Bird News Wednesday 28th February

Single Whimbrel on the beach at Muck Island, Islandmagee. Also 2 Black-throated Diver, one in summer plumage (Adam McClure).

Second calendar year Great Northern Diver and third calendar year Glaucous Gull at Bann Estuary this afternoon (John Spottiswood).

A Great White Egret was at Portmore (Noeni Bryars)

Glaucous Gull, John Spottiswood:

Bird News Tuesday 27th February

Spotted Redshank still at Castle Espie this afternoon (Donna & Stephen Riddell).

The Cattle Egret is still showing well at Brankins Island Road (Brian Halligan).

9 Waxwings in People’s Park, Portadown for about 10 minutes before their departure at 450pm (Keith Bates & Julie Hillman).

Spotted Redshank, Donna & Stephen Riddell:




Bird News Monday 26th February

 A Merlin was along the seawall at Myroe this morning. (Gordon Nesbitt).

Yesterday 5 Stock Doves, scarce in the area, were in stubble fields at Loughry College, Cookstown. (Godfrey McRoberts).

An Iceland Gull was at the mouth of the river at Portballintrae. (Stephen Riddell).

A male Goosander was off Glenarm beach. (Brenda Campbell).

Two Long-eared Owls were in a garden near Annahilt. (Garry Wilkinson).

A Brambling is still visiting a garden in Whitehead. (Cameron Moore)

Cattle Egret, Terry Hanna.




Iceland Gull, Stephen Riddell.


Goosander, Brenda Campbell.



Brambling & Siskin, Cameron Moore.




Bird News Sunday 25th February

A female Black Redstart is at the footbridge at Newcastle Promenade. The Spotted Redshank was in Dundrum Bay (Wilton Farrelly)

Portballantrae had a Glaucous Gull, an Iceland Gull and 22 Purple Sandpipers. (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

A Merlin was at the east end of Reedy Flats (Michael Latham)

The Spotted Redshank was still showing very well at Castle Espie (Philip West)

A female Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Lisnagra Forest, Muff, Donegal (Robert Boyle)

The male Smew is still at Ardmore Rd (viewed from the layby) this morning. (Fergal Stanley)

The male and female Brambling were still briefly in a garden in Whitehead. Also, three Pink-footed Geese were seen at Larne Lough. (Cameron Moore)

The female Great Spotted Woodpecker was at RSPB WoW (Sean Thompson)

The Cattle Egret was at Brankins Bridge Road, Lough Neagh again this afternoon (Terry Hanna)

Merlin, Michael Latham:

Male Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sean Thompson:


Bird News Saturday 24th February

A 1st winter Little Gull, 2 Spotted Redshank, 4 Great White Egret & 1 Ruff were at Lough Beg (Richard Hunter)

The Waxwing flock are still along the Connswater ranging between Mersey Street Bridge and George V Playing Fields. (Daniel Newton)

The Cattle Egret was still at Brankins Island Road, near Portmore (David Clarke)

The Black Redstart was at Whitehead Promenade and a Slavonian Grebe was at Glynn (Michael Latham)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was on the Lagan at Lambeth (Douglas Gamble)

Two Waxwings earlier today by the A37 just west of Springwell Forest before flying off. (David Steele)

The drake Smew was still at Reedy Flats.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was near Fiveniletown (Seán Thompson)

Cattle Egret, David Clarke:

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Douglas Gamble:


Bird News Friday 23rd February

 The flock of 20+ Waxwings were along Connswater again this morning, between Mersey Street Bridge and James Ellis Bridge. (Alan Fitzsimmons).

The hybrid "Viking" Gull was at Corbally Reservoir and a Glaucous Gull and Iceland Gull were at Portballintrae. (John Clarke).

The Cattle Egret is still at Brankins Island Road near Portmore. (Garry Wilkinson).

Waxwings, Alan Fitzsimmons.



Hybrid "Viking" Gull, John Clarke.



BTO Heronry Census

Volunteers are needed for this years (and future) BTO heronry census.

With the continued, unexplained, decline in breeding Grey Herons across UK and the expansion of breeding Little Egret (together with the potential for other rarer herons/egrets to become established here), the long running BTO heronry census is more important than ever. The survey methodology is straightforward and requires a maximum of a few hours total survey time.

I have just updated vacant sites on the BTO map viewer - areas with sites currently 'unclaimed' shown in brown. Map can be accessed at - https://app.bto.org/colonies/public/vacant-sites.jsp 

Please get in touch via the map - click on any vacant square and a brief form pops up - fill this in and I will get an alert with your details + area of interest from BTO.

Lots more info on this survey programme at 

Ian Enlander
BTO NI heronries census coordinator

Bird News Thursday 22nd February

There are now 9 Twite at Whitehead Seafront. The Black Redstart is still there as well (Cameron Moore)

The Cattle Egret was still present at Brankins Island Road, Lough Neagh today (Richard Caves)

Weather conditions are to be good for Saturday's boat trip from Ballycastle to Islay. Three seats available. Please contact Jim Wells on-07856235144 for further details.

Cattle Egret, Richard Caves:


Bird News Wednesday 21st February

Drake Lesser Scaup showing close to the jetty behind the Discovery Centre, Oxford Island NNR (Clifford Sharpe).

The Cattle Egret is still at Brankins Island Road (Rachel McIlroy).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming at Letterbreen, Co Fermanagh today. (Paul Reed)



Bird News Tuesday 20th February

2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers coming to feeders in Annahilt (Garry Wilkinson).

Drake Lesser Scaup still at Kinnegoe Bay from the outer marina (Ed O’Hara).

Green-winged Teal still at Inch Marshes, Co Donegal (BAND).

Black Redstart still along the Whitehead seafront (also seen yesterday) and a Brambling was seen in a Whitehead garden (Cameron Moore).

Waxwings still at Salto Gymnastics Centre car park, Lisburn, one sporting a ring (Suzanne Belshaw).

Lesser Scaup, David Clarke:


Black Redstart, Cameron Moore:


Brambling, Cameron Moore:



Waxwing, Suzanne Belshaw:





Bird News Monday 19th February

Drake Lesser Scaup remains with the Tufted Duck flock at some distance at Kinnegoe Marina, Oxford Island NNR (Kevin Kirkham / Juliet Fleming).

Waxwings still this morning at the entrance to Victoria Park (Stephen Dunbar).

23 Waxwings on Connswater side of Victoria Park 11-12 noon (Paul Hilton).

Spotted Redshank still at Castle Espie WWT on the wader scrape (Jonathan Clark).

Black-necked Grebe and drake Smew at Todd’s Corner, Ardmore (Clifford Sharpe).

Approximately 50 Twite at Portballintrae (John Clarke).

4 Great White Egrets at Portmore Lough RSPB; from viewing platform 1 at back of scrape with 3 in field to the right (south) but no sign of the male Brambling (Kevin Kirkham).

Green-winged Teal at Inch Marshes, Co Donegal (Derek Brennan).

The Cattle Egret is still at Brankins Island Road (Juliet Fleming).

Late news from yesterday Black-throated Diver and 2 Slavonian Grebes off Kircubbin Sailing Club, Pink-footed Goose amongst the feral Barnacle Goose flock Whiterock, Spotted Redshanks at Dundrum Inner Bay South and Comber Estuary, 2 Jack Snipe Tullyratty, Castleward (Chris & Tim Murphy).

Spotted Redshank, Jonathan Clark:


Green-winged Teal, Derek Brennan:


Lesser Scaup, Juliet Fleming:


Cattle Egret, Juliet Fleming:


Waxwings, Tim Jess:


Bird News Sunday 18th February

The Lesser Scaup remains with the Tufted Duck flock at Kinnegoe marina, Oxford Island NNR. Also a Great White Egret from Croaghan hide (Garry Armstrong / Ed O’Hara).

10 Waxwings at the Lisburn Leisure Centre in the Lower Car Park, Warren Street entrance (Chris Veale / Mark Elliot).

Black-necked Grebe at Todd’s Corner, Ardmore (Garry Armstrong).

Great White Egret at Reedy Flats (Garry Armstrong).

Male Smew did a flyby at Todd’s Corner (Aaron Long).

10 Waxwing Ballynahatty Road, Belfast flew towards Shaw Bridge (David Allen).

3 Waxwings still on the Connswater Greenway behind the Glens ground (Kevin Kirkham).

4 Waxwings in Victoria Park on the Shorts side (Kevin Kirkham).

Waxwings at Donaghadee (Birdguides).

Long-tailed Duck still in channel at Myroe (Tom Garner).

At Lough Beg this morning 1st winter Little Gull, 2 Spotted Redshanks, Grey Plover, 13 Ruff, 6 Great White Egrets and a high count of 100+ Little Egrets including up to 85 at Paddy’s Dub (David Steele).

Pair of Velvet Scoter off Magilligan Point at 2pm (William Smiton / Roger Woodward).

Cattle Egrets still at Brankins Island Road (Juliet Fleming).

Red Kite at Dessie’s Feeding station in Ballycarton Wood (Desmond Loughery per Richard Donaghey).

Ring-necked Duck at Lough Fern, Co Donegal (BAND).

212 Pink-footed Geese at Blanket Nook in field behind lake (Chris Ingram).

The Spotted Redshank is still on the wader scrape at Castle Espie (Dave & Amy Weir).

Waxwing, Mark Elliot:

Waxwings, Chris Veale:


Waxwings, Juliet Fleming:



Waxwing, Richard Caves:



Waxwing, Rachel McIlroy:


Cattle Egret, Richard Caves:


Lesser Scaup, Michael Latham:


Spotted Redshank, Amy Weir:








Bird News Saturday 17th February

Drake Lesser Scaup still at Oxford Island NNR in Kinnegoe Bay from Waterside Hide. Male Brambling at feeder Portmore Lough RSPB (Ed O’Hara).

7 Great White Egret and a Ruff at Lough Beg (Richard Hunter).

Late news from yesterday of a Spoonbill reported from the war memorial at Castle Archdale at Lower Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh and also a Scaup (Sean Blackmore per George Gordon).

8 Velvet Scoter beyond the Eider flock Belfast Lough should be viewable from Whiteabbey Green Park car park (Stuart McKee).

Waxwings still at the back of the Lisburn Leisure Centre then flew to Drumbeg Drive where visible high up in the trees (Rachel McIlroy).

Great Spotted Woodpecker visiting a garden in Portglenone (Martin Doherty).

Still 2 Cattle Egret at Toome with cattle at end of Shore Road (John Spottiswood).

Cattle Egret still at Brankins Island Road this afternoon (Richard Caves).

Lesser Scaup, Ed O’Hara:

Waxwing, Rachel McIlroy:


Cattle Egret, Richard Caves:


Brambling, Ed O’Hara: