as all birders enjoy our wildlife.
Seeing an Otter is always a rewarding experience and these pics of an Otter by Chris Colhoun are some of the best we have received. Enjoy!
(As with all pics on our Blogs, they are not to be used without the Photographers permission. We are happy to pass on requests to use a Photographers pics).

Bird News Wednesday 27th March

9 Waxwings were at Richmond Drive, Tandragee again today (David Knight)

A Brambling was in a garden in Warringstown (Tom McCreery)

An adult Med Gull was at Drains Bay and a Great Northern Diver off Ballygally Head this afternoon (Adam McClure)

A Sand Martin was at Lower Lough Erne islands RSPB reserve, Co Fermanagh today (Brad Robson)

Thanks to David Knight for this pic of a Waxwing, Tom McCreery for the Brambling and Alistair Prentice for the Dipper. You can see more pics at

Bird News Tuesday 26th March

9 Waxwing were at the town end of Park Lane in Gilford this morning (Mark McConnell)

A small flock of 12 Waxwings were still in the Castlewellan Road area of Banbridge early this morning, feeding in a garden, opposite the Ladybird Lane Nursery. (David McCreedy)

A Glaucous Gull was at Kinnegar Shore, Co Down.

6 Buzzard were at Ballystockart. (Stephen Maxwell).

A male Hen Harrier and 135 Snipe were at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB Reserve (Brad Robson).

At Larne Lough a Little Egret and a Carrion Crow were at Ballycarry Bridge and a male Wheatear at Mill Bay (Cameron Moore).

9 Waxwing were at Richmond Drive in Tandragee, the Red Crested Pochard was still at Oxford Island and a Knot was at Kinnegoe Marina. (David Knight).

A Little Egret was feeding in the flooded grass at Stormont, about a dozen Redwings and 6 Fieldfare were feeding with Song and Mistle Thrushes on the playing fields on the way out of Stormont. A male Blackcap is visiting a garden in Knock. (Lindsay Hodges).

The Bann Estuary had 22 Greylag Geese, 1 Pink-footed Goose, 104 Sanderling and 35 Black-tailed Godwit. (Hill Dick, Peter Robinson, Coleraine RSPB group).

Thanks to todays photographers, to Stephen Maxwell for the picture of a Shag, to Christine Cassidy for the Siskin and Greenfinch pictures, to Alistair Prentice for the Treecreeper picture, to David Knight for the picture of the Knot, to Lindsay Hodges for the Little Egret pictures and to Cameron Moore for the Wheatear and female Blackcap pictures. You can see more NI bird pictures at





Bird News Monday 25th March

Most unusually an adult Sabine’s Gull flew east along the shore, at Briggs Rocks, Co Down – a very rare “spring” record -
a Whimbrel was on the shore also (Colin Guy)

The drake Lesser Scaup was still off the Discovery Centre at Oxford Island.

5 Sand Martins were feeding over Lough Shark this morning (Fulton Sommerville)

A Little Gull (see pics  below) along with a Little Egret, 6 Black Guillemot and a Razorbill were at Killard, Co.Down.(Craig Nash).

There are 11 Waxwings at the moment back in Whyte Acres, Banbridge (1700 hrs) (Karen Elliott)

At Larne Lough a Pink-footed Goose was half a mile north of Ballycarry Bridge. 3 Jay flew across the Lough and a Little Egret was near Magheramorne (Cameron Moore).

25 Waxwing were seen this evening (5pm) at St Georges Church nr Albert clock in Belfast city centre.(D.Noe)

To-days photographs have been kindly sent in (from the top) by Craig Nash of the Little Gull at Killard and also the Little Gull again flying over a Razorbill. Stephen Maxwell of a Whimbrel taken at Ballymacormick Point yesterday and a Gadwall.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Thanks to Chris Colhoun for these superb pics of a female bird visiting a garden about 5 miles from Limavady.

Bird News Sunday 24th March

The adult male Lesser Scaup still at Oxford Island just outside breakwater with Tufties (Brad Robson)

13 Waxwings were again in Whyte Acres, Banbridge having stayed since yesterday. (Mark Elliott)

9 Waxwings, were at Ross Bay, Waterside, Derry and 15 Waxwings in the Shantallow Area, Derry (Christine Cassidy)

A flock of 30 Waxwing were at Culmore Point, Derry (Martina Boyle)

A pair of Slavonian Grebe were in a bay south of Greyabbey this morning (Richard Gowen)

On the Ourer Ards: Black-throated Diver: 1 Greyabbey Bay S, Great northern diver: 1 Marlfield (S Strangford Lough). Red-throated diver: 1 Gransagh Bay (Strangford narrows). Slavonian grebe: 5 Greyabbey Bay S. Short-eared Owl: 1 Ballyquintin. Red-legged Partridge: 1 on road just S of Kircubbin. Golden plover: large flocks (100s) at Floodgates, Ballyquintin, Kirkistown. Stock Dove: 4 on fields between Greyabbey and Mount Stewart (Keith Bennett)

No sign of the Barr Hall Bay green-winged teal (last seen by me 18th March).

Thanks to Mark for the top Waxwing pic, Christine for the middle pic and Martina for the bottom Waxwing pic. Thanks to Richard for the Slav Grebe picture.
You can see more pics at

Bird News Saturday 23rd March

13 Waxwings were in Whyte Acres off the Castlewellan Road, Banbridge at 7:30am (Mark Elliott)

A male Brambling continues to pay occasional visits to a sunflower feeder in a Spa garden (David Nixon)

25 Waxwings were in Derry at Shantallow Health Centre (Christine Cassidy)

9 Waxwings were at Ross Bay, Waterside Derry sitting on telegraph wires (Raymond Brogan)

A Little Egret was at the Floodgates at Newtownards (Debbie Gray)

At Larne Lough a Little Egret, 3 Greenshank and 2 Twite were at Mill Bay. 160 Fieldfare and 80 Redwing were half a mile north of there (Cameron Moore).

16 Waxwing were at Langtry Court along Templemore Avenue in East Belfast.

18 no Waxwings at Sainsbury's car park,Carrickfergus today 16.00hrs (Pauline Majury)

Thanks to Mark Elliott for the top two pics of the Waxwings and Christine Cassidy for the third pic: