Bird News Monday 19th October

The Yellow-browed Warbler was still at Kinramer, Rathlin for its tenth day (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

A juvenile American Golden Plover was with Golden Plover at Ballykelly,  the Cattle Egret was still outside Strabane. (Ivan Quail &Nicky Lynn)

A Merlin and a Pomarine Skua passed St John’s Pt this morning ( Chris Murphy).

This Mediterranean Gull photo taken by Cameron Moore in Whitehead.  



Bird News Sunday 18th October

A White-rumped Sandpiper, a Ruff, an adult Mediterranean Gull and 400 Whoopers were at Ballykelly. 118 Slavonian Grebe, 3 Great Northern and 20 Red-throated Divers were off Myroe, a Water Rail was in the channel and a Merlin on the turf fields.  (Garry Armstrong / Stuart McKee)

Rathlin still had one Yellow-browed Warbler at Kinramer, and also 4 Snow Buntings and 19 Crossbills. (Ric Else and Hazel Watson)

Approximately 300 Golden Plover wee on rocks at Portstewart with a Merlin also present. 5 Long-eared Owls were at a roost in Coleraine. (John Clarke)

Approximately 1000 Whooper Swans were on Lough Foyle at Greysteel (Christine Cassidy). 15 Whooper Swans were seen flying over Newtownabbey (Jim McKeown)

Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen in Co Derry (Charles Stewart) and at Drum Bridge, Lagan Towpath (Richard Caves) 

A Slavonian Grebe and a Mediterranean Gull were at Ballymacormick Point. (James Andrew)

The Great White Egret was seen again at Castle Espie this afternoon (Gerard McGeehan et al)

The hybrid Ring-billed Gull was at Millisle. At Kearney 7 Pink-footed Geese were with 80 Whooper Swans. (Richard Weyl)

A Green Sandpiper was along the River Main at Slaght near Ballymena this evening (David Steele)

A Red Grouse was seen at Cove Mountain in the Mournes (Keith Dalzell)

Two Snow Abu ting were seen off Campsie Levels (P Smith)

Snow Bunting, Ric Else \ Hazel Watson:

Twite, Portrush, Mervyn Campbell:

Great Spotted Woodpecker (male), Charles Stewart:

Great White Egret, Lesley Barker:

Bird News Saturday 17th October

The Cattle Egret was still bear Strabane (Brian Hegarty)

A Great White Egret was at Castle Espie, on the saltmarsh at high tide. (Maurice Turley).

Rathlin had one Yellow-browsed Warbler at Kinramer, a Snow Bunting at the west light, Woodcock, 4 Crossbill, 100+ Fieldfare and 3 Redwing (Ric Else, Hazel Watson et al). There was no sign of the White-tailed Eagle.

A late Manx Shearwater was at Dargan Bay (Ian Enlander)

10 Swallows were seen around Whitehead Lighthouse (Paul McCullough).

2 Swallows were just south of Killyleagh this afternoon. (Derek Polley).

6 Barnacle Geese were with Greylags at Glynn in Larne Lough. A flock of Fieldfares were in the Antrim hills. (Michael Latham).

Cattle Egret, Brian Hegarty:


   Great White Egret - Maurice Turley.

    Barnacle Geese - Michael Latham:

    Twite - Thomas Campbell:

    Grey Wagtail - Thomas Campbell:







Bird News Friday 16th October

30 Twite were still at Ramore Head play park (S Riddell)

One Yellow-browed Warbler remains to be seen on Rathlin, the first Woodcock of the autumn was also seen.(Ric Else/Hazel Watson)

Rathlin also had a White-tailed Eagle and a Sabine's Gull on the ferry back to Ballycastle.(Colin Guy)

48 Whooper Swan were at the Quoile. Please note that the hide is closed. (Margaret Adamson)

The best at Kearney this morning was ring tailed Hen Harrier, 14 Pinkfeet, 1 Barnacle and 50 Whoopers (Garry Armstrong, Ed O'Hara).

Yesterday Runkerry Wood had a Yellow-browed Warbler and a Northern Bullfinch (Dennis Weir).

At the Roe Estuary this evening there were at least 5000 Whoopers flying over to roost this evening plus 3 skeins of Pink Feet estimating a total of just over 200. (Martin Deehan)

Our  thanks to Ed O'Hara for the photo of a Merlin.


The 2020 Yellow-browed Warbler Influx

Autumn 2020 will go down in Northern Ireland birding as the best year ever for seeing or finding your own Yellow-browed Warbler. The status of this Siberian migrant has changed dramatically in the last twenty years. From been an extremely rare warbler with records every few years at best, it was removed as a rarity description species in 2018 as it was then an annual vagrant in NI. However the influx in 2020 has been unprecedented.

The first indications of the potential for the autumn came when Ric Else and Hazel Watson found a Yellow-browed Warbler on the 23rd September and another on the 30th September on Rathlin Island. Then from further afield, birders on Barra in the Western Isles reported 35 birds on the 2nd October and then a staggering 94+ birds on the 3rd October. Birds on the Western Isles of Scotland are likely to continue their migration by filtering down the west coast of Britain so surely some would hit our shores?

It was only a matter of time and as expected, Ric and Hazel started to find them on Rathlin. To date, it is estimated that at this stage over 30 birds have been reported including the following:

Rathlin Island – 22, Runkerry Wood – 3, Templecowey – 1, Kearney – 2, Browns Bay – 1, Jordanstown – 1, Gobbins – 1, Portrush – 1, Whitehead – 1, Comber – 1.

(The Rathlin number is the estimated minimum number of  birds present. It is possible that up to 30 were actually seen with 8 alone on the 11th October. There are unfortunately no records from Copeland due to Covid restrictions closing the observatory this autumn).

A number of the above birds were seen in gardens, a brilliant garden tick for some! It is still not too late to find your own Yellow-browed Warbler. The best approach is to find some sycamores or willows close to the coast and listen out for their distinctive call! Thanks to all who have reported and shared the above sightings.
Yellow-browed Warbler, Kearney - Garry Armstrong

Bird News Thursday 15th October

A Red Kite was in the Antrim hills this morning. (Kenny Moore)

A Spotted Redshank was at Dundrum Inner Bay (David Nixon)

Rathlin today had 1 Yellow-browed Warbler, a Brambling, 3 Crossbills and a Barnacle Goose (Ric Else \ Hazel Watson)

30 Twite were at Ramore Head (Juliet Fleming)

Spotted Redshank, David Nixon:


Twite, Juliet Fleming:

 Coal Tit, Dick Glasgow. There have been large numbers of Coal Tits moving through in the last month:

Bird News Wednesday 14th October

Two Yellow-browed Warblers were on Rathlin. 6 Barnacle Geese, 7 Fieldfare and a Merlin were also seen (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

A Marsh Harrier remains at Portmore Lough (Suzanne Belshaw \ Richard Caves)

Yellow-browed Warbler, Ric Else \ Hazel Watson:

Marsh Harrier, Suzanne Belshaw:


BTO NI Conference

BTO NI Birdwatchers' Conference
This November BTO NI will be hosting a "virtual" conference on Zoom. The conference will be held over three sessions, costing only £5 for all three. For more information and online booking, please see the following link: https://www.bto.org/community/events/202011-bto-northern-ireland-birdwatchers-conference 

Bird News Tuesday 13th October.

 Rathlin Island had 3 Yellow-browed Warbler and a Brambling.(Ric Else/Hazel Watson et al)

Bird News Monday 12th October

 Three American Golden Plover, an adult and two juveniles, and a Ruff were at the turf fields at Myroe.

A Yellow-browed Warbler and a Blackcap were at Runkerry Wood. (Martin Deehan).

Three male Long-tailed Ducks were off Carnalea this morning. (Philip Watson).

Thanks to Juliet Fleming for the picture of the Snipe:




Bird News Sunday 11th October

At least 8 Yellow-browed Warblers were on Rathlin (Ric Else / Hazel Watson / Wilton Farrelly)

A Yellow-browed Warbler and a Blackcap are at Templecowey, Outer Ards (Richard Weyl)

The Lesser Whitethroat was still present at gardens at the east end of Runkerry Wood along with a Yellow-browed Warbler (Stuart McKee)

An American Golden Plover was at Ballykelly (Daniel Newton)

A juv. White-tailed Eagle was seen in the Antrim Hills.(Michael Latham)

A flock of 10 Twite and a Wheatear where at Sandy Bay, Larne.(Kevin Kirkham)

A Red Kite was in the Antrim hills. (Kenny Moore)

The Sacred Ibis was still at kiltybane lough, Cullyhanna a Common Sandpiper was also present.(Frank Carroll)

The Pied Flycatcher was seen again at Runkerry Wood late afternoon (Daniel Newton)

5 Barnacle Geese were at Glynn this afternoon. (Brian Halligan)

Our thanks to Michael Latham for the photo of the White-tailed Eagle.



Bird News Saturday 10th October

A flock of 32 Barnacle Geese were flying over the Skerries heading west (Garry Armstrong)

A Yellow-browed warbler is still at Kearney, 80 Whoopers were also present. 8 Whoopers were at Burial Island, 2 Mediterranean Gulls were in Cloughy  Bay and another Mediterranean Gull was at Knockenelder Bay. (Richard Weyl)

3 Yellow-browed Warblers & a Lesser Whitethroat are at the east end gardens, Runkerry Co.Antrim. A Pied Flycatcher is also present with 3 Twite on the beach. (Richard Hunter / Richard Donaghey)

A female Goosander and 3 adult Mediterranean Gulls were at Ballykelly.  120 Whoopers were at Myroe with another 150 in stubble fields along Broighter Road.  (Garry Armstrong).

An adult Little Gull was at Belfast WOW reserve, 3 Ruff were also present. (Kevin Kirkham).

A Yellow-browed Warbler is at Brown's Bay in trees and bushes opposite the gates to Inishreen. (Ivan Quail & Nicky Lynn).

3 American Golden Plover, an adult and 2 juveniles were with 1,000 Golden  Plover in a ploughed field at the west end of Myroe.  (Garry Armstrong).

A Yellow-browed Warbler was in a private garden in Jordanstown near the railway station. (Paul McCullough).

143 Whooper Swans in 7 flocks flew over Prehen Park in L'Derry. (Christine Cassidy).

Rathlin this morning had 1 Yellow-browed Warbler, 10 Twite, 14 Barnacle Geese, a Brambling and a few Redwings. (Ric Else & Hazel Watson).

A Norwegian-rung Common Gull (White JE334), was on the shore at Glynn this afternoon - ringed as a chick in the Karmøy area, in July 2017. Today's sighting was the first sighting outside of Norway. A colour-ringed Common Gull (Blue 2BKX), at Glynn, was ringed as a chick in June 2019, on Rathlin Island. An un-ringed juvenile Mediterranean Gull was also at Glynn. An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Sandy Bay in Larne. (Gareth Platt).

2 Barnacle Geese, 6 Pink Footed Geese and 4 Whooper Swans flew past Ballintoy this evening. (Colin Guy).

Thanks to Richard Hunter for the picture of the Yellow-browed Warbler, to Ric Else for the picture of the Twite and to Gareth Platt for the pictures of the ringed Common Gull and the Mediterranean Gull:






Bird News Friday 9th October

A Yellow-browed Warbler was at Runkerry Wood (Richard Hunter). Also yesterday a Garden Warbler was also present here (John Clarke)

A Yellow -browed Warbler was seen at Kearney.(Comghal McQuillan)

4 Yellow-browed Warbler and 3 Twite where on Rathlin Island.(Wilton Farrelly)

The Temmincks Stint was still present yesterday on the Blackstaff river.(Dermot Hughes/John O'Boyle)

3 Redwing where at Murlough today.(Garry Wilkinson)

A Cattle Egret was seen between the restored section of Strabane Canal and the Foyle, south of where the Burn Dennet flows in. Parking at the Canal car park on Greenlaw Rd. associating w cows in long rush field.(Michael Savage)




Our thanks to Michael Savage for the photo of the Cattle Egret (see above post for location) Also to Comghal McQuillan for the Yellow - browed Warbler and to Dermot Hughes for the Temmincks Stint.






Bird News Thursday 8th October

A Yellow-browed Warbler was at Kearney.  (Ed O'Hara,  Garry Armstrong).

A Lesser Whitethroat, a Pied Fly, and 2 Yellow-browed Warblers were at Runkerry Wood near the Giants Causeway. 25 Pink-footed Geese and 4 Barnacle Geese also flew over (Dennis Weir / Stuart McKee)

A Short-eared Owl was in the Antrim Hills (Clive Mellon)

Rathlin had at least 7 Yellow-browed Warblers (assumed to be new birds), 1 Ring Ouzel and 3 Bramblings (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

Ring Ouzel, Ric Else \ Hazel Watson:

Yellow-browed Warbler, Ric Else \ Hazel Watson: