Bird News Wednesday 26th April

The Long-billed Dowitcher is still present this morning at the Quoile, the bird is to the left of the hide. A male Ruff is also present (Tom Ennis, Tony Dodds, John Edwards).

The two Avocets were still at Belfast RSPB WoW this morning (Daniel Newton). The Avocets were still present at 12:30 along with an adult Ring-billed Gull (Stuart McKee)

Alisa Craig Trip:
Weather permitting there will be another trip to Ailsa Craig. This will leave Cushendall Harbour at 10.30am next Monday, May 1st. Contact Jim Wells on 07856235144 for further details.

Long-billed Dowitcher

A presumed Long-billed Dowitcher was seen from the Castle Island Hide, Quoile on Monday. (Tony Donaldson)


Bird News Tuesday 25th April

The Avocets were still at RSPB WOW. (Ronald Surgenor) They were still there at lunchtime (George Gordon/Graham Day) And was still present up to 7.30 at least. (Graham Moorhead).

2 adult Ring-billed Gulls and an Iceland Gull were on RSPB WoW reserve (Daniel Newton)

The Little Gull and a Common Sandpiper were at RSPB WoW (George Gordon).

This morning 44 Black-tailed Godwit were on passage in Upper Lough Erne, near Lisnaskea. Also present were a male Wheatear and 8 Whimbrel. (Sarah McCaffrey).

Yesterday 50 Whimbrel were at Ballykelly Bank. (David Hill).

A Little Egret was at Whitehouse Lagoon. (Jim McKeown).

A Brent Goose was at Cruninish Island, Lower Lough Erne (Andrew Gallagher).

A Swift flew north at Slaght near Ballymena this evening. (David Steele).

4 Whimbrel were in the Island Taggart area of Strangford Lough. (Terry Hanna) 

Thanks to Ronald Surgenor for the first Avocet picture and the pictures of the Common Sandpiper and the Little Gull, to Stephen Maxwell for the second picture of the Avocet and to Terry Hanna for the picture of the Whimbrel.


Bird News Monday 24th April

The two Avocets were still present this morning at RSPB WOW, Belfast. An Iceland Gull was also at Kinnegar shore (Daniel Newton)

Two adult summer plumaged Ring billed Gulls, a  first summer Little Gull, ten adult summer Mediterranean Gulls on the big island and the two Avocets were present late morning (Stuart McKee).

A Swift was over the Bog Meadows in Belfast this morning. (Garry Wilkinson).

A Yellowhammer was in a garden in Portstewart this morning. (Rod Gillan).

Thanks to Cecil Smyth for the first picture of the Avocets and the Greenfinch and to Stephen Maxwell for the second Avocet picture.



2 Avocets are currently at RSPB WOW Belfast (Michael Latham)

Both birds still present 19.00 (Derek Polley)

A few people observed the birds mating tonight.

Stephen Maxwell.

Bird News Sunday 23rd April

Please see the separate post about the Avocets in Belfast.

Late news for yesterday was that a Ring-billed Gull was at The Round-O, Enniskillen. However this bird was in adult breeding plumage and it is a possibility that it is a different bird to that which wintered (Brad Robson)

This morning two Common Sandpipers are at Kinnegar and Reed Warblers are singing (Daniel Newton)

The drake Ring-necked Duck was still present at the Quoile pondage (Ian Graham)

A 1st summer Little Gull was at Belfast Wow Reserve (Jeff Larkin)

Whimbrels  are being widely reported from all over the province, thanks to everyone for the info.

Lough Beg this morning was fairly quiet but had 40 White Wagtails, two Greenland Wheatears, 1200 Black-tailed Godwits and three male Ruff. (David Steele)

A female Garganey at Portavoe Reservoir.(Richard Weyl)

A Sedge Warbler and 2 Common Sandpipers were at Castle Island today (Chris Henry)

The 3rd year Iceland Gull was at Ushet Lough, Rathlin. At least 40 Wheatears were on the southern arm of the island, many showing the characteristics of the Greenland race. Willow Warblers were everywhere. Also seen was a Greenland White-fronted Goose, Sedge Warbler,and Blackcap (Colin Guy)

We would like to pass on our sympathies to the family of Julian Greenwood who has died suddenly today.

Wheatear  - Christine Cassidy.

Little Grebe - John Moore.

Alisa Craig Boat Trip

There are two seats available for a boat trip tomorrow to Ailsa Craig. Please contact Jim Wells on 07856235144 for details.

Bird News Saturday 22nd April

2 Common Sandpiper, 9 Whimbrel, a Stock Dove and a Common Tern, were at Rockport / Seahill / north Down coastal path (Ronald Surgenor).

Two Reed Warblers were singing at Kinnegar Pools (Daniel Newton)

Belfast Lough RSPB reserve had 3 Mediterranean Gulls and a White Wagtail. The rough ground beside the reserve had 9 Wheatear. (Garry Armstrong)

Grasshopper Warblers are being widely reported today.  This morning Birds were reeling at the north edge of Stoneyford Reservoir and another in marsh east edge of Slievenacloy Hill. (Dougie Gamble). Another was at the Tildarg area nr Ballyclare (Ian Enlander).

A Great Northern Diver, nearing breeding plumage, was off Drumnagreah this morning (Gavin Ferguson)

24+ Whimbrel, 100+ Sand Martin and 2 Red-throated Divers in summer plumage were at Ballyhornan Bay. (Michael Latham)

The Dark-bellied Brent Goose In mainly juvenile plumage was still in Killough Harbour. 7 Bar-tailed Godwit (one in full summer plumage), 3 Sandwich Tern and 6 Whimbrel were at Kinnegar Shore. A Kingfisher was at Kiltonga (Tom Ennis and Tony Dodds).

A Cuckoo and two Crossbill were at Peatlands Park. (Linda Thompson/Kay Wheeler).

Thanks to Gavin Ferguson for the picture of a Great Northern Diver, to Linda Thompson for the first Cuckoo an Crossbill pictures, to Kay Wheeler for the second Cuckoo and Crossbill pictures and to Christine Cunningham for the picture of the Red-throated Diver:


Bird Blogs

NI Birds is pleased to be ranked 38th in the top Feedspot Bird Blogs in the world. You can view other Bird Blogs at:

Many thanks to everyone who views the Blog and in particular to those who take the time to share important sightings, news and pictures.

Bird News Friday 21st April

3 Whitethroat and 19 Whimbrel were at Kearney on the Outer Ards. A further 7 Whimbrel and a single Wheatear were at Ballywalter beach. (Garry Wilkinson)

Eight Whimbrel were at Magilligan, see picture below. (David Hill).

The Ring-billed Gull was back at the Round O Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh this afternoon (Brad Robson)

Thanks to David Stirling for the pictures of the Wheatear and the Tree Sparrows and to David Hill for the picture of the Whimbrel.


Bird News Thursday 20th April

A 1st winter Little Gull and a Whimbrel were at Kinnegar Shore (Robin Vage)

A Common Tern and 2 Med Gulls were at RSPB WOW (Derek Polley)

2 Wheatear 2 Common Sandpipers were at Portmuck (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

The Quoile Pondage had a Ruff coming into summer plumage and a Common Tern. The juvenile Dark-bellied Brent was still at Killough Harbour and 2 Whimbrel were at St John's Point. (David Nixon/Philip McHaffie)

Eleven Little Egrets were in Dundrum Inner Bay this morning. Also two Red-throated Divers off the old swimming pool at Newcastle. (Robert Scott)

Rathlin today had the 3y Iceland Gull with some wader passage happening now eg 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 8 Whimbrels, 1 Golden Plover and 6 Dunlins. Also 30+ Willow Warblers, 5 Blackcaps, 15+ Fieldfares, 2 Redwings, 1 Siskin, 25 Wheatears, 10 White Wagtails and 3 feral Canada Geese. (Ric Else and Hazel Watson)

A Cuckoo was calling at Lough Fea (Shane McGarvey)

22 Whimbrel were on the shore today at Kearny Co Down (Marty McClenaghan)

An Iceland Gull was seen today at Killard (Dave Stirling)

Thanks to Wilf Swain for this pic of a Little Egret:

Bird News Wednesday 19th April

RSPB WOW had a Common Sandpiper, a Wheatear, 13 Whimbrel and 4 Med Gulls this morning (Gerard McGeehan)

A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling at Carrickyheenan near Brookeborough (Clive Mellon)

Killard Co Down today had 18+ Whimbrel, 1 Merlin, a Wheatear, 2 Red-throated Divers and 300+ Sand Martin (Dave Stirling)

The juvenile Dark-bellied Brent was among 679 Brents in Killough Harbour. Also present: 1 Little Egret, 7 Whimbrel, 5 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank and 110 Golden Plover (Chris Murphy)

On Rathlin were 1 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, 3 White Wagtails, 8 Wheatears and a Great Northern Diver flying right over the island. Also a flock of 20 Fieldfares at Kinramer this evening. (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

A Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler, 1 White Wag and 48 Whimbrel were at Lower Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

60 Whimbrel flew past Ramore Head today (Colin Guy)

A Greenland Wheatear was ringed on Copeland today (CBO)

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for this pic of a pair of Gadwall at RSPB WOW:

Gadwall, Stephen Maxwell:
REd-throated Diver - David Stirling:

Bird News Tuesday 18th April

A Cuckoo was calling at Teiges Mountain near Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh. (Clive Mellon). Two further Cuckoos were calling at Lough Fea (Shane McGarvey).

A Whitethroat was singing from scrub, on the North Down coastal path at Seahill (Ronald Surgenor)

The juv Dark-bellied Brent was still among 854 Brents in Killough Hbr today, The Ist w Iceland Gull also present, along with 5 Whimbrel and 1 Greenshank. Golden Plovers numbers down to c.150 with one flock of 120 birds watched flying away northwards at noon (Chris Murphy)

A Rathlin update for the last couple of days:
17th April: A reasonable fall of migrants had arrived in the morning - the western tip of the island had the first Sedge Warbler of the year, House Martin, 2 Siskins, several Swallows, Blackcap and lots of Willow Warblers and Goldcrests, as well as 3 lingering Redwings and an assortment of Redpolls buzzing around overhead. Near the West Light there were 3 White Wagtails and an increased number of Wheatears heading north. 18th April: Two Common Sandpipers were in the harbour and 2 White Wagtails were on the beach. A few Swallows and House Martins are passing through and 2 Fieldfares flew over. At least 9 Wheatears are around the West Light (Ric Else and Hazel Watson)

Thanks to David Hill for this pic of a male Stonechat:

Bird News Monday 17th April

At Portmore Lough RSPB Reserve a male Garganey flew left of the hide and dropped down into reeds on left. (Garry Wilkinson).

On the south shore of Lough Neagh 2 White Wagtail were at the Discovery Centre at Oxford Island. At Ardmore 33 Whimbrel, a Ruff, Little Egret and 60+ Black-tailed Godwits were just east of Emerson's Sandpit. (Garry Armstrong).

A Whimbrel and 3 White Wagtails were at Killard. (Angus Kennedy).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in trees between Lady Dixon Park and the neighbouring golf club. (Alan Godfrey).

A juvenile Dark-bellied Brent Goose was among 1198 Brents in Killough Harbour at noon. Also present: 1st winter Iceland Gull, 1 Little Egret, c.500 Golden Plover, 1 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, 28 Oystercatchers, 116 Redshank, 10 Sandwich Tern and 10 Tree Sparrows, the latter in a garden on the Ropewalk (Chris Murphy).

A White Wagtail was today at a farm near Magheralin. Also 4 singing Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff 4+ Tree Sparrow. (Bob Watts).

Two Red Kites were near Leitrim in Co. Down. (Paul Allen & Bob Carson).

A Common Sandpiper was at Stranmillis Weir, Belfast this afternoon. (Dermot Hughes)

Thanks to Angus Kennedy for the picture of the White Wagtail, to Mark Elliott for the pictures of the Jay and the Song Thrush, to Christine Beggs for the picture of the Willow Warbler and to Michael O'Dwyer for the picture of the Mistle Thrush.



Bird News Sunday 16th April.(Easter Sunday)

A pair of Red Kites were on the Blackskull Road out of Blackskull towards Hillsborough near the Lurgan Road junction. (Mark Harrison)

An ad. Little Gull was at Lough Cowey, Ards peninsula.(Richard Weyl)

Dipper - John Moore

Bird News Saturday 15th April

3 Crossbill were at Camlough Mountain this morning. (Joe Devlin).

7 Red Grouse were at Glenwherry, a Wheatear was also present. (Angus Kennedy).

Common Terns and Sedge Warblers have returned to Oxford Island, 3 White Wagtails were around the Discovery Centre. (Garry Armstrong).

The Bann Estuary had a Spotted Redshank, 1,500 Black-tailed Godwit, 600 Golden Plover and 500 Sanderling. (Neal Warnock).

2 Merlin, 2 Kestrel, 2 Buzzard, 2 Wheatear and 3 Raven were in the Antrim Hills. (Gerard McGeehan/Shirley Dunlop).

A Swift was at Oxford Island this evening. (James O'Neill).

Thanks to Karl Martin for the picture of the leucistic Chaffinch from Stormont Estate and for the picture of the Buzzard and to Angus Kennedy for the picture of the Red Grouse.

Bird News Friday 14th April

A White-tailed Eagle was at Gubbaroe, Lower lough Erne, Co Fermanagh this morning (A Gallagher)

6+White Wagtails where at Castlerock Strand.(Bob Watts).

6 White Wagtails and 5 Whimbrel were at Lower Lough Erne in Fermanagh. (Brad Robson).

On Rathlin Manx Shearwater and Blackcap were new arrivals, Iceland Gull, Twite, Carrion Crow and 3 White Wagtail were also present. (Neal Warnock).

House Martin are now widely reported including 12 in Killyleagh. (Spencer & Joan Marshall).

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Little Egret and to Terry Hanna for the picture of the Red-breasted Mergansers.


Peregrine Survey - Fermanagh \ Donegal

There are two upcoming training days for the IRSG Peregrine Survey, surveying Peregrines in the Donega l/ Fermanagh border area. These will be on this Saturday 15th April and again on Thur 20th April (may be changed to Wed 19th depending on weather). We will be meeting in Belleek, at the Belleek Pottery car park, at 10am.

You will need to bring a packed lunch, warm clothes and waterproofs just in case the weather turns and binoculars and scopes if you have them. The plan is to all get into as few cars as possible when we meet at the car park, so we ask that some people be prepared to drive. This is an open and free training event but as places are limited we ask that you only attend if you intend to take part in the IRSG Peregrine Survey, or to survey Peregrines in Northern Ireland in the West of the province. We will prioritise places for those who have not been able to attend a training day previously.

If you are interested in attending please let me know via email and I will reserve your space, which will be first-come-first-serve basis. Please give me your name and contact number so I can contact you at short notice should plans change.

Eimear –

Bird News Thursday 13th April

A 3rd winter Glaucous Gull was in Glenwherry today (Neal Warnock)

RSPB WOW Belfast had 6 Med Gulls and over 700 Common Gulls of all ages. Also Black-headed Gulls numbered up to 1300 +. (Derek Polley)

10 Twite were at Whitehead seafront (Ian Enlander)

Rathlin highlights from today included the presumed same Iceland Gull still hanging around, Merlin heading north overhead, 2 Blackcaps and a White Wagtail. One or two Willow Warblers now in virtually every garden on the island (Ric Else and Hazel Watson)

Many thanks to Wilf Swain for this pic of a Little Egret from Dundrum and Ric Else for the Iceland Gull:

Bird News Wednesday 12th April

The probable adult Yellow Legged Gull was seen briefly at RSPB WOW (Stuart McKeee)

A first winter Ring-billed Gull was on the perches viewable from the trackside hide at RSPB Belfast WoW this morning. (Matthew Tickner)

Seven Med Gulls were seen at RSPB WOW today (Gerard McGeehan)

Unusual for Rathlin, a Treecreeper has been at Kinramer for a few days now (Ric Else and Hazel Watson)

Yesterday a Wheatear was on Beltonanean mountain, NW of Cookstown (Godfrey McRoberts)

A Common Sandpiper was at Cushendun today. Yesterday 2000+ Black-tailed Godwits were at the Bann Estuary. Also present was a Spotted Redshank moulting into summer plumage and the hybrid Teal/Green Winged Teal (Colin Guy)

The destruction of the lake at Hydepark Lane Dam, Mallusk and damage to local wildlife, will feature on BBC Newsline at 6:30 today.

Bird News Tuesday 11th April

This morning a Great White Egret was seen in flight over the Twelve Arches, near Dundrum. It was heading in the Newcastle direction. (Dan Bailie).

On a windy morning on Rathlin waders are on the move, 5 Whimbrels were around the harbour. Also a Blackcap was singing and a Rook flying over. A Twite was on the cliff at the West Light. (Richard Else).

Thanks to Ian Jackson for the picture of the Grey Wagtail.

Eurasian Teal x Green-winged Teal

The pictures below show a Eurasian Teal x Green-winged Teal hybrid - you can see clearly the bird has a white vertical strip (a feature that is present on Green-winged Teal), plus the bird has also a white horizontal strip (a feature that is present on Eurasian Teal). The bird was photographed by Hill Dick at the Bann Estuary today.


Bird News Monday 10th April.

A Chough was seen at the Gobbins, Islandmagee.(Nick Simpson-Eyre)

A White Wagtail was at Sandy Bay, Larne.(Linda Thompson)
White Wagtail - Linda Thompson.

Wheatear - Christine Cassidy.

Bird News Sunday 9th April

A Water Pipit was at Drumfad Bay, south of Millisle (Richard Weyl)

A first year Ring-billed Gull was at Kinnegar (Daniel Newton)

Yesterday a Red Kite was seen flying south along the Foyle (Michael Savage)

A possible adult Yellow-legged Gull was reported from Kinnegar Shore.

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at Killough Harbour. (Tim Murphy)

100-plus hirundines (Swallows and Sand Martins), were at Lough Beg; 81 Whooper Swans were at Creagh Meadows, Toome; 886 Brent Geese, 440 Golden Plover, 172 Redshank, 2 Greenshank were also at Killough Harbour (Chris Murphy, Doris Noe)

Thanks to Richard Weyl for this record pic of the Water Pipit:

Bird News Saturday 8th April

Two House Martins were along the north Down coastal path at Seahill (Ronald Surgenor)

A House Martin was also on Rathlin (Hazel Watson)

Three White Wagtails and a Wheatear were at Sandy Bay, Larne (Gavin Ferguson)

30 Sand Martins were at Inch Island, Co Donegal (Robin Cunningham)

A Barn Owl was at Upperlands Dam, Co Londonderry (David Morrow).

An American Wigeon was at Lough Swilly in Donegal. (Birdguides).

A Red Kite was near Moyallen. (Paul Allen).

A juvenile Iceland Gull was in Rosses Bay in Londonderry. (Birdguides)

Thanks to Gavin Ferguson for the pics of a White Wagtail and a Wheatear, to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Brent Geese and to Linda Thompson for the picture of the Sand Martins: