Bird News Thursday 31st January

A female black Redstart was on Newcastle beach, just north of the Shimna River behind Maud’s (Michael Ingleston)

An adult Med Gull was at Whitehead this morning (Cameron Moore)

A large Starling murmuration is currently near Clogger in the townland of Kilnahushogue about 3miles from the village on the Fintona road (Monica Bailie)

Thanks to Cameron Moore for this picture of the Med Gull:

Bird News Wednesday 30th January

A drake Lesser Scaup was with the Scaup flock in Dargan Bay, Belfast Lough (Tom Ennis)

Mervyn Campbell, Goldcrest:

Christine Cunningham, Jay:

Bird News Tuesday 29th January

The Lesser Whitethroat (probably a Blythi), remains at the garden in Dromore, Co Tyrone (Brian McCloskey). If you wish to view this bird, please follow the instructions given previously (7th January) on this Blog and respect the privacy of the homeowners.

A male American Wigeon was with 1,500 Wigeon grazing on the grass at Mullagh, Lough Beg this afternoon. (David Steele).

A probable Northern Eider was at Ballintoy, see picture below. (Mervyn Campbell).

Thanks to Mervyn Campbell for the picture of the probable Northern Eider, to Cecil Smyth for the picture of the Twite, to Mark Elliott for the picture of the Long-tailed Tit, to David Hunter for the picture of the Blackcap and to Robert Plant for the picture of the Reed Bunting:

Bird News Monday 28th January

18 Twite were at Whitehead (Cameron Moore)

A Brambling was in a garden at Harmony Hill, Lambeg (Noeni Bryars)

Thanks to Cameron for this pic of the Twite in Whitehead....

Bird News Sunday 27th January

A Glaucous Gull, adult winter Mediterranean Gull, 50+ Yellowhammer and 8 Stock Dove were at Killard, Co Down (Philip West)

A Slavonian Grebe was at Glynn (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop).

2 adult Mediterranean Gulls were on rocks near the Chaine Memorial Tower, Larne. (Paul McCullough).

Thanks to Paul McCullough for the picture of the Mediterranean Gull, to Alastair McLean for the picture of the Black-headed Gull and to Cecil Smyth for the picture of the Kingfisher:

Bird News Saturday 26th January

An adult Little Gull and three adult Med Gulls were at Drains Bay including a Dutch ringed bird returning for its fourth winter (Neal Warnock)

A Velvet Scoter and three Common Scoter was off Hazelbank, Belfast Lough (Brian Murphy)

Around 20 Twite were at the boatyard in Whitehead late this afternoon (Christine Beggs)

Last week on Tuesday 22nd January between 9:30am and 6 pm the North Down Red Squirrel and Pine Marten Group had a live cage trap, battery pack and SD card stolen from Cairn Wood. The live trap would have been very noticeable to anyone who met the culprits on the path looking like a cuboid wire mesh cage. Unfortunately they were in the middle of a project to monitor pine marten populations in the woods with University of Exeter and the SD card contained one months of footage. They are asking for the return of the equipment, so if anyone saw anything suspicious during that time please get in touch with the group at

Thanks to Neal Warnock for the pics of the Med Gull and Little Gull:

Wilf Swain, Sparrowhawk:

Bird News Thursday 24th January

The Common Sandpiper was still on the shoreline north of Stockbridge Road in Donaghadee this afternoon. (Ian Graham).

Ballyhalbert on the Outer Ards had 3 Sandwich Tern and a drake Long-tailed Duck. (Stephen Foster, Jen Firth).

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Sparrowhawk and to Paul Mulvenna for the picture of the Tree Sparrow:

Bird News Wednesday 23rd January

The Lesser Whitethroat was showing well at Dromore, Co Tyrone this morning (Clifford Sharpe & Joe Devlin) The call has been recorded and it seems to be a Blythi (Brian McCloskey). We would again thank the hospitality of the homeowners for accommodating so many birders.

7 Sandwich Terns were at Portaferry marina yesterday (John Wilson Foster)

Clifford Sharpe, Lesser Whitethroat:

Wilf Swain, Little Egret:

Bird News Tuesday 22nd January

A Brambling was visiting a garden in Ballyclare. (Wallis Jefferson).

Thanks to Jeff Silvers for the picture of the Little Egret from Briggs Rocks, Groomsport, to David Hunter for the picture of the Jay and to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Kestrel:

Bird News Monday 21st January.

The Lesser Whitethroat was seen this morning.(Brian McCloskey) It was also seen yesterday.(Tom Ennis/Tony Dodds)

A Great. Spotted Woodpecker was at Drumcairn forest, Stewartstown(Tony McCormick)

A male Brambling was near the shore at Lower Mullan, Lough Neagh this morning with a small flock of Chaffinches (John O Boyle)

Our thanks to Cameron Moore for this pic of a Kingfisher and also to Brian McCloskey who sent us a close-up shot of the Lesser Whitethroat. Also to Cecil Smyth for the Redwing.

Bird News Sunday 20th January

A Black Redstart was at St Johns Point towards the lighthouse end (Michael Latham)

6 Goosander (5 fem 1 male) were at Corbett Lough this morning along with 23 Whooper Swan. The female Smew and a male Hen Harrier were at Portmore Lough (Mark Stewart and Orla O’Kelly)

A Pink-footed Goose was with the Greylag flock at Reedy Flats this afternoon (James O’Neill)

The Black-throated Diver was still at Carnlough (Neal Warnock)

Black Redstart, Michael Latham:

Yellowhammer visiting a garden, Mike McLaughlin:

Bird News Saturday 19th January

The Lesser Whitethroat was still in Dromore, Co Tyrone (Brian McCloskey). For access arrangements to the Lesser Whitethroat, please refer to our posting on the 8th January.

A male Brambling was in a garden at Spa (David Nixon)

6 Goosander were at Corbet Lough (Brian McCloskey)

Thanks to John Cusack for this flight shot showing the tail of the bird:

Bird News Friday 18th January

A Glaucous Gull was at Bay Road Park Local Nature Reserve in Londonderry, a Greenshank was also present. (John Spottiswood).

A female Merlin, 2 Pink-footed Geese and 300 Greylags were at Reedy Flats (Ed O’Hara).

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Goldfinch:

Bird News Thursday 17th January

A Red Kite was beside the Newry-Armagh road about 2 miles out of Newry (John Anderson)

The Black Redstart was feeding at the Shimna Estuary, Newcastle this morning (Dougie Gamble)

A Peregrine flew through the WOW reserve, Siskins where in the trees heading towards the lane side hide.(Derek Polley)

Our thanks to John Parkinson for this flight shot of a Water Rail, also to Angus Kennedy for the the Mistle Thrush  and to Dougie Gamble for the Black Redstart.

Bird News Wednesday 16th January

The Hawfinch was typically elusive but still at Gosford along with 15 Crossbill and a Great Spotted Woodpecker (David Nixon and Clifford Sharpe)

7 Goosanders were at Corbet Lough, Co Down - a male and 6 redheads. 3 Goosanders were on Lough Island Reavy - a male and 2 redheads. (David Knight)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over Teiges Hill near Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh this afternoon (Clive Mellon)

A ringtail Hen Harrier was at Lusty, Upper Lough Erne this morning (John O Boyle)

Three Twite were at Fisherman’s Quay, Carrickfergus this afternoon. 15 were still at Whitehead. (Michael Ingleston)

Shelduck, Angus Kennedy:

Bird News Tuesday 15th January

The female Hawfinch was still present in Gosford Forest Park this am but very elusive, see pictures below.  (Clifford Sharpe)

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at the Ballymena Ecos Park (Geoff Larkin).

15 Twite were still at the boatyard at Whitehead this afternoon, see picture below.  (Philip McErlean).

A Black Redstart was at Newcastle, close to the Shimna footbridge, this afternoon. Five Purple Sandpipers were also present. (Ian Jackson).

There was no sign of the Hoopoe at Dan Winters Cottage c.1-2pm, but lots of Fieldfares and a male Kestrel were seen. A male ring-tail Hen Harrier and 500 Lapwings were at Inch Abbey Marshes, Downpatrick at 4pm (Chris Murphy, Doris Noe)

A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was in Corrals Avenue, Ballymena (William Brown)

An untagged White-tailed Eagle was seen at Lower Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh (Amy Burns)

Thanks to Clifford Sharpe for the pictures of the Hawfinch, to Philip McErlean for the picture of the Twite, to Ian Jackson for the picture of the Turnstone and to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Goldcrest:

Bird News Monday 14th January

A Hoopoe was seen this afternoon at Dan Winters Ancesteral Home, Loughgall, Co Armagh (Stuart McKee)

The female Smew and a Peregrine were at Portmore Lough. 5 Stock Doves and around 65 Greylags were at the River Lagan at Flatfield.( David Nixon& Philip McHaffie)
Snipe - Mervyn Campbell.

Blue Tit - Wilfred Swain.

Bird News Sunday 13th January

The Lesser Whitethroat was again showing at Dromore, Co Tyrone (Denver Shiels). If wishing to view this bird, please follow the instructions given previously and respect the owners privacy. Many thanks to the homeowners for facilitating access and their hospitality.

The Hawfinch was again at Gosford today near to the castle in the Yew trees (Michael Latham/Gerard McGeehan/Shirley Dunlop/ Carol Gillespie/Ray Bennett)

Red Grouse and Merlin were in the Antrim Hills around Shillanavogey today (Daniel Newton)

Two Med Gulls were at East Strand car park Portrush this afternoon (John Clarke)

12 Twite were by the boatyard at Whitehead this afternoon. A flock of circa 50 Fieldfare were in Broughshane this morning (Kevin Kirkham & Meta McMeekin)

16 Ruff were with a large flock of Godwits and Lapwing at Church Bay, Lough Beg (Neal Warnock).

Two Purple Sandpipers were in Ballintoy by the harbour car park. (John Spottiswood).

Thanks to Michael Latham for the picture of the Hawfinch and to Neal Warnock for the picture of the Lesser Whitethroat:

Bird News Saturday 12th January

The Hawfinch was still at Gosford Forest Park, a flock of 14 Crossbill were in a tree beside the main car-park. (Ivan Quail & Nicky Lynn).

A ring-tail Hen Harrier was at Myroe Levels 11:30 am this morning. A Bonxie was off Ramore Head in Portrush with 7 Purple Sandpipers and 20 Turnstone also present. (Kevin Kirkham & Meta McMeekin).

13 Twite were at Whitehead with 1 also at Fisherman's Quay in Carrickfergus. (David Clarke)

The Lesser Whitethroat was seen again today. If  you are wanting to visit the house tomorrow, please ensure that you follow the instructions given previously and respect the owners privacy.

Two Ruff were at the high tide roost at Patton’s Marsh, Newtownards, this evening, 4.30pm (Suzanne Belshaw)

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the pictures of the Brent Geese and the Curlew and to David Clarke for the picture of the Twite:

Bird News Friday 11th January

A high count of 42 Purple Sandpipers were at Ramore Head, Portrush (Gerard McGeehan).

4 Goosander are on Corbet Lough outside Banbridge. (David McCreedy).

The Hawfinch was still at Gosford Forest Park. (Brian Nelson).

Bird News Thursday 10th January.

Today three Lough Foyle Sites had the following birds : DONNYBREWER: 3 Brambling, 8 Tree Sparrow and 20 Whooper Swans. LONGFIELD: 1 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Long-tailed Duck and c100 Greylag Geese. MYROE: 53 Pink-footed Geese and 79 Whooper Swans. (Ken Perry/Peter Robinson/Hill Dick)

NIOC Photography Competition

Bird News Wednesday 9th January

A female Hawfinch was at Gosford Forest Park, feeding in Yews 70m south of the now-disused Castle car park. It was very elusive. (Clifford Sharp)

A first winter Med Gull was at Ravenhill Reach on the River Lagan this morning (Clive Mellon)

Corbett Lough, Co Down had a pair of Goosander and 44 Whooper Swans.

Rathlin had 9 Greenland White-fronted Geese and still 6 Pink-footed Geese, the Scaup and a Twite. (Ric Else and Hazel Watson)

The Bann Estuary had a 1st W Iceland Gull and c600 Golden Plover (Hill Dick)

18 Fieldfare and 3 Raven were at Poyntzpass (Fulton Sommerville)

Ballyquintin Point on the Outer Ards had approx 400 Linnet, 150 Skylark and 120 Tree Sparrow - all on the NT managed fields. Nearby fields beside Tara Caravans had approx 40 Tree Sparrow (Ian Enlander)

The Common Sandpiper seen in November is still near Donaghadee. A Merlin was also seen eating prey by the shore. (Stephen Foster and Ronan Owens)

Fieldfares, Fulton Sommerville:

The Fight For Flight

Below is a link to a short film about bird migration in North America that you may find interesting:

We recently released our self-funded film about bird migration through the Great Lakes region. It's called The Fight for Flight.

Take a look at the film and let us know what you think.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Thanks in advance for your time!
 Chris Zuker
 Fauna Creative | life needs storytellers
 | 989.640.4597

Bird News Tuesday 8th January

The Lesser Whitethroat was present this morning but only brief visits to the bird feeders (Clive Mellon). To view this bird on Sunday, see details in yesterday’s post.

A large flock of at least 150 Skylarks, and a few Linnets, were in a field near Tyrella. (David Nixon).

Thanks to Cameron Moore for the picture of the Whooper Swan from Ballycarry Bridge:

Wintering Lesser Whitethroat in Co Tyrone

A Lesser Whitethroat has been visiting a garden near Omagh in the last few weeks.
The bird is in a private garden and is unfortunately only viewable from inside the house. However the owners, are happy to receive birders tomorrow (Tuesday 8th) or Sunday 13th (but not in between). Their telephone number is: 028 82 898435.

The address is in Dromore, Co Tyrone, BT78 3BP

In terms of the sub-species, the bird does seem to show characteristics of blythi or halimodendri. Feedback from anyone with experience of these sub-species would be welcome.

We ask anyone visiting to please respect the directions and privacy of the owners and only visit by arranging access in advance.