Ballymacormick SEO's

Up to four Short-eared Owls were reported today at Ballymacormick Point. The birds could however be highly mobile, if searching for them. Some pics of them are below:

Stephen Maxwell:

Aaron Devlin:

James O'Neill:

Bird News Saturday 31st October

I'm Up to four Short-eared Owls were reported today in total, at Ballymacormick Point, Co Down (Stephen Maxwell, James O'Neill, Arron Devlin and Warren Fowles) - See separate posting on these birds.

Two Whimbrel and 8 Red-throated diver were also present at Ballymacormick Point (James O'Neill)

A Snow Bunting was at Myroe (Christine Cassidy & Lindsay Hodges)

In Donegal an adult Little Gull was at Downings (Clive Mellon)

A Short-eared Owl was seen flying at Kiltoot (Gerard McGeehan)

Today at Portavogie were 4 Jack Snipe with 30 Snipe. Yesterday a Mediterranean Gull was at Orlock Point. (Richard Weyl)

A Long-eared Owl was seen at 06:05 this morning on a post between St Johnston and Newtoncunningham Co Donegal (Bruan Hegarty)

A Swallow was near Kearney point this  afternoon (Guy Hamilton)

A Tundra Bean Goose was seen in stubble fields between Inch Lake and Burnfoot (Chris Ingram)

A Whooper Swan and 31 Pink-footed Geese were in stubble fields near Ballintoy Church (John Wilkinson)

At Larne Lough a male Goosander, 4 Greenshank and a Peregrine were at Glynn (Cameron Moore)

The Newry Canal near Scarva had 20 Whooper Swan, a Water Rail, 5 Jay, a Raven, 5 Long-tailed Tit and a Fieldfare (Fulton Somerville)

2 Brent Geese, 2 Whooper Swans and 5 Twite which were last week at the mouth of the Glenarm river (Pauline Majury)

4 Whooper Swans and 2 Snipe were seen at Glynn Halt this morning (Linda Thompson)

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for this pic of one of the SEO's and Pauline Majury for the Whoopers:

Bird News Friday 30th October

2 Ruff were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Tom Ennis).

The Short-eared Owl was still at Ballymacormick Point near Groomsport. Some Twite were also present (John Pyper).

A Hudsonian Godwit has been reported with Black-tailed Godwits at Lurgangreen in Louth. (Irish Birding).

There were approximately 50 Whooper Swans on stubble fields at Ballyquintin on the Outer Ards. (Keith Bennett)

Approximately 80 Twite were feeding at the base of Ramore Head near the children’s playground in Portrush. 30 Redwing flew in off the sea at Dunseverick .(Colin Guy).

Bird News Thursday 29th October

A wing-tagged Golden Eagle was over Farbreagagh Hill nr Pettigo Co Donegal today seen by Fionnbarr&Donal Cross (per Brad Robson)

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was amongst soaring Gulls over Portrush Harbour. Approximately 70 Greenland White-fronted Geese were mobile in the fields between Portballintrae and Bushmills .(Colin Guy)

A Short-eared Owl was at the Bann Estuary (Peter Welch)

Another Short-eared Owl was at Ballyquintin (Keith Bennett)

Good views were had of a Red Kite today from tow path between Moira and Broadwater. (Sandy McWilliams/Ynyr Robinson)

RSPB Belfast WOW this morning had 400+ Teal, 300+ Curlew, 60+ Wigeon, 40+ Shoveler, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Knot, Buzzard, 2 Snipe and 12 golden plover. (Derek Polley)
A Woodcock was along Heron Road in Belfast (Samuel Thomas).
 There was no sign of the Short-eared Owl at Ballymacormick Point (Warren Fowles).

 In Donegal a Blackcap was at Malinmore, 11 Pale-bellied Brent at Rocky Point, 12 Whooper Swan at Killuris Lough near Rossbeg and 115 Sanderling and Chough at Tramore Strand (Vernon Carter).

Thanks to Peter Welch for this pic of the Bann Sorth-eared Owl:

Bird News Wednesday 28th October

A late Swallow was at Washing Bay, Lough Neagh (Adam McClure)

Whitehead seafront had 10 Twite. Portmuck had 5 Red-throated Diver in winter plumage and 1 Great Northern Diver in full summer plumage. Blackhead had 2 Red-throated Divers (Ian Enlander).

The Short-eared Owl was giving good views at Ballymacormick Point. A Snipe and several Carrion Crow were also present (Warren Fowles).

At Lough Beg a Short-eared Owl and Merlin were at Paddy's Dub (Godfrey McRoberts).  

If you have any rare or scarce bird news or pictures you would like to share, please do so at

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for the picture of a Red Grouse taken at Slieveanorra and a Jay from Breen Wood and to Stephen Maxwell for the picture of the Kestrel.



Bird News Tuesday 27th October

A Barn Owl was seen landing in the waste ground adjacent to Carrickfergus Marina/Sailing Club at 1100hrs today. It stayed about 30 mins and flew off in the direction of Belfast being given a hard time by the local gulls and crows (Nigel Thompson, Carrickfergus Harbour Master).
St John’s Point to Rossglass from 8.30 to 9.30 had four small parties of Starlings (total 16 birds) coming in off the sea, 70 Brent Geese, 5 Great Northern Diver (all in summer plumage), 1 juvenile Red-throated Diver, c.100 Guillemots, 8 Razorbills, 9 Black Guillemots, 2 Shelduck, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Wigeon, 19 Scoter, 170 Lapwing and 1 Merlin (Chris and Tim Murphy).

Ballykellly had 380 Whooper Swans, 129 Brent Geese, 2 White-fronted Geese; Myroe had 70 Whooper Swans, 43 Brent Geese, 500 Golden Plover, Bann Estuary had 250 Dunlin, 70 Sanderling, 40 Whooper Swans. (Peter Robinson / Hill Dick)  

A Short-eared Owl was at Inch, Co Donegal (Boyd Bryce)

Thanks to Annette Elkin for this pic of Barnacle Geese at Lissadell, Co Sligo:

Bird News Monday 26th October.

3 Twite and up to 2 Wheatear were at Ballintoy Harbour this morning (Ronnie Milligan)

Yesterday 2 Pink-footed Geese were still at Castle Espie and a single Pink-footed Goose with a Greylag at the Maltings (Ivan McDonald).

Islay Boat Trip

There are two seats available on this Wednesday's boat trip to Islay. Please contact Jim Wells on 07856235144 for more details. Over 20,000 Barnacle Geese (and a few vagrant Canada Geese) are currently on the Island.

Bird News Sunday 25th October

A Great White Egret was at Ballycarry Bridge, Larne Lough (Nicky & Ivan, Cameron Moore)

The Ring-necked Duck & 15 fly over Greenland White-fronts were at Lough Mourne, Co Antrim. A Slavonian Grebe was at Glynn (Neal Warnock)

A Wheatear and 2 Mediterranean Gulls (a 2nd winter and a 1st winter) were at Rossglass. A Kestrel, 2 Redpoll and a Goldcrest were at St John's Point. (Tim Murphy)

A juvenile Ring-necked Duck was at Lough Beg. The female type Smew was still present (David Steele)

A pair of Red Kites were flying over fields between Soldierstown Road, Aghalee and the Motorway. 9 Whooper Swans were with three young just past Gawleys Gate. (Ralph Walker)

The Pink-footed Goose and a Barnacle Goose were a mile north of Ballycarry Bridge on the Island Magee side. (Cameron Moore)

A Short-eared Owl was near Ballymacormick  Lagoon this afternoon (Colin Guy)

Martin Garner - Many of our readers will be familiar with Martin from his time living here in NI with Sharon and the girls. Martin found many rarities in NI, regularly contributes on local bird ID (even on species that are not rare!), is a member of the NIBARC, and through his Birding Frontiers blog provides many though provoking articles. Some of you will also know that Martin has recently been ill. He has however provided a public update on his condition at 
We all wish him and his family well in the difficult period ahead.

Thanks to Cameron Moore for the pics of the Great White Egret:

Bird News Saturday 24th October.

The long staying Spoonbill was seen again of the hide at Castle Espie. (Angus Kennedy) see pic below.

This morning at llendrum wind farm, Fivemiletown one Red Grouse and a Pine Martin.(Colin Bell).

c.200 Golden Plover where on the roof of the Tesco warehouse in Antrim.(Mark Smyth)

A Snow Bunting was on Melmore Head, Co.Donegal today and a 2 hr seawatch produced 20 Great Northern Divers, 1 Bonxie, 1 Manx Shearwater, 16 Golden Plover, 4 Common Scoter and a Tufted Duck.(Eric Randall)

Leach's Petrel - Lisnaskea

This Leach’s Petrel was found last night in Main Street, Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh. It seem to be uninjured, just confused and spent the night in a cardboard box. It is going to Donegal later to be returned back to the sea. (John Young)

Bird News Friday 23rd October

The Spoonbill was at Islandhill, Strangford Lough along with 14 Little Egret. 2 Pinkfeet were with 38 Greylags in fields near Castle Espie (Gerard McGeehan).

The Ring-necked Duck was with 20 Tufted Duck at Lough Mourne (Joe Lamont).

The juvenile/first-winter Glossy Ibis was along the western shore of Lough Beg. The female/immature Smew was also present (David Steele).

An adult Mediterranean Gull was along the seafront at Whitehead (Cameron Moore).

A juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper was at Inch Lake in Donegal. (Irish Birding/David Hunter).

Thanks to Chris Easton for the picture of a Purple Sandpiper, to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Sparrowhawk, to David Hunter for the pictures of the Whooper Swans and the White-rumped Sandpiper(left hand bird) and to Gareth Platt for the pictures of the Ring-billed Gull and the partial albino Jackdaw:




Bird News Thursday 22nd October

Portrush East Strand Car park had the Ring-billed Gull and a Mediterranean Gull. (Chris Easton)

15 whooper swans were on a stubble field at Ballyquintin, Co Down. (Keith Bennett)

RSPB Belfast WOW had 330 Teal, 100 + Lapwing, a Stonechat, 2 Little Egret, 1 Ruff, 1 Buzzard and 5 Gadwall (Derek Polley)

A Dipper was singing at Tempo Park, Co Fermanagh (Colin Bell)

A Kingfisher was seen along the Newry Canal just north of Newry this morning, A Water Rail was also heard. (Frank Carroll)

A seawatch from Bloody Foreland Co Donegal had 4 Leach's Storm-petrel, 13 Pomarine Skuas, 6 Arctic Skuas, 7 European Storm-petrels, 55 Great Northern Divers, 177 Great Skuas & 465 Sooty Shearwaters (Chris Ingram, Ralph Sheperd & Theo Campbell)

Thanks to David McCormick for this pic of first winter Black-headed Gulls at Kiltonga and Jason Bain for the Fieldfare in flight:

Bird News Wednesday 21st October

The juv/first-winter Glossy Ibis, one of the Great White Egret and a female / immature Smew were at Lough Beg (David Steele)

A Peregrine was flying West along the coastal path between Stricklands Glen and Carnalea. (Derek Polley)

Many thanks to Annette Elkin for this pic of a Redshank and Jason Bain for the Merlin:

Talk this Evening - Eric Dempsey

Eric Dempsey is giving a talk this evening, at 7:30 at the NIOC meeting at the Ulster Museum, Belfast. His 'Don't Die in Autumn' talk features extracts from his new and highly regarded book. Everyone is welcome.
Eric is also the author of a number of key books about birds and birding around Ireland and this promises to be a great talk.

Bird News Tuesday 20th October

A juvenile/1st winter Glossy Ibis and one of the Great White Egrets was in the south west corner of Lough Beg. (David Steele).

A Red Kite was seen from the M1, just south of Moira. (Richard Hunter).

An adult Mediterranean Gull was along Newcastle Promenade. (Leonard Charles).

A Ring-necked Duck was at Lough Mourne, Co Antrim and 8 Little Egret at 40 Acre Bay in Larne Lough (Joe Lamont).

25/30 Crossbill were in spruce at the entrance to Gosford Forest (Clifford Sharpe).

A Snow Bunting was at Ramore Head this evening. (Colin Guy).

The count of Lough Foyle produced a Greenland White-fronted Goose, 4 Pink-footed Geese, a Mediterranean Gull, 2 Slavonian Grebe, 7 Red-throated Diver and 17 Little Egret (Matthew Tickner, Gareth Bareham).

For anyone interested, a juvenile Pallid Harrier is at Annagh Marsh, Co Mayo for its second day.

Bird News Monday 19th October.

The 2 Great White Egret,3 Little Egret a Pink-footed Goose and 28 Ruff were at Lough Beg.(Matthew Tickner/Gareth Bareham)

At Larne Lough the Pink-footed Goose was seen again at Steel's Point and 2 Whooper Swan seen flying south.(Cameron Moore)

Slieveanorra Co Antrim had 2 Buzzard and 4 Red Grouse.(Chris Easton)

5 Whooper Swans flew East-West over Killylane Reservoir (near Larne) around 3pm.(Philip McErlean) see pic below

Yesterday 15 Redwing and 6 Fieldfare were at Church Island, Lough Beg (John Spratt) and 3 Pink-footed Geese and 4 Barnacle Geese at Blanket Nook in Donegal (Brad Robson).

Bird News Sunday 18th October

Yesterday the Quoile Pondage had 10 Whooper Swans (Tony Donaldson)

A Green Sandpiper and 5 Pink-footed Geese were at Mullagh (David Steele)

3 Whooper Swan were at Stoneyford Reservoir. The Whooper Swan along the Lagan at Lisburn is still present - it has been there all summer. (Vernon Carter)

8 Whooper Swans were at Seacoast Road, Eglinton, Derry, (Christine Cassidy & Ray Brogan)

Yesterday 5 Buzzards were at Moneypenny's Lock  Portadown, County Armagh. A short video of a Buzzard is at:  (Paul Allen)

Thanks to Tony for the top pic of the Whooper Swans and Christine for the lower pic:

Tony Donaldson:

Christine Cassidy:

Bird News Saturday 17th October

4 Snow Bunting were at Knockmore, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

A high count of over 550 Lesser Redpoll have been ringed on Copeland In the last month.

8 Greenland White-fronted Geese flew in at Ballintoy (Colin Guy)

The south-west corner of Lough Beg had a male Greeen-winged Teal, female Garganey and 2 juvenile Merlin. 27 Ruff were at Paddy's Dub (David Steele)

At Strangford Lough an Arctic Skua was off Killyleagh. On Thursday 2 Great White Egret were at Whiterock (Hugh Thurgate).

A day trip to Islay from Ballycastle today had Redwing, Whooper Swans, 14 Greenland Whitefronts, 1 Pink footed Goose, over 20,000 Barnacle geese, Hen Harriers and a Great Northern Diver (Margaret Adamson)

BTO NI Birdwatchers Conference

The BTO NI Birdwatchers conference is only a few weeks away. You can see more information at:

Bird News Friday 16th October

A Merlin was at Myroe (Christine Cassidy & Ray Brogan).

Late yesterday afternoon a Short-eared Owl was seen along the beach north of Ballywalter (martin McClenaghan, Ronnie Snoddy).

A high count of 15 Jay flew over a farm between Whitehead and Kilroot (Ian Beggs).

5 Whooper Swan were at Moira.

Yesterday 4 Mediterranean Gulls (2 adult and 2 2nd winter) were in Killough Harbour. Today a migrant Jay was at St John's Point. Also an adult Ring-billed Gull, 2 Ruff and 20 Greylag Geese were at Lurgangreen and a Spotted Redshank was at Dundalk Docks. (Tim Murphy).

 Thanks to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Merlin and to Jason Bain for the pictures of the Stonechat and the Buzzard:



Bird News Thursday 15th October

Yesterday morning (14 Oct) at St John’s Point, Razorbills were passing north at a rate of 1200/hour plus 6 Red-throated Divers (south), 10 Brent Geese (south), 10 Common Scoter, 1 Goldeneye, 1 Wigeon. Other evidence of visible migration included: 1,000 Starlings, 250 Skylarks, 20 Linnets, 20 Reed Buntings, 12 Tree Sparrows, 40 Lapwings, 4 Pied Wagtails, 1 Mistle Thrush, 3 Song Thrushes, 4 Great Tits, 10 Redpolls, 2 Greeenfinches, 20 Swallows, 50 Meadow Pipits, 1Snipe, 4 Stonechat. Also 3 Buzzards, 1 or 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Merlins and 2 Kestrels (Chris and Tim Murphy)

A Buzzard that was seen on Rathlin Island yesterday had unusual colouration and a striking red tail with a tail band (Jim Wells / Gerry Bond). Any comments about this bird or similar birds elsewhere are welcome.
The Buzzard appears to be a possible Steppe Buzzard, dark trailing edge to uniformly brownish upperwing and broad subterminal band on tail (Forsman The raptors of Europe and the Middle East) These feature appear to be shown well in the photograph, Steppe Buzzard appears in N and E Europe and is a long distant migrant, with winds coming from the east over the last week this would seem to give the bird more credence.      
Thanks to Gerry Bond for the Buzzard pic below. More pics are on our bird pics blog:

Bird News Wednesday 14th October

2 Wheatear and 20 Ringed Plover were at Portmuck (Norma Perceval-Price)

A second-winter Iceland Gull and the adult Ring-billed Gull were at Portrush. Late news was of a Long-tailed Duck at Ramore Head on Sunday (Matthew Tickner)

Tree Sparrows were visiting feeders at a house in Dunmurry (Lena McCann)

Thanks to Derek Polley for this picture of a Black Guillemot at Bangor and John Clarke for the Portstewart Yellow-browed Warbler (

Bird News Tuesday 13th October

Redwings were heard over the Grosvenor Road, Belfast last night (Clive Mellon) A few Redwing were also over Belfast City Centre last night (Andy Elliott)

Three Purple Sandpiper were east of the Long Hole in Bangor (Derek Polley)

Yesterday 38 Pintail were seen from the Flood Gates, Newtownards (Margaret Adamson)

A Snow Bunting was still at Myroe (Christine Cassidy)

A Pink-footed Goose was with 43 Greylag Geese and 14 Little Egret at Ballycarry (Gerard McGeehan)

A very large Shag roost at Cloghfin Jetty near Whitehead had 340 birds counted this evening (Ian Enlander)

Rathlin Island had 1 Snow Bunting, 2 Yellowhammers and 1 Whooper Swan (Colin Guy). Colin's last record of Yellowhammer on Rathlin was also in October but in 2011. A pic of that bird is below.

3 Wheatear and 26 pale bellied Brent Geese at Tyrella. (Tim Ryan)

You can see a picture of the Yellow-browed Warbler from Portstewart Strand at:

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for this pic of the Myroe Snow Bunting and Colin Guy for the Rathlin Island Yellowhammer:

You can see more local bird pictures at

Bird News Monday 12th October.

9 Pink-footed Geese where at Castle Espie.(Stephen Maxwell) see pics below.

Another 5 Pink-footed Geese where at Reedy Flats, Lough Neagh. 5 Swallow where also seen. (James O'Neill) see pic below

A 1st winter Med. Gull was at Portrush east strand car-park.(Colin Guy) see pic below. 

Our thanks to Stephen Maxwell for the two pics of the  Pink - footed Geese and the Peregrine. Also thanks to Colin Guy for the 1st winter Med. Gull at Portrush and also to Jason Bain for the Hen Harrier attacking a Hooded Crow.  Bottom pic is of the 5 Pink-footed Geese at Reedy Flats taken by James O'Neill. 

Bird News Sunday 11th October

A Yellow-browed Warbler was at Portstewart Strand/Bann Estuary this morning. There was also 1 Long-eared Owl, 2 Sparrowhawk, 6+ Redwing, c30 Light Bellied Brent and c65 Barnacle Geese. Yesterday a Merlin was present with c300 Lapwing, c12 Reed Bunting & c20 Chaffinch. (Richard Donaghey/John Clarke).

The Spoonbill was roosting on one of the Rocky islands off Castle Espie. 8 Pink-feet were also feeding in a stubble field. (Adam McClure).

This afternoon 1 Red Grouse and 18 Golden Plover were at Lendrum Wind Farm, Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone. (Colin Bell).

An adult Mediterranean Gull, 7 Little Egret, 17 Grey Heron, 9 Greenshank, 10 Brent Geese, 1 Shelduck and 2 Carrion Crow were in Killough Harbour. A 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull was in a field on the outskirts of Killough and 2 Wheatear were at Tyrella. (Tim Murphy).

An adult argentatus Herring Gull was at Kinnegar Shore along with twelve late Sandwich Tern (Stuart McKee)

Thanks to Angus Kennedy for the picture of the Pink-footed Geese, to Mark Elliott for the picture of the Grey Wagtail and to Cameron Moore for the picture of the Grey Heron:



Bird News Saturday 10th October

3 Whooper Swans were feeding in a stubble field near Aghalee this morning. (Ralph Walker).

A female Merlin was on Cockle Island at Groomsport (George Henderson).

Lough Beg had 5 Ruff, Peregrine, Merlin 2 Little Egret, 2 Buzzard, 150 Golden Plover and 2 Dunlin (Gerard McGeehan)

A Chiffchaff was at Kearney. (Richard Weyl).

Thanks to Jason Bain for the picture of the Bar-tailed Godwit taken at Kinnegar shore and to Tony Donaldson for the little & large picture of a Buzzard and Chaffinch taken at the Quoile.

Bird News Friday 9th October

A second winter Mediterranean Gull was at Mill Quarter Bay in Co Down today and 14 Sandwich Terns (one a first year bird) were at nearby Kilclief Bay. (David Nixon).

A Jack Snipe was at Blackwater Bridge north of Lough Fea. On 6th a Whimbrel was at Sea Park (near Helens Bay) (Richard Weyl).

A juvenile Gannet flew west along the south shore of Lough Neagh at Reedy Flat at 5pm this evening. (James O'Neill).

An adult Mediterranean Gull was just north of Pickie in Bangor (David McCleary).

2 Jay were along Knockagh Road at Woodburn (Billy Hamilton).

4 Wheatear were at Ramore Head in  Portrush. (Stephen Maxwell).

Tonight at 8.20pm a Barn Owl flew across the Lower Ballinderry Road, Lisburn. (Tim Ryan).

An adult winter plumaged Yellow-legged Gull was resting on rocks 800m north-west of St John's Point Lighthouse at midday. There was also 1 Merlin, 2 Kestrel, 1 Buzzard, 50 Skylark and 3 Goldcrest. (Tim Murphy).

Thanks to David for this picture of the Mediterranean Gull and to Stephen for the picture of the Wheatear.


Bird News Thursday 8th October

No news so far today.

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for this picture of a Wheatear taken on Rough Island, Strangford Lough.