Bird News Sunday 29th January

The male Smew was at the east end of Reedy Flats, Lough Neagh. (Garry Armstrong).

A single Pinkfoot was with Greylags and Whoopers at Flatfield between Moira and Hillsborough. (Garry Armstrong).

The Black Redstart and 3 Purple Sandpipers were still at Whitehead. (Niall Waterman).

A juvenile dark-bellied Brent was still at Killough and a Great Spotted Woodpecker at Kelly's Wood near St John's Point. (Chris Murphy)

The Russian Whitefront and four Pinkfeet were with the Whooper / Greylag flock north of Portmore. The Red-throated Diver was still at Portmore Lough, and a ringtail Hen Harrier was hunting along Moss Road to the south. (Richard Gray)

A 1st winter Glaucous Gull was at Killough (Chris Murphy)

The 1w Kumliens Gull was now at Kerrykeel, Multoy Bay, Donegal (Wilton Farrelly)

A Carrion Crow was at Kinnegar (Robert McDowell)

A drake and female Goosander wee on the River Mourne, Sionmills, Co Tyrone. The Egyptian Goose was at the New Lake, Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal (Brian Hegarty)

A Glaucous Gulk was reported from the Giants Causeway.

Black Redstart, Whitehead, Ross Mclaughlin:

Treecreeper, Leia Giesel:

Black Redstart, Cecil Smyth:

Bird News Saturday 28th January

The Black Redstart and at least 6 Twite were at Whitehead seafront. (Garry Armstrong, Stuart McKee). 4 Purple Sandpipers were also present among Dunlin and Turnstones. (Michael Latham, Linda Thompson)

At least 2 argentatus Herring Gulls were at Killough. (Bob Watts)

The first winter Kumliens Gull was still at Keadue Bridge, Fanad Head, Donegal (Wilton Farrelly)

Two Black-throated Divers and 5 Great Northern Divers were in Carnlough Bay (Ivan Quail & Nicky Lynn).

The Drake Lesser Scaup is with 20 Tufted Duck at Todd's Corner, Lough Neagh (Jeff Larkin)

A single Pinkfoot was with the feral geese at Waterfoot. (Ivan Quail & Nicky Lynn).

Two juvenile dark bellied Brent, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and 34 Whooper Swans were at Killough. (Chris Murphy, Anthony McGeehan).

A single Barnacle was with a flock of 55 Greylags at Annaghroe, Co. Tyrone, a single Pinkfoot was nearby. (David Knight)

Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen and heard in Delamont Park. (Katherine Martin).

A Great Northern Diver was on the River Eske in Donegal town. (Sean Hennessy)

Thanks to Michael Latham for the picture of the Purple Sandpiper and to Linda Thompson for the pictures of the Black Redstart and the Purple Sandpipers:

Michael Latham
Linda Thompson

Linda Thompson

Bird News Friday 27th January

First winter Glaucous Gull, juvenile Dark-bellied Brent Goose and two argentatus Herring Gulls at Killough, also two Woodcock and 22 Whooper Swan roosting on Strand Lough (Chris Murphy / David Stirling).

Two Glaucous Gulls WSW of Portballintrae at Dunluce Castle (RBA).

Crossbills showing well in Springwell Forest. Nine Twite at Magheracross (Martin Deehan).

Two pairs of Crossbill near the car park at Woodburn (Alan Webster).

Black Redstart and two Purple Sandpipers at Whitehead with 16 Twite at the back of the boatyard (Garry Wilkinson).

Two Pink-footed Geese at Lower Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson).

Russian White-fronted Goose and two Pink-footed Geese amongst a flock of 80+ Greylags and 40+ Whooper Swans at Lady Bay, Lough Neagh (Richard Caves).

13 Crossbills Ballyboley Forest just east of Killylane Reservoir (Timothy Davis).

Thanks to Chris Murphy for the Glaucous Gull and to Richard Caves for the Russian Whitefronts & Pin-footed Geese photos:

Bird News Thursday 26th January

A White-tailed Eagle was seen in flight this morning over Newtownards heading towards Bangor. (Ian Young)

The Ferruginous Duck was still at Ballysaggart Lough, in the north west corner this morning (Des Swan)

2 Pink-footed Geese were amongst a flock of Greylags (50+) in a field close to Lady Bay, Lough Neagh at lunchtime today. (Richard Caves)

The Long-tailed Duck was still at the Amici Restaurant, Portstewart. A single Purple Sandpiper was at Portstewart and a Great Northern Diver was in Portrush Harbour (Juliet Fleming)

40/50 Twite were in a stubble field in Aghanloo,Limavady (James Clancy)

Pink-footed Geese, Richard Caves:

Long-tailed Duck, Juliet Fleming:

Irish Rare And Scarce Bird News Blog Best Find of 2023 Competition

 As many will be aware, we run a monthly poll on the best bird found by a member of the group, with the winners of these monthly votes going forward to an Annual poll on the best find of the year.

 The Irish Rare And Scarce Bird News Group is delighted to announce that the Annual poll for 2023 will be sponsored by Swarovski Optik and by Robert Vaughan Illustrations


The winner of the Annual Poll will receive a pair of Swarovski 8.5x42 EL Binoculars

We are sure neither Swarovski or the now famous EL range of binoculars need any introduction, considered by many to be one of the best optics manufacturers, and best models available for decades now.

 2nd place will win an original painting of their bird by the excellent Robert Vaughan Illustrations

 As the best find competition is associated with tangible prizes, it's important to note that contenders for the poll must be verifiable (i.e verifiably photographed, video recorded or well twitched. Shouldn't be a problem, generally the biggest, best twitched birds tend to capture the imagination and receive the most votes.)

 As with our other competitions, we also ask that birders drop news of their find in good time here in the group to qualify, in the spirit of instant rare bird information sharing for which this group was established.

 Any draws, be it in the monthly polls or the final annual poll will be decided by vote among the admin team. 

 Should any winner be a co-find, people will simply have to work out a way to share prizes, however favor is obviously given to the finder who reports the news here in the group. 

 Download the Band app and Join Ireland's Best Rare Bird News group here 

 Good Bird Finding for 2023.

Bird News Wednesday 25th January

 A Black Redstart was at St John's lighthouse. (David Stirling).

A Grey Plover was at Kearney on the Outer Ards. (Ronnie Doggart).

The Spotted Redshank was still at the hightide roost at Dundrum Inner Bay south along with a high count of at least 34 Snipe. (David Nixon).

The Ferruginous Duck was at Ballysaggart Lough again. (David Knight)

Thanks to David Stirling for the picture of the Black Redstart, to Ronnie Doggart for the picture of the Grey Plover to David Knight for the picture of the Ferruginous Duck and to David Nixon for the picture of the Snipe:

Bird News Tuesday 24th January

A probable adult Iceland Gull was at Corbally, Portrush (John Clarke).

At least six Twite still at Whitehead boatyard (Linda Thompson).

In Co Donegal the Kumlein’s Gull still on Mulroney Bay at the Rosnakill Bridge (Keadew Bay) (Ralph Sheppard).

Thanks to John Clarke for the probable Iceland Gull images:

Bird News Monday 23rd January

 A female Common Scoter was at Traad Point, Lough Neagh this morning. (Ciara Laverty).

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Loughshore Park on the north shore of Belfast Lough. (Shirley Dunlop & Gerard McGeehan).

The Red-throated Diver was still at Portmore Lough RSPB reserve. (Tim Jess).

Thanks to Ciara Laverty for the picture of the Common Scoter, to Alastair McLean for the picture of the Whooper Swan and to Tim Jess for the picture of the Red-throated Diver:

Bird News Sunday 22nd January

The drake Ferruginous Duck was again at the very north end of Ballysaggart Lough, Dungannon (Wilton Farrelly). The bird was still present at 2:30 pm. A second calendar year Mediterranean Gull was also present (John Spottiswood)

The drake and female Ring-necked Ducks were both on Mill Lough, Bellanaleck, Co Fermanagh (Wilton Farrelly)

The Long-tailed Duck was still off the Amici Restaurant, Portstewart (Stephen Riddell)

A Great Northern Diver was off the Barmout (Richard Donaghy)

A first winter Glaucous Gull was at Waterfoot. A Black-throated Diver and four Great Northern Diver were at Carnlough (Shirley Dunlop)

Four Pink-footed Geese were at Portmore (Garry Armstrong). A Barnacle Goose was also present (Daniel Newton)

A high count of 55 Ringed Plover were at Donaghadee Harbour (James McNair). A high count of 26 Snipe were at RSPB WoW (Ian Enlander)

An immature White-tailed Eagle was seen over Coleraine University (Jeff Larkin)

A Red-throated Diver was at Portmore Lough (Ivan Quail)

Long-tailed Duck, Stephen Riddell:

Drake Ferruginous Duck, Wilton Farrelly:

More local bird pics are at:

Bird News Saturday 21st January

This morning at Tyrella, Dundrum Bay sightings include 118 Red-throated Diver, 14 Great Northern Diver and 150 Common Scoter (Chris Murphy).

Drake Smew has been refound at Todd’s Corner, Ardmore after no sign at Reedy Flats with the west and east ends being shot. Best in the centre was a Russian White-fronted Goose with the Greylags and a redhead Goosander (Garry Armstrong). Smew last seen 1415 very distantly then flew east and no further sign (Bob Watts).

A single Pink-footed Goose with Greylags at Ann’s Point, Greyabbey (Wilton Farrelly).

A ringtail Hen Harrier at Portmore Lough this morning (Michael Latham).

Male Ring-necked Duck still at Mill Lough, Bellanaleck (Ronan Owens).

One Barnacle Goose with c300 Greylags at Tunney Cut, Lough Neagh, also a mixed swan flock of c400 mostly Whoopers (Tom Ennis).

Thanks to Michael Latham for the Hen Harriers:

Bird News Friday 20th January

The Kumlien's Gull is still at Fanad Head this morning (Robert Vaughan / Chris Ingram)

The Black Redstart at the harbour in Newcastle, the Spotted Redshank was at Dundrum Inner Bay south and a pair of Dippers were on the Shimna River in Tollymore. (Garry & Gayle Wilkinson).

A Jack Snipe was at Corbet Lough outside Banbridge this morning. (Mike McLaughlin)

A male and two female Ring-necked Ducks are at Lough Fern, Donegal (Robert Vaughan)

The Long-tailed Duck was still off Portballintrae. (Stephen Riddell).

A red head Goosander was on the Glenarm River. (David Gillespie).

A male Smew was at Reedy Flats, Lough Neagh. (Ken Simpson).

Thanks to Stephen Riddell for the picture of the Long-tailed Duck, to Ed O'Hara for the picture of the Water Rail, to Ken Simpson for the picture of the Smew and to Robert Vaughan for the picture of the Kumlien's Gull:

Bird News Thursday 19th January

An Iceland Gull is at RSPB WoW this morning (Tony Dodds / Derek Polley)

Two Sandwich Tern were at Drumfad Bay, Millisle (Guy Hamilton)

Two Great Northern Diver are in Portrush Harbour (Donna Riddell)

A Kumliens Gull was at Keadew Bridge and a Snow Bunting was at Ballyhooriskey, Fanad, Donegal (Jamie Bliss)

A Chiffchaff was at Portmore Lough (Tim Jess)

At Copeland BO, a Chiffchaff was calling in Bluebell gully (Philip Galbraith) and a Merlin was also seen (CBO team)

The Glaucous Gull was still at Burger King, Coleraine (John Clarke)

Iceland Gull, John Fraser:

Great Northern Diver, Donna Riddell:

Kumliens Gull, Jamie Bliss:

Bird News Wednesday 18th January

Late news from yesterday of a dead Little Auk found carefully laid out in Ballycastle harbour at the ferry terminal (Ric Else & Hazel Watson).

The Black Redstart feeding along windowsills and drainpipes on houses adjacent to Marine Avenue at Whitehead at 1415 this afternoon. It was also seen along the sea wall. Also 11 Twite and four Purple Sandpipers (Ian Enlander / Bob Watts).

Thanks to Ian Enlander for the Black Redstart: