Bird News Friday 31st July

A Golden Eagle was hunting around the Glenhead Road in Co. Antrim this morning, being mobbed by a Peregrine, Buzzard, Ravens and Kestrel,It was watched for about 20 minutes until it headed off towards Cappanagh. (Brenda Campbell/Ray Bennett)

A Whimbrel was at Ballyhenry Island,which is west of Portaferry.(Richard Haydon)

The Bann Estuary had:1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper and 100 Sanderling. (Hill Dick/Peter Robinson)

For those interested, a Beluga Whale was seen off the north coast yesterday! See:

Juvenile Stonechat - David Hill.

Little Egret - David Hill.

Bird News Thursday 30th July

3 Garganey, an eclipse male and 2 'female types' were at Reedy Flats on the south shore of Lough Neagh. (David Knight).

On Tuesday at least 600 Sanderling were at Magilligan, Lough Foyle. (Clive Mellon/Dave Allen).

The fields at Holme Bay near Killyleagh had 200 Skylark/Goldfimch, 100 Linnet with some Twite and 30 Greenfinch (Spencer and Joan Marshall).

3 Peregrine were at Cookstown, Co. Tyrone (Tony McCormick).

Thanks to David Knight for the picture of 2 of the Reedy Flats Garganey.

Bird News Wednesday 29th July

The White-rumped Sandpiper and Roseate Tern were at RSPB Belfast WOW Reserve this morning (Stuart McKee)

The White-rumped Sandpiper was still present this afternoon. A Ruff was also present. (Stephen Maxwell)

A family of Spotted Flycatchers were at Tempo park, Co Fermanagh. A family of Jay, a young Buzzard and a Pine Martin were at Mullaphad Forest nr Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone (Colin Bell)

Many thanks to Stephen Maxwell for the pics of the White-rumped Sandpiper:

Bird news Tuesday 28th July

The White-rumped sandpiper is at Belfast Lough RSPB, still, also 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 Ruff. (Keith Bennett). A further 8 Common Sandpipers and a Whimbrel were also there this evening (Stuart McKee).

A juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker was visiting a feeder in a garden outside Drumaness this morning. (Monica Bailie).

Three Long-eared Owl fledglings were calling and flying at 9.30pm at Clay Road, Killyleagh yesterday. (Jasper Parsons).

A Peregrine was hunting over Longfield Point this afternoon just before high tide and took a Ringed Plover. (David Hill).

2 Whimbrel and a Great Skua were at Ramore Head (Matthew Tickner).

Peregrines found shot

The PSNI are appealing for information following the discovery of two dead Peregrine Falcons.

The birds were found on Sunday 17th May close to Thornyforde Bridge in the Waringstown area, Co. Armagh. A post mortem revealed they had been shot.

Anyone with information please contact the police in Lurgan on 101, quoting ref: 817-170515.

Peregrine photo by Stephen Maxwell.

Bird News Monday 27th July

A White-rumped Sandpiper is at Belfast Harbour RSPB Reserve (Stuart McKee) The Green Sandpiper was also still present (Gerard McGeehan)

The White-rumped Sandpiper was still showing to at least 7:45pm.

Ballycarry Bridge at Larne Lough had 3 Little Egret, 20 Dunlin and 2 Greenshank (Cameron Moore)

Thanks to Stuart McKee for the top two pics of the White-rumped Sandpiper: The third pic. showing the White-rumped(bottom bird, Dunlin above) in flight and the fourth pic. giving a size comparison between the White-rumped and the much larger Dunlin(top bird) were kindly sent in by Stephen Maxwell.

Waders on the Move

Bird migration is underway even though it is only July. This is primarily evidenced at the moment with waders on the move. Many thanks to Stuart McKee for the pics below, all taken at Belfast Harbour RSPB WOW Reserve in the last 24 hours:

Green Sandpiper - juvenile:

Green Sandpiper with Common Sandpiper (foreground):

Knot, in summer plumage:

Bar-tailed Godwits, in summer plumage:

Bird News Sunday 26th July

A Green Sandpiper was showing well in front of the main hide at RSPB Belfast Harbour WOW Reserve (Stuart McKee)

An Arctic Skua (pale adult) was at Ballyquintin, Co Down. (Keith Bennett)

A juvenile Cuckoo was at Tara near Portaferry over the weekend - presumably a migrant as there aren’t any breeding birds anywhere near. (Dermot Hughes)

A first-summer Ring-billed Gull was at Rossnowlagh Point in Donegal (Brad Robson)

Exceptional movement of Manx Shearwaters were watched from St John’s Pt and Ardglass GC all day, peaking at 3,000/hour north between 4-5pm. 500 were rafting off the lighthouse at dusk. Also: 1 Bonxie, 2 Puffins, 85 Fulmars, 20 Arctic Terns, 20 Scoter and 4 Whimbrel (Chris Murphy)

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for this pic of a Tree Sparrow (which is carrying nesting material) and Stuart McKee for the Green Sandpiper:

Bird News Saturday 25th July

A Pectoral Sandpiper was at Blanketnook, Co Donegal (Brad Robson)

A Little Gull was at Larne (Neal Warnock)

A Roseate Tern, a Ruff and two Common Sandpiper were at Belfast Harbour RSPB WOW Reserve (Brian Murphy)

Binevenagh Mountain, at the top of the forest area, had a Long-eared Owl, 3 Buzzards and a female Sparrowhawk (Christine Cassidy and Lindsay Hodges)

A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was showing well at Belvoir Park Forest in Belfast and quite a few Tree Sparrow nesting in the old buildings at Nendrum Island in Strangford Lough (Aaron Devlin)

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for this pic of a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk:

Bird News Friday 24th July

A Glaucous Gull was seen on McAuley Lake nr Spa Co Down.(David Nixon) see pic below:

A Crossbill and Grasshopper Warbler were at Belmont Forest in Fermanagh (Brad Robson).

 A Spotted Flycatcher was at Tobermore (Stephen Evans).

Glaucous Gull - David Nixon.

Sparrowhawk - Jeff Silvers.

Bird News Thursday 23rd July

The Great White Egret was at Scab Island, Lough Beg today. (Neal Warnock).

A Long-eared Owl was over Riverdale Primary School, Legacurry at 4.36 this morning. (Garry Wilkinson).

A Garden Warbler was at Ely Lodge in Fermanagh, alarm calling at a dog (Brad Robson).

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for the Yellowhammer pictures and to Jeff Silvers for the pictures of the Fulmars and part of the seabird colony on Rathlin.



Bird News Wednesday 22nd July

A Pectoral Sandpiper is at Belfast Harbour WOW Reserve. Also 173 Dunlin, a Greenshank, 2 Knot, a Peregrine and Common Sandpiper (Gerard McGeehan).

A male Hen Harrier was near Cushendun. A Great Skua and a pod of 9 Long-finned Pilot Whales, including two young, were off Ballycastle near Marconi 's cottage. (Garry Wilkinson).

180 Sandwich Tern were at Whitehead. Two of the colour rings were read (white EHL and a green ring). Also present were a Common Sandpiper, 3 Common Tern and a juvenile Peregrine hunting Starlings along the seafront. 100 Manx Shearwater were offshore (Cameron Moore).

This evening the Great White Egret was just south of Church Island, Lough Beg. (Jeff Larkin & Denver Shiels)

Thanks to Lilian Cummings for these pictures of Puffin, Kittiwake and Razorbill from Rathlin.

Mediterranean Gull Survey

Birdwatchers in Northern Ireland are being encouraged to assist with the upcoming Mediterranean Gull Survey on 27th July.

More information, including the simple methodology, can be found at:

Anyone interested in taking part, please it in touch with Niall Keogh at

Bird News Tuesday 21st July

A Roseatte Tern was at RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve this morning (Stuart McKee).

2 adult Mediterranean Gull, 60 Sandwich Tern and a Common Sandpiper were at Whitehead (Gerard McGeehan).

Yesterday, as well as the Great White Egret, a White Wagtail and a juvenile Greenshank were in the south-west corner of Lough Beg. (David Steele).

Bird News Monday 20th July.

Two Med. Gulls where at Whitehead, an adult bird and a 2nd summer. (Cameron Moore) see pics below.

St John's Point had 2 Great Skua, 3 Arctic Skua (1 light and 2 dark phase), several hundred Manx Shearwater and a few Gannet and Kittiwake (Warren Fowles).

The Great White Egret was in the south west corner of Lough Beg (David Steele) 

adult Med Gull

2nd summer Med. Gull.

Ailsa Craig Boat Trip

The last Ailsa Craig boat trip of the year will take place on Monday 27th July leaving Cushendall Boat Club at 10am.

Thirty people took part in the previous 4 trips and had marvellous views of 36,000 pairs of nesting Gannets, 10,000 pairs of Guillemots and Razorbills (and Puffins), as well as Twite, Manx Shearwaters, Minke Whales, Porpoises, and seals. Sailing along the bottom of the cliffs which have so many nesting seabirds is an amazing experience and all those who have been on this trip have really enjoyed it. If you are interested please contact Jim Wells on 
07856 235144

Guillemots at Ailsa Craig, Maia Taylor:

Bird News Sunday 19th July

The Great White Egret was seen again at the Mullagh, Lough Beg (David Steele)

Two possible Baird Sandpipers were at Blanketnook, Co Donegal. They were too distant to confirm definite identification (Chris Ingram)

The Snowy Owl has been seen again back on Aranmore.

Belfast Harbour WOW had a Knot, 21 Dunlin and 6 Common Sandpipers (Gerard McGeehan)

The Whooper Swan was still along the Lagan at Lisburn (Vernon Carter)

Thanks to Bill Guiller for this pic of a Buzzard and Carolyn Cubitt for the Great Crested Grebes:

Bird News Saturday 18thJuly

Ballyquintin Point, Co Down this afternoon had a Pomarine Skua (adult pale), ca 5 European Storm Petrels, 1 Puffin, 1 Whimbrel, large numbers of Sandwich and Arctic Terns going past (Keith Bennett)

Melmore Head in Donegal this morning in strong SW winds had an ad Pomarine Skua, a Great Skua, a Sooty Shearwater, 10 Arctic Terns, 4 Puffin and a Storm Petrel (Eric Randall)

Thanks to Rob McAllister for this pic of two Ringed Plovers at Newcastle and Gareth Platt for the Black Headed Gull:

Bird News Friday 17th July

A Greenshank, Knot, 4 Common Sandpiper and a second-summer Mediterranean Gull were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Gerard McGeehan).

A Long-eared Owl was seen on Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30am in trees above the Red Arch, between Cushendall and Waterfoot (Chris Howler).

A Spotted Flycatcher was in the garden on the tow path opposite the Scarva Tea Rooms and 2 Kingfishers were at Moneypenny Lock today. (Karen Elliott).

Thanks to Karl Martin for the pictures of the Sedge Warbler and the Swallow.

Bird News Thursday 16th July

Two Great Skua were on Rathlin island at the Stacks (Margaret Adamson).

Yesterday 2 adult and 7 juvenile Twite were near Carrick-A-Rede on the north coast. (Hill Dick/Peter Robinson).

The Roseate Tern was still at Belfast WOW RSPB reserve. (Thom Shannon).

Thanks to Mervyn Guthrie who is lucky enough to have these Tree Sparrows nesting in his garden.


Bird News Wednesday 15th July

A pair of Whinchat with 3 young were att Ballygill on Rathlin Island. A female Hen Harrier was in the same area (Dermot Hughes)

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for this pic of a Ringed Plover:

Bird News Monday 13th July

The Roseate Tern, 10 Dunlin and 5 Common Sandpiper were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (William Smiton).

This morning at Knockmany Forest, Co Tyrone there were 2 Spotted Flycatchers and small group of Crossbills. (Colin Bell).

2 adult and 2 juvenile Buzzard were at Inishowen in Donegal. (Christine Cassidy).

Thanks to Stuart McKee for the picture of the Mediterranean Gull seen yesterday at Kinnegar Pool and to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Buzzard from Inishowen in Donegal.

Bird News Sunday 12th July

A Roseate Tern was at RSPB WoW Belfast Lough. (Keith Bennett/Lilian Cummings)

A Ruff was at Belfast Harbour Lagoon and a first summer Mediterranean Gull was at Kinnegar pool.(Stuart McKee)

A Whimbrel was in the Newry Estuary this morning. (Frank Carroll)

A Mediterranean Gull was at Glynn, Larne Lough (Brian Halligan).

A Red Kite was along Knockagh Road,at Woodburn Forest (Billy Hamilton).

A Corncrake was calling from the first lay-by north of  Glenarm (Gerard McGeehan)

Thanks to Lilian Cummings for these pictures of the Roseate Tern and a Sedge Warbler.

Bird News Saturday 11th July.

 Juvenile Great Tit

Ailsa Craig Boat Trips

Tomorrow's boat trip from Cushendall to  Ailsa Craig is fully booked. Due to late cancellations there are 2 seats available for each of the Monday and Tuesday trips. Please contact Jim Wells on 07856235144 for more details.

Bird News Friday 10th July

2 Puffin and 2 Arctic Skua (light and dark phase) were at St John's Point (Warren Fowles).

A rufous phase Cuckoo was in the Briggs Rocks/Orlock area. (Colin Guy).

Bird News Thursday 9th July.

A Whooper Swan was on the River Lagan.(Rob McAlister)

Whooper Swan - Rob McAllister.
Sedge Warbler - Neil Cartmill.

Bird News Wednesday 8th July

Yesterday the Whooper Swan was still along the Lagan in Lisburn downstream from the Islands Art Centre (Vernon Carter).

A Spotted Flycatcher was in a garden in Comber. (Chris Shaw).

2 Ruff (male and female) were at Church Island, Lough Beg (David Steele).

Thanks to David Hunter for the pictures of the Curlew and the Oystercatchers.

Bird News Monday 6th July

Single Common Sandpipers were at Kinnegar Pool and Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Joe Lamont).

Thanks to David Hill for the pictures of the Common Terns.