Bird News for 30th Sept.

The only news, is of an immature Goshawk at Tyrella Co.Down (P.Lorimer) Any further sightings of this exciting raptor would be very welcome indeed, it's not everyday we all see Goshawks.


The picture below is of a Peregrine and was taken by Ronald Surgenor. The estimated number of breeding birds in NI is only 87 pairs.

NI Bird Report

The latest copy of the Northern Ireland Bird Report is available for £10. If you email your name and address to we will send a copy out in good faith. This report is the result of work by not only the observers but also the voluntary team who work hard to produce it. As always, the contribution by everyone is appreciated!

Bird News 29th September

Matthew Tickner had 2 Little Stint at the Bann Estuary (Londonderry)
500 Gannet went north at Torr Head (Antrim) over 2 hours. D Clark
A Little Auk was at Ardglass (Down),
Craig Nash had the leucistic Wheatear and a Merlin at Killard Point (Down).
Lough Beg had 2 Pink Feet, 16 Ruff and a Spotted Redshank. D Steele.

Bird News for 28th Sept.

Thanks to Joe Devlin for the above photographs of the 2 Black Terns that were present on Shaws Lake Co.Armagh.

2 Lapland Bunting were still present at Ramore Head Co.Antrim (C.Guy).

4 Greenshank and a Med Gull were at Glynn Co.Antrim (C.Moore)

More clues of global warming

Thanks to Danny Boyd who forwarded his friends photograph which he took at Kinbane Head near Ballycastle, further evidence that Northern Ireland is now nearly sub-tropical, that is of course until you dip your big toe into the sea at Portrush.

Bird Observatories of Britain & Ireland

Bird Observatories of Britain & Ireland

This great new book is now available. It contains a full section on Copeland Island and for Irish Birders, there is also a section on Cape Clear by Steve Wing. It can be ordered from Neville McKee at £45! It would be helpful to Copelands funds if you could order your copy from Neville. You can book a copy by e-mailing him at . If you are not in a hurry to receive it (it will be excellent winter reading!) you can collect from him, or if you live in the greater Belfast area or within 8 miles of Bangor, he should be able to deliver. Please reserve your copy now by e-mail. This book looks like being a collector’s item, like the last one printed in 1975 which has recently been selling second-hand at over £200! The new book is far bigger and better and is getting quite decent reviews.

Bird News for 27th Sept.

There is a report from Kiltagh Point Co. Tyrone on the west shore of Lough Neagh of a Glossy Ibis, prehaps the same bird of a few weeks back which flew over the Mullagh.( C.Coney).

There was two seperate reports of Lapland Buntings, one possibly two reported from Fair Head and the other again from Ramore Head.

Lapland Bunting - a bird overlooked

This month so far has had a good selection of rare birds,but one in particular this has been a very good month to see them. Usually Lapland Buntings are very scarce in Northern Ireland and over the last ten years very few have been recorded,but this month there has been quite a few around, Ramore Head has had at least 4 birds seen regular there over the last few weeks, Kearney on the Co.Down coast has had up to 3 birds and there has even been one reported from Co.Fermanagh.Elsewhere Shetlands have had up to 200 birds and even Tacumshin in Co. Wexford have had a couple. The problem is of course they are hard to see on the ground,once they feed in tussocks and ploughed fields they tend to disappear from sight, so getting to know the diagnostic call is vital when the birds are in the air, if your are lucky enough to see them on the deck they do look quite distinctive(see above photo) They do tend to be recorded generally from coastal areas, one thing we certainly aren't short of in Northern Ireland, so this autumn and winter keep looking and more importantly listening out for this attractive bunting.

Bird News Sunday 26th September

Juv Baird's Sandpiper, Tullyhill, Kilclief Strangford Narrows. The bird was found in the morning,but disappeared on the rising tide and has not been relocated.

A Little Stint (see photo below by I.Graham ) was on the Lawn fields at Myroe, along with a Merlin and 2 Kingfisher,there was also large numbers of Skylarks feeding on the stubble fields.(G.Armstrong/ P.West/I.Patience/I.Graham)

3 Grey Plover and a Merlin were at Ballykelly and a RT Diver just of shore.

Slavonian Grebes have started returning to Greyabbey Bay south and 2 were reported from there to-day, and continuing the large number of Skylark flocks 200 were at Kirkistown (R.Weyl)

A Little Gull was at Mill Quarter Bay Co.Down (I.Jackson)

A Lapland Bunting was again reported from Ramore Head Co.Antrim (R.Hoy)

Bird News Saturday 25th September

Matthew Tickner had 4 Lapland Bunting at Ramore Head (Antrim), a Wheatear and the adult RB Gull at Portrush East Strand car park.

Jim Whitla and Bangor RSPB had 2 BT Diver going south at Ramore and the 2 PF Geese (very approachable) at Ballymena Ecos Park (Antrim).

Ian Enlander had a pale Arctic Skua on the way over to Rathlin.

Richard Weyl had 2 Lapland Bunting (elusive) with 100 Skylark and 150 Linnet in a stubble field at Kearney Point (Down) and an adult Mediterranean Gull at Cloghy Bay.

Neville and Pat McKee had 6 Twite on the beach at Ballintoy Harbour (Antrim).
Keith Bennett had a Ruff and Mediterranean Gull at Myroe Levels (Lough Foyle) and another Mediterranean Gull at Ballykelly.
In Donegal 7 PF Geese at Blanket Nook and a juv Black Tern at Inch Lake.

Bird News Friday 24th September

David Steele had another flyover Pectoral Sandpiper at Mullagh, Lough Beg (Londonderry) as well as 6 PF Geese, 2 Little Egret and 4 Ruff. A juv Black Tern was at the Beg.
Gerard McGeehan had 2 PF Geese, a Ruff, 23 Golden Plover, 2 Tree Sparrow and 3 White Wagtail at the south end of the Beg as well.
C Stewart had a dark Arctic Skua and 7 RT Diver at Magilligan (Lough Foyle).

Bird News for 23rd Sept.

Not a lot of news to-day,it was obvious that the bad weather contributed to that but there was, 2 Med.Gulls reported one at Cloghy Bay and the other at Ballyquinton Point on the Outer Ards penisula. 3 RT Diver were at Kearney

2 PF Geese were at Ecos centre in Ballymena.

White Tailed Eagle - Antrim

You may be interested in the news story below from BBC NI regarding one of the released birds from Kerry:

Bird News 22nd Sept. Update

An Osprey flew south at Aghnaleck nr Hillsborough (G.Wilkinson)

1 Lapland Bunting was at Ramore Head, but could be a small flock present as there was more heard than seen.(M.Tickner)

1 Pec Sandpiper (considered a new bird) was in flight along with 2 Snipe at Mullagh end of Lough Beg, 6 Ruff as well, 3 juv. Black Tern were at the Beg and 2 Little Egret on the West Shore.

Bird News Wednesday 22nd September

Craig Nash had at Killard NR:  6 Red Throated Diver flying south
This Leucistic Wheatear which caused a few moments of intrigue!

Also this Peregrine chasing a Sparrowhawk (heavy crop)

Purple Sandpiper

This is a photograph of a Purple Sandpiper taken by Ronald Surgenor whilst at Ramore Head. The Ards Peninsula is one of the most important wintering sites for this species in Britain & Ireland:

Swarovski Lens cap

A Swarovski lens cap was found at Portmore today. If you lost it, please contact us so that we can put you in touch with the finder.

Bird News for Tuesday 21st Sept.

2 Lapland Bunting and a Snow Bunting were at Ramore Head Co.Antrim (R.Hoy) and at the same location there were 4 Wheatear and 15 PF Geese flew east (M.Tickner)

1 Great Skua was at St.Johns Point and an ad Med.Gull at the mouth of the Comber Estuary. (C.Murphy).

1 Little Egret was at Derrytrasna on the Armagh shore of Lough Neagh and 4 Whooper Swan at Bannfoot.( D.Knight)

The flock of 100 Greylag Geese at the Quoile pondage contained a small goose,but was not positively identified but it did resemble a juv. dark Snow Goose, so if anyone is birding there please let the blog know.

Late News for Monday 20th Sept.

3-4 Snow Buntings were on Black Mountain,in Belfast. (D.Allen)

Bird News Monday Update

2 Lapland Bunting and 2 Wheatear along the upper path at Giant's Causeway (Antrim) and 80 Pink Footed Geese flew in off the sea. (Colin Guy)
2 Lapland Bunting and 2 Greenland Wheatear at Ramore Head (Antrim) - Robert Hoy.
2 Curlew Sandpiper still at Belfast Lough RSPB Reserve, adult Mediterranean Gull in the field opposite Kirkiston race course, 3,000 hirundines at Kearney Point (Down) - mostly Swallow but with Sand Martin and House Martin - and a Lapland Bunting heard in flight at Cloghy Rocks in
Strangford Narrows. (C Murphy)

The count of Lough Neagh produced 2 Pink Footed Geese and 2 Whooper Swan near Kinturk Flats, a Rock Pipit at Battery Harbour and a Black Tern between there and Kells Point (Stephen Foster).

Ramore Head Seawatching, 15th September Update

Thanks to Matthew Tickner and George Gordon for helping to disentangle the totals for Ramore on the 15th. The totals would appear to be:

Sabine's Gull 6
Great Skua 117
Arctic Skua 56
LT Skua  2
Leach's  78
Storm  10
GN Diver 5
RT Diver 7
Manx  540
Gannet  165
Fulmar  5
Kittiwake 5
Little Auk 1
Grey Phalarope 6
Golden Plover 3
Arctic Tern 360
Black Tern 1
Pintail  2
Common Scoter 3
Teal  40
Tufted Duck 30
Wigeon  125
RB Merganser 1

Plus Peregrine, 2 Wheatear and 2 Snow Bunting. 
According to George Gordon, the Great Skua total is the highest by far since he started recording (the previous were 70 in 1994 and again in 1995) - so Colin Guys count in the above alone exceeds that!

Bird News Monday 20th September

Adult winter Little Gull - Whitehead sea front this evening(I Enlander)
120 swallow - Kinturk flat (west side Lough Neagh)
3 adult Whooper Swan - Traad Point  (west side Lough Neagh)

An excellent photograph of the Portrush (East Strand) Ring-billed Gull by Ronald Surgenor is below:

Photos from Sun 19th Sept

Thanks to Mark Killops who sent in these photos of one of the juv Black Terns at RSPB Portmore Lough.

Also many thanks to E O'Hara who sent these photos of a Wheatear and an Osprey,also at Portmore Lough no prizes for telling us which one is which.

Can I once again thank everyone who takes the time and effort to send in photos and sightings,this gives everyone the opportunity who read the blog to go and look at some good birds, keep up the good work guys.

Bird News for 19th Sept.

1 Lesser Yellowlegs, 3 Pectoral Sandpiper, 2 Lapland Bunting, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Tree Pipit (D.Steele) were at the Mullagh end of Lough Beg Co.Londonderry,certainly seemed the place to be to-day.

3 Buff -Brested Sandpiper were at Myroe Co.Londonderry.( turning out to be a reliable site now at this time of year)

Another 3 Lapland Buntings (turning out to a very good year to catch up with this, sometimes hard to see species )were at Kearney on the Outer Ards penisula (R.Weyl/G.Armstrong/P.West) and a seawatch there between 08.15-09.15 produced 40 RT Divers (K.Bennett)

2 juv Black Tern and an Osprey were at the RSPB Portmore Lough Reserve.(M.Killops/E.O'Hara. see the guys photos above)

2 Curlew Sandpiper, 29 Golden Plover, 1 Grey Plover were at Tullhill Co.Down(C.Nash)

2 Slav. Grebes and a RT Diver were at Greyabbey Co.Down( J.Robinson)

A small flock of Crossbill were at Crocknagrally pony trek area nr Fivemiletown Co.Tyrone(C.Bell)

Bird News Update Saturday 18th September

Apart from the earlier news in the previous posting:
Matthew Tickner had at least one juv Black Tern near the Skerries off Ramore Head (Antrim) and a Wheatear and Peregrine on the headland.
Anthony Dodds had 3 juveniles Curlew Sandpiper at Belfast Lough RSPB Reserve.
A Swift was at Myroe Levels (Keith Bennett).
Richard Weyl had an Arctic Skua and 4 RT Diver at Burial Island (Down) and 4 Wheatear at Portavogie (at least 2 of them Greenland).
Look out for Blue Winged Teals, 8 have been recorded down south.

Photograph of the Pink-footed Goose which was present at the RSPB Harbour Estate. Thanks to Mark Killops for sending in the photo.

Bird News Saturday 18th September

3 Buff Breasted Sandpipers were at Myroe.
The Ring-billed Gull was still at East Strand, Portrush.

Bird News Friday 17th September

Apart from the Glossy Ibis (see below), other bird news included:
The wing-tagged WT Eagle was seen again at Loughareema (Antrim) (Peter Waugh).
3 juv Black Tern were at the Skerries off Ramore Head (Antrim) - (M Ticker - and four passed Ramore going west at 6.30 (they may have been different). A Grey Phalarope was also seen.
5 Black Tern near B@Q in Coleraine(C Guy).
Osprey and 4 juvenile Black Tern at Portmore Lough RSPB Reserve (Antrim)(P Toner)
200 Sanderling at Magilligan (Lough Foyle). (C Stewart)
Single Curlew Sandpipers were at Dundrum Inner Bay North and South.

Ramore \ Portrush Photographs from Ronald Surgenor

Arctic Skua

Sabines Gull

Little Gull

Glossy Ibis!!!

A Glossy Ibis has been found this morning by David Steel at The Mullagh, Lough Beg. Bring your wellies if you are looking for this bird!

Bird News 16th September Update

Totals for Ramore Head today are 8 Arctic Skua, 19 Great Skua, 34 Leach's Petrel, 2 Storm Petrel, 2 juvenile Black Tern, 5 Grey Phalarope, 110 Manx Shearwater, 3 RT Diver, 60 Kittiwake, 40 Fulmar and a Snow Bunting (Colin
Guy, Matthew Tickner and Geoff Campbell).

A Lapland Bunting, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 15 Sanderling were at the Bann Estuary (Londonderry) and 2 Little Egret at Faughanvale (Ian Campbell).

2 Great Skua, adult Mediterranean Gull, Arctic Tern, 2 RT Diver, a Wheatear, 100 Gannet, 50 Manx Shearwater and 20 Sandwich Tern were at Grey Point, Belfast Lough (Down) and at least 3 Curlew Sandpiper at Belfast Lough RSPB
Reserve (Richard Weyl).


These stunning pictures of a female Sparrowhawk with prey (a Collared Dove), were taken by Brian Gardner in Co. Down. Click on the photograph montage to see how excellent these pictures are.

Bird News Thursday 16th September

Lough Foyle 2 Buff Breasted Sands at east end of Myroe flew west when flushed by buzzard. Also 3 Curlew sands there, 1 Leach 's over marsh Ballykelly and pink-footed goose there, ad med gull Longfield. (B Robson).

Ramore Head had 8 Arctic Skua, 19 Great Skua, 34 Leach's Petrel ,2 Storm Petrel, 2 juv Black Tern, 5 Grey Phalarope, 110 Manx Shearwater, 3 RT Diver, 60 Kittiwake, 40 Fulmar, and a Snow Bunting (C.Guy M. Tickner. G. Campbell)

1 Lapland Bunting, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 15 Sanderling were at the Bann Estuary and 2 Little Egret at Faughnavale (I.Campbell)

2 Great Skua, ad Med. Gull, 1 Arctic Tern, 2 RT Diver, 1 Wheatear, 100 Gannet, 50 Manx Shearwater, 20 Sandwich Tern, were at Grey Point, and 3 Curlew Sandpiper at RSPB Harbour Estate (R.Weyl)

Late News for 15th September

3 juvenile Black Tern at Mullagh, Lough Beg Co. Londonderry. (D Steele)
Additional birds for Ramore from 8 to 11am were a Little Auk, 2 LT Skua. In the morning, the total for Great Skua would be about 100 and for Arctic
Skua about 50. There were 2 Snow Bunting on the headland. (C Guy)

Bird News Wednesday 15th September

Ramore Head (Antrim) in the morning had 32 Great Skua, 8 Arctic Skua, an adult Sabine's Gull, 6 Grey Phalarope, 5 GN Diver, 3 Common Scoter, 13 Arctic Tern, 100 Manx Shearwater, 165 Gannet and small numbers of Wigeon, Teal, Tufted Duck and RB Merganser (Matthew Tickner).

Between 5.30 and 7.30pm another 15 Great Skua, 1 Arctic Skua, 3 Sabine's Gull (2 juvenile and an adult), 30 Leach's Petrel, 10 Storm Petrel, 40/50 Arctic Tern and 80 Manx Shearwater were seen. A Snow Bunting and 2 Wheatear were on the headland (Matthew Tickner).

An Osprey was near Downpatrick.

5 Leach's Petrel, 2 Arctic Skua, a Great Skua, 200 Kittiwake, 250 Gannet, 30 Sandwich Tern and 250 Gannet were at Copeland Bird Observatory (Down) - Neville McKee.

In Donegal Melmore Head over 7 hours had 102 Sooty Shearwater, 160 Great Skua, 29 Arctic Skua, 7 Pomarine, 5 LT Skua, 11 Leach's Petrel, 3 Sabine's Gull, one Grey Phalarope, 11 RT Diver and 100 Brent (Eric Randall).
Seawatching at Ramore Head between 14.00-17.30 had, 40 Leach's Petrel, 2 Sabine's Gull, 9 Great Skua, 7 Arctic Skua, 1 Black Tern, 300 +terns included mostly Arctic but some Common and Sandwich, 200 Manx Shearwaters 100+ auks, 7 RT Divers, 30 Brent Geese,1 Snow Bunting.

Elsewhere RSPB Harbour Estate had 7 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Ruff

Bird News Tuesday 14th September

Apart from the seawatch and Osprey sightings (below):
6 Curlew Sandpiper were at Belfast RSPB Reserve.
4 Wheatear (probably all Greenland) at CBO (Down) with a minimum off 600 Gannet, 250 Kittiwake, 300 Manx Shearwater, 80 Sandwich Tern and 100 auk (probably all Razorbill) offshore. 2 Great Skua and 5 Arctic Skua as well. (N McKee)
2 Swift were at Whitehead (Antrim) - (McCullough and G McGeehan)
5 Chiffchaff were on the path to the Lighthouse (I Enlander) 
3 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Little Egret and 3 Brent at Ballycarry Bridge in Larne Lough.(McCullough)

Seawatching from Ramore Head, 14th September

3 Sabine's Gull with Arctic Terns at Ramore Head during a brief seawatch in the morning. In the afternoon over two and a half hours another 3 Sabine's, 5 Leach's Petrel, 12 Great Skua, 6 Arctic Skua, 80 Tufted Duck, 150 Manx Shearwater, 370 Brent, 5 Red-throated Diver, 3 Great Northern and 100 Arctic Tern. (M Tickner) 
5 Great Skua and an Arctic Skua were also seen in the evening at Ramore. 80 Arctic
Tern, 100 Sandwich and 13 Common Tern all sheltering in the car park in the
evening. (C Guy)

They both had the Ad Ring Billed Gull at East Strand car park.


An Osprey was at Oxford Island today. A superb shot from Mark Killops is above. With the dark tail band it is probably an adult.

Bird News Monday 13th September

16 Little Egret and 9 Brent Geese were at Mill Bay in Carlingford Lough. (F Carroll)

A flock of 90 Tree Sparrow and 30 House Sparrow were along the Road between Bar Hall and Struell Wells on the Ards Peninsula. (G Henderson).
The adult Ring-billed Gull at the East Strand car park in Portrush (Antrim). 50 Knot were on the Strand and a Black Tern offshore. (C Guy).
Also yesterday, a Grey Phalarope was at the Blackstaff River, Dundrum Bay.
CBO had 4 Wheatear (at least one a Greenland), 2 Chiffchaff, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Willow Warbler and at least 400 Gannet. (N McKee)

Late Bird News for Sunday 12th September

Blackhead area (Whitehead, Co. Antrim) over an hour in the afternoon had 130 Pale-bellied Brent fly towards Strangford, small groups of Goldfinch flying over heading south-west and totalling 90, + 1 Chiffchaff along the path (I Enlander)

Lapland Buntings

Continuing the recent run, one has been reported from Lower Lough Erne by Brad Robson. Probably the first county record.

Bird News for 12th Sept

Many thanks to E.O.Hara who kindly sent in these photos from RSPB Harbour Estate this morning, top photo is of one of the three Wheatears all showing signs of the the Greenland race leucorhoa, middle photo, one of the three Green Sandpipers and the bottom showing five of the eight Curlew Sandpipers.

Apart from the above, the reserve had also 2 Little Stints, 4 Knot, 3 Ruff and a Peregrine Falcon which was causing concern each time it flew over.

3 Pectoral Sandpipers were at Mullagh Co.Londonderry (D.Steele)

3 juv.Black Terns and 1 juv Common Tern were at the RSPB Portmore Lough Reserve. (P.Toner)

Bird News for Saturday 11th Sept

Thanks to E.O'Hara who sent in the above photo of the Greenshank at the RSPB Harbour Estate.

Over the course of the day RSPB Belfast Harbour Estate had 2 juv Little Stint, 11 Curlew Sandpiper 4 Ruff,1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 1 Little Egret and this evening 2 Arctic Skua flew up Belfast Lough.

Juv Black Tern of the East Strand Portrush an ad Ring billed Gull back at Portrush car park. Portnadoo (between east strand and ramore) had 35 Purple Sandpiper, 110 Turnstone, 20 Ringed Plover, 4 Wheatear at Ramore headland. (M.Tickner)

32 Ruff, 10 Curlew Sandpiper, 6 Wheatear and a Chiffchaff. (D.Steele)

An ad Med. Gull was at Carrick Harbour.

A sea-watch of Burial Island had 22 RT Divers, 3 Arctic Skua, 2 Great Skua 3 Common Scoter.

Slieve Beagh Co.Monaghan had 2 Red Grouse, 13 Raven, a Jay,Buzzard and 2 Kestrel. (C. Bell)

Bird News for Friday 10th Sept.

The Pectoral Sandpiper was still at RSPB Harbour Estate best viewed from the lane hide, but it does appear to be very elusive. 8 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 1 Little Stint, 1 Greenshank and 1 Green Sandpiper proved a very good supporting cast.

23 Curlew Sandpiper (largest count yet this autumn) 18 Ruff, 250 Black-tailed Godwits and 2 Wheatear were at Mullagh Co.Londonderry.(D.Steele)
In Donegal, the count of Black Terns at Inch was up to 18.

Bird News Thursday 9th September

The Pectoral Sandpiper,1 Black Tern, (I.Mitchell/G.McGeehan) 7 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Ruff were at the RSPB Belfast Lough Reserve (R Scott)
1 Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Ruff at the Blackstaff River, Co Down
3 Crossbills this morning at Crocknagrally Pony Treking Trail, Co Tyrone. Also Jay and Buzzard in the area (C Bell)

Visible migration was happening along the coast this morning. At Whitehead there were 100+ Meadow Pipit feeding around the shore. On the lighthouse path were 40+ Robin 20+ Goldcrest. Swallows were coming through in small parties heading south-west totalling 80 (I Enlander)

In Donegal an impressive count of 14 Black Tern were at Inch lake (R Shepperd)
1 Lapland Bunting,2 Wheatear and a Swift (M.Tickner)were at Ramore Head and another Swift was at Cullybackey Co.Antrim.
Copeland Bird Observatory over the course of the day had 130 Meadow Pipit, 440 Swallow, 25 House Martin, 12 Whimbrel, 1White Wagtail,1 Swift, 12 Carrion Crow flying in from Scotland and 2 Arctic Skua.
8 Little Egret,40 Eider, 40 Turnstone were at Rough Island (Strangford Lough) S&J Marshall

Curlew Sandpipers in Northern Ireland a brief history

Over the last few weeks good numbers of Curlew Sandpipers have started to appear, mostly from coastal locations but also from some inland sites. Lough Foyle, Bann Estuary and Belfast Lough usually hold the most records,but some do appear in places like Lough Beg and Larne Lough,they seldom or indeed have ever been recorded in Co's Ferm or Tyrone. Generally an autumn passage migrant some do occur in spring heading for their breeding grounds along the N coast of Siberia, the birds that we see in autumn are heading for the wintering grounds in SW Europe and W.Africa. The first known record for Northern Ireland was a bird shot in 1820.They have more or less been recorded every year since, but numbers do fluctuate quite a bit and some years very small numbers are recorded, down to a few single records ,but some years we get big numbers like 1988 when up to 200 birds were recorded. Of recent times a peak of 85 was recorded in 2005, it looks like this year numbers could reach that figure. At this moment good close views can be obtained at the RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve from the middle hide, this most handsome of wader is certainly a bird worth looking at.

Curlew Sandpiper and Dunlin

Thanks to C. Nash for both photos. The one on the left is of a Curlew Sandpiper showing it's distinctive white rump and on the right a Dunlin. Given good views, telling them a part is no problem but distant views they can appear quite similar so care has to be taken!

Bird News for Wednesday 8th September

1 Pectoral Sandpiper (P. McCullough/G.McGeehan) was at the RSPB Harbour Estate Belfast along with 2 Little Stints, 6 Curlew Sandpipers, 4 Ruff, 2 Green Sandpipers, the Pectoral Sandpiper was looked for, but not seen after 3pm.The bird of course could well still be there just remaining elusive, well worth checking tomorrow. Let the blog know if seen by using any of the above contact numbers.

Another 2 Curlew Sandpipers were at Tullyhill Co.Down.

6 more Curlew Sandpipers along with 2 Black-necked Grebes and 2 Arctic Terns were at Mullagh Co.Londonderry.(D.Steele)

1 Lapland Bunting (R.Price/M Taylor) along with 3 Whimbrel were at Kearney Point Co.Down.

A good number of birds were at Ramore Head which included, 1 Arctic Skua, 150 Gannet, 3 Manx Shearwater, 80 Kittiwake, 60 Sandwich Tern, 6 Eider, 24 Sandwich Tern were at East Strand including one which had a blue ring over a red one(interesting to know were it came from) R. Hoy.

Another Curlew Sandpiper (very good numbers this year) was on the East Strand Portrush and two Wheatears on the headland.

As always thanks to everyone who texted/rang to-day some good birds found, so keep looking.

Bird News Tuesday 7th September

7 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stints, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, Belfast Harbour Estate, Co Down.
3 Curlew Sandpiper, Ballycarry, Larne Lough
2 Swift, Ballymena
Great Skua, Arctic Skua, RT Diver, 3 Whimbrel and a female Wheatear were at Kearney Point (Down)

Bird News Monday 6th September

A Balearic Shearwater, 60 Manx, 7 Storm Petrel and good numbers of Gannet
moved out of Belfast Lough between Big Isle and the Copeland Observatory over 2
hours. A Sooty Shearwater and 5 Sandwich Tern were east of Mew Island. (N McKee).
A Little Stint (first reported) and 3 Curlew Sandpiper at Belfast Lough RSPB Reserve. Also 2 Ruff and a Green Sandpiper there (C Sturgeon, I Graham).
Great Skua, 4 Arctic Skua, 4 Arctic Tern, 20 Sandwich Tern, 2 RT Diver and 2 Common Scoter at Kearney Point, Co. Down. (K Bennett) 
2 Little Egret and 3 Curlew Sandpiper at Ballycarry Bridge, Larne Lough. (C Moore)
The elusive warbler on Tory Island yesterday was probably an aberrant phyllosoc.

Pectoral Sandpipers in Ireland

This photo of a Pectoral Sandpiper was not the one at the Bann Estuary to-day but of the one on Tory Island Co. Donegal yesterday, from the photograph you can see clearly how it acquired it's name. There has been a few over the last week so keep an eye out for this distinctive American wader.

Bird News Sunday 5th September

Lapland Bunting: 1, west side of Ramore Head (M Tickner)
Black-necked Grebes, 2, The Mullagh, Lough Beg, along with an excellent count of 18 Ruff, 2 Knot, 280 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 White Wagtails.
Pectoral Sandpiper, 1 at the Bann Estuary
Curlew Sandpiper - 3, Myroe, along with an adult Mediterranean Gull.
Curlew Sandpiper, 10 at the Bann Estuary.
Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Anns Point Strangford, R Weyl
Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Blanketnook, Co. Donegal
Mediterranean Gull, 4 Burnfoot (K Bennett)
Green Sandpiper, 1 at Bishops Mill in Strangford Lough
Curlew Sandpiper, 4, 1st W Mediterranean Gull, 11 Little egret, Ballycarry Bridge, Larne Lough.

On Tory Island today, a Booted \ Sykes Warbler at East Town proved extremely elusive. Video footage has been taken so hopefully its identification will become clearer. Surprisingly it had been ringed. Elsewhere on the Island were 15 Lapland Buntings, a Whinchat, a Reed Warbler and a number of Willow Warblers.


Excellent shots by Mark Killops:

Bird News Saturday 4th September

Lapland Bunting, 1 at Ramore Head (M Tickner)
Curlew Sandpiper, 3 at Belfast Lough Reserve along with 3 Ruff
Great Skua and an Arctic Skua at Kearney Point, Co. Down, (K Bennett)
3 Curlew Sandpiper and 3 Ruff at the Belfast Harbour Reserve (K Bennett).
A pale phase Arctic Skua at St John's Point(Down), an adult Mediterranean Gull just west of Rossglass and 3 Stock Dove at Ardilea at Dundrum Inner Bay North. Also a Red Kite at Moneyslane near Katesbridge (J Devlin and C Sharpe).
6 Storm Petrel ringed at Sheepland Harbour Co. Down (D Clarke)

Bird News Friday 3rd September

Curlew Sandpipers, 2 at Ballycarry Bridge, Larne Lough, (C Moore) and 3 at Sandy Bay on the Antrim Shore of L Neagh (P Toner)
A late swift was at the RSPB Belfast Lough reserve
Black Necked grebe: 2 at the Mullagh, L Beg (D Steele)
Osprey, Ballydugan Lake, Co Down (D Nixon)
Common Sandpiper, Newry Estuary (F Carroll)

Vernon Carter will be hosting an event on bird calls at the Engine Room Gallery, 414 Newtownards Rd, this Saturday (4th) at 2pm.

Golden Eagle - Fair Head

A Golden Eagle has been reported from last Tuesday in the Fair Head area,  very close to the north shore of Lough na Cranagh. The bird was seen perched and seen well. (B Greeves).

BTO Conference @ Oxford Island

This year’s BTO conference will take place on Saturday 6th November 2010 at:

Lough Neagh Discovery Centre
Oxford Island
9am – 5pm

As always this conference is open to everyone – you do not have to be a member of the BTO.
The stars of the show this year will include shearwaters, terns and Buzzards, and of course, you lot that watch them!
There will be a chance to view and test the latest birding optics, and indeed to win two pairs of Opticron binoculars. The second hand book stand will be tempting.
I will send out a full programme and a booking form in the second half of September, but in the meantime put 6th November in your diary!!

Bird News Thur 2nd September

Black-necked Grebe - Two birds were again at the Mullagh at the South end of Lough Beg (D Steele).

Curlew Sandpipers

There has been a run of Curlew Sandpipers in the last 48 hours. Today birds were at Tullyhill Co Down (7), the Bann Estuary (5) and RSPB Harbour Estate (3). Excellent photos of the Tullyhill birds from Craig Nash are below. You can also view more of Craig's pictures at:

Bird News for 1st Sept.

7 Curlew Sandpiper were at Tullyhill which is between Strangford and Killard Co.Down.
5 Curlew Sandpiper were at the Bann estuary.
A spectacular record of 5 Osprey have today been reported from Portnoo on the river Bann at Kilrea.