Bird News Wednesday 31st August

One adult, or perhaps two, and a juvenile Spotted Flycatcher were feeding at Lough Money, Co Down, this morning. (Ron Price & Michael Taylor).

A White-tailed Eagle flew north over Lower Lough Erne in Co. Fermanagh. (Peter Taylor/Brad Robson).

A Little Egret flew over Dunseverick Harbour - unusual for that location. (Colin Guy).

Melmore Head today in 5 hrs had 125 Sooty Shearwaters, 2 Great Shearwaters , 1 Balearic Shearwater, 1 adult Sabines, 7 Bonxies, 1 Arctic Skua, 3 Kittiwakes and 14 Common Scoter. (Eric Randall)

The Bann Estuary today had 18 Whimbrel, 41 Black-tailed Godwits and 1 Curlew Sandpiper. (Hill Dick)  

Bird News Tuesday 30th August.

A 1st winter Little Gull was in Killough Harbour. (Tim Murphy)

RSPB WOW had 4 Curlew Sandpipers and 4 Ruff (Wilton Farrelly)

8 pair of Gadwall where giving excellent views at Kiltonga duck pond, N'ards.(Ian McKee)

Ailsa Craig Thursday 1st September

This is the best time to see the 36,000 pairs of Gannets on Ailsa Craig.

The thousands of young Gannets (Gugas as they are called) are just about to take their first flights and the cliffs are alive with the sights, sounds and indeed the smells of these amazing birds.

We had a great trip there a couple of weeks ago and a few people are interested in going this Thursday (1st September).

This will probably be our last visit to the Island this year so do let me know if you are interested.

 The 3 folk who have already indicated an interest in going on Thursday don't need to contact me again.

Jim Wells


Bird News Monday 29th August

Whitehead had 2 Mediterranean Gulls at the seafront carpark this morning. (Ian Enlander)

Yesterday an adult Mediterranean Gull was at Kinnegar shore in Belfast Lough (Gerard McGeehan).

A juv Spotted Redshank was at Belfast WOW reserve. No sign of Black Tern (Jeff Larkin)

The drake King Eider was still at the south end of Murvagh Beach. Also Great Northern Divers back. 6  Ruff were at Inch Lough. 3 Ruff and 1 Little Stint were at Blanketnook Co Donegal (Brad Robson)

Thanks to Tony Donaldson for the picture of the Kestrel.

Bird News Sunday 28th August

A Green Sandpiper and six Ruff were at Lough Beg, in the southwest corner today. (David Steele)

A single Curlew Sandpiper was at the Myroe turf fields, a further 2 Curlew Sandpipers were at Ballykelly. (Ian Graham & Philip West)

Belfast WOW reserve this afternoon had the female Garganey, 7 Curlew Sandpipers and 3 Ruff. (Philip West & Ian Graham).

The Black Tern was seen in the morning at the Belfast WOW reserve,

Our thanks to Nigel Moore for his stunning pics of the Black Tern and a Dunlin. The pictures of the Osprey were kindly sent in by Richard Smith, these pics are from last Sunday.

Ailsa Craig Boat Trip

There are three seats available on a boat trip to Ailsa Craig this Monday (August 29th).

Contact Jim Wells on 07856235144 for details.

Well Travelled Gull

This Lesser Black-backed Gull was ringed as an adult at Quinta de Marim, Olhão, Portugal in November 2014 and was first found on the shore at Whiteabbey in October 2015, returning to almost exactly the same spot today. The bird has a plastic ring number F461 and a metal ring LV6751 Thanks to Gareth Platt for the information and the picture.

Bird News Saturday 27th August

RSPB Belfast WOW this morning had two Roseate Terns (one un-ringed), the Black Tern, female Garganey, 7 Curlew Sands and 8 Ruff. (Garry Armstrong)

4 Common Sandpiper, a Little Stint and a Kingfisher were seen along the Clanrye River/Newry Estuary this morning. (Frank Carroll)

Portmuck, Islandmagee this morning had 1 Swift, 2 Sand Martin with 100+ Barn Swallow (Ian Enlander)

The Whooper Swan was again on the River Lagan, close to Hilden Brewery (Angus Kennedy)

The Black Tern was still at RSPB WOW at lunchtime. (James McQueen and Gerald Sillery)

The Spotted Redshank was still at Ballycarry (Cameron Moore)

No sign of the Osprey at the Roe Estuary. A Kingfisher was seen on the River Roe at Swann's Bridge and a Peregrine seen hunting (Chris Rankin)

Thanks to James McQueen for the Black Tern pic, Angus Kennnedy for the Whooper Swan and Cameron Moore for the Spotted Redshank. You can see more local bird pics at:

Bird News Friday 26th August

4 Ruff were at Lough Beg today. (Richard Hunter)
The 2 adult Osprey where still at Lough Beg this evening, no sign of the juvenile bird.(David Steele)

7 Curlew Sandpiper and the Garganey where at the RSPB Belfast Harbour reserve.(Daniel Newton)

Last night a Long-eared Owl was at Tullylagan Hotel nr. Cookstown.(Paul Allen)

A Curlew Sandpiper was at Sandy Bay, Larne, this morning (Gavin Ferguson)

Buzzard video from Paul Allen

Thanks to Ian and Gavin for the pics below:

Bullfinch - Ian Jackson

Curlew Sandpiper - Gavin Ferguson

Bird News Thursday 25th August

The juvenile Black Tern, 8 Curlew Sandpiper and 7 Ruff were at RSPB Belfast WOW (Ronald Surgenor)

A Red Kite was over Larchfield estate Annahilt today. (Gary Wilkinson)

Late news from two weeks ago, a Barn Owl was seen on the M1 going into Belfast. It was on right side of the motorway, hunting near the Dunmurry turn off. (Richard McGregor)

There were 2 Little Egrets and 4 Whimbrel at St. Cooey's Wells near Portaferry this afternoon. (Chris Acheson)

The Forsters Tern was still at Soldiers Point, Dundalk, Co Louth, seen at 1:30 and 4:30 (Mark Stewart)

Thanks to Wilf Swain for this pic of a Goldfinch:

Roseate Terns at RSPB WOW

Roseate Terns are annual at RSPB WOW Belfast and one of two recent adults was seen again today. This reserve offers an excellent opportunity to see this species close up. The following photographs from Stephen Maxwell are of the two birds seen this week. One has a much shorter tail and one leg ring, whilst the other has two leg rings and a much longer tail. It is possible that other birds, including juveniles will also turn up here over the next few weeks.

Bird News Wednesday 24th August

The Osprey was hunting the Quoile this morning around the barrier gates over in to the bay next Killyleagh Road and over to the yatch club. (Tony Donaldson).

The juvenile Black Tern and 2 Roseate Terns were at Belfast RSPB WOW reserve. (Stephen Maxwell).

2 more Osprey were hunting at 1pm over the Roe Estuary. Three Curlew Sandpiper were also at The Bann Estuary (Richard Hunter)

6 Ruff and 8 Curlew Sandpipers are at RSPB WOW (Gerard McGeehan)

A Curlew Sandpiper was at Blanket Nook today. Also a presumed hybrid adult Glaucous x Herring Gull offshore (Chris Ingram).

Twelve Little Egret were west of the Downshire Bridge, Dundrum inner bay and one just east of the bridge around 10 o'clock this morning. (Dougie Gamble).

A juvenile Whinchat was on Rathlin. A family party of Choughs and two Sparrowhawks were also seen on the South Arm. At Ballycastle a sub adult Little Gull was feeding at the outlet at Marconi's. (Colin Guy).

An Osprey was at lower Lough Macnean in Co. Fermanagh this morning. (A Brady).

A Little Egret was at Hay Island in Lower Lough Erne this afternoon. (Andrew Gallagher).

Thanks to Tony Donaldson for the picture of the Osprey, to David Hunter for the picture of the Buzzards, to Linda Thompson for the pictures of the wing tagged Buzzard taken at Kilroot and for the picture of the Razorbill and to Dougie Gamble for the picture of the Little Egret:

Tony Donaldson - Osprey

David Hunter - Buzzards

Linda Thompson - Buzzard with a yellow tag on the right wing and a white tag on the left.

Linda Thompson - Razorbill

Dougie Gamble - Little Egret

Bird News Tuesday 23rd August

An adult and a juvenile Arctic Skua were at St John’s Point, 8.30am. Eight Willow Warblers at 9.15am moved quickly from the cattle grid up the road towards Kelly’s Wood. Also 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Stonechat, 1 Whitethroat and 1 Reed Bunting (Chris Murphy).

3 Greenshank were at Macedon Point this morning. (Julian Greenwood & George Henderson).

A Little Egret was at Knockninny Marina on Upper Lough Erne at 18.15 yesterday. (Colin Gates).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen this afternoon at Blackwood Golf Club in Bangor. (Colin Cardy).

Belfast Lough RSPB WOW reserve this afternoon had 8 Ruff, 4 Curlew Sandpipers, 2 adult Roseate Terns, one with a ring on the right leg and the other with rings on both legs, 45 Bar-tailed Godwits, some still in summer plumage and 2 adult Sandwich Terns. The juvenile Black Tern was seen in the evening. (Tom Ennis/Stephen Maxwell).

Grey Point this evening had 4 Arctic Skua, an adult Mediterranean Gull, 500+ auks, 400+ Manx Shearwater and 3 Porpoise. (Wilton Farrelly).

Yesterday evening a juvenile Osprey was at Lough Beg. (David Steele).

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Little Egret from Dundrum to Stephen Maxwell for the pictures of the Roseate Tern and the Black Tern.



Bird News Monday 22nd August

At least one of the two KIllough Ospreys was still present this morning. Also two Kingfishers and the Black Swan. Two thousand Manx Shearwaters and large numbers of other seabirds were feeding close in shore off St John’s Point this morning, Hundreds of Swallows were going through also. Yesterday evening three White Wagtails and a Merlin were in Killough Harbour (Chris Murphy)

Eight Curlew Sandpipers, the juv Black Tern, 2 adult Roseatte Terns and 8 Ruff were at RSPB WOW (Daniel Newton / Wilton Farrelly)

The Spotted Redshank was at Ballycarry and an Arctic Skua was seen at the entrance to Larne Lough (Cameron Moore)

A Little Egret was seen at Upper Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

Off the North Down coast this morning - small rafts of Guillemots, Razorbills, Puffins and Black Guillemots. Also three Great Northern Divers flying west into Belfast Lough. (Julian Greenwood)

You can share news on rare and scarce news via or via Twitter @nibirds

Thanks to Cameron Moore for this pic of the Spotted Redshank and the Arctic Skua and Chris Murphy for the Osprey:

Spotted Redshank - Cameron Moore:

Arctic Skua - Cameron Moore

Osprey - Chris Murphy:

Bird News Sunday 21st August

The juvenile Black Tern, 8 Curlew Sands and 7 Ruff were still at the Belfast RSPB WOW reserve at 7am. (Garry Armstrong) Well worth keeping an eye open for Little Stints over the next week, a few are starting to appear south of the border 

Two Curlew Sandpipers are at Myroe (Ian Graham).

Two Osprey are now at Strand Lough, Co Down. (Daniel Newton)

Ballykelly had 2 Curlew Sands and 14 Little Egret.The Bann estuary had an additional 4 Curlew Sands.  (Ian Graham)

Balls Point, Ballerina Co. L'derry had an Osprey (Theo Campbell, Richard Smith and Roger Murray)

Melmore Head, Co Donegal had from 0700 to 1030 this morning in moderate WNW winds 29 Sooty Shearwaters, 230 Manxies, a Storm-Petrel, 13 Bonxies, 3 Arctic Skuas, a Little Gull and a flyby Greenshank - (Eric Randall and Oscar Campbell)

A Garden Warbler was in scrub on the edge of the river Bann beside Portstewart golf club (John Clarke)

Our sincere thanks to everyone who takes time out to contribute to the blog, without all of you then the blog would not be possible

Thanks to Dessie Loughrey for this pic of a Buzzard:

Bird News Saturday 20th August

A juvenile Black Tern, 8 Curlew Sandpiper and 7 Ruff are at RSPB Belfast WOW. (Garry Armstrong).

The Osprey is still in the Strand Lough area, seen from Killough Bridge this afternoon being harassed by a couple of Rooks. (Peter & Dougie Gamble).

There were 41 Little Egrets and 16 Grey Herons at Murlough this afternoon. They were in the field on the right beyond the NT holiday let at the Keel Point entrance. (Angus Kennedy).

A juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Osprey and 2 Little Egret were at Lough Beg this evening, at least 4 Garganey were also still present. (Davy Hunter/David Steele).

Below are a couple of pictures of the Black Tern and thanks to Stephen Maxwell for the picture of two of the Curlew Sandpipers at Belfast WOW and to Cameron Moore for the pictures of the Whimbrel and the Sandwich Tern with the white ring nzr on its right leg and a metal ring on the left leg.



Bird News Friday 19th August

A Roseate Tern was at RSPB Belfast WOW on the planks at the east end (Gerard McGeehan)

A first-winter Med Gull with a yellow colour-ring was at East Strand, Portrush this morning. (Adam McClure).

An adult Osprey was fishing in Strand Lough, Killough at 4.30pm today. Also present: 15 Little Egrets, 2 Stock Doves, 3 Reed Warblers and a Kingfisher. Good numbers of waders in Killough Harbour, usual range of species including Golden Plover, Greenshank and Whimbrel. Sea watching at St John’s Point between 8am and 9am and 1pm and 3pm: continuous movement of Manx Shearwaters out of Dundrum, Bay peaking early afternoon at 5,000 per hour. Also 1 Great Skua, 3 Arctic Skuas and 1 Roseate Tern (Chris Murphy and Doris Noe).

Thanks to Derek Polley for the picture of Black-tailed Godwits from Belfast WOW reserve.


Bird News Thursday 18th August.

An Osprey was hunting along the Quoile pondage, Co. Down this evening, 8 Little Egrets where also seen.(Tony Donaldson) see Tony's pic of  the Osprey below.

4 Ruff, 1 Common Sandpiper and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit where seen in the RSPB Belfast Harbour estate reserve, the birds where feeding close to the main hides.(Derek Polley).

The Bann Estuary today had 28 Teal, 3 Wigeon, 22 Black-tailed Godwit, 90 Dunlin, 12 Sanderling, 1 Ruff, 1 Spotted Redshank and 2 Knot. A hunting juvenile Peregrine caused mayhem across the mud-flats as it took a Redshank right in front of the hide. (Hill Dick)

Grey Heron surrounded with 4 Little Egrets.- Wilfred Swain.

Bird News Wednesday 17th August

An Osprey was seen over Skegoneill Avenue, Belfast at 10:20, getting harassed by Lesser Black-backed Gulls, moving towards Belfast Lough (Stuart McKee)

Five Ruff were at RSPB WOW (Wilton Farrelly).

A 2nd summer Little Gull and an adult Med gull were at the Seahill Gull roost, Co Down. (Ronald Surgenor)

An Osprey was observed at the Quoile Basin, Killyleagh side, hunting for fish for 15 minutes at 3pm today (David Clarke, Malcolm Buchanan & John Hamilton)

Thanks to Linda Thompson for this pic of a Knot:

Boat Trips to Ailsa Craig And Jura

There will be a boat trip to Ailsa Craig this Thursday and another trip to Jura on Friday.

Please contact Jim Wells on 07856235144 for full details.

A Common Gull Called "Stumps"

This Common Gull which I have named 'Stumps' is creating a bit of interest amongst some of my Blog followers. I was able to obtain a partial number on it's ring and it appears to match a series used on Copeland Island in 2010, in which case the gull was probably ringed as chick. I first spotted the bird in July, but it flew off before I could get any photos. I re-sighted this gull on Saturday (13th) at the same location in Millisle and was able to get these photos. The gull appears to be getting along quite well, despite losing both feet.

Gareth Platt.

Bird News Tuesday 16th August

Over the weekend Copeland Bird Observatory had 3000 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Sooty Shearwaters, 7 Arctic Skuas, 7 Great Skuas, 2 Puffins, 13 Storm Petrels, a Buzzard, a Peregrine and a Sparrowhawk. The only passerine migrants were a few Willow Warblers, a Whitethroat, the first Robins coming in to set up autumn/winter territories and the first Goldcrest of the autumn. (Chris Acheson).

A Long-eared Owl was at Castle Espie this morning, see picture below. (Toni Castello).

RSPB WOW had 5 Ruff. 3 Common Sandpiper were at Kinnegar lagoon (Daniel Newton)

A Royal Tern was at Roonagh Lough, Co Mayo.

Thanks to Toni Castello for the picture of the Long-eared Owl and to Bee Kupicha for the picture of the Cuckoo in their garden.


Bird News Monday 15th August

Late news for yesterday a Pink-footed Goose was at Blanketnook, Co Donegal (Brad Robson)

A Little Egret was seen at the mouth of the Ballinderry River into Lough Neagh today (Kevin Devlin)

A female type Garganey was RSPB Belfast WOW reserve (Stuart McKee)

An adult Med Gull was at Magilligan Point. 3 White Wags and 3 Northern Wheatears were at the lawns at Myroe. 2 Little Egrets and a juv Cuckoo were at the Roe Estuary. 3 Whimbrel, 3 Knot, 6 juv Sanderling, 500 plus Dunlin and circa 200 Curlew were at the Bann Estuary (Tony Dodds / Tom Ennis)

Yesterday a Long-eared Owl flew in to a garden in Castlerock (Mervyn Guthrie)

American waders continue to turn up down south with a Solitary Sandpiper and Least Sandpiper now in Co Clare. Also a Buff-breasted Sandpiper, was at Portnoo, Co Donegal, near the sixth hole at Portnoo and Narin Golf Course, Castle Goland Strand (Birdguides)

Thanks to Linda Thompson for the pic of the Wheatear and Stuart McKee for this pic of a Peregrine at Myroe (feeding on a Golden Plover):    

Wheatear, Linda Thompson:
Peregrine, Stuart McKee:

Bird News Sunday 14th August.

7 Ruff where at the RSPB Belfast Harbour reserve.(Oscar Campbell/Garry Armstrong) The reserve is worth keeping an eye open over the next few weeks, quite a few American waders recorded in Southern Ireland this week-end so you never know....

A Short-eared Owl was seen at Bloody Bridge, Newcastle last night. (Jim Leitch)

A Kingfisher was at Moneypenny's Bridge, Portadown last night. (Paul Allen)

An Osprey was at the Roe Estuary, (Jeff Larkin / Stuart Mckee)

4 Brent Geese and a Wheatear were at Islandhill, CobDown (GerardMcGeehan)

A White-tailed Eagle flew westwards over the Erne near Killyhevlin this afternoon (Robert Scott).

Thanks to Linda Thompson for the picture of the Herring Gull with its lunch.


Bird News Saturday 13th August

Two Mediteranean Gulls were at Kinnegar Shore (Brian Murphy)

The Lesser Yellowlegs was still at the Swords Estuary, Dublin, viewable from the Kennel roundabout at south side at Broadmeadows Estuary.

If you have any notable sightings of rare or scarce birds, please share via

Thanks to Jason Bain for this pic of a Kingfisher from the Inver River:

Bird News Friday 12th August

A Little Egret was at RSPB WOW reserve. There was no sign of the White-rumped Sandpiper this morning but it was present all day yesterday and may still be present. (Stuart McKee).

A family of Spotted Flycatcher were at Derrymore Wood Bessbrook this afternoon. (Frank Carroll).

A 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull almost completing its moult from first summer was at the Belfast Lough RSPB WOW reserve. (Stuart McKee).

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for the picture of a Sparrowhawk and to Linda Thompson for the picture of the Kingfisher.


Bird News Thursday 11th August

Reedy Flat, Lough Neagh this afternoon had 3 Goldeneye, a Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Ruff. A Little Egret was at Ardmore (just east of Emerson's) along with 5 more Ruff. (Oscar Campbell)

Birding Literature for Sale

huge amount of birding literature is for sale, including the following -

1. A forty year unbroken run of British Birds - mainly loose but a few volumes bound.

2. A complete run of Bird Study since its inception in 1954.

3. A complete run of Scottish Birds.

4. A long sequence of Welsh Birds.

5. One of very few complete sets of Irish Birds in existence.

A large number of County Bird reports and many soft back journals. Numerous copies of BTO News, IWC/Birdwatch Ireland News (Wings)

Hundreds of hard back monographs which are too numerous to list but include many New Naturalists and Poyser.

Many bird atlases from all over the United Kingdom.

The chances are that if you want it, I have it, so give me a ring if you have a specific need.

All the books are in Banbridge, Co Down and if you are interested in then, please contact:

Jim Wells 07856235144 / 

Bird News Wednesday 10th August

The White-rumped Sandpiper, 5 Ruff and a female type Garganey are at Belfast WOW. (Neal Warnock)

At least one of the Green Sandpiper's was at Shaw's Lake, Co Armagh this morning (Frank Carroll)

Bird News Tuesday 9th August

Two Green Sandpipers were at Shaw's Lake, Co. Armagh. There were also 7 Common Sandpipers and 5 Black-tailed Godwits there. (David Knight)

A Little Egret was at Heron Islan, Lower Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh, approx the 6th county record (Brad Robson)

Bird News Monday 8th August

A 2hr seawatch at Ramore  Head this morning produced 1 Sooty Shearwater, 3 Bonxies, 2 Arctic Skuas, 2000+ Manx Shearwaters, 5 Storm Petrels, 500 Kittiwakes, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Whimbrel. (Colin Guy)

A Little Gull was at Sandy Bay, Larne (Neal Warnock)

The 2 Little Stints where still present at Myroe Levels,Co.L'derry up until noon when they flew off. (David Hill)see pic below.

8 Whimbrel were off the Gobbins, Islandmagee. (Ian Enlander)

An Osprey was at Lough Beg this evening, fairly quiet otherwise but a Whimbrel flew south (David Steele)

The Forsters Tern has returned to Soldiers Point, Co Louth (Louth Bird News)

Little Gull - Linda Thompson.

Little Stints - David Hill.

Sparrowhawk with kill - Ginny McKee.

Bird News Sunday 7th August

The adult White-rumped Sandpiper is still at RSPB WOW Belfast (Ronald Surgenor). The bird was still present in the NE corner at 1:30.

2 juvenile Little Stint were at the turf fields at Myroe Levels (Jeff Larkin)

A second summer Littke Gull was at Sandy Bay, Larne (Wilton Farrelly)

Thanks to Ronald for this pic of the White-rumped Sandpiper (with Dunlin):