Bird News for Saturday 30th April

3 Dotterel were at Ballyquinton Point Co.Down, 22 Whimbrel were also present on the shore. (D.Nixon)
A Wood Sandpiper, 6 White Wagtail and 2 Golden Plover were in the South West corner of Lough Beg. 60 Whimbrel and 100 Black-tailed Godwit were along the westshore, and 3Swift and 20 Common Tern over the Beg (David Steele).
A Swift was over Hillsborough (Derek Polley).
7 Crossbill and 12 Siskin were at Shillinavogey Wood [south of Slemish] Co.Antrim. (Ed O'Hara).
15 Whimbrel and 2 Wheatear were at Lady Bay, Lough Neagh. (Ed O'Hara).
As a correction 70 (not 17) Whimbrel were at Rossglass yesterday (Richard Weyl).

Whimbrel, Lady Bay, Lough Neagh - Ed O'Hara

Wheatear, Lady Bay, Lough Neagh - Ed O'Hara
Raven, Scrabo, Co. Down - George McKee

Bird News Friday 29th April

2 Chiffchaff, 3/4 Blackcap and a Willow Warbler were at Castle Espie (DotBlakely).

A Stock Dove was at Delamont (Spencer and Joan Marshall).

A 2 hour walk along the Newry Canal produced 30 Chiffchaff, 45 Willow Warbler, 9 Blackcap, 20 Sedge Warbler, a Raven and a Sparrowhawk (Fulton Somerville).

17 Whimbrel were at Rossglass and a pair of Pintail at Strand Lough (RichardWeyl).

A Wood Warbler, 2 male Siskin, 8 Crossbill and a Buzzard were at Banagher Glen. A first summer Little Gull, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, a Grey Plover, 6 Golden Plover, 35 Whimbrel and a Whitethroat were at Bann Estuary (David Campbell).

At Capanagh, 5 Red Grouse (3 seen, 2 others heard). 8 Crossbills in flight.
South of Shilnavogy Forest, 3 pairs of Lapwing with 10 young (4, 3 & 3).
Shilnavogy/Jockeysquarter, 2 Whinchats
Slievenorra, 9 Crossbills (1 male, 8 females/young)
Shelton North (near Slievenorra), 2 Grasshopper Warblers heard.
Over the day we saw at least 12 Wheatears and had sightings of Sparrowhawk, Merlin, Buzzard, Hen Harrier & Kestrel. - All from David Nixon & Philip McHaffie

Over 100 Whimbrel and 7 Tree Sparrow were at Reedy Flats, Co. Armagh. (Ed O'Hara).

Yesterday a Common Sandpiper was at the top of Slemish (Stuart McKee).

Whimbrel, Reedy Flats, Co. Armagh - Ed O'Hara

Bird News Thursday 28th April

A late Fieldfare was at Rigged Hill in north Londonderry. 6 Greenland Wheatear were nearby at Temain Hill (David Steele).
A Cuckoo was at Maghery in the south west corner of Lough Neagh (Darryl McConnell).
A Cuckoo and good numbers of Whitethroats were at Peatlands Park, Co. Armagh. (Ed O'Hara).
The male Ring Necked Duck was still at Temple Water, Castle Ward, Co. Down. (Irish Birding).

Bird News Wednesday 27th April

The Pallid Harrier (aged as a 1st Summer) seen yesterday on Slemish was looked for without success today. A Ring Ouzel was however present (Jeff Larkin).
A Reed Warbler was at Tullyratty Great Dam, Co. Down (Chris Murphy)
2 Arctic Tern were back at Cockle Island in Groomsport (George Gordon)
The drake Ring-necked Duck was at the Templewater, Castle Ward, Co. Down
4 Whimbrel were at RSPB Belfast Harbour reserve (Paul Scott)
Dunnock - George McKee

Pallid Harrier Update

The bird has been looked for this morning without success so far.
Interestingly a number of people have highlighted that they believe from the photographs to date, this bird could actually be different from the Cork bird. Differences mentioned in the Slemish bird include a darker (more plain) upperwing and a darker chest. Pictures of the Slemish bird by Bill Guiller are in the previous post. Below are pictures from Gavin Ferguson.
As ever, comments are welcome.

Pallid Harrier, Slemsh - Gavin Ferguson
Pallid Harrier - Gavin Ferguson

Pallid Harrier - Gavin Ferguson

Pallid Harrier Pictures Slemish 26th April

Thanks to Bill Guiller for these pictures from yesterday:

Pallid Harrier in NI!!!!

Pictures of a 'Hen Harrier' on Slemish, Co. Antrim yesterday posted on Irish Birding are actually the female Pallid Harrier seen in Youghal!

Bird News for Tuesday 26th April

35 Whimbrel and 3 White Wagtail were at Longfield Point Co.Londonderry

The fem/imm Smew was still present at the Quoile Pondage Co.Down

A male Garganey, 50 Whimbrel and 20 Swift were at Portmore Lough (Gerard McGeehan, Shirley Dunlop).

3 Ruddy Duck (2 of them male) were at Boomers Dam in Lisburn (David Brooks).

2 Little Egret were at Delamont (Andrea Marshall).

10 Sand Martin and 2 Commic Tern were at Magilligan (Stephen Davis).

On this date

26th April 2009 saw Northern Ireland's first and so far only Whiskered Tern. It was discovered off the Castle Island hide at the Quoile Pondage Co.Down. The bird was only present for a few hours never to be seen again, only a handful of lucky observers got to see it. At the time of the bird turning up there was a large influx of Whiskered Terns in mainland Britain, with one site holding up to 11 birds, a record total for this species.
Whiskered Tern, Quoile, 2009 -  Craig Nash

Bird News for Monday 25th April.

Little Gull-Quoile Pondage. C.Nash

A Green-winged Teal was at Mullagh, Lough Beg Co.Londonderry. The Spotted Redshank along with 24 White Wagtail were in the S.West corner. 15 Greenland Wheatear were also noted at Mullagh (D.Steele).

Killard 1 Kestrel , 6 Whimbrel and 3 Whitethroat Castle Island Hide 1 Little Gull (see above) 2 Courting little Egret and 6 Common Tern Castleward. 1 Ring-necked Duck on Temple Water, 6 Blackcap 8 Chiffchaff and 1 Pine Marten (C.Nash)

4 Garden Warbler were at Crom Estate Co.Fermanagh.(S.Scarlett)

Bird News for Sunday 24th April

A female or immature Marsh Harrier flew over Castle Espie at 3.05pm (Don Scott).
A summer Spotted Redshank and 5 White Wagtail were in the south west corner of Lough Beg and 10 Wheatear and a Common Sandpiper at Mullagh (DavidSteele).

2 Wheatear were at Reedy Flat (Martin McMullan). Another Grasshopper Warbler was at Moneymore.
14 Crossbill, 1 Cuckoo and 4 Grasshopper Warblers at the Fews Forest Co Armagh today. (Joe Devlin).

2 pairs of Eider were showing signs of nesting in Ballywhiskin bay and several House martins were also present. (Ernest Parker).

Thanks to Ed O'Hara who kindly sent in these images from Oxford Island this morning, from the top Whitethroat, Grasshooper Warbler and White Wagtail.

Oxford Island also had 3 White Wagtail, 7 Whimbrel and 2 Grasshopper Warbler , Peatlands Park Co Armagh had 3 Whitethroat, 4 Grasshopper Warbler and a Cuckoo.(has not been to many reported to date) E.O'Hara/ G.Armstrong.

Bird News Saturday 23rd April

10 Reed Warbler were at Ballyherly Lough. Another 4 Reed Warbler were at
Lough Cowey and 5 Whimbrel a mile south of Portavogie (Richard Weyl).
A Grasshopper Warbler and 3 Whitethroat were at Derryane Bog, Peatlands
Park. 2 male Garganey were at the Lapwing pools at Portmore Lough - the hide
is closed as new boardwalks are being built (Keith Bennett).
Around Lough Beg 2 Pink Footed Geese, 40 Whimbrel, 7 White Wagtail and 6 Greenland
Wheatear were at Mullagh. A Greenshank was along the west shore of the Beg
and lots of Sedge Warbler were noted (David Steele).
85 Dunlin were at Kinnegar shore (Stuart McKee).
120 Pale-bellied Brent, at least 2 Whimbrel and 2 Commic Tern were at
Ballykelly, Lough Foyle (Stephen Davis).
The drake Ring-necked Duck was at Templewater, Castle Ward, Co. Down.
A Cuckoo was at Monea, and 7 White Wagtail, 3 Whimbrel, 13 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Grasshopper Warbler at Lower Lough Erne (Brad Robson)
3 White Wagtail and a Swift were at Kearney Point, Co. Down (Paul Scott)

The female Pallid Harrier (first for Ireland) was on show first thing this morning at Youghal, Co. Cork. (Irish Birding)

Common Sandpiper, Orlock Point - George McKee

Grasshopper Warblers

Grasshopper Warblers are now back at their usual haunts across Northern Ireland. They are a widespread but scarce summer visitor. They favour overgrown areas, the edge of marshlands and young forestry plantations. They are also skulking and can be difficult to see, but at this time of year they are best located by their song - a high pitched reel, which some have said is similar to an anglers fishing reel. The song is largely heard at night and can occassionaly be mistaken by some for Nightjar.
You can hear the song at:

Because of its habits, it is an extremely difficult bird to photograph. However, credit must go to Craig Nash for his patientce in getting these superb shots:

Bird News Friday 22nd April

At Belfast RSPB Harbour Reserve were 3 Whimbrel, 2 Sandwich Tern, a Greenshank and 6 Sedge Warblers were in reeds to the left of the Observation Room (Brian Douglas)
2 White Wagtail were at Kearney Point (Paul Scott)
Black-tailed Godwit - Brian Douglas

Rathlin Island had a wide variety of summer arrivals to-day they included, 47 Willow Warbler, 10 White Wagtail, 3 Common Sandpiper, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Grasshooper Warbler, 7 Sedge Warbler, 41 Wheatear, a Whitethroat, 12 Twite, a Pink footed Goose and a White fronted Goose(N.Warnock)

The Quoile Pondage had 6 Common Tern, 2 Grasshooper Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, lots of Willow Warbler(they seem to be everywhere at the moment) and there was 8 Whimbrel at Salt Island, Strangford Lough.(C.Nash)

Bird News Thursday 21st April

An unidentified warbler has been singing between the two lakes at Criagavon. From the road at the north lake go round the side of the lake and go over the bridge connecting the two. Take the obvious track into the rough ground and walk around 300 metres and the bird was singing in a willow bush by the side of the railway track. Its very distinctive song singles it out from the many Willow Warblers in area. Its identity has not yet been confirmed but Iberian Chiffchaff or a hybrid has not been ruled out.
A Ring Ouzel was at Black Mountain. It was in an area known locally as "The Gully" near the BBC mast (Paul Toner).

7 White Wagtail and a Whimbrel were at Ramore Head (Matthew Toner).
4/5 Common Tern were at Quoile Pondage. A Grasshopper Warbler, 4/5 Willow Warbler and 2 Blackcap were singing along the road to the yacht club and 3 probably Barnacle Geese flew over (Spencer and Joan Marshall).
A House Martin was at Bessbrook (Frank Carroll).
A Grasshopper Warbler was at Ballyquintin Farm (Seamus McGohan).
A Swift was seen today at Ormeau Park, Belfast (Keith Bennett)
2 Grasshopper Warblers, a Sedge Warbler, and a Garden Warbler, at  Derryvore/Crom, Co Fermanagh. A male kestrel was also at Belturbet, Co, Cavan. (Stephen Scarlett/Stewart Jennings)
3 Common Sandpiper were at McConnells Weir, Ormeau Embankment, Belfast (Paul McCullough)
Reed Bunting - George McKee

Wren - George McKee

Bird News Wednesday 20th April

2 Grasshopper Warblers, 3 Reed Buntings, 1 Greylag Goose and 5 Canada Geese were at 
Killyfoal Lake, Co Fermanagh (Stephen Scarlett)
A Common Sandpiper was along Ormeau Embankment in Belfast (George Henderson)
Yesterday a Greater Spotted Woodpecker flew across the road at Crossgar (Chris Murphy).
Large numbers of White Wagtail have been moving through Donegal e.g. 90 at Inch today (Irish Birding)

Bird News Tuesday 19th April

2 Swift and 3 Sedge Warbler were at Ballymena Ecos Park (Jeff Larkin).
A female or immature Smew was at the mouth of the Crumlin River at Langford Lodge (Paul Toner).
The flock of Waxwing was still in the trees along at the Waterworks along
Antrim Road in Belfast at 6.45am (Larry Toal).
2 Greenland Wheatear and a Wheatear were at Kearney Point but there was no
sign of the Water Pipit (Tom Ennis).
A Cuckoo was at Upper Lough Erne and a House Martin in Fermanagh (Brad
2 Garganey were still at Portmore Lough, Co, Antrim
A Reed Warbler was singing at Ballyherly Lough, Co. Down. (Keith Bennett).

Thanks to Matthew Warwick for this shot of a Snow Bunting taken near the summit of Slieve Donard a few weeks ago.

Snow Bunting, Slieve Donard - Matthew Warwick

Bird News for Monday 18th April.

An Osprey was seen on the Upper Lough Erne Co.Ferm.(Giles Knight) A flock of Waxwing was at the Antrim road end of the Waterworks in Belfast.Singing Blackcaps were along the railway embankment at the Gasworks inBelfast and at the churchyard near Carlisle Circus (Larry Toal) 2 White Wagtail and a Wheatear were at Ramore Head and good numbers of Sandwich Tern and Manx Shearwater passing in the evening. A Sedge Warblerwas at Corbally Dam (Matthew Tickner). 12 Wheatear and 2 Cuckoo were at Slieve Beagh and another Cuckoo atCarrickmore viewpoint (Martin McMullan). Yesterday a first year Glaucous Gull was at Corbally Dam and on Saturday a first year Iceland Gull near the information at the Giant's Causeway (ColinGuy).

Bird News Sunday 17th April

A Water Pipit was on the beach at the north end of Kearney village, Co. Down, also present were 5 Wheatear, a Whimbrel, a Merlin and a Grasshopper Warbler. (Ian Graham, Ian Patience, Garry Armstrong). A Merlin, Ruff, 500 Golden Plover, 400 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Whimbrel and 12 Knot were at Bann Estuary (Jeff Larkin). The Little Gull, female or immature Smew, a Common Sandpiper and a Sedge Warbler were at Collectors Bay, Quoile Pondage. The male RN Duck was at Ballyherly Lough (Keith Bennett). 12 Red Throated Diver and 8 Great Northern Diver were at Rossglass and a Whimbrel at St John's Point. A Sedge Warbler was at Tullyrathy Dam (Richard Weyl). 2 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit and Common Sandpiper were at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB Reserve. The first Common Sandpipers were back in Fermanagh on 14th (Brad Robson). 4 Garganey were at Portmore, 2 Grasshopper Warbler and 6 Sedge Warbler were at Oxford Island, and 2 Common Tern were at Reedy Flats. (Ed O'Hara). Thanks to Ian Graham for this Stonechat shot:

Stonechat, Kearney Village, Co. Down - Ian Graham

Bird News for Saturday 16th April

At Strangford Lough a Slavonian Grebe was at Greyabbey and 4 BT Diver and 6GN Diver at Gransha Point. A House Martin, 20 Swallow and 20 Sand Martinwere at Saltwater Bridge. 32 Purple Sandpiper and 2 White Wagtail were atPortavogie (Richard Weyl) The adult RB Gull was at Portrush East Strand car park and 5 Whimbrel at Ramore Head (Matthew Tickner). 4 Red Grouse were displaying on the Antrim Plateau and 2 Dipper in thestream at Capanagh (Keith Bennett). Yesterday 6 House Martin were at Killyleagh (Spencer and Joan Marshall).

Bird News Friday 15th April

A Cuckoo was at Aghill Hill near Rasharkin (David Steele). The adult Glaucous Gull was still at Portavogie and a Willow Warbler at Kearney (H McCullough). A Willow Warbler was singing outside Belfast Arts College at 7am (Larry Toal). 8 Whimbrel and 13 Black Tailed Godwit were at Kinturk Flat on the west shore of Lough Neagh. (Irish Birding). 3 Twite were at Glenarm in Co. Antrim (Irish Birding).

Bird News Thursday 14th April

40 Waxwing were at the top of Fortwilliam Park, along the Antrim Road at 6:45am (Larry Toal)
Up to 1100 summer plumage Golden Plover were at the Belfast Harbour RSPB Reserve (Stuart McKee)
A Green Sandpiper was at the River Lagan at Donacloney (Ted Rolston)
A Peregrine was seen over the First Trust HQ, Belfast
A Grasshopper Warbler was at Slievenacloy but there was no sign of the Ring Ouzel. (Ian Mitchell)
Yesterday evening, 47 Willow Warbler, 16 Chiffchaff, 9 Blackcap, a Grasshopper warbler and 2 displaying Woodcock were at Peatlands Park (Stephen Hewitt)
830 Black Tailed Godwit were at Lough Beg. A Grasshopper warbler at Church Island and a Long Eared Owl (David Steel)

Bird News Wednesday 13th April

An immature White-tailed Eagle was at Lough Beg. It was too distant to observe any wing tags and is perhaps the same bird seen over Slieveanorra on 10th. 500 Black-tailed Godwit, 300 Golden Plover and 600 Sand Martin were also seen (David Steele)
8 Waxwing were still at Sainsburys, Carrickfergus (Paul McCullogh)
A Common Sandpiper was at Victoria Park, Belfast and an imm. Mediterranean Gull at Kinnegar (Dermot Hughes)
Willow Warbler - Mark Killops

Bird News Tuesday 12th April

A Ring Ouzel was seen again at Slievenacloy (Paul Toner). In south Down the female or immature Smew and a Common Sandpiper were at the Quoile Pondage. A House Martin and 150 Sand Martin were at Great Dam (Chris Murphy).
64 Black Headed Gulls were at Crom in Co. Fermanagh. (Stephen Scarlett). Yesterday a Red Kite was at Slieveanorra and 20 Gannet at Benbane Head (Mark McMullan.
Thanks to George McKee for these shots of Wheatears taken on the shores of Strangford Lough today.

Wheatear, Strangford Lough - George McKee Wheatear, Strangford Lough - George McKee

Bird News Monday 11th April

A female or immature Goosander was at the mouth of the river off Glynn in Larne Lough.(Cameron Moore)
Recent news from Fermanagh was a Grasshopper Warbler at Kesh on 9th and 10th, 3 Redwing and 4 Fieldfare at Monea on 9th and Blackcaps back from 7th(Brad Robson)
Yesterday an early Sedge Warbler was singing in the reed bed beside Kinnegoe hide at Oxford Island. (Ed O'Hara).
Nine Wheatear were in Belfast Harbour Estate. (Ed O'Hara)

Wheatear, Belfast Harbour Estate - Ed O'Hara

Bird Brains?

Below are details of this year’s Hans Sloane Lecture. The Lecture will be held in Killyleagh on 15th April 2011 at 6.45 for 7.00 at St Mary's Hall, Irish Street. It is by Professor Nicky Clayton FRS, Cambridge University and will be on 'Animal Intelligence: fact or fiction?' Nicky is a leader in this field and a great speaker. Admission is free as the talk is funded by the Earl Cadogan.

Bird News Sunday 10th April

A Great Grey Shrike was just east of Binevenagh Forest, Co. L'derry at C717311. It was feeding from the top of spruce trees from 8.30 to 9am (Larry Toal)
8 Waxwing were still at Sainsburys, Carrickfergus (Pauline Majury)
A White-tailed Eagle was seen at Slievenora on the Antrim Plateau, viewed from Altarichard. (Keith Bennett)
A Curlew Sandpiper was at the Bann Estuary, 1.5km south of the hide (Neal Warnock)
A White Wagtail was at Kearney and 8 GN Diver at Marlfield (Richard Weyl).
2 Whitethroat were at Killard this morning - 11 days earlier than previous records here (Craig Nash)
A male Brambling was at Richhill, Co. Armagh (Andrew Poots)
The Ring-billed Gull was still at East Strand car park, Portrush (Irish Birding)
A Pink-footed Goose and 6 Slavonian Grebes were off Myroe Levels.
Waxwing, Carrickfergus - Pauline Majury
Great Crested Grebes, Oxford Island - George McKee
Goldfinch - Andrew Poots

The Golden Eagle Trust

If you would like to keep up to date with progress on the Golden Eagle and White-tailed Eagle reintroduction projects, you can follow on Facebook at:

Bird News Sat 9th April

The Ring-necked Duck was at Ballyherly Lough, Portaferry, Co. Down (Keith Bennett & Richard Weyl)
12 Swallow and 2 Wheatear were at St John's Point (Chris Murphy)
A first year Mediterranean Gull (a new bird) was at Kinnegar shore (Stuart McKee)
2 Buzzard were over the Somme Centre between Bangor and Newtownards. A skein of Pale-bellied Brent were seen flying north. Willow Warblers and Chiffchaff were at the Lead Mines (Ian McKee)

The Ring-necked Duck was still at Oxford Island (Irish Birding)
A visit to Rathlin Island had 18 Willow Warblers, 14 Wheatear, 7 Swallow, 1 Sand Martin, 3 Blackcap and 16 White Wagtails. 2 Canada Geese were in the Lough Ushet area.  1 female Merlin seen catching butterflies on the wing. 1 Common Sandpiper flew over Ballycastle Harbour, calling. 2 Manx Shearwaters, Rathlin Sound (Neal Warnock)
The Glaucous Gull was still at Portavogie - photo below- (Keith Bennett)
A singing Reed Warbler was also at Ballherly Lough (Richard Weyl).
6 Black-throated diver and  a GreatNorthern diver south of Gransha Point and 8 Slavonian Grebe still at Greyabbey Bay. (Richard Weyl)
Two Brambling were still visiting a garden at Knock, east Belfast (W. Farrelly)
In the last few days at Corbett Lough, Co. Down, three Buzzards, several sightings of Red Kite, Swallows and unusually an Oystercatcher. (David McCreedy)
Canada Geese, Rathlin Island - Neal Warnock
Glaucous Gull Portavogie (3/4/11) - Craig Nash
Brambling - W Farrelly

Bird News Friday 8th April

The Great Grey Shrike still present at Slievenacloy.(S. McKee) The weather for Saturday is perfect for viewing the Shrike, so no better day if you haven't already seen it.
The male Ring Necked Duck was still at Kinnegoe Bay, Oxford Island this afternoon. (Ed O'Hara). Thanks to Ed for this shot of the bird:

Ring Necked Duck, Oxford Island - Ed O'Hara
The Snow Goose was still at Portmore Lough (Paul Scott) 2 Brambling were visiting a garden at Knock, east Belfast (W Farrelly).
A male Hen Harrier was seen at Crom Co.Fermanagh.(J.Sey).
At Lough Foyle 12 White Wagtail were at Longfield Point and 12 Greenland White Fronted Geese at Myroe Levels (Matthew Tickner).
40/45 Sand Martin were back at the colony at Killard Point and 3 Sandwich Tern and a Whimbrel at Mill Quarter Bay. A Blackcap was in song at Gilnahirk in Belfast (Karl Hamilton).
40 Sandwich Tern were back on Cockle Island in Groomsport (George Gordon).
Yesterday the adult RB Gull was still at Portrush East Strand car park (Matthew Tickner).
A Cuckoo (the first reported) was at the old railway bridge along the Gransha Road in Bangor near the Six Road Ends (Francis Duffin).
A Grasshopper Warbler (again the first reported) was at Cave Hill (Larry Toal).
The Canada Goose was still with Barnacles at Malin Head, Co. Donegal (Ronan McLaughlin).
Waxwing, Belfast City Hall - Nigel Moore

Sparrowhawk - Stephen Hewitt

Big Garden Birdwatch - NI

The RSPB have just released the results of the Big Garden Birdwatch for 2011. The results are from the weekend of the 29th & 30th January. In Northern Ireland they have shown that the 10 most common species (in rank) are:
  1. Starling
  2. House Sparrow
  3. Chaffinch
  4. Blackbird
  5. Goldfinch
  6. Blue Tit
  7. Great Tit
  8. Robin
  9. Coal Tit
  10. Collared Dove
According to the RSPB, in NI, the Starling continues to hold the top slot, in contrast to the UK where our second most spotted bird, the House Sparrow, comes first.  Compared to the rest of the UK, in NI, we also have more frequent sightings of goldfinches – ranking fifth as opposed to 8th place across the water.   Gardens here are also far more likely to see Coal Tits, while Woodpigeons, common visitors in other regions, do not even make the Top 10 list here.

Bird News for Thurs 7th April

The Great Grey Shrike was still at Slievenacloy. A male Ring Ouzel was on the same slope above the road but quite elusive amongst the bushes. A Swallow was also present (Richard Gray).
A Common Tern and Sandwich Tern were at Kinnegar shore (Stuart McKee).
The Great Grey Shrike was present at 6pm. Also present were 4 Wheatear, a Swallow, 2 Sand Martin and 2 Willow Warbler (Richard Weyl).
Willow Warblers, Swallows, Blackcaps and Sandwich Terns are commonly back at Killough. Yesterday a Grey Partridge was between Killough and Downpatrick. It originated from birds released there last year (Chris Murphy).
As you can see from above our summer visitors are arriving on a daily basis now, still there is a few still missing, the first Cuckoo has yet to be heard and who will see the first Swift. With this lovely warm weather we are all enjoying at the moment shouldn't be to long before even they arrive.

Bird News Wednesday 6th April

The Great Grey Shrike continues its stay at Slievenacloy UWT reserve, today it was seen catching a small frog, impailing it on a thorn and dismembering it. (Craig Nash). Thanks To Craig For This Shot Of The Shrike
Great Grey Shrike, Slievenacloy UWT Reserve - Craig Nash

Bird News Tuesday 5th April

The Great Grey Shrike was still showing at the Slievenacloy Ulster Wildlife Trust Reserve. (David Steele & Ivan Beattie).
20 Waxwing were in Sainsburys carpark in Carrickfergus. (Pauline Majury, Gerard McGeehan).
A north eastern Jackdaw was visiting a garden outside Downpatrick in Co. Down. (Craig Nash).
A Long Eared Owl was found dead at Trory in Co. Fermanagh. (Stephen Scarlett).
Thanks to Mark Jones and Craig Nash for these pictures.

Great Grey Shrike, Slievenacloy UWT Reserve - Mark Jones

Great Grey Shrike, Slievenacloy UWT Reserve - Mark Jones

North-Eastern Jackdaw - Craig Nash

Bird News for Monday 4th April.

The Great Grey Shrike was seen again this morning, but only briefly conditions this morning were pretty bleak, strong winds and driving rain. (I.Graham)
At Belfast City Hall 31 Waxwing were at Donegall Square West opposite the Centra (Paul McCullough)
10 Waxwing were along the Antrim Road in Belfast near the Waterworks (Larry Toal)
18 Waxwing were at Sainsbury's car park in Carrickfergus (Gerard McGeehan)
A walk between Scarva and Lough Shark produced 12 Chiffchaff, 13 Willow warbler, a Blackcap, 4 House Martin, 2 Buzzard, 2 Grey Heron and 120 Woodpigeon (Fulton Somerville)
Many thanks to Craig Nash for the pictures of two feeding Red Grouse:
Female Red Grouse - Craig Nash
Male Red Grouse - Craig Nash

Great White Redpoll

A report of a white Redpoll can easily get any birder enthused about the possibilities of what may be another rarity. However, this bird at Mallusk, kindly sent in by Steven Eachus, is definitely a Lesser Redpoll! Strangely another similar looking bird has featured on Martin Garners Birding Frontiers website, see:
Lesser Redpoll, Mallusk - Steven Eachus

The Big Twitch

The Great Grey Shrike at Sleivenacloy has certainly turned out to be one of Northern Ireland's most twitched birds. Birders from all over Ireland have travelled for a glimpse of this stunning bird and Nigel Moore's photo captures the occasion I think rather well. So if your reading this and haven't got round to seeing it yet, make the effort , it may be a few years before the next one is spotted. This is the first record since 1983 when one was found by a single observer at Brackagh Moss Co.Armagh, the other three records from the 20th century are old records, one was found at Kinnegar Co.Down on the 13th Dec 1970 until 4th April 1971. Before that was a bird found dying at Ahoghill in March 1967 and later died and the first record back in 1902 was of a grey Shrike but this could easily have been a Lesser, so apart from the wintering bird from the 70's Great Grey Shrike is a very rare bird indeed. Our thanks to Nigel for the photo.