Bird News Tuesday 31st March

A 1st winter Mediteranean Gull was at Belfast Harbour WOW Reserve (Stuart McKee)

The Spoonbill was at Ann's point, Strangford Lough in the muddy field by the road. (Keith Bennett).

At Larne Lough the Green-winged Teal, 2 Little Egret, a Carrion Crow, 38 Greylag and 47 Pale-bellied Brent were at Old Church Bay (Cameron Moore).

A Mealy Redpoll was visiting a garden in Richill. (Andrew Poots).

Thanks to Andrew for these pictures of the Mealy Redpoll and to David Hill for the pictures of the Greenshank and the Goldeneye.


Bird News Monday 30th March.

Oxford Island this morning has 4 male Scaup and 2 female Scaup2, 2 Jay and a male Ruddy Duck.(Fulton Somerville)

Great Crested Grebes - Fulton Somerville.

Bird News Sunday 29th March

The 1st winter Glaucous Gull was still at Ardglass harbour. (Frank Carroll).

The juvenile Kumlien's Gull was still at Lurgan Park Lake. (Garry Armstrong).

A drake Ring-necked Duck is at Ballyherly Lough and the Spoonbill at Anne's Point (Richard Weyl). The Ring-necked Duck was still present this afternoon. (Keith Bennett).

A second-year Little Gull was at Collectors Bay at the Quoile Pondage (Shirley Dunlop, Gerard McGeehan)

Two Sand Martins were at Racecourse Lough, Enniskillen (Brad Robson)

Around Larne Lough a first-winter Iceland Gull and 2 Sanderling were at Sandy Bay and a Carrion Crow, Little Egret, 47 Pale-bellied Brent and 2 Greenshank at Glynn. The Green-winged Teal was seen from Old Church Bay on the Island Magee side. (Cameron Moore)

The Twite with a white ring seen by Cameron Moore at Island Magee on 22nd March was ringed by Eddie Maguire at the Mull of Kintyre in autumn 2013.

Bird News Saturday 28th March

A 1st winter Glaucous Gull and a 1st winter Iceland Gull were at Ardglass Harbour. (Tim Murphy)

2 Wheatear, Male & Female were at Malin Head, Inishowen, County Donegal (Dermot Mc Laughlin, Christine Cassidy & Lindsay Hodges)

A Barnacle Goose, 3 Pink-footed Geese and 2 Greenland Whitefronts were at Reedy Flats, Lough Neagh. A Hen Harrier was also seen at Portmore Lough (Brian Murphy)

2 Sandwich Tern and a Chiffchaff were at Ballymacormick Point (Andy Elliott)

Antrim Castle Gardens had 2 Dippers. 80+ Whopper Swans were in a field near Newferry. (Janet McKevitt & Fulton Somerville)

There wee 3 Little Egrets at the Floodgates in Newtownards this afternoon (David McCormick)

You can share scarce or rare bird news, or pics of our local birds via - twitter @nibirds - Flightline 02891467408 - Text 07973 403146.

Thanks to our photographers today, Robert McDowell, Christine Cassidy and Fulton Sommerville:

Great Northern Diver - Robert McDowell:

Male Wheatear - Christine Cassidy:

Whooper Swans - Fulton Sommerville

Bird News Friday 27th March

The first year Iceland Gull was still at Ballysaggart Lough, Co. Tyrone. (David Knight).

A male Wheatear was along the Antrim Hills Way south of Glenarm this afternoon (Richard Donaghey).

The 1st winter Glaucous Gull is still at Portballintrae with a 1st winter Iceland Gull also seen nearby. Single 1st winter Iceland Gulls were also seen at Corbally Reservoir,Portrush and on rocks between the Giant’s Causeway and Runkerry Point. (Colin Guy).

The juvenile Kumlien's Gull and juvenile Iceland Gull were both still at Lurgan Park Lake. (Birdguides).

A Spoonbill and 3 Little White Egrets were at the pond near the Castle Island Causeway at the Quoile this afternoon. (Tony Donaldson)

Thanks to Noeni Bryars for the picture of Black-tailed Godwits from the Belfast Lough WOW reserve and to Tony Donaldson for the picture of the Spoonbill.


Bird News Thursday 26th March.

The Green-winged Teal was still at Ballycarry bridge. (Cameron Moore) see pic below

A first winter Iceland Gull was in a ploughed field at Ballywillan Road Portrush.  8 Twite were at Brigg’s Rocks. (Colin Guy)

40 Manx Shearwaters and 2 Sandwich Terns passed St John’s Pt in 30 minutes today. Nearby, a 1w Glaucous Gull was on the shore at Rossglass (Chris Murphy)

Our thanks to Cameron who kindly sent in the record shot of the Green-winged  Teal (right hand bird). You can see from the photo the white strip goes vertically on the Green-winged Teal and horizontally on the Common Teal

Bird News Wednesday 25th March

Early Wednesday morning, a female Merlin was seen in the Belfast Hills (Larry Toal)

The Iceland Gull was still in Ardglass Harbour, along with a Great Northern Diver (Brian Murphy)

A Scaup, 10 Pintail, a Little Egret, 60 Dunlin, 45 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Greenshank were at the Quoile Pondge. A 1st winter Mediterranean Gull and 1 Carrion Crow were in Killough Harbour. 5 Manx Shearwater and 2 Red-throated Diver passed St John's Point between 3.30pm - 4pm. (Tim Murphy)

Ballykelly had 2 Canada Geese (presumed feral), 1 Red-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Diver, 2 Little Egret; Myroe, 91 Whooper Swans, 104 Greylag Geese, 24 White-fronted Geese, 145 Brent Geese, 5 Little Egret and 2600 Golden Plovers; The Bann Estuary held 150 Sanderlings, and 147 Black-tailed Godwits (Hill Dick/Peter Robinson)

 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls flew past Briggs Rocks . A Whimbrel was at Ballymacormick Lagoon. 6  Twite were at Milisle car park. (Colin Guy)

Thanks to Philip McErlean for this pic of a Great Crested Grebe and Linda Thompson for the Chiffchaffs:

Bird News Tuesday 24th March

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at Ardglass Harbour and 20 Twite were on Tyrella beach. (David Nixon).

A Swallow and a number of Water Rail were at Bellanaleck, Enniskillen by the fishing stands (Aaron Devlin).

This afternoon a Dipper was in Tempo Co Fermanagh, on the river at the Enniskillen side of village. (Colin Bell).

3 Swallow, 300 Linnet and 70 Whooper Swan were at Lough Shark (Vernon Carter).

Chiffchaffs and Sand Martins are now being widely reported.

Bird News Monday 23rd March

Both the 1st winter Kumlien's Gull and the 1st winter Iceland Gull are still at Lurgan Park Lake this morning. (David McCreedy)

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at Whitehead (Cameron Moore) see pic. below
The Twite flock c.30 was seen again at Islandmagee yesterday.(Cameron Moore)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming at the Crom Estate, Co Fermanagh (Harry Byron)

A Chiffchaff was singing at Knockninny Upper Lough Erne this afternoon (Brad Robson)

A Chiffchaff was singing by the River Lagan, down river from Drum bridge (Richard Haydon)

Thanks to David Hunter for this pic of a drake Shoveler. Also to Joe Lamont for the male Sparrowhawk. Bottom pic. is of the 1st winter Iceland Gull at Whitehead. You can see more bird pics at

Bird News Sunday 22nd March

The Kumliens Gull was at Lurgan Park Lake (Brian Murphy)

A pair of Mediteranean Gulls were at Kircubbin (Garry Armstrong)

At least 16 Slavonian Grebe, most in summer plumage, were seen around Greyabbey, Strangford Lough (Philip West).

Two Chiffchaff were on Carnmoney Hill (Jim McKeown)

A Chiffchaff was calling & seen near Kinnego Hide at Oxford Island this morning. A Red Kite was seen on the Dromore Rd Banbridge at lunchtime. (Karen Elliott)

On Strangford Lough south of Gransha Point were 7 Black-throated Diver and 2 Great Northern Diver. At Kearney were 2 Shoveler (Richard Weyl)

In Tyrone 8 Sand Marin were at Victoria and a Raven and Woodcock at Bessy Bell (Brian Hegarty)

A Chiffchaff was in a garden at Ballinderry this afternoon (Tom Trouton). Another Chiffchaff was singing in a garden this afternoon at Upper Ballinderry, Lisburn (Bob Davidson)

You can share your rare or scarce bird news via email , twitter @nibirds , text 07973 403146 or Flightline 02891467408.

Treecreeper, Fulton Sommerville:

Mediteranean Gulls, Wilton Farrelly:

Tree Sparrows, Pauline Majury:

Bird News Saturday 21st March

The Kumliens Gull is still at Lurgan Park lake (Garry Armstrong)

2 Water rail were calling along the Newry Canal near Scarva, 1 was seen. (Frank Carroll)

A singing Chiffchaff was in Loughan Village, Coleraine this afternoon.  Interestingly the bird is singing in the same tree as his first Chiff of 2014 but has arrived 5 days earlier. (Richard Donaghey)

5 Iceland Gulls were at Waterfoot fish cages, 6 Twite at Glenarm, the Iceland Gull at Larne Harbour, a female Scaup & 3 Med Gulls at Glynn (Neal Warnock)

Unusually a Tree Sparrow was at Boa Island, Lower Lough Erne (Nichael Stinson)

A second-summer Mediterranean Gull was at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Stuart McKee)

A male Wheatear, an unusual high count of 65 Magpies and a Red-throated Diver in summer plumage were at St John’s Pt this morning. 460 Brent Geese are in Killough Hbr. (Tim and Chris Murphy)

A female Red-crested Pochard was at Lurgan Park Lake (Aidan Donohoe)

Thanks to Ian Jackson for this pic of the Kumliens Gull:

Bird News Friday 20th March

An adult Iceland Gull was at Corbally Reservoir,Portrush. The 1st winter Glaucous Gull was still at Portballintrae. A 1st winter Iceland Gull flew past Dunseverick Harbour (it appeared to have fishing line attached to it ). (Colin Guy).

At Larne Lough the Green-winged Teal was still at Old Church Bay. 5 Mediterranean Gull (4 adult and a second-year) and 5 Greenshank were at Glynn. 3 Little Egret were at Ballycarry Bridge (Cameron Moore).

2 Little Egret and 220 Brent Geese were at Killough Harbour. 2 Scaup, 10 Pintail, 14 Shelduck and 3 Pochard were at the Quoile Pondage. (Tim Murphy).

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for the pictures of the Redwing, Fieldfare and Raven.

Copeland Bird Observatory Winter Meeting

AGM— Tuesday 24th March at 7.30 including:

CBO Review of the year 2014

The CBO team will reflect on another busy year on the island observatory. Highlights included visits from Ring Ouzels in spring and Barred & Yellowbrowed warblers in Autumn.

CBO & Iceland: 1955-2015 presented by Peter Munro

In 1955 a small CBO group, led by Arnold Bennington, travelled to our northern neighbour by Steam Packet from the Port of Leith. During an intensive few weeks, travelling by Icelandic Pony and living in tents, they penetrated the island interior and managed to ring a wide selection of birds including Whimbrel, Pink-footed Goose, Golden Plover, Long-tailed duck and Gyrfalcon. This year marks the 60th Anniversary of that trip, and Peter Munro, who visited Iceland in February, will reflect on the conditions and birds the CBO team encountered in 1955 and compare these with his recent experiences.

Copeland Bird Observatory Winter talks at the Ulster Museum AGM— Tuesday 24th March at 7.30— Admission to CBO winter meetings at the Ulster Museum is free and open to all. The meetings commence at 7.30 pm, and finish at 9.45 pm.

Great Spotted Woodpeckers - Can you help?

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) in Northern Ireland are seeking help from birdwatchers and the wider public to help them map the spread of Great Spotted Woodpeckers here. Having only appeared in Northern Ireland in the last ten years, the species has now been recorded in all six counties, but it still isn't known how widespread the species has become. In order to try and answer this question, the BTO would like you help.
Throughout the whole of 2015, the BTO would like everyone in Northern Ireland to actively look for Great Spotted Woodpeckers and report on their distribution and breeding status. The information will then be used to report on how the distribution of Great Spots here has changed since the BTO Bird Atlas, which ended four years ago. BTO would be keen to receive all sightings, and all evidence of breeding, throughout the year.  There are a number of ways to report: the preferred method is through BirdTrack (with a complete list of all other birds seen that day, if you can) or, alternatively, you can report via a dedicated email:
Happy Spotting!  
(photo Jill Packenham, BTO):

Bird News Thursday 19th March.

The 1st winter Glaucous Gull was still at Portballintrae and the adult Iceland Gull still at the foot of the River Bush.(Colin Guy)

At Larne Lough the Green-winged Teal, 33 Twite and 70 Pale-bellied Brent were at Old Church Bay (Cameron Moore)

There where two Water Rails calling in the canal nr Scarva on the towpath.(Karen Elliott)

Twite - Cameron Moore.

Bird News Wednesday 18th March

A Merlin was on the Belfast Hills, early today ( Larry Toal)

An Adult Iceland Gull flew past Rue Point, Rathlin . A Merlin and 2 Choughs were also seen (Colin Guy)

3 Twite were still at Rockport, N Down, one of which was in full song. Also, one Carrion Crow with about 15 hoodies. (Dermot Hughes)

The Kumliens Gull was still at Lurgan Park Lake (Neil Cartmill)

2 adult Mediterranean Gull, a first-winter Iceland Gull, 3 Red-breasted Merganser and 6 Gadwall were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Gerard McGeehan)

A Great Northern Diver was at Holme Bay in Strangford Lough (Spencer and Joan Marshall).

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for this picture of a pair of Shoveler in flight and Neil Cartmill for the Kumliens Gull. You can see more bird pics at

Bird News Tuesday 17th March

A happy St Patricks Day to all blog visitors.

This morning, movement past Whitehead into Belfast Lough included 59 Red-throated Diver and 3 Great Northern Diver (Ian Enlander)

The first winter Kumliens Gull and Iceland Gull were still at Lurgan Park Lake (Paul Kelly).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was at the edge of Slieveanorra Forest before flying off over the moor in direction of  Newtowncrommelin. Also a female Crossbill was there (Jeff Larkin).

On Strangford Lough at Ringburr Point 5 Black-throated Diver and 6 Great-northern Diver. (Richard Weyl).

One of the Mediterranean Gulls was still at Belfast Lough RSPB WOW Reserve. (Stephen Maxwell).

The drake Lesser Scaup was still at Parisee Lough, Co. Cavan this afternoon. (Brad Robson).

Five 1st winter Iceland Gulls were at Corbally Reservoir, Portrush this morning. The Bann Estuary had approx. 250 Black –tailed Godwits and 1000+ Golden Plovers. (Colin Guy).

A Barn Owl flew across the road at the Pot Belly restaurant near Gilford at 7.00 this evening. (Alistair Prentice).

There were good numbers of Crossbills around Glenariff forest park this afternoon. A Goosander was at Ballygalley. (David Stirling).

4 Long-tailed Duck were at Greenisland Sea Park and a male Brambling at Glenwherry (Gerard McGeehan, Shirley Dunlop).

A flock of 21 Twite was at Islandmagee today. (Robert McDowell).

An immature female Peregrine, 8 Common Scoter and 2 Carrion Crow were at St John's point. 5 Hooded Crow migrated north over the sea.

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for the picture of the Mediterranean Gull, to David McIlveen for the picture of the Smew from Inch Lake, to Richard Gowen for the picture of the Grey Heron carrying nesting material, to David Hill for the pictures of the Teal and the Great Crested Grebe and to Robert McDowell for the pictures of the Twite.




Bird News Monday 16th March.

Two Iceland Gulls where on Ballysaggart Lough .Dungannon Co Tyrone,a first-year and adult.(David Knight)

Two adult Mediterranean Gulls where at the RSPB Belfast Harbour reserve.(Stephen Maxwell) see photo below

The Kumlien's Gull still present in  Lurgan Park Co Armagh. The ist winter Iceland Gull was also present this evening(Keith Bennett/David Knight) see photo below

A single Wheatear was at Ballintoy Harbour this afternoon (Richard Donaghey)

The 1st winter Glaucous Gull was still at Portballintrae and a 2nd winter Iceland Gull was on rocks between Runkerry and Giant’s Causeway. (Colin Guy)

15 Common Scoter, 2 Stonechat, 1 Buzzard and 20 Linnet were at St John's Point.  A presumed 'Viking Gull'(a hybrid between a Glaucous Gull and a Herring Gull), 1 Carrion Crow, 1 Little Egret, 500 Golden plover, and 2 Sparrowhawk were at Killough Harbour.(Tim Murphy)

At Inch Nature Reserve, Co. Donegal,the male Smew was still present along the causeway (David McIlveen)

Our thanks to David Knight who sent in these pics of the two Iceland Gulls at Ballysaggart Lough the adult is the top picture and the 1st winter second picture. The 3rd pic. is of the 1st winter Iceland Gull from Lurgan Park . The bottom photograph shows the two Med. Gulls at the RSPB Belfast Harbour reserve.



This is a great time of year to see Crossbills and Dick Glasgow sent in the pics below of a family group seen at Slieveanorra this afternoon. An excellent composition! A video clip is also at:

Bird News Sunday 15th March

The 1w Kumliens Gull was at Lurgan Park lake this morning (Kevin Kirkham-Brown / Garry Armstrong)

The Spoonbill was at Ann's Point, Strangford (Keith Bennett)

Five Iceland Gulls were around the fish cages at Warerfoot, Co Antrim (Philip West)

A First-year Iceland Gull was at Ballysaggart Lough (Dungannon), Co. Tyrone (David Knight)

The 1w Iceland Gull was at Sandy Bay, Larne (Ian Graham)

There was a Sand Martin over Acton Lake between Scarva & Pointzpass today & 4 water rail showing & calling in the canal closer to Scarva. (Karen Elliott)

The adult Ring-billed Gull was at Carrickfergus (Ian Graham)

A 2nd W Iceland and 1w Glaucous Gull were at Portballintrae (Neal Warnock / Colin Guy)

A Red Kite was near Moneyslane and Newcastle Harbour had 1200+ Scoter, 8 Purple Sandpiperand c40 Kittiwake. (Janet McKevitt and Fulton Somerville)

The Green-winged Teal and 5 Little Egret were at Larne Lough and 2 adult Mediterranean Gull at Glynn (Joe Lamont, Cameron Moore)

A Merlin and 11 Twite were at St John's Point. (1 of the Twite had a single green colour ring on it's right leg).  A 1st winter 'sinenis' Cormorant, a Scaup and 11 Pintail were at the Quoile Pondage. (Tim Murphy)

You can report early sightings of our summer migrants or rare and scarce bird news at , twitter @nibirds , text 07973 403146 or Flightline: 02891467408

Thanks to Garry Armstrong for the pic of the Kumliens Gull, Fulton Sommerville for the Purple Sandpipers, Colin Guy for the Portbalintrae Glaucous Gull and Kevin Kirkham-Brown for the Kumliens in flight:

Kumliens Gull, Garry Armstrong:

Purple Sandpipers, Fulton Sommerville:

Glaucous Gull, Colin Guy

Kumliens Gull, Kevin Kirkham-Brown:

Bird News Saturday 14th March

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was on rocks outside Ardglass harbour, Co Down. (Keith Bennett)

The Spoonbill was at Anne's Point, Strangford Lough along with 2 Black-throated Divers and a high count of 29 Slavonian Grebes at Greyabbey Bay (Richard Weyl)

A drake Eurasian x American Wigeon was at the Quoile pondage, from the Castle Island hide, presumably the same as bird last winter. (Keith Bennett)

A Peregrine was in Cookstown town centre, Co Tyrone, (Tony Mc Cormick)

A single Sand martin was feeding over the Sixmilewater river in Antrim this morning. (Rodney Monteith)

A second winter Iceland Gull was seen briefly at Portballintrae this afternoon (Colin Guy)

A Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest, 11 Twite, 2 Stonechat and 2 Red-throated Divers were at St John's Point (Tim Murphy)

Thanks to Linda Thompson for this pic of a Dipper on the Inver River, Larne:

Bird News Friday 13th March

The first-winter Kumlien's Gull was at Lurgan Park Lake (David Knight/Frank Carroll).

58 Twite were at Island Magee. The Green-winged Teal was a mile north of Ballycarry Bridge on the Island Magee side and 2 Little Egret on the north side of the bridge (Cameron Moore).

Newry Canal Poyntzpass to Scarva this morning produced: - 1 Sparrowhawk soaring with 8 Buzzards, 1 calling Water Rail, 2 Raven, 9 Goldcrest, 4 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Redwing, 7 Tree Sparrows, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 5 Bullfinch and 1 Reed Bunting. (Fulton Somerville).

On the Antrim side of Belfast Lough 6 Long-tailed Duck, 5 Red-throated Diver and 13 Pale-bellied Brent were at Greenisland Sea Park (Gerard McGeehan).

Thanks to Fulton Somerville for the picture of a Kingfisher and to David Knight for the pictures of the Lurgan Park Kumlien's Gull.



Bird News Thursday 12th March

A Chiffchaff was this afternoon at Derrymore Wood, Bessbrook (Frank Carroll)

Spring has differently sprung another Chiffchaff was calling in a garden in Bangor.(Ian Graham) 

Thanks to Colin Davies for the pic below of the first winter Iceland Gull at Larne: Also to William Smiton for the Grey Heron.