Bird News Wednesday 20th February

7 Great Northern Diver, approximately 40 Common Scoter and 4 Great Crested Grebes were just off the harbour in Newcastle. (Gilly Irwin)

3 Whooper Swans flew past Rue Point and 10 Twite were on the cliff face at Keeble, Rathlin Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of a Buzzard:


A fast moving Oystercatcher.....

This Oystercatcher was seen by Neal Warnock in Larne yesterday afternoon. The previous evening it was in Devon - some 500 kilometres away!




Bird News Tuesday 19th February

 A Snow Bunting was at Keeble, Rathlin (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

A male Brambling was visiting a garden at Whitehead (Cameron Moore)

Little Egret, Oliver Bernard:

Brent Geese, Wilf Swain:


Bird News Monday 18th February

A Glossy Ibis is at Tunny cut near Portmore. (Nigel Ireland) see photo below

 2 Goosander (female/juv) were on Begny Lake, Dromara, Co Down this morning.(Ron Price/Michael Taylor)

A Barn Owl flew across the main Kilrea-Coleraine close to Moneydig this morning at 6.30.(Michael Hoilgate)

2 Goosander where at Lough Island Reavy, 3 Red Kite also in area. 4 Great Northern Diver and 70 Great Crested Grebe off Newcastle Harbour.(Richard Gray)

A Common Scoter was at Shallow Flat near Derrytrasna, Lough Neagh today (Richard Weyl)


Bird News Sunday 17th February

The Ring-billed Gull was still at Carrickfergus this morning. (Ed O'Hara/Comghal McQuillan)

An adult Iceland Gull and two Med Gulls were at Glynn (Neal Warnock)

Six Great Northern Divers were off Newcastle Harbour (Daniel Newton)

A female Goosander was at Glynn (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

Carrion Crows continue to be seen at Crawfordsburn Beach (Harry Byron)

A first winter Glaucous Gull was feeding on a dead Pilot Whale at Gallasagh Bay, Fanad Head (Wiltin Farrelly)

The Lesser Whitethroat was still visiting the garden in Dromore, Co Tyrone (Dave Fox)

Ring-billed Gull Carrickfergus
Iceland Gull, Paul McCullough:

Bird News Saturday 16th February

Two Carrion Crows were at Groomsport and one at Donaghadee today – all three were in pairs with Hooded Crows. (Clive Mellon).

Four Pink-feet were with a large flock of Greylag and Whooper Swans on the Closet Meadows at Oxford Island. (David Hunter).

The Lesser Whitethroat was showing again this morning in Co. Tyrone. (Birdguides).

The Ring-billed Gull was still at Carrickfergus this morning, see picture below. The female Velvet Scoter was still off Dargan. (Neal Warnock).

The flock of 21 Twite were still at the boatyard in Whitehead, there was no sign of the Black Redstart, see picture below. (Michael Latham)

Thanks to David Hunter for the picture of part of the Whooper and Greylag flock at Oxford Island, to Neal Warnock for the picture of the Ring-billed Gull, to Paul McCullough for the picture of the Sanderling and Dunlin and to Michael Latham for the picture of the Twite:





Bird News Friday 15th February

A Slavonian Grebe was off Macedon Point in Belfast Lough this morning. (John O'Boyle).

The flock of up to 20 Twite were still around the boatyard in Whitehead, see picture below. (Jonny Andrews)

Thanks to Alastair McLean for the picture of the female Stonechat and to Jonny Andrews for the pictures of the Twite and the male Stonechat:




Bird News Wednesday 13th February

The flock of 20 Twite were still at Whitehead, see picture below. There was no sign of the Black Redstart. (Jonny Andrews)

The Common Sandpiper was at Donaghadee along with an adult Med Gull. The Spoonbill, a Spotted Redshank and a Pink-footed Goose were at Ann's point. A Black-throated Diver was at Killyleagh (Gerard and Anthony McGeehan, Bruce Mactavish)

Thanks to Ginny McKee for the pictures of the Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit and Black Guillemots and to Jonny Andrews for the picture of the Twite:





Bird News Tuesday 12th February

The Black Redstart was still in Whitehead. Also present were 7 Red-throated Diver at the Gobbins along with 2 Great Northern Diver (Cameron Moore)

A Mealy Redpoll was in a Richill garden this morning (Clifford Sharpe)

The large mixed Yellowhammer & Tree Sparrow flock, plus 4 Stock Dove, were still at Killard. (Richard Hunter)

Mealy Redpoll, Clifford Sharpe:

The adult Ivory Gull was released yesterday in Ayrshire and a small group of ken NI birders went over to see it. Please keep a look out along the Northern Ireland coast in case it headed west! This picture was taken by Nigel Moore:

Bird News Monday 11th February

A sea-watch at Whitehead seafront from 07.30 - 08.15 produced 118 Red-throated Diver, 6 Great Northern Diver and 4 Common Scoter all flying into Belfast Lough. (Ian Enlander)

A wing-tagged Red Kite was over Dundrum this morning, see picture below. (Wilf Swain)

A Spoonbill was at Ballymorran Bay, Strangford Lough. (Georgina Thurgate). 

BTO Breeding Bird Survey

British Trust for Ornithology
 Available Breeding Bird Survey Squares in the BTO Co. Armagh Region 2019

Please note that due to anomalies with the BTO regional boundaries not all listed survey squares are within Co. Armagh.

Full details of the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), including methodology and field survey sheets are available online at https://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/bbs .

If you are interested in surveying a BBS square in Co. Armagh please contact Stephen Hewitt at sjameshewitt@hotmail.com or Shane Wolsey at shane.wolsey@bto.org .

IH7255 Aughnacloy. Surveyed 2006 and 2012-2014. A good square, with 51 species recorded including sparrowhawk, buzzard, kestrel and five warblers. Two transects along minor roads and a track have been mapped and are easy to access.

IH7346 Caledon. No details online. No roads through square, some coniferous woodland.

IH7354 Aughnacloy. Surveyed only in 2013, has a mainly coniferous woodland and some boggy patches. No transect maps online. Raven, bullfinch and siskin previously recorded.

IH7547 Caledon. Surveyed 2002-2006, good range of species including sparrowhawk, buzzard, jay, five warblers, spotted flycatcher, bullfinch, linnet and lesser redpoll. No transect maps online.

IH7644 Caledon. Surveyed 2002-2005, could be a good one. Previous transects are mapped online and look easy enough, alongside a mixed woodland and the Blackwater, similar range of species as IH7547 above.

IH7659 Granville (near Dungannon). No details online. Getting two transects might be difficult. Some woodland, mainly coniferous.

IH9025 near Newtownhamilton. Surveyed 1999-2008. Transects have been mapped and look good. Again similar range of species.

IH9153 Loughgall. Surveyed 2002-2006, lots of orchards and a decent list of 44 species. Transects online and look easy, along two roughly parallel minor roads. 

IH9625 near Newtownhamilton. Surveyed 1996-2000. About half of it is conifer woodland. Sparrowhawk and five warblers including grasshopper warbler. Also curlew and snipe in 1997 but doubtful the curlew would still be there. Could still be snipe. Also fox, rabbit and mountain hare recorded. Transects not online but looks doable.

IH9643 Hamilton’s Bawn. Surveyed 2005-2017. Farmland. 39 species recorded including blackcap, mistle thrush, grey wagtail, greenfinch, lesser redpoll and yellowhammer. Former surveyor Gary Cranston has kindly agreed to show any new surveyor the transect routes and introduce them to the relevant landowners.

IH9954 Portadown. Surveyed 1995-1999 and 2011-2018. Farmland. An impressive tally of 56 species including kingfisher, kestrel, grasshopper warbler and whinchat. Transects mapped online.

IJ0939 near Poyntzpass. A nice farmland square with easy transects along parallel roads. 41 species including blackcap, sedge warbler, spotted flycatcher and tree sparrow. Transects mapped online.


Please note that due to anomalies with the BTO regional boundaries not all listed survey squares are within Co. Armagh.

Full details of the Breeding Bird Survey, including methodology and field survey sheets are online at https://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/bbs .

If you are interested in surveying a BBS square in Co. Armagh please contact Stephen Hewitt at sjameshewitt@hotmail.com or Shane Wolsey at shane.wolsey@bto.org .



Bird News Sunday 10th February

The adult Ring-billed Gull has been seen again at Carrickfergus (Daniel Newton).

Two Mealy Redpolls were with a large flock of Lesser Redpolls visiting a garden in Richill, see picture below. (Andrew Poots).

20 Twite were around the boatyard in Whitehead, 3 Tree Sparrows were on feeders near the quarry and 3 Twite were in Sandy Bay in Larne. (Ian Enlander/Paul McCullough).

The Lesser Whitethroat was showing again outside Dromore, Co. Tyrone, see picture below.(Ed O'Hara).

Up to 12 Brambling were in the Antrim Hills this morning, see picture below. (Michael Latham).

On the east side of Strangford Lough there were 35 Slavonian Grebe (30 in Greyabbey Bay, 2 at Kircubbin and 3 north of Horse Island). Also 2 Black-throated Diver were at Kircubbin and a Jack snipe at Horse Island. (Richard Weyl).

Thanks to Daniel Newton for the first Ring-billed Gull picture, to Michael Latham for the second Ring-billed Gull picture and the Brambling picture, to Ed O'Hara for the Lesser Whitethroat picture, to Andrew Poots for the Mealy Redpoll picture and to Paul McCullough for the Tree Sparrow picture:







Bird News Saturday 9th February

The Lesser Whitethroat (probably Blythi) was seen again in Omagh...see previous posting on 8th January for access  info (Aidan Kelly)

The Hoopoe on Friday was at Torrent View, Donaghmore.

5 Long-tailed Duck were off Carrickfergus (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

4 Pink-footed Geese where amongst 300 Greylags at Ardmore, Lough Neagh.(Ed O'Hara)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Cairn Wood (Daniel Newton)

An Iceland Gull was on Rathlin Island.(Ric Else/Hazel Watson)

Lesser Whitethroat - Aidan Kelly.

Pink-footed Geese amongst the Greylags - Ed O'Hara.

Iceland Gull - Ric Else