Bird News Wednesday 30th November

Yesterday the Ring-necked Duck and 20 Whooper were at the Quoile. (Tony Donaldson).

A Chiffchaff was along the Newry Canal south of Scarva this morning, the Kingfisher was still present. (Frank Carroll).

Thanks to Tony Donaldson for the pictures of the Goldcrest and the Buzzard.

Bird News Tuesday 29th November

Maybe 2 Great White Egrets on Lower Lough Erne, one at west end and 1 at Inishmakill/Glenross Bay.(Brad Robson)

A Waxwing was at Kearney, Co Down (Dave Allen)

Another Waxwing was in a garden in Eglinton today (Jonny W)

A Ruff, 2 Little Egret, 40 Knot  and10 Bar-tail Godwits were at Whitehouse (Gerard McGeehan)

Yesterday 7 Sandwich Tern were at Portaferry (John Wilson Foster)

A Little Egret was in Orangefield Park, Belfast this morning (Rhona Galway)

A walk along the Scarva towpath to-day produced a Kingfisher a Water Rail and lots of Redwing.(Karen Elliott)

Slightly further afield... A male Smew and a Ruff where at Inch Lake Co. Donegal and 12 Long-tailed Duck all of which seem to be female type seen at Mill Bay off Inch Island. (David/Phillip McHaffie)

At Murvagh, Rossnowlagh, a drake Surf Scoter was with 1700 Common Scoter (Ralph Shepperd)

For those following the A6 Toome Road issues, an appeal is to be heard into it.

Mediterranean Gull -Garteth  Platt.

Bird News Monday 28th November

Two Chiffchaffs were feeding together at the Discovery Centre at Oxford Island. One of them is a clear ssp. collybitta but the other paler one is a Siberian Chiffchaff, ssp. tristis. A video recording which includes the call - can be seen here:  (James O'Neill)

88 Whooper Swans and two Mute Swans were at the Billy Neil Playing Fields outside comber (Stephen Maxwell and Harry Byron)

A flock of 14 Snow Buntings seen this afternoon at Skerry Hill near the Altnahinch Road, Antrim Plateau. (David Steele)

Two Little Egret were on Lower Lough Erne (Brad Robson)

A second winter Mediterranean Gull was at Glenarm (Gareth Platt)

Thanks to James for this picture of the Siberian Chiffchaff and Stephen Maxwell for the Whoopers:

Bird News Sunday 27th November

Two Chiffchaffs were at Oxford Island this morning, one pale bird resembling a Siberian Chiffchaff. But pictures confirmed that it was not Siberian but a pale Common Chiffchaff. See pictures below.  (Garry Armstrong).

The Water Pipit was looked for at the gasworks but without success (Daniel Newton et al)

Three Sandwich Tern and four Carrion Crows were at Ballyholme, Bangor (Wilton Farrelly)

The two Velvet Scoters and two Long-tailed Duck were off Glynn (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

On the east side of Strangford Lough the Spoonbill was south of Anne’s Point and at Marlfield there were 5 Sandwich Tern (Richard Weyl)

There Sandwich Tern were also seen at Portaferry (Richard Weyl / John Wilson Foster).

There are now five Goosanders (an adult male and four females) along the River Main at Slaght near Ballymena. (David Steele).

Pale Common Chiffchaff at Oxford Island:


Bird News Saturday 26th November

A Water Pipit was on the  shore near the Gasworks outside Newtownards. (Julian Greenwood).

The two Velvet Scoter were still off Glyn Station, Larne Lough (Neal Warnock)

The Long-tailed Duck was still off Kinnegar (Daniel Newton)

5 Long-tail Ducks were off Fishermans Quay, Carrickfergus. Another 3 were off Greenisland (Gerard McGeehan).

An albino Jackdaw was in Magherafelt this afternoon. (Gary Cunningham).

A female Merlin was just north of Ardglass.(James O'Neill)

Bird News Friday 25th November

A Green Sandpiper was near the yacht club on the Quoile yesterday around midday. (Julian Greenwood)

A Red Kite flew over the A1 at Banbridge.(Karen Elliott)

Slightly further afield..Innishowen Co.Donegal had 345 Barnacle Geese, 5 Pink-footed Geese, 3 Little Egrets,4 Great Northern Divers beyond village. There was 450 Barnacles at Malin Head, 12 Red-throated Divers and 14 Twite at Ballyliffin.(Richard Gray)

60 Slavonian Grebe, 5 Long-tailed Duck and a Common Scoter were between Ballykelly and Myroe, Lough Foyle this afternoon in flat calm conditions. (Matthew Tickner).

Tyrella beach this afternoon had: Dunlin 24, Sanderling 31, Golden plover +80, Ringed Plover 13, Curlew 3, Black-tailed Godwit 1, Oystercatcher 15, Little Egret 1, Merganser 4, Red-throated Diver 1, Shag 1, Cormorant 1, Black-headed Gull +70, Common Gull 10, Twite 2, Goldfinch 2, Greenfinch 1, Stonechat 1, Pied wagtail 2. (Toni Costello).

45+ Whooper Swans were in a field alongside the Comber - Ards dual carriageway. (Derek Polley).


Bird News Thursday 24th November

The Great White Egret, a Little Egret and a late Common Sandpiper were at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB reserve in Co. Fermanagh. (Amy Burns & Fionnbarr Cross).

The two juvenile/female Velvet Scoters were still off Macedon Point in Belfast Lough. (Stuart McKee).

The Ring-necked Duck was still at the Quoile. (Joe Devlin).
A Little Egret was on the small steam that runs under Castle Street in Comber this morning. (Chris Shaw).

Thanks to Rod Gillan for the pictures of the Golden Plover and the Stonechat.

Bird News Wednesday 23rd November

The Spoonbill was beside Rough Island, Strangford Lough, viewed from Island Hill car park at 2:45pm (Robin Vage)

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Mill Quarter Bay in Co Down today (David Nixon)

The Drake Ring-necked Duck was present at Lough Mourne today. Observers (Ray Bennett, Carol Gillespie, Nigel Moore and Tom Ennis)

A Merlin and ten Little Egret were at Myroe along with excellent numbers of wildfowl (Sean Hickey)

The Marsh Harrier was showing at Portmore Lough RSPB Reserve this morning (Ronald Surgenor)

Remember that you can share rare / scarce bird news by email:  Thanks to all observers for their sightings. 

Bird News Tuesday 22nd November

A pair of Goosanders (male and female) were along the River Main at Slaght, near Ballymena this morning. (David Steele).

A drake Ring-necked Duck and three Scaup were among 11 species of duck at the Quoile this morning. Also three Whoopers (1 juv), Little Egret, adult Mediterranean Gull (with red ring) and a partially leucistic Lapwing. In Killough Harbour there was a Peregrine and an impressive murmuration of Starlings. (Chris and Tim Murphy).

A Brambling was at Islandmagee and a White-fronted Goose was at Steele's Point in Larne Lough, see pictures below. (Cameron Moore).

Thanks to Cameron for the pictures of the Brambling and the White-fronted Goose.


Bird News Monday 21st November

A Brambling was seen along the coast at Larne (Jason Bain)

A first-winter Iceland Gull was at the Waterworks Park, Belfast. (David Knight)

There is a report that a Lesser Scaup was shot on Lough Neagh on the 10th September (Kris Gibb / John Edwards)

Thanks to Jason for a pic of the Brambling:

Bird News Sunday 20th November

2 Velvet Scoter off Glynn station, also 48 Whooper and a Long Tailed Duck. (Garry Armstrong / Philip West) Two Goosander were also seen (Neal Warnock)

A Snow Bunting was on the beach at White Park Bay, Co Antrim (Wilton Farrelly)

An American Wigeon has been reported at Dundrum Bay, Co Down (Birdguides)

At Greyabbey Bay were 5 Slavonian grebe and a Black-throated Diver. At Horse Island there was a Whimbrel. On 13th 7 Sandwich Tern were south of Millisle‎ and another 3 south of Burial Island. (Richard Weyl)

A first winter Greenland White-fronted Goose was at Larne Lough  (Cameron Moore)

132 Pintail were 300m south of the Maltibgs at Strangford Lough. A Merlin was also at Kearney (John Moore) 

Thanks to our photographers today:

Cameron Moore, Greenland White-fronted Goose:

John Moore, Merlin:

Stephen Maxwell, Mediterranean Gull:

You can see more local bird photographs at:

Bird News Friday 18th November.

2 Snow Buntings and 9 Raven (feeding on a sheep carcass) were at Carntogher Mountain, Co Londonderry (David Morrow).

Whooper Swans - Jason Bain.

Irish Brent Goose Research Group Video

There is a superb video on the movements and ecology of our wintering Brent Geese, from the Irish Brent Goose Research Group, WWT and the University of Exeter at:

More Bird Pics

Remember you can see more pictures of local birds at:

Contributions from everyone are welcome.

Bird News Thursday 17th November

4 Whooper Swans, a Little Egret and 2 Fieldfare were at the Quoile Pondage this morning. (Spencer & Joan Marshall).

An adult Little Gull was in Larne harbour. (Neal Warnock)

The Cattle Egret was in Malin Town, Donegal yesterday (Birdguides)

This morning, RSPB WOW had a Raven, a Peregrine and a high count of 40+ Bar-tailed Godwit (Derek Polley)

A Merlin was seen in Markethill, Co Armagh, this morning (John Anderson)

A Merlin and a Starling flock of circa 5000 were at Strand Lough, Killough, Co Down (Chris Murphy)

Thanks to Cameron Moore for this pic of the Larne Little Gull and Thomas Campbell for the Marsh Harrier (recently at the Quoile):

Lough Beg

If you would like to learn more about the threats to Lough Beg and the campaign to change the route of the road please see:

To obtain further information you can contact Chris Murphy at 

Bird News Wednesday 16th November

Late news for yesterday was that 19 Purple Sandpipers were at Ramore Head (Gilly Irwin).

The Marsh Harrier was mobbing a Buzzard this evening at Portmore Lough RSPB Reserve. Also present was a Peregrine, Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk, and 3 Pintail on the Lough. (James O'Neill)

Three Pink-footed Geese were at the Quoie (Dot Blakely

Thanks to Dessie Loughrey for this pic of a Razorbill from the summer:

Bird News Tuesday 15th November

The Ring-necked Duck was still at Lough Mourne near Carrickfergus, a Brambling was in Whitehead and 2 Long-tailed Ducks were in Larne Lough, see pictures below. (Cameron Moore).

Two Water Rails were fighting below the hide at the Quoile. (Gary Wilkinson).

A Red-throated Diver was in Ballyholme Bay. (Derek Polley).

A winter plumaged Mediterranean Gull was in front of the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle, see picture below. (Dougie Gamble).

Thanks to Cameron Moore for the pictures of the Ring-necked Duck and the Brambling and to Dougie Gamble for the picture of the Mediterranean Gull.


Bird News Monday 14th November.

The Marsh Harrier was still at Portmore Lough RSPB Reserve this afternoon (Laura Smith)

5 Long-tailed Ducks were off Seapark, Greenisland (Gerard McGeehan)

Thanks to Thomas Campbell for this pic of a Greenshank:
Greenshank - Thomas Campbell.

Bird News Sunday 13th November

The female Velvet Scoter was still at Hazelbank (Daniel Newton)

A Drake Ring-necked Duck was at Lough Mourne near Carrickfergus Also 10 pochard, a Scaup & 240 Teal (Neal Warnock)

A flock of 18/20 Twite were at Glenarm Harbour carpark this afternoon. (Pauline Majury)

This afternoon the Velvet Scoter was off Hazelbank with 7 Red-throated Divers. 35 Common Scoter were off Loughshore and 5 Long-tailed Duck of Fishermans Quay, Carrickfergus (Gerard McGeehan)

Thanks to Neal for this pic of the Ring-necked Duck:

Bird News Saturday 12th November

A female Velvet Scoter was off Hazelbank, Belfast Lough. Also 6 Common Scoter off Hazelbank, a Long-tailed Duck still off Kinnegar and a male Pintail at Whitehouse lagoon. (Neal Warnock)

8 Little Egrets were at Whitehouse Lagoon this evening (Gerard McLaughlin)

9 Common Scoter were off Crawforsdburn (Wilton Farrelly)

A Cattle Egret was in Malin Town, Co Donegal (Birdguides)

You can share news on rare and scarce local birds via email: and Twitter: @nibirds

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for this pic of a Buzzard:

Bird News Friday 11th November

Four Goosander, including 2 male and probably 2 female were on the River Maine in Randalstown viewed from the viaduct looking downstream. (Rodney Monteith).

A Snow Bunting was at Ramore Head today and 86 Purple Sandpipers were at Portandoo, Portrush on Wednesday. (Matthew Tickner).

A probable Grey-bellied Brent was off Castle Espie on Wednesday. (Birdguides).

Thanks to Cameron Moore for this picture of a Buzzard and to David McIlveen for the picture of the Brent Geese.


Bird News Thursday 10th November

A Grey Phalarope flew past Ramore Head today at 9:30. Also 4 Great Northern Diver from 8 - 11:30. (Dean Jones)

A Little Egret and a Greenshank were at Islandreagh, Nendrum in Strangford Lough this morning. (Spencer & Joan Marshall).

A Brambling was in a garden at Whitehead (Cameron Moore)

A Peregrine and 8 Snipe were at RSPB WOW (Derek Polley)

The Marsh Harrier and a Peregrine were at Portmore Lough (Graham Finley)

You can share rare and scarce bird sightings via or twitter @nibirds

Bird News Wednesday 9th November

A male Pintail and 9 Snipe were at RSPB Belfast WOW. 8 Little Egret were at Whitehouse Lagoon (Gerard McGeehan)

An adult winter Mediterranean Gull, a Carrion Crow, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 8 Little Egret, 1 Great Crested Grebe and 7 Red-breasted Merganser were at Killough Harbour (Tim Murphy)

Boat Trip To Jura

The final boat trip of 2016 will be to Jura, this Saturday (November 12th). Otters, Sea Eagles, Red Deer and Hen Harrier have regularly been seen on previous trips.

Contact Jim Wells on 07856235144 for full details.

Bird News Tuesday 8th November

At least 50 Twite were present at Ramore Head this morning along with a lone Whooper Swan. (Dean Jones).

A Spoonbill was on the mudflats c.400m southeast of Islandhill in Strangford Lough. (Birdguides).

Thanks to Noeni Bryars for the picture of the Turnstone.

Bird News Monday 7th November.

A probable Green-winged Teal at Roe Estuary this evening, a male as yet only partially in breeding plumage.(Matthew Tickner)

A Little Gull was seen of Ramore Head, also 55 Purple Sandpiper and 18 Sanderling.(Dean Jones)
Also a Grey Phalarope was also at Ramore Head.(Colin Guy)

A Kingfisher was seen in Victoria Park, Sydenham.(G.Irwin)

Appox. 1,500 Whooper Swan and 1,300 Greylag Geese where at Inch levels Co. Donegal.(Christine Cassidy/Lindsay Hodges)

Late news from week-end the Marsh Harrier was seen again at Lough Beg on Saturday and 10 Pink-footed Geese where seen at Blacker's rock on Sunday.(Godfrey McRoberts)

Whooper Swans - Christine Cassidy.

Bird News Sunday 6th November

There was no sign of the Isabelline Shrike by 3pm.

2 Pink-footed Geese were at the Quoile (Neal Warnock)

Two Twite were on the beach north of Ballywalter (Marty McClenaghan)

A Barn Owl was seen last night on the Onagh side of Strabane (Colin Bell)

Thanks to Marty for this pic of one of the Twite:

Isabelline Shrike

An Isabelline Shrike was at Murlough, Co Down this afternoon (Dave Allen). Take the track at 12 arches and drive around south arm of the bay until track forks. Park. The bird was in conifers and the hedge on the left side of the right fork or in the hedge in the field to the right. Power lines are through the area.
Present since yesterday and until at least 4pm today. Found by Dan Bailey and confirmed by Andy Crory.

If visiting the site, please park sensibly and ensure local residents have full access. It may be best to park on the main road to Newcastle. 

This is the 1st record for Northern Ireland and only the 7th for the whole of Ireland, there was one on Toe Head Co Cork a few weeks ago 


Bird News Saturday 5th November

A Great White Egret was seen at Rossigh, Lower Lough Erne (P.Taylor)

The Marsh Harrier was seen again at the RSPB Portmore Lough reserve.(Linda Thompson)

An Iceland Gull was at Larne Lough (Neal Warnock)

Thanks to Neal for this pic of the Iceland Gull: Also to Stephen Maxwell who took this photo of the Peregrine, taken at the RSPB Belfast WOW reserve. Bottom pic is of the Marsh Harrier at Portmore Lough taken by Linda Thompson.

Winter Bird Trip to France

Winter in the Grands Causses, France for NI & ROI Birders (4th to 8th Jan. 2017)

This trip may interest local birders:

Find Wallcreeper, Black Vulture, Alpine Accentor and Golden Eagle in scenery like this!  Hungry Bird Tours ( is offering a winter break in this stunning area, flying from Dublin to Carcassonne (participants organise their own air travel - see Ryanair). Airport pick-up and drop-off, all road transport and three and a half full guided tours with local snacks and drinks provided. Full board accommodation and picnic lunches are provided by l’Ancienne Auberge (, a friendly and cosy guest house serving excellent home cooked meals from locally sourced ingredients. Prices from €531/person. Contact or for booking and further details.


Bird News Friday 4th November

The Marsh Harrier was at Portmore this evening. An adult female Hen Harrier was also seen. About 200 whooper swans were present on the lough. 2 Whooper swans were on the fields by the River Bann, by the Derrycarne road, Portadown. (James O'Neill)

Thanks to Andrew Poots for this pic of a Tree Sparrow:

CBO Winter Meeting


Bird News Thursday 3rd November

25 Whooper swans were in flight over Millbrook, Larne this morning. (David Smylie).

Two male Ruffs were at South Inner Bay, Dundrum, this afternoon. One has been present for weeks, the second is a new bird. (David Nixon).

Thanks to Chris Rankin for the picture of the Merlin and to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Sparrowhawk.

Bird News Wednesday 2nd November

2 Brambling were in a garden at Monea, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

A Merlin was at Ramore Head (Chris Rankin)

A Jack Snipe was at Lower Lough Erne islands RSPB reserve, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

Two Red-throated Divers were off Groomsport (Karl Martin)

The Marsh Harrier was at the Quoile today along with a leucistic Lapwing (Noeni Bryars)

Three Common Scoter were seen on Belfast Lough at Carnalea (Derek Polley)

7 Whooper Swans were at Lough Money this evening (Richard Caves)

Thanks to Karl for this pic of a Red-throated Diver and Noeni for the Marsh Harrier: 

Bird News Tuesday 1st November

A Red-throated Diver was off Ramore Head in Portrush. (Chris Rankin).

The Marsh Harrier was still showing from the hide at the Quoile, see picture below. (Cecil Smyth).

The Marsh Harrier was still present at Portmore this afternoon. (Brad Robson).

Thanks to Cameron Moore for the picture of the Purple Sandpiper taken at Whitehead Yacht Club and to Cecil Smyth for the picture of the Marsh Harrier .