Bird News Saturday 31st May

The Hobby was still present at the Montaighs NNR.(Irishbirding)

The Marsh Harrier was present at Lough Cowey, Down, at 2.30 today (Guy Hamilton)

The drake Garganey was still at Portmore Lough (Birdguides)

A Cuckoo was calling on the Derrytrashna Rd, Lurgan.(David Clarke)

Keep up to speed with our Swifts at the  Northern Ireland swift Group web site and swift diary. Lots of information about nest boxes, attracting swifts, camera kits and video from inside nest boxes

Our sincere thanks to Tom McCreery for the Cuckoo, Christine Cunningham for the Meadow Pipit to Dick Glasgow for the photo of a Reed Bunting. Also to Eric Philips for the pic of a Grey Heron on a roof at Lambeg:

BTO Event


A BTO Garden BirdWatch workshop is being held at Oxford Island Discovery Centre on Saturday 7 June from 10.00am to 2.00pm (lunch included). To discover what’s involved in this easy-to-do weekly all year round survey and its value to conservation, please book a place by contacting the Discovery Centre on 028 3832 2205 or

House Sparrow, Dick Glasgow:

Rathlin on Camera

Rathlin on Camera

Location – Rathlin Island, Date – 21 June

Rathlin Island is one of Northern Ireland’s most special places - home to all sorts of flora and fauna, from puffins and seals to rare orchids, and stunning views as far as the eye can see.

Join local resident and award-winning photographer Tom McDonnell to explore the most picturesque parts of the island and enjoy expert guidance on capturing that perfect shot.

Time – Noon to 3.30pm

Price - £20/£15 for RSPB members. Ferry fare not included - to view sailing times.

Booking for this event is essential by emailing or calling 028 9049 1547.

Spaces are limited. This event is not suitable for under 16s.

Great Auk....

NIEA, particularly Peter Cush, have been involved in a wonderful project to bring the Great Auk 'back' to Rathlin. Worth having a look at the short film which can be accessed at

Bird News Friday 30th May

The male and female Garganey were on the island from the viewing platform at Portmore Lough RSPB reserve. There were also an impressive 23 singing Reed Warbler heard on survey around the lough (Brad Robson and Amy Burns)

A Cuckoo was calling in Woodburn Forest just off the Slievetrue Rd, Newtownabbey this morning at 7:40am. (George Stewart)

A late Brent Goose was at Glynn, Co Antrim (Neal Warnock)

Two fist summer Little Gull were at Kinnegar today (Brian Murphy / Joe Lamont)

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for the buzzard pic and Joe Lamont for the male Sparrowhawk:

Bird News Thursday 29th May

A male Garganey was at Church Island. Lough Beg. (David Steele)

A first summer Little Gull was at Belfast Harbour RSPB Reserve today (Anne Guichard)

Many thanks to Anne Guichard for these pics of the Little Gull (in the latter chased by a Black-headed Gull) and Dick Glasgow for the male Hen Harrier. You can see more pics at 

Bird News Wednesday 28th May

Late news for yesterday was that the Glossy Ibis was still at Lough Cowey, seen preening on a small dead tree on the opposite side of bay, looking west, from main fishing carpark at 9.20pm. (Tim Murphy).

2 (possibly 3) Cuckoo were at Glarryford at the junction of Duneany and Killycowan Roads (Sean Hennessy).

Bird News Tuesday 27th May

A pair of Garganey were showing well in the new scrape at Portmore Lough RSPB reserve (Robin Brown and Amy Burns)

An adult female Marsh Harrier and 3 Reed Warbler were at Lough Cowey this afternoon. (Tim Murphy)

A Hobby was hunting over Montiaghs Moss, Co Antrim, this morning. (Ron Price)

A drake Ring-necked Duck was at the Quoile (presumably the Castle Ward bird) on the 24th and 25th May)

Thanks to Amy Burns for the distant pic of the pair of Garganey:

Bird News Monday 26th May

The Osprey was still present at Lough Corbet NR Banbridge, along with three Common Terns (David McCreedy)

A Cuckoo was calling in trees between Clencraig and Belfast Royal Golf Course.(Warren Rainey)

Our kind  thanks to Tom McCreery for his two excellent photo's of the Osprey at Corbet Lake. Also to Karl Martin for the Grey Heron. Also to Stephen Maxwell for the Blackcap

Bird News Sunday 25th May

The White-winged Tern is still at Inch Lake, Donegal (Keith Bennett) this afternoon it was on one of three small stone islands. (Neal Warnock)

Two Curlew Sandpipers and a summer plumaged Knot were at the Bann Estuary (Neal Warnock)

A fist summer Iceland Gull was at the east end of Ballyheirnan Bay, Fanad. Five Great Northern Divers were also present. (Wilton Farrelly).

A male Pintail was at Paddy's Dubh, and a summer plumaged Knot was at Lough Beg this evening. (Ciaran Burns).

 An adult Long-tailed Skua and 70 Common Scoter were at Magilligan, Lough Foyle (Nigel Ireland). 

A Reed Warbler and male Red-breasted Merganser were at Blackers Rock along the west shore of Lough Neagh (Godfrey McRoberts).  

A first-summer Mediterranean Gull and a Whimbrel were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Stuart McKee).

A Pine Marten was being mobbed by Hooded Crows at Lough Muckno Park, Castleblaney in Co. Monaghan. (John Anderson)

Bird News Saturday 24th May

A White-winged Black Tern is at Inch Lake, Co Donegal this morning (Chris Ingram)

A Cuckoo was at Murlough, Co Down (Kevin Kirkham-Brown)

Three Water Rail were near Scarva (Fulton Sommerville)

You can share rare and scarce bird news via, text 07973403146 or Twitter @nibirds 

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for these pics of a Wheatear and a Ringed Plover:

Bird News Friday 23rd May

A pair of Ravens have raised young within a sub-urban setting in east Belfast (Vivienne Boyd)

A Corncrake has been calling on Rathlin Island (RSPB)

Seabird viewing around Rathlin...
There is a planned boat trip organised to view the seabirds around Rathlin Island leaving Ballycastle at 15.30 on Sunday 25th May and also Monday 26th May, if interested contact

Thanks to Karl Martin for the Grey Heron. Also to  Dick Glasgow for this pic of a Tree Sparrow:

Bird News Thursday 22nd May

Four Concrake were heard calling today at Malin Head, Co Donegal. (Christine Cassidy and Theo Campbell)

A Wood Warbler is on Tory Island along with a Spotted Flycatcher and two White Wagtails (Chris Ingram)

Last night a young Dipper was at Fardross Forest nr Clogher Co Tyrone (Colin Bell)

Yesterday a Spotted Flycatcher, Bullfinch, Sedge and up to three Reed Warblers were along a road on the south side of Lough Cowey, Co Down (Dick Haydon)

Also yesterday a Garden Warbler was in song and glimpsed briefly at Big Wood Forest Nature Reserve, Belvoir Park Forest, Belfast, (Joe Furphy)

Thanks to Karl Martin for these Stonechat pics:

Bird News Wednesday 21st May

3 Whinchat were at Glenwherry and a Spotted Flycatcher at Glynn. (Gerard McGeehan).

A Spotted Flycatcher was at Gosford Forest Park. (Neil Cartmill).

An Osprey was at Banagher Reservoir, Co. Londonderry. (David Steele).

Thanks to today's photographers Tony Donaldson and Christine Cassidy.

 Grey Wagtail - Tony Donaldson
Ringed Plover - Christine Cassidy

Bird News Tuesday 20th May.

A Great White Egret was at the Mullagh, Lough Beg (David Steele)

A 1st summer Little Gull was at the RSPB Belfast Harbour Estate reserve.(Keith Bennett)

A Spotted Flycatcher was near Bessbrook, Co Armagh this evening. (Frank Carroll)

Late news from last night of a Grasshooper Warbler and a Pine Martin where at Crocknagrally Forest nr Fivemiletown Co Tyrone.(Colin Bell)

Also a Barn Owl was seen at 23.00 between Crumlin and Nutt's Corner.(Garry Wilkinson)

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for this pic of a Pied Wagtail:

Helping our Swifts

Thanks to John Young for providing this:
These photos are of three pairs of Swifts which have recently arrived at the gable of my house in Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh. Three boxes were put up last year and I added another four earlier this year. I’m hoping to see eggs and chicks throughout the summer.  See the “Save our swifts NI” website at -

Bird News Monday 19th May

The Osprey was still at Corbet Lough, Banbridge this morning. (Andy Cleeve)

Five Spotted Flycatcher, three Whitethroat and a Redwing passed through Copeland Bird Observatory at the Weekend (Wesley Smyth)

Three Little Terns were on the beach at Ballykinlar. The birds were viewable from the shoreline opposite at the mouth of Dundrum bay, accessed via Murlough. Approximately 450 Sanderling were also present. (Stewart McKee)

A Glossy Ibis was in a wet field along the Portaferry Road near Ardkeen at 3pm. (Thom Shannon).

3 Sanderling and an adult Mediterranean Gull (with a green ring) were at Sandy Bay in Larne Lough and the first-summer Little Gull, a Wheatear and 2 Gadwall at Glynn (Cameron Moore).  

Yesterday a first-summer Little Gull and a Whimbrel were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Stuart McKee).

For those interested, there has been an amazing record of a  Bermuda Petrel seen and photographed at sea, 170 nautical miles northwest of Slea Head today (Niall Keogh) -

Thanks to today's photographers, to Christine Cassidy, David Hill and Tom McCreery:

Dunlin - Christine Cassidy
 Guillemot - David Hill
Linnet - David Hill
Cuckoo - Tom McCreery

Bird News Sunday 18th May

NI mega: A Red-rumped Swallow was seen this morning for a total of 30 minutes flying round a garden near Strangford Village, Co Down. (Craig Nash). It is worthwhile looking out in the wider area inc Castle Ward / Quoile where there are large numbers of Hirundines.

An Osprey was hunting this morning at Corbet Lough bear Banbridge (Andy Cleeve)

The drake Garganey was still at Inch, Co Donegal (Christine Cassidy and Theo Campbell)

Unusually, a pair of Ravens nested in a Scots Pine in a  garden in Newcastle and the young are just about to fly. (Jim Wells)

The first-summer Little Gull, a Sedge Warbler and a Carrion Crow were at Glynn in Larne Lough (Cameron Moore)
A Cuckoo was at Crocknafeola Wood between Hilltown and Kilkeel in the Mourne Mountains (Ann McComb)
Six Sanderling, 11 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin were at Ballyholme beach (George Henderson)

A White Wagtail was at Greencastle, Co Down (Ian Jackson)

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for this pic of a Swallow, Christine Cassidy for the Garganey, Ian Jackson for the White Wagtail and Sean Hennessy for the pictures of the Osprey:


Bird News Saturday 17th May

A first summer Little Gull was at Glynn, Larne Lough (Neal Warnock)

A drake Garganey was at Inch, Co Donegal today, visible from the causeway (Chris Ingram)

A pale phase Arctic Skua was at Magilligan and a female Marsh Harrier and hybrid Carrion Crow at Bann Estuary (Theo Campbell)

A Cuckoo, 6 Raven and 8 Wheatear were on the south side of Sallagh Braes (Brian Halligan)

Yesterday a Cuckoo was at Cave Hill (Larry Toal)

Thanks to Roger Greaves for this pic of a Swallow and Dick Glasgow for the male Hen Harrier:

Bird News Friday 16th May

3 Spotted Flycatchers and 2 Chough were on Rathlin Island. (Colin Guy).

6 Whinchat, a Wheatear and Raven were on the Antrim Plateau. A Mediterranean Gull, 2 Gadwall, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Treecreeper were at Glynn in Larne Lough (Gerard McGeehan).

2 terns on Tory Island reported as Black Terns have been re-identified as White-winged Black Terns. (Chris Ingram).

4 late Brent Geese were at Killard this afternoon. (Philip McErlean).

A single Whimbrel was at Lough Beg. (Richard Hunter).

Thanks to today's photographers, Dessie Loughrey, Philip McErlean and Stuart McKee.

Grey Heron - Dessie Loughrey
Brent Geese - Philip McErlean
Shelduck & Fox - Stuart McKee

Seabird Pics Needed

The RSPB is calling for help to build a picture of seabird declines. Kittiwakes have declined across the UK and have been hardest hit in northern Scotland where their numbers have fallen by 86 per cent in 25 years - many colonies in places like Orkney and Shetland have virtually disappeared. Guillemots and Arctic terns have also suffered catastrophic declines in the same period.

The RSPB is campaigning for Marine Protected Areas to be designated to help tackle the threat to kittiwakes, guillemots and Arctic terns, and also for governments to take the issue of climate change, and its impact on wildlife, more seriously. Campaigners are trying to collect images of thriving seabird cliff colonies from the past in order to compare them to the same sites today.
The RSPB are asking anyone who has been birdwatching, gone on holiday, worked or volunteered anywhere where there are kittiwake strongholds like Orkney, Shetland or elsewhere to have a look through their old photos and see if they have pictures of thriving cliff colonies from before 2000. When compared with photographs of the same cliffs now, we will have a really stark image of these declines which we hope will raise awareness of the seabirds’ plight, and help get them better protection. If you have some images gathering dust in a loft or sitting on a hard-drive which you think would help, then please let us know - they could make a big difference.

Anyone who has photographs of colonies of kittiwakes, guillemots or Arctic terns before 2000 can email them to

Bird News Thursday 15th May

Two Garden Warbler where calling at the RSPB Lower Lough Erne reserve.(Brad Robson)

A near adult Iceland Gull was at Portballintrae today (Colin Guy)

A Cuckoo was calling at Ballywatermoy Rd, Glarryford, about 5 miles north of Ballymena. (Margaret Murray-Tait)

A Cuckoo was calling this evening around 6pm at private bog land on the Hogstown Road near Donaghadee (David McCormick)

Greenfinch - James O'Neill.

Cuckoo - Tom McCreery.

Blue Tit - Christine Cassidy.

Bird News Wednesday 14th May

A Red Kite was seen at Hilltown, Co Down today (Neil Cartmill)

Two Reed Warbler were in song at Oxford Island (Brian Murphy)

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for this Wheatear Pic:

Bird News Tuesday 13th May

A pair of Cuckoos was calling at Murlough Nature Reserve this morning and giving excellent views. (Gilly Irwin). 

What was probably an escaped Harris Hawk, with jesses, was at Boucher Retail Park opposite the Cotswold outdoor store this afternoon. (Philip Higginson).

Yesterday 10 Whimbrel, 3 Whooper Swan and 2 Wheatear were at Mullagh, Lough Beg and a Whimbrel and 4 Wheatear were at the Giants Causeway.

Thanks to today's photographers, Christine Cassidy and James O'Neill.

Wheatear - Christine Cassidy
Greenfinch - James O'Neill
Wheatear - Giants Causeway

Bird News Monday 12th May.

Yesterday one of the male Garganey was still at Blackers Rock on the west shore of Lough Neagh.(Godfrey McRoberts)

A Mediterranean Gull was at Brown's Bay on Island Magee and a second-year Iceland Gull and 11 Pale -bellied Brent were still at Sea Park in Belfast Lough (Cameron Moore)

Planned boat trip around Rathlin Island....

A boat will leave Ballycastle this Saturday (17th May) at noon, they need 12 people to fill the boat, if interested contact Jim Wells at

Cuckoo - Zach McCreery.

Stonechat - Stephen Maxwell

Blue Tit - Noeni Bryars.

Chaffinch - James O'Neill.