Bird News Thursday 31st December

Happy New Year and a big thank-you to everyone who has viewed and contributed to the blogs over the last 12 months.

An adult Iceland Gull was in Larne Harbour this morning, (Neal Warnock).

A female Brambling and 20 Redwing were at the Rosetta end of Cherry Vale in Belfast. (Dermot Hughes).

A Great-spotted Woodpecker and 2 Jays were in a garden outside Hillsborough, see picture below. (Owen Beckett).

One Carrion Crow, one Sandwich Tern, one Little Egret, 3 Great Northern Divers and six Brent Geese were at Ballymacormick Point this afternoon. (Clive Mellon).

At Ballyhenry Island there was an adult Little Gull and 2 Jack Snipe. At Ballyquintin Point there were 15 Great-northern Diver and 5 Gannet. On the 28th the hybrid Ring -billed Gull was at Millisle. On the 27th 2 Jack Snipe and 80 Snipe were at Portavogie and another 2 Jack Snipe on the shore north of Portavogie. (Richard Weyl).

Thanks to Owen Beckett for the picture of the Great-spotted Woodpecker in his garden and to Gareth Platt for the picture of the Common Gull taken in Millisle on Xmas Eve, this bird was ringed as a chick in Ayrshire in July 2013 and this is the first sighting since then.

Bird News Wednesday 30th Decemnber

A female Brambling is still visiting a garden in Lisburn. (Kevin Kirkham-Brown).

2 Water Rail were in the reed bed in front of the Discovery Centre at Oxford Island (Aidan Donohoe).

A presumed 2nd winter Kumlien's Gull, a 2nd/3rd winter Iceland Gull and 6 Twite were at Glenarm today. (Neal Warnock).

Thanks to Lilian Cummings for the picture of the Goldeneye.

Bird News Tuesday 29th December

30 Twite where at Magilligan Point Co L'derry.(Ian Enlander)

3 Chiffchaff where along the Bann boulevard Portadown, no calls were heard.(Alistair Prentice) see attached photo.

5 Great Northern Diver where off the coast at Killard Co Down.(Angus Kennedy)

A 1st/2nd winter Iceland Gull, 6 Great Northern Diver, 6 Twite, a Carrion Crow and a Little Egret were at Killough Harbour.(Tim Murphy)

A Black Redstart was at Portballintrae Pier (Simon Morton).

Slightly further afield in Donegal 50 Greenland White-fronted Geese were at Big Isle. Inch Lake had a male Smew, Knot and 6 Yellowhammer (at the car park). Inch Levels had a Pink-footed Goose, Barnacle and Greenland White-fronted Goose with the Greylag, and at high tide large numbers of Black-tailed Godwit (including a leucistic bird). (Richard Gray)

Chiffchaff - Alistair Prentice.

Great Northern Diver - Angus Kennedy.

Bird News Monday 28th December.

The ad Ring-billed Gull was still showing at Carrickfergus harbour.(Birdguides)

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at Ballygally Co Antrim.(Neal Warnock)

A 3rd winter Iceland Gull along with a Sandwich Tern was at the RSPB Belfast Harbour reserve.(Birdguides)

Bird News Sunday 27th December

A redhead Smew was at Drumgay Lough in Fermanagh (Brad Robson).

The Common Sandpiper was seen again along the Newry Estuary/Clanrye River this morning. (Frank Carroll).

A Chiffchaff was along the River Bann at Point of Whitecote south of Portadown. (Alistair Prentice).

12 Slavonian Grebes were in Greyabbey Bay south. (Jeff Larkin).

2 1st winter Iceland Gulls were in Ardglass harbour. (Ian Graham, Philip West/Dougie Gamble, Pete Gamble, Lucy Brooks-Bowsetts).

An adult winter plumaged Mediterranean Gull, 7 Red-throated Divers, 3 Great Northern Divers and 3 Gannet were just north of Killard and 14 Whooper Swans were off the hide at the Quoile. (Philip West, Ian Graham).

Thanks to Dougie Gamble for the pictures of the Iceland Gulls, to Lesley Barker for the picture of the Razorbills, to Annette Elkin for the picture of the Redwing and the Fieldfare and to Dick Glasgow for the pictures of the Coal Tit and the Jay.



Bird News Saturday 26th December

A 1st winter Lesser Yellowlegs was reported from Greencastle, Co, Down. (Birdguides).

An adult winter plumaged Little Gull was at Kilclief in the Strangford Narrows. (Keith Bennett).

The male Brambling was in a garden in Lisburn again, see picture below. (Kevin Kirkham-Brown).

13 Whooper Swans circled Billy Neill Playing Fields in Dundonald before flying east. (Derek Polley).

A Little Egret was on the River Foyle, it was in the bay just south of Culmore Point. (Conor Gilmore).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the trees beside Kinnego Marina, Oxford Island, this afternoon. (Ronnie Milligan & Ron Price).

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at the jetty between the two bridges in Coleraine this afternoon Also present were two Darvic ringed Black-headed Gulls. White J9J2 was ringed on the 09 April 2012 as an adult , at Oslo, Norway. 1,168km to Coleraine.  Red 2E18 belongs to the Clyde Ringing Group. There was a Common Gull, Yellow 2A60, at Millisle on 24th which also belongs to the Clyde Ringing Group, see pictures below. (Gareth Platt)

Thanks to Kevin Kirkham-Brown for the pictures of the Brambling and the Redpoll and to Gareth Platt for the Iceland Gull and the colour ringed Black-headed Gulls, the first two from Connswater yesterday and the last from Coleraine today.



Bird News Friday 25th December (Christmas Day)

A very Merry Xmas to all of you who kindly follow the blog.

Kearney on the Outer Ards penisula had 12 Great Northern Diver, Greyabbey Bay had 2 Black-throated Diver and 2 Slavonian Grebe.(Keith Bennett).

A male Brambling was in a garden in Antrim this morning. A female was seen twice during the week.(Mark Smyth).

This Blackcap is visiting a garden in Culcavy.

Bird News Thursday 24th December

A 1st winter Mediterranean Gull with a deformed left leg was at Kinnegar shore in Belfast. (Stuart McKee).

A female Brambling and a male Siskin were in a garden in Lisburn, together with 6 Redpoll, 7 Goldfinch, 11 Chaffinch and 19 Greenfinch, 6 Collared Dove, a Woodpigeon, and 18 Starlings. (Kevin Kirkham-Brown).

A Carrion Crow was at Donaghadee, see picture below. (Gareth Platt).

A flock of 6/700 Fieldfare and 20/30 Redwing was at the junction of New Line and Moss Roads near Ballygowan. Another 50 Redwing were near the Orange Hall and 500 Linnet in a stubble field at Kilmood. A Sparrowhawk was at Derrytrasna and a pair of Kestrel at Derrycrow (David Clarke).

Thanks to Brad Robson for the picture of the 1st winter Iceland Gull from Enniskillen yesterday, to Stephen Maxwell for the pictures of the Buzzard and the Redpoll and to Gareth Platt for the picture of the Carrion Crow.



Bird News Wednesday 23rd December

One of the 1st winter Iceland Gulls was still in Ardglass harbour, see pictures below, A Merlin was hunting a mixed flock of Linnets and Twite at St John's Point. (Garry Armstrong).

5 Yellowhammers, a Reed Bunting and 40 Tree Sparrows were visiting a garden today at Richhill. (Andrew Poots).

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at the Round O jetty in Enniskillen. (Brad Robson).

In Donegal a hybrid Cackling x Barnacle Goose was at Inch (Chris Ingram).

The first 3 pictures are of the Iceland Gull in Ardglass, thanks to Andrew Poots for the picture of the Reed Bunting and to Gareth Platt for the pictures of the Black-headed Gull, taken at Antrim Marina and the Common Gull taken at Carrickfergus. The Black-headed Gull was ringed on 3rd June 2015 at Coquet Island, just off the Northumbrian coast, the Common Gull was ringed as a breeding adult at Westhill Industrial Estate, just West of Aberdeen, on 2nd July this summer.

Bird News Tuesday 22nd December.(winter solstice.)

Up to 8 Great Northern Diver where off Newcastle Co.Down.(Julia Grier)

Around Belfast 59 Scaup were at Dargan Bay and an adult Ring-billed Gull nearby along Edgewater Road (Richard Gray).

Our  thanks to Ian Jackson for  the Goldfinch pic. and also to Cecil Smyth for the Brent Geese

Bird News Monday 21st December.

1 Med Gull,36 Whooper Swan,2 Red-throated Diver,1Great Northern Diver and a Kingfisher where at Glynn Co Antrim.(John Edwards).

The three juvenile Iceland Gulls were still in Ardglass harbour. (Birdguides).

Bird News Sunday 20th December

2 Iceland Gulls, a juvenile and a 2nd winter were in Ardglass harbour this morning. (Keith Bennett).

Ardglass later had 3 1st winter Iceland Gulls and 2 Argentatus type Herring Gulls. (Tom Ennis, Carol Gillespie & Ray Bennett).

The Spoonbill was seen from Limekiln Hide at WWT Castle Espie, at a distance, just heading south.(Kevin Kirkham-Brown).

The Spoonbill was also seen south of Anne's Point, a Velvet‎ Scoter was at Greyabbey Bay and a Short-eared Owl north of Horse Island in Strangford Lough. (Richard Weyl).

Thanks to Kevin Kirkham-Brown for the picture of a Brambling taken in his garden yesterday, to Stephen Maxwell for the picture of the Great Northern Diver at Newcastle harbour and to Annette Elkin for the picture of the Shelduck.


Bird News Saturday 19th December

In Donegal a male American Wigeon was at Castle Shanaghan Bay, Lough Swilly (Brad Robson)

A second winter Iceland Gull is at RSPB Belfast WOW Reserve (Stuart McKee).

A Black Redstart was at the beach at Newcastle this morning.

5 Siskin and 3 Redpoll were feeding on Alder seeds along the Newry Canal this morning (Frank Carroll)

The pair of Brambling were still showing in a garden off Knockmore Rd Lisburn this morning (Kevin Kirkham-Brown)

Two Iceland Gull were at Rathmullan, Co Donegal (Ralph Sheppard)

Bird News Friday 18th December.

A Black Redstart was seen around the harbour in Newcastle Co.Down. Several Great Northern Divers still close offshore too. (Daniel Newton)

A Merlin was seen hunting over flooded fields on west side of Bann, north of Portadown. (Brian Nelson)

5 Sandwich Terns where on Portaferry Marina and 3 Iceland Gulls at Ardglass.(Dermot Hughes)

Two Peregrines were hunting Kinnegar Shore today (Stuart McKee)

Unusually a Swift was at Greencastle Point in Carlingford Lough on 15th (Edward Forsyth

Bird News Thursday 17th December

Yesterday a Chiffchaff was along the canal behind Regent School, Newtownards. The bird was not heard to call. (Lesley Barker).

A female Brambling was in a garden at Ballyholme in Bangor and a Great Northern Diver was at Groomsport. (George Gordon).

A Red-throated Diver was in Ballyholme Bay, Bangor. (George Henderson).

The Red Kite was still along the M1. Today it was near Junction 9 (Brad Robson).

Thanks to Lesley for this pic of the Chiffchaff:

Bird News Wednesday 16th December

Approximately 10 Waxwings were in a tree at 10.15am along the M1 country bound out of Belfast opposite the Royal Victoria Hospital (Mark Smyth)

Today at the Floodgates (Newtownards) were 100 Pintail, 450 Shelduck and 2500 Golden Plover (Suzanne Belshaw)

A Black Redstart was at Newcastle harbour along with a Great Northern Diver. (Nigel Moore Garry Wilkinson)

Yesterday the adult Ring-billed Gull was at Portrush East Strand car park, and on Monday a fem/imm Smew was at the south end of Lough Beg (Matthew Tickner)

Late news was that on Sunday night at approx 5pm a Barn Owl was seen again on the Maghersdartin Road sitting on a fence post (Derek McGregor / Garry Wilkinson)

For those interested, a Hudsonian Whimbrel was seen today in Co Kerry (Ed Carty)

Thanks to David Hill for this pic of a Chough taken in Inishowen. You can see more pics at

Bird News Tuesday 15th December

No sign of the Little Auk at Belfast Waterworks this morning. A 1st winter Iceland Gull was however present. (John Edwards)

A Red Kite crossed the M1 into trees five miles north of junction 10 at 10:00 am (Sean Hennessy)

Bird News Monday 14th December

A Little Auk was on the top pond at the Antrim Road waterworks in Belfast, on the road side of the large island. (David Knight).

Last Friday a possible Marsh Harrier was seen briefly quartering the reed beds at the Broadwater near Aghalee. (Sean McCourt).

Two Ring-necked Ducks were at Dunfanaghy New Lake in Donegal. (Birdguides).

Thanks to Jeff Larkin for the first picture of the Little Auk and to David Knight for the next two pictures.



Bird News Sunday 13th December

At least one Brambling was still visiting a garden at Knockmore Road, Lisburn (Kevin Kirkham-Brown)

Between Ballyholme and Ballymacormick Point were 3 Sandwich Tern, 2 Whopper Swans, two Great Northern Diver and a Stock Dove (Wilton Farrelly)

A Black Redstart was at Newcastle Harbour at 14:00 today (Chris Henry)

3 Purple Sandpiper and 50 Dunlin were at Sandy Bay, Larne. A Great Northern Diver, 17 Red-throated Diver and a Peregrine were at Ballygally. A Great Northern Diver was at Glenarm (Gerard McGeehan)

A Black-throated Diver, a Red-throated Diver and 8 Great Northern Diver were at the Narrows seen from Killard Point. An adult Little Gull was on the beach to the north of Killard Point. A 1w Iceland Gull was at Ardglass. A Red Kite and flock of c.20 twite at Minerstown. A Pintail at Dundrum Bay inner. A Black Redstart, 3 Great Northern Diver were close inshore and 18 Purple Sandpiper on the pier at Newcastle Harbour. (James O'Neil)

Two Black Redstart were seen at Newcastle Harbour today (Jeff Larkin).

A Little Egret was at Brigg's Rocks this morning (Colin Guy)

A Little Egret was at the pond at Minnowburn Beeches near Shawsbridge today (James Trainor)

Thanks to Kevin Kirkham-Brown for this pic of the Brambling and James O'Neill for the Iceland Gull:

Bird News Saturday 12th December

Two Brambling were in a garden today at Knockmore Rd Lisburn (Kevin Kirkham-Brown)

The Ruff was still at RSPB Belfast WOW (Brian Murphy)

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Kinnegar shore, Belfast Lough, this afternoon. (Ron Price / Ronnie Milligan)

A Little Auk was seen from the Rathlin ferry this morning. A Jack Snipe was at Ushet Port and a Grey Phalarope in Mill Bay late afternoon. (Neal Warnock)

Thanks to Kevin Lirkham-Brown for this pic of a male Brambling:

Bird News Friday 11th December.

Two 1st winter Iceland Gull and two argentatus Herring Gull where at Ardglass harbour Co.Down.(Tom Ennis)

Two Brambling and two Blackcap are visiting a garden on the Portstewart Road in Coleraine. (Ken Perry).

Five Purple Sandpipers were at Sandy Bay and a Kestrel was at Larne promenade. (Gavin Ferguson).

Thanks to Ken Perry for the picture of the Brambling and to Gavin Ferguson for the pictures of the Purple Sandpipers and the Kestrel.
Brambling (taken in the hand) - Ken Perry.


Bird News Thursday 10th December

A Long-eared Owl flew across the main Annahilt/Hillsborough road at top end of Spirehill road being heavily mobbed by rooks at 2.39pm today heading towards wooded area at top of Windmill Road direction. (Gary Wilkinson).

Belfast Lough RSPB WOW reserve had 1 Ruff, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Buzzard, 2 Mistle Thrush (unusual here), 2 Reed Bunting ( first for some time), 100+ Wigeon, Redpoll, Sparrowhawk & 20 Knot. A male Blackcap was visiting a garden in Bangor. (Derek Polley). 

4 Long-tailed Ducks, 2 male and 2 female, were off Cultra this morning. (Dermot Hughes).

An adult Mediterranean Gull with a red ring and 4 white letters  was at Antrim Waterworks in Belfast the top three letters on the ring are NUO, the fourth letter is obscured, see picture below. (David Knight).

A Peregrine Falcon was at Scrabo Hill (Aaron Devlin) and a Stonechat at Portmuck on Island Magee (Billy Hamilton).

Along the Armagh shore of Lough Neagh 4 Bewick's Swan (the first reported) and 46 Whooper Swan were between Bannfoot and Oxford Island (Fulton Somerville, Jim Whitla, Michael Richardson and Robert Hart).

Thanks to David Knight for the picture of the Mediterranean Gull and to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Jay.


NIOC - Work of NI Bird Photographers

Bird News Wednesday 9th December

2 first-winter Iceland Gull were at Ardglass harbour and a Ruff at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Tom Ennis, Tony Dodds).

At Carryduff a flock of 170 Fieldfare and Redwing was near Carryduff Building Supplies along Monlough Road West and a Woodcock at the end of the road (David Clarke)

A male Brambling was visiting a garden in Fivemiletown. (Colin Bell).

Thanks to Cecil Smyth for the pictures of a Black-tailed Godwit and a Redpoll and to Derek Polley for the picture of the Linnet.