Bird News Monday 31st July.

WOW Belfast Reserve had...Dunlin 50 +; mostly/all adults. Ruffs 2, adults out of breeding plumage. Knots 3, summer plumage adults. Common Sandpiper 3. (Raymond Bennett, Carol Gillespie and Tom Ennis) .

The adult Mediterranean Gull was still at East Strand Car Park, Portrush, see picture below. (Colin Guy).

Bird News Sunday 30th July

Two Ruff were with a flock of Black-tailed Godwits to the east of Emerson's sandpit at Ardmore on the south shore of Lough Neagh before being flushed by a Sparrowhawk. (Garry Armstrong).

A Common Sandpiper was at the Bog Meadows in Belfast. (Pearse Hall).

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Willow Warbler and to Pearse Hall for the picture of the Common Sandpiper.

Bird News Saturday 29th July

The Forster's Tern was at Soldiers Point, Co Louth and then flew towards the docks c13:40. Also present was a 3rd year Yellow Legged Gull (Brad Robson).

At Oxford Island this morning several Reed Warblers were showing occasionally in the reed bed around Kinnegoe Hide and a Whooper Swan was off Croaghan Hide. (Garry Armstrong).

Thanks to Thomas Campbell for the pictures of the Sedge Warbler and the Stonechat.

Bird News Friday 28th July

An ad. Med Gull was at East Strand car park Portrush.(John Clarke) see pic below

And thanks to Wilf Swain for the pictures of the Little Egrets.


Bird News Thursday 27th July

The Ruddy Shelduck was still in the southwest corner of Lough Beg this evening. It is un-ringed and very wary, though does show fairly noticeable wear / abrasion of the primaries. (David Steele).

An adult summer plumaged Sanderling was at Belfast Lough RSPB reserve, two summer plumaged Knot were at Kinnegar Pool and yesterday four Whimbrel were  at Kinnegar Shore. (Stuart McKee).

Thanks to Stuart for these pictures of the Knot.

Saving Lough Beg Campaign Event


The appeal hearing will be held in the Royal Courts of Justice, Belfast on 11 August, at 10.30 am. The Court of Appeal intends to announce its decision on the day, almost 12 months after proceedings began. The hearing is open to the public and anyone interested in the case is very welcome. The legal challenge relates to an alleged breach of Article 6 of the Habitats Directive by the Department for Infrastructure in choosing to route part of the A6 upgrade through the wetlands and swanfields of Lough Beg. A successful outcome is necessary for the lasting preservation of Lough Beg and the protection of 1,000s of migrartory waterbirds. The action is self-funded with help from family, friends and supporters. Saturday's fund-raising event promises to be a memorable night for everyone who cares about inheritance - cultural and natural - especially the world’s great wetlands which Lough Beg, a Ramsar site since 1976, surely is. Let’s fill the Crescent Arts Centre with birders and conservationists on Saturday, and follow it up in court.

Chris Murphy

Bird News Wednesday 26th July

Kinnegar pool this evening had a Little Egret, 2 Common Sandpipers and a Greenshank. (Michael Latham).

20 Bar-tailed Godwits were at Belfast Lough RSPB reserve this afternoon. (Wallis Jefferson).

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Sparrowhawk.

Warbler ID

This Warbler was seen and photographed on a yacht off Dunany Point, Dundalk yesterday. The pictures seem to indicate a Vireo species or a Sedge Warbler? Any feedback is welcome. (per Paul McCullough)

Thanks to all for the feedback and the consensus seems to be that this is a Sedge Warbler.

Bird News Tuesday 25th July

An Osprey was seen flying east towards Garvagh, from Keady mountain this afternoon (Jimmy Clancy).

Dundrum Inner Bay north had 20 Little Egrets and 3 Greenshank. (Spencer & Joan Marshall).

Nine Little Egrets at the high tide roost at Paton's Marsh in Newtownards. A further nine were seen at the end of the wall past the WWT works. A Wheatear and a Skylark were also seen. There were also three Brent Geese at the marsh. (Angus Kennedy).

A Little Egret was with 30 Grey Heron at Toome Eel Fishery (Sean McGarvey).

Thanks to Lilian Cummings for the picture of the Whitethroat.

Bird News Monday 24th July.

On Rathlin today a dark phase Arctic Skua was harassing gulls at Ushet lough. 11 Wheatears and 5 Whimbrel were at Rue Point.(Colin Guy)

Late news yesterday of a Common Crane in a field on the left between Maghera park and ride on
Glenshane Road and Knockloughrim.(Craig Nash).

Also from yesterday... WOW reserve in Belfast had 5 Common Sands. 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Med Gull. 4 Yellowhammer and 9 Greenshank where seen on the Ballydrain Rd Co Down.(Gerard McGeehan/Shirley Dunlop)

Photographed at Antrim Marina today by Gareth Platt this Lesser Black - backed Gull was ringed as a 1st calendar year male at Langvannet in Norway - 30th September 2016.  It went to southern Morocco for it's summer holidays when spotted at Sidi R'bat, on April 18th 2017. Just shows how some birds travel around.

Ailsa Craig Boat Trip

There will another boat trip to Ailsa Craig this Tuesday - July 25th. The weather is to be good that day, but goes downhill from Wednesday on.

Tens of thousands of Gannets, Slow Worms, seals and great walking conditions are guaranteed. To book this trip, contact Jim Wells on 07856235144 

Bird News Sunday 23rd July

Yesterday a Reed Warbler was outside the hide at the Quoile Pondage, see picture below. (Stan Davidson).

A Ruff, Little Egret and 2 Common Sandpipers were at Belfast Lough RSPB Reserve this afternoon. (Kevin Kirkham-Brown).

Several Common Sandpipers were at Whitehead. (Michael Latham).

The Forsters Tern was still at Soldiers Point in Co. Louth this morning. (Daniel Newton).

An Osprey was at Lough Beg this evening. (Gary Cunningham)

Reed Warblers were also around Kinnegoe Hide at Oxford Island. (David Hill).

A pale phase Arctic Skua was off the Gobbins this afternoon. (Richard Woods).

Thanks to Stan Davidson for the picture of the Reed Warbler, to Michael Latham for the picture of the Common Sandpiper and to David Hill for the picture of the Sedge Warbler.


Bird News Saturday 22nd July.

7 Common Sandpiper where along the Newry canal (Frank Carroll)

A Whimbrel was at Ballyhornan Co Down and 13 Common Scoter flying south at  St.John's Point (Brad Robson)

Common Sandpiper - Stuart McKee

Bird News Friday 21st July

No news of the Bonaparte's Gull today

A Little Tern was with Common Terns at Lady Bay (Brankin's Island Rd) this afternoon, see pictures below. Also one Dunlin and one Oystercatcher. (Suzanne Belshaw).

The Spotted Redshank, well into moult and looking patchy, was at Bann Estuary; also present 1 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpipers, 25 Sanderling, 1 Snipe, 39 Bar-tailed Godwits and 4 Black-tailed Godwits. (Hill Dick/Peter Robinson)

Late news for yesterday was that an Osprey was at the south end of Lough Melvin, Co Leitrim (D Stinson).

Also yesterday 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Little Egret and 3 Mediterranean Gulls were at Belfast Lough RSPB reserve. (Derek Polley)

Thanks to Suzanne Belshaw for the pictures of the Little Tern and to William Smiton for the picture of the Whinchat.


Bird News Thursday 20th July

An adult Bonaparte's Gull was at Whitehead seafront this morning, however a Peregrine came through the area and scattered everything, the Bonaparte's was looked for this afternoon but no joy, 4 Med Gulls where also present.(Cameron Moore)

The Spotted Redshank was still at the Bann Estuary.(Colin Guy)

A Ruddy Shelduck (of unknown source) and a juvenile Cuckoo were in the south-west corner of Lough Beg (Jeff Larkin) see Jeff's pics below.
A female Garganey joined the Shelduck this evening at the Beg.(Davy Steele)

Bird News Wednesday 19th July

No news so far today.

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Willow Warbler and to Jason Bain for the picture of the Grasshopper Warbler.


Bird News Tuesday 18th July

A Red Kite was seen at Dundrum, Co Down (Michael Latham)

A Little Gull was at the Boathouse at Carnfunock this morning (Linda Thompson)

The Spotted Redshank was still at The Bann Estuary there along with a Greenshank, about 45 Bar-tails, around 80 Dunlin and 15 Redshanks (Tom Ennis / Ray Bennett)

Two Little Egret and two Greenshank were at Kinnegar (Daniel Newton)

Many thanks to Michael Latham for this pic of the Red Kite and to Jason Bain for the Merlin:

Bird News Monday 17th July

Late news for yesterday was that a second summer Mediterranean Gull was at Glenarm (Colin Guy)

An Osprey was seen at Lower Lough Macnean over the weekend (per Brad Robson)

The Ruff was still at Belfast Harbour Lagoon. Also a Reed Warbler was this evening in reed beds to right of roadside hide (Stuart McKee)

Northern Ireland Hen Harrier Day Saturday 5th August

Hen Harrier Day is held across the UK in support of Hen Harriers and the issues which these birds are facing across their range. In Northern Ireland Hen Harrier Day 2017 will be held on Saturday 5th August at 11:00am - 12:00pm in Glenariff Forest Park, Co. Antrim. A range of speakers will outline the state of Hen Harriers here as well as the wider issues affecting the species in other regions of the UK. There will also be a small raffle to raise money for Birders Against Wildlife Crime and photo opportunities to raise awareness of the plight of the hen harrier with the local and national media.

This is a wonderful opportunity to show that you care about Northern Ireland's Hen Harriers. Please bring your family and friends along to celebrate this majestic species in the beautiful surroundings of Glenariff Forest Park. We encourage you to bring homemade banners, masks, placards, head-gear - anything at all which might help get the message across in the media to help share the message of support (you can see some examples in the photo attached). Admission to Glenariff is free for all attendees

. For anyone who uses Twitter you can use the hashtag #StopKillingHenHarriers to widen the reach of any of your messages. For more information on Hen Harrier Day and Birders Against Wildlife Crime please see

See you all there.

Bird News Sunday 16th July

A moulting adult Ruff was at Belfast Lough RSPB reserve, see pictures below. (Stuart McKee/Michael Latham).

A Grasshopper Warbler was at Capanagh, see picture below. (Linda Thompson).

The Spotted Redshank was still at the Barmouth, a Little Egret, 2 Greenshank, 90 Bar-tailed Godwit and 20 Dunlin were also present. (Gerard McGeehan, Shirley Dunlop & Carol Gillespie).

3 Whimbrel and 232 Curlew were at Green Island, Dundrum Inner Bay North (Stuart McKee).

Thanks to Stuart McKee for the first Ruff picture, to Michael Latham for the second Ruff picture, to Linda Thompson for the Grasshopper Warbler picture and to William Smiton for the picture of the male Sparrowhawk.

Bird News Saturday 15th July.

The Spotted Redshank was still at the Bann Estuary,2 Puffin seen in flight off Skerries and 9 Common Sandpiper at the RSPB Belfast Harbour reserve.(Stuart McKee)

A Red Kite was hunting over a cut hay field on the road to the spa across from the golf course Ballynahinch (Marty Rooney)

Our thanks to Thomas Campbell for the pic of a male Whinchat.

Bird News Friday 14th July

Two adult Med Gulls were at Kinnegar Shore and three Common Sandpipers at Kinnegar Pool (Brian Murphy)

You can share your bird news via this Blog by email: 

Bird News Thursday 13th July

The Spotted Redshank was still at the Bann Estuary. An adult Med Gull was also seen. (Jeff Larkin)

A Grasshopper Warbler was calling from Black mountain near Belfast (Sam Thomas)

A Red Kite was flying near Katesbridge, Co. Down this morning. (Karen Elliott)

2 Reed Warblers were at RSPB Portmore. A Grasshopper Warbler was at the Munchies and Ladys Bay had 4 Common Sandpiper, 3 Buzzards and circa 200 Swifts (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

8 Twite were seen on Rathlin (Ric Else and Hazel Watson)

You can see some recent photos from local photographers at:

Bird News Wednesday 12th July.

Five Common Sandpipers were at RSPB WoW (Gerard McGeehan)

An adult Med Gull was at Seahill, Holywood (Sam Millar)

Bird News Tuesday 11th July

Two Reed Warblers were feeding in the reeds on the shore visible to right of the roadside hide (Stuart McKee)

Thanks to Thomas Campbell for the pictures of the Willow Warbler and the Reed Bunting and to Christine Cunningham for the picture of the Bullfinch.

Bird News Monday 10th July

At 4-30 this afternoon there was a Red Kite flying north along the Dublin Road, Antrim (Sean Hickey)

A single Pale-bellied Brent was at the Blackstaff River high tide roost in Dundrum North Inner Bay today, as were 21 Little Egrets (David Nixon)

The Golden Oriole was looked for from 10:30 to 12:39 without success (Jim Bowman and Denis Carty)

Boat Trips: There are 3 seats left for a boat trip tomorrow to Ailsa Craig and 4 seats for a North Coast/ Rathlin sailing on the same day. If you are interested please contact: +44 7856 235144

Thanks to Linda Thompson for this pic of a Whinchat from the Antrim Hills:

Bird News Sunday 9th July

The Golden Oriole was looked for without success this afternoon (see previous post).

10 Little Egrets were at Pattons Mash, Newtownards this afternoon (Philip Watson) 

A family of Barn Owls were seen in Markethill, Co Armagh (John)

Many thanks to David Hill for this picture of a Reed Warbler at Oxford Island:

Golden Oriole

A sub songing Golden Oriole was at Lackan Bog ASSI, Ballyroney Co Down - Heard at 12:45. Not seen and not yet heard again. The grid reference where the bird was heard is: J24038 37313 (Dave Allen & Andy Crory)

Bid News Saturday 8th July

Last Night at least 3 Long-eared Owls were calling at Lagan Meadows, Belfast. (Dermot Hughes).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker, several Crossbills and numerous Jay were at Crocknagrally Forest near Fivemiletown today. (Colin Bell).

Two Red Kites were hunting over a cut hay field at Riverside Road in Ballynahinch (Marty Rooney).

Bird News Friday 7th July.

A Balearic Shearwater fly past Torr Head this afternoon.(Ian Enlander)

An Osprey was at Lough Beg this evening (first sighting for a few weeks) also five male Ruff (in various states of summer plumage) in the southwest corner, plus a Greenshank and Common Sandpiper also seen. (David Steele)

The sum.plum. Spotted Redshank was still on show at the Bann Estuary.(David Hill) see pic below.

Bird News Thursday 6th July

2 Sandwich Terns, the Little Gull & an Arctic Tern were at Rue Point on Rathlin yesterday (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

A male Hen Harrier just west of Wolf Hill, Ligoneil, this afternoon, flying southwards (Garry Wilkinson)

The 1st year Little Gull and an Arctic Tern were still at Rue Point, Rathlin, today. A Chough was also heard in the area. (Colin Guy)

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for this pic of a male Whinchat:

Bird News Wednesday 5th July

The Spotted Redshank in summer plumage was again showing at Bann Estuary. Also the flock of c100 non-breeding Bar-tailed Godwits was still present.(Hill Dick).

2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpipers and 3 Med Gulls were at RSPB WOW (Gerard McGeehan)

Thanks to Rod Gillan for the picture of the Black Guillemot.

Bird News Tuesday 4th July

7 Common Sandpipers were at Belfast Lough RSPB Reserve and 2 at Kinnegar Pools,this evening. (Daniel Newton).

2 Greenshank were at Lower Lough Erne islands RSPB reserve, Co Fermanagh (F. Cross)

Thanks to David Hill for the pictures of the Willow Warbler and the Swallow.

Bird News Sunday 2nd July

A summer plumaged Spotted Redshank was at the Bann Estuary (Jeff Larkin)

Thanks to Paul McSwiggan for this pic of  Long Eared Owl at Inch, Co Donegal: