Bird News Saturday 31st March

Unusual for Rathlin, a Carrion Crow arrived in off the sea at Rue Point this morning (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

A Red Kite flew over Banbridge town centre this morning.(Karen Elliott)

A Brambling was in a garden at Spa,Ballynahinch.(David Nixon)

A Chiffchaff was hear singing in Maghergall, Lisburn.(Tom Trouton)

A Little Gull was at Islandhill, ards peninsula this evening. (Suzanne Belshaw) see pic below (bird flying)

Bird News Friday 30th March

An Iceland Gull was at the seafront Whitehead in the corner at the start of the path to the Lighthouse (Cameron Moore / Nigel Smith).

A Red-throated Diver was in Portballintrae Bay. (Robert Plant).

At Lough Beg today a good spring count of 36 Ruff were with 500+ Black-tailed Godwits at Paddy's Dub, also the three Little Stints present (these over-wintered at the Beg). Two Pink-footed Geese were at Mullagh. (David Steele).

A Snow Bunting was at the RSPB West Light Centre on Rathlin, a Great Skua was also there, a Hen Harrier and a Brambling were elsewhere on the island. (Ric Else & Hazel Watson).

200+ Black-tailed Godwits, most in summer plumage, were at the Barmouth. (Raymond Fulton).

Thanks to Ric Else and Hazel Watson for the picture of the Snow Bunting:

Bird News Thursday 29th March

A probable Lesser Scaup was at Closet Bay, Lough Neagh (James O’Neill)

A pair of Great Northern Divers were in Runkerry Bay this morning, just below Runkerry House (Robert Plant)

An adult Iceland Gull was at Portavogie today (Joe Lamont / Richard Haydon)

An adult and 2 juv Iceland Gulls were at Enniskillen dump along with a very large arrival of Lesser-black Backed Gulls (Brad Robson)

Two Bonxies were off the Rathlin West Light this afternoon - first of the year. Also 14 Greenland White-fronts heading SW overhead early this morning. They seem to do this every morning at the moment, and are ssumed to be the same flock reported coming in off the sea at Ballintoy earlier this week. A Brambling was also present (Ric Else / Hazel Watson).

A Brambling was at Oxford Island, see picture below.

A Mediterranean Gull, a Knot and a Carrion Crow were at RSPB WOW reserve. (Derek Polley).

Thanks to Derek Polley for the picture of the Knot and to Robert Plant for the picture o the Great Northern Diver:
Knot - Derek Polley
Great Northern Diver - Robert Plant

Brambling - Oxford Island

A distant picture by James O'Neill of probable Lesser Scaup:

NI Big Garden Birdwatch 2018

The RSPB have announced that the top 20 birds in NI Big Garden Birdwatch 2018 were as below. You can see more at: 
The change since 2017 is also shown:

Bird News Wednesday 28th March

A 1st winter Iceland Gull flew past Dunseverick Castle (Colin Guy)

A Black Redstart was seen in a private garden in Larne (Birdguides)

At least one Mediterranean Gull was this evening at RSPB WOW. (Michael Latham)

Thanks to Robin Cunningham for this pic of a Little Egret:

Bird News Tuesday 27th March

A juv Iceland Gull was still at Enniskillen dump, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson).

An adult Iceland Gull and a 2nd calendar year Glaucous Gull were at Ushet Lough on Rathlin, the first Twite and Puffin of the year were also on the island. (Ric Else & Hazel Watson).

The Black-throated Diver was still at Ballygally and 9 Twite were at Sandy Bay in Larne. (Adam McClure).

15 Whooper Swan were east of Whinney Hill outside Holywood. (Richard Haydon).

Thanks to Claire Bell for the picture of the Great Spotted Woodpecker, to Ian Jackson for the picture of the Goldcrest and to Ric Else for the picture of the Glaucous Gull:


Bird News Monday 26th March

A singing Chiffchaff was at Craigavon Lakes, spring has finally arrived. (Daniel Newton)

Little Egret - Wilfred Swain.

Chiffchaff - Daniel Newton.

Bird News Sunday 25th March

Two Black-throated Diver were still off Kirkubbin this morning (Daniel Newton)

2 Long-tailed Duck and 10 Red-throated Diver were at Newcastle (Garry Armstrong)

2 Merlin were on the Antrim Hills. Glenarm had 2 Great Northern Divers, a Red-throated Diver, Peregrine and 2 Raven. Ballygally had the Black-throated Diver,  3 Great Northern Diver and a Red-throated Diver (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

The Spotted Redshank was at Myroe today (Mervyn Guthrie)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in trees near the entrance to The Argory, National Trust, Co. Armagh this afternoon. (Karen Elliott)

18 Whopper Swans flew due north of Portstewart Head today. (Sean Hickey)

The drake Smew was still at Inch Lake, Co Donegal (Christine Cunningham)

A Barn Owl was seen on Munie Road, Glenarm, on the Ballymena side of Carnagear. (Colin Urwin)

Colin Urwin
Thanks to Mervyn Guthrie for this pic of the Myroe Spotted Redshank: 

Bird News Saturday 24th March

3 Long-tailed Ducks were of Kinnegar Shore in Belfast Lough this morning. (Daniel Newton).

The Great White Egret was at Paddy's Dub, Lough Beg this morning. (Chris Murphy)

A Pink-footed Goose and 2 Black-throated Diver were at Anne’s Point. Another 4 Black-throated Diver were at Kircubbin. 20 Manx Shearwater were at Burial Island. (Richard Weyl)

An adult winter plumaged Black=throated Diver was off Ballygally on the Co. Antrim coast. (Neil Warnock).

A Common Tern was reported at Whitehouse Lagoon this afternoon. (Birdguides).

The male Ring-necked Duck was at Castleward. (Birdguides).

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Red-breasted Merganser:

Herons - Can you help?

2018 BTO Heronry Census in Northern Ireland

BTO have now produced a map showing 10km squares which contain at least one historical heronry site still needing survey coverage. The map can be viewed at

Please contact Ian Enlander if you are able to help out with this important survey programme. Despite the cold weather, the first report is in of hatched heron chicks (nest with 4 young) so at least one nest survived the 'beast from the east'.

Bird News Friday 23rd March.

16 White-fronted Geese were seen flying in from sea at Ballintoy. A moribund 3rd year Glaucous Gull was also located near the harbour. The large flock of Twite are still in the stubble field near Ballintoy Church.(Colin Guy)

A Green Sandpiper and four male Goosanders (oddly no redheads present) along the River Main at Slaght, near Ballymena this afternoon. (David Steele)

Lough Foyle has a 3rd w Glaucous Gull, 4 Pink footed Geese and 12 Greenland White fronted Geese (Brad Robson / Gareth Bareham)

A second first calendar year Iceland Gull was at RSPB WoW today (Daniel Newton)

Rathlin Seabird centre re-opens...

As from the 24th March the RSPB Seabird centre on Rathlin Island re-opens for the season, it will close again on the 16th September, admission is free for RSPB members,£5 for adults, £2.50 for kids.  

Bird News Thursday 22nd March

An Adult Iceland Gull and a female Merlin chasing a Skylark was seen near White Rocks, Portrush (Colin Guy)

A Great Northern and a Red Throated Diver were off Portstewart Head today (Sean Hickey)

RSPB WoW had a Med Gull, a Red-breasted Merganser, 2 female Scaup, 40+ Bar-tailed Godwit and a Sandwich Tern. 2 Scaup were also off Kinnegar (Derek Polley)

A Brambling was with Chaffinches at Monea, Co Fermanagh this morning (Brad Robson)

Bird News Wednesday 21st March

The Iceland Gull and three Scaup were at RSPB WoW this morning (Daniel Newton).

At least two Mediterranean Gulls were at RSPB WoW this afternoon. (Colin Mayes).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was visiting a garden near Drumaness. (Monica Bailie).

The Ring-billed Gull was still at Carrickfergus. (Adam McClure).

Thanks to Colin Mayes for the picture of the Mediterranean Gull, to Adam McClure for the picture of the Ring-billed Gull and to Graham Day for the pictures of the Twite and the Treecreeper:



Bird News Tuesday 20th March.

 A female Goosander was at Dungonnell reservoir.(Sean Hickey)

An Iceland Gull was on Ballycastle beach along with 4 Purple Sandpipers.(Michael Savage)

An Iceland Gull was seen around Newcastle harbour.(Leonard Charles).

The female Ring-necked Duck was still showing well in the Closet River mouth at Oxford Island, see picture below. (James O'Neill).

The Glaucous Gull was still on Rathlin this morning, see picture below. (Ric Else & Hazel Watson).

A 2nd winter Iceland Gull and a Scandanavian Rock Pipit were on the shore at Carnfunnock, see pictures below. (Colin Guy).

Female Ring-necked Duck - James O'Neill

Iceland Gull -Michael Savage 
Glaucous Gull - Ric Else

Iceland Gull - Colin Guy

Scandanavian Rock Pipit - Colin Guy

Bird News Monday 19th March

A Velvet Scoter was off Newcastle Harbour ( Frederico Bianco, Garry Wilkinson) 

The Twite flock was still at Sandy Bay, Larne (Frederico Bianco, Garry Wilkinson & Nigel Moore) 

At least 8 Sandwich Tern were at Strangford (Derek Polley)

A Great-spotted Woodpecker was at Gosford this morning (John Anderson)

A Wheatear was on Rathlin (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

4 Scaup (two male and two female) were still at Belfast WOW ( Frederico Bianco, Garry Wilkinson & Nigel Moore)

The 2cy female Hen harrier was at Reedy Flats, Lough Neagh (James O'Neill)

The drake Smew was still at Inch, Co Donegal (Christine Cunningham)

Thanks to James O'Neill for this pic of the Hen Harrier and Christine Cunningham for the Smew: 

James O'Neill, Hen Harrier:

Christine Cunningham, Smew:

Bird News Sunday 18th March

The Ring-billed Gull was still in Carrickfergus, see picture below. (David Stirling).

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at Corbally Reservoir, Portrush. (Colin Guy).

A number of Stock Doves were in fields close to Whiterocks, Strangford Lough. (Michael Latham).

Several hundred Barnacle Geese were in fields alongside the Ardmillan Road along Strangford Lough. (Daniel Newton).

A female Ring-necked Duck was in Closet Bay, Oxford Island, also present was a leucistic Black-headed Gull which resembled an Ivory Gull. (James O'Neill).

The 1st winter Iceland Gull was still at Belfast Lough RSPB reserve. (Daniel Newton).

Thanks to David Stirling for the picture of the Ring-billed Gull, to Michael Latham for the picture of the Stock Dove and to James O'Neill for the picture of the Ring-necked Duck:


Bird News Saturday 17th March

A happy St Patrick’s day to all ☘

A first winter Iceland Gull was off Whitehead (Cameron Moore)

Two Bramblings were on the Dromona Rd, Cullybackey (Jeff Larkin)

An Iceland Gull and four Scaup were at RSPB WoW late morning (Daniel Newton)

The Spotted Redshank was at Myroe and three Slavonian Grebe offshore (Brian Murphy)

A Brambling was visiting a garden in Mountsandel, Coleraine.(Eddie Manthrope).

A 2nd winter Iceland Gull wasat Carnfunnock, a1stw Glaucous at Carnlough, a 1stw & 3rdw Iceland & 1stw Glaucous in the Garron Point area (Neal Warnock)

Thanks to Michael Latham for the picture of the Iceland Gull from RSPB WoW reserve:


Bird News Friday 16th March

2 male Wheatears were on Ramore Head today (Colin Guy)

A first winter Iceland Gull, a pair of Mediterranean Gulls and an adult Ring-billed Gull were at RSPB WoW this morning (Kevin Kirkham-Brown).
Thanks to Kevin for the pictures of the Mediterranean Gull and the Ring-billed Gull, to Cameron Moore for the picture of the Iceland Gull and to Colin Guy for the picture of the Wheatear:


Bird News Thursday 15th March

Two Iceland Gulls were at Whitehead this morning (Cameron Moore)

A male Brambling was in a garden off the Lisburn Road, Belfast this morning (Dave Allen)

A male Wheatear was on Ramore Head this morning (Colin Guy)

The Bann Estuary had an adult and a 1st winter Iceland Gull, 10 Whooper Swans, 57 Black-tailed Godwit and 205 Golden Plover (Hill Dick)

A second year Glaucous Gull was on Rathlin (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

Many thanks to Ric and Hazel for this pic of a Glaucous Gull on Rathlin:

Bird News Wednesday 14th March

An Iceland Gull was at RSPB WoW this morning (Daniel Newton)

Yesterday a Spotted Redshank was in the channel at Myroe (Jonny Rosborough)

Today a Glaucous Gull flew past the sea embankment at Myroe; also present there c350 Whooper Swans, c300 Brent Geese, c450 Golden Plover and 4 Greenshank. (Hill Dick/Peter Robinson)

Thanks to Jonny for this pic of the Spotted Redshank:

Ringed Sanderling

This ringed Sanderling was photographed on Portballintrae beach by James Crozier. We would be pleased to receive any information on where this bird was ringed. Update: Thanks for the feedback and we believe we have details of the ringing of this bird and will publish details in the future.

Bird News Tuesday 13th March

A first year Iceland Gull was out towards the Skerries, Portrush and an adult Glaucous was seen in flight. The Bann Estuary had another first year Iceland and a second year Glaucous Gull (Stuart McKee).

Thanks to Kevin Kirkham-Brown for the picture of the Siskin:

Bird News Monday 12th March.

Two Sand Martins and two Little Stints where at Mullagh, Lough Beg.(David Steele)

The Green-winged Teal was still at the Ecos Centre. A first year Iceland Gull was the at Bann estuary, another first year flew past Ramore and a first winter/summer Ring-billed Gull was briefly at East Strand car park Portrush before flying off towards Ramore Head (Stuart McKee)

8 Pink-footed Geese were at Keeble Lough, Rathlin (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

Our thanks to Andrew Poots who has sent in this photograph of a Common(Mealy) Redpoll that he took from his garden in Richill. As from this year under the IOC, Common Redpoll is now a separate species from Lesser Redpoll which is the one most people see in their gardens:

Bird News Sunday 11th March

17 Slavonian Grebe were off Greyabbey Bay South (Laurence Irvine)

Capanagh had 50 Fieldfare and 15 Skylarks. 5 Red-throated Divers and a Sanderling were at Sandy Bay, Larne (Gerard McGeehan \ Shirley Dunlop)

Thanks to Wilf Swain for this pic of a drake Red Breasted Merganser:

Bird News Saturday 10th March

A female Great Spotted Woodpecker was feeding in a garden beside Gosford Forest (Aubrey Percy)

An Iceland Gull was at RSPB WoW early this morning (Daniel Newton)

First winter Glaucous Gulls were at Corbally Reservoir and Dunseverick (Garry Armstrong)

As we head in to the breeding season, a reminder that we do not publish pictures of rare breeding birds or birds at nests. 

Thanks to Aubrey Percy for this pic of the Great Spotted Woodpecker:

Gyr Falcon

A white phase Gyr Falcon flew past Ramore head this afternoon it headed east across the bay in the direction of Dunluce Castle (John Clarke)

Bird News Friday 9th March

An Avocet has been reported from the Bann Estuary, Castlerock, yesterday afternoon (Alan Faulkner)

In excellent conditions on Strangford Lough a record 97 Slav. Grebes (6 at Horse Island,72 between Greyabbey and Kircubbin 16 off N'ards Sailing club) Also 7 Black-tharoated Diver.(Richard Weyl)

A pair of Goosanders were on the River Maine south of Slaght this morning (Richard Gray)

Yesterday the Green-winged Teal was still at the Ecos Centre, Ballymena (Jeff Larkin)

A pair of Red Grouse were seen on Slieve Donard, Mournes, Co. Down on Tuesday 6 March (Keith Dalzell)

Late  news from yesterday was of a flock of 100 Twite in a stubble field between Ballintoy Church and Carrick a rede.(Colin Guy)  

Oystercatcher - William Smiton

Five of the Black-throated Divers - Richard Weyl.

Bird News Thursday 8th March

An inland Red-throated Diver was near Devenish Island, Lower Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

At least 6 Bramblings were in a garden on the Dunminning Rd, Cullybackey (Jeff Larkin).

At Belfast Lough RSPB reserve today there were approximately 45 Bar-tailed Godwits, including one bird coming into summer plumage, a Red-breasted Merganser and 6 Mediterranean Gulls as follows: 2 birds in summer plumage (neither had complete back heads but liberally speckled white at front) had formed a pair. Very aggressive and much chasing of Black-headed Gulls from their chosen spot. A full adult with complete black head. An adult with black head except for a small spot or streak of white at the bill base. Another adult with grizzled appearance because the head was very heavily spotted and streaked white. A second winter bird with blackish mask and black spots on primaries. (Tom Ennis, Derek Polley, Stephen Maxwell, Denis Connolly & Chris Sturgeon).

A female Hen Harrier was seen in the Sperrins. (Adam McClure).

Thanks to Ian Jackson for the picture of the female Siskin, to Paul & Niall Mulvenna for the picture of the Kingfisher and to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Tufted Duck:


Bird News Wednesday 7th March

2 Waxwing were at the entrance to Mountsandel Fort, Mountsandel Rd. Coleraine  at 2.30 pm today. (Michael Barton)

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was near White Rocks,Portrush and another 1st Winter was at Dunseverick Harbour (Colin Guy)

Three Med Gulls and 2 Ruff were at RSPB WoW (Gerard McGeehan)

Knot, Wilf Swain:

Terry Hanna, Curlew:

Bird News Tuesday 6th March

A Red Kite was over the Dromara Road in Dundrum this morning. (Wilf Swain).

A flock of 13 Twite were feeding at Fishermans Quay in Carrickfergus. (Adam McClure).

A pair of Common Scoter were off Kinnegar shore this morning. (Daniel Newton).

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of a Buzzard and to Annette Elkin for the picture of the Red-breasted Merganser: