Bird News for Tues. 31st May.

Thanks to Ed.O'Hara who kindly sent in this wonderful photo of a Spotted Flycatcher collecting nest material.
A Cuckoo and 30 Tree Sparrow were at Portmore Lough RSPB Reserve.

Avocets - Roe Estuary

Two Avocets were seen last night at 6pm at the Roe Estuary. They were found by Raymond Fulton and were beside the the railway bridge where the River Roe joins Lough Foyle. If viewing \ photographing the birds, please be careful not to disturb them.

Bird News Monday 30th May

Yesterday a dark sub-adult Arctic Skua, Red-throated Diver and 20 Sanderling were at Kearney/Knockinelder (Keith Bennett).
On 28th the severe weather brought a sub-adult Gannet inland to the River Derg and Killeter in Tyrone (Ralph Sheppard).Perhaps the same bird was found injured yesterday inland in Strabane (Irish Birding)

4 Little Egret were at Killyleagh, Co Down (Paul Scott)
9 pairs of Red Kite are known to have nested this year in Northern Ireland.

Two Sanderling in near breeding plumage were at Killard (Craig Nash)
Sanderling, May - Craig Nash

Up to 14 Blackcap have been singing along the Comber Greenway between Knock and Dundonald (Stephen Maxwell \ W Farrelly)
Blackcap, Comber Greenway - Stephen Maxwell

Jay, Cairn Wood, Newtownards, County Down - George McKee

Bird News Sunday 29th May

A Great Skua was at Runkerry near Giant's Causeway and hundreds of Manx Shearwater were
at Ramore Head (Colin Guy).

Two Arctic Skua - light and dark morph - were at Burial Island (Richard Weyl).

Three Whooper Swan were at Lower Lough Erne, Co. Fermanagh. (Irish Birding).

The Iceland Gull was still at Drains Bay (Neal Warnock)

A Pomarine Skua was at Portrush. (Irish Birding).

A Grasshopper Warbler was giving excellent views at Round Lake, Fivemiletown, Co.Tyrone. (Colin Bell).
Wheatear - Bill Guiller

Bird News Saturday 28th May

An unseasonal first winter Iceland Gull was at Drains Bay, Co. Antrim, at the Black Arch outflow. (Neal Warnock):
Iceland Gull, Drains Bay -  Neal Warnock
The drake Ring-necked Duck was at Lough Money Co. Down
Kearney Point had 5 Storm Petrel, a Brent Goose, 2 Whimbrel and an Arctic and a Great Skua (Keith Bennett)
2 male Garganey were at Lough Beg and 69 Dunlin in the southwest corner. 12 Arctic Tern were over the Beg - there has been a good passage of Arctic Tern there this spring (David Steele).
A dark morph Arctic Skua was on the water at Burial Island and a RT Diver at Portavogie. A Whimbrel and Sanderling were just north of Ballyhalbert and 2 Reed Warbler at Ballyfinragh Lough (Richard Weyl).
3 first summer Arctic Tern and 20 Turnstone were at Cockle Island in Groomsport (George Gordon).
3  pairs of Spotted Flycatchers were in the wooded area at the Ballymena end of Cargan, Antrim. One pair was feeding young (Dermot Hughes)

A Velvet Scoter was seen on Wednesday at Portstewart Harbour, Co. Antrim (Harry McMahon)

Black-headed Gull - David Hill


Despite efforts by many, it looks as though there may again be no breeding Corncrake in NI this year. Bird numbers in Scotland continue to rise and numbers in Donegal have thankfully increased this year with 91 calling birds heard. The main locations in Donegal for hearing them are Tory Island, Inishowen and Fanad. Seeing them is difficult but many thanks to Grace Meehan for the photo below of a bird in her garden at East Town, Tory Island:
Corncrake, Tory Island - Grace Meehan

Recent Copeland Birds

Many thanks to Neville McKee for these recent pictures from Copeland:

Garden Warbler - Neville McKee

Manx Shearwater, remains after being eaten by an Otter - Neville McKee

Spotted Flycatcher - Neville McKee

Whitethroat - Neville McKee

Gannet - A non breeding summer visitor

Gannet is a non breeding summer visitor to Northern Ireland. Is it the most common summer bird that is a non breeder? Colonies from where birds around our coast come from will include Ailsa Craig, St. Kilda and the Saltees. During the recent stormy weather, Craig Nash took this excellent shot of a bird feeding in Strangford Narrows:
Gannet - Craig Nash

Bird News for Thursday 26th May

Thanks to Ian Jackson who kindly sent in these lovely photo's of a Spotted Flycatcher in Ballynahinch to-day. Unfortunately a bird that over the last few decades has shown a massive decline, a bird that we where all familiar with when growing up, you could easily go the whole summer now without seeing one.

Bird News Wednesday 25th May

An Arctic Skua was off Groomsport. (Irish Birding).

At Killard there were 20 Dunlin with 30 Manx Shearwaters and good numbers of Gannets offshore. At Castle Espie there are about 250 pairs of nesting Black Headed Gulls, up fom just 12 pairs last year. (Craig Nash).

Late news from yesterday evening, at the back of the Portrush Countryside Centre were 2 Purple Sandpipers, 5 Turnstone and a summer plummaged Great Northern Diver. (Ian Enlander).

Below is a picture of the possible Icelandic Redpoll on Tory Island yesterday, this bird was found by Grace Meenan not Tim Murphy as originally reported. The picture is rather blurred having been taken at distance through a window. Chris Murphy has suggested that, whilst the bird may well be an Icelandic Redpoll, because of the complicated taxonomy of the Redpoll family it is not possible to be certain. If you have any comments or thoughts on the bird please get in touch with ourselves or Chris.

Possible Icelandic Redpoll, Tory Island -Grace Meenan

Bird News for Tuesday 24th May

Two first summer Little Gulls and a Ruff where at Reedy Flats Co.Armagh(D.Knight)
In Donegal, two Icelandic Redpoll were at East Town on Tory Island. Yesterday 2 Sooty Shearwater were at Tory (Tim Murphy). The Spotted Crake was still calling at the causeway to Inch Island, Co. Donegal (Boyd Bryce).
Also yesterday 5 Sanderling and 40 Dunlin were at Rossglass (Chris Murphy).
2 first summer Little Gull and a female Ruff were at Reedy Flat (David Knight)
At Portrush Countryside Centre were 2 Purple Sandpiper, 5 Turnstone, 1 summer plumaged Great northern Diver. (Ian Enlander)
Whimbrel, Bann Estuary - David Hill

On this date

24th May 1958 saw Northern Ireland's first Lesser Yellowlegs at Lough Beg Co.Londonderry.
There has been quite a few since 16 in fact, the last being a bird seen yet again at Lough Beg in 2008 which stayed for 2 weeks in June. Maybe not a bad bird to look out over the next couple of weeks considering the strong winds this last week have been coming from the west.

Bird News for Monday 23rd May

There are now 300 Arctic Terns back on Cockle Island Co.Down. The westerly gales also brought in Manx Shearwaters, Gannets and a few Kittiwake close in. (G.Gordon). I think it would be fair to say that to-day was not one of the better days for birdwatching!
Thanks to Mandy Irwin for this shot of a Great Spotted Woodpecker taken in her garden in Portadown in early May:
Great Spotted Woodpecker - Mandy Irwin

Bird News Sunday 22nd May

A Red Grouse was at Capanagh, Co. Antrim (Bill Guiller)
A Barn Owl was just south of Victoria Bridge early this morning (H Harkness)
A 1st Summer Little Gull and the Brent Goose were at Belfast Harbour RSPB reserve (Ian Graham)
A Cuckoo was at Lady Bay on the Antrim shore of Lough Neagh (Paul Toner)
This morning at Slieve Beagh nr Fivemiletown Co Tyrone, 3 Crossbill incl 1 juvenile and a Cuckoo (Colin Bell)

A Spotted Crake has been singing at Inch Island, Co. Donegal. The bird was calling (in the evening) from the island end of the vehicle causeway. (Boyd Bryce)
Greater Canada Goose, Reedy Flats, Lough Neagh - Ed O'Hara

Bird News Saturday 21st May

9 Common Scoter flew south past Burial Island, Co. Down (Richard Weyl)
100 Arctic Tern and a Carrion Crow were at the Narrows, Portaferry (Keith Bennett) 
A Brent Goose was at Belfast Harbour Reserve (Derek Polley)

Bird News Friday 20th May

A Cuckoo was at Oakwood Integrated Primary School, Derriaghy. (Clive Mellon)
A Carrion Crow was at Magheramorne (Matthew Tickner, Brad Robson).
There was no sign of the Purple Heron at Boomer's Dam but 2 Sedge Warbler, 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 30 House Martin, 6 Swallow and 6 Swift were noted. You can drive down a lane there to see the dam as long as you ask permission first (Andy Elliott).
A Hen Harrier has been seen near Hillsborough over the last few days.
Yesterday a Garden Warbler (rare outside Fermanagh) was seen and heard at the heronry at Delamont (Spencer&Joan Marshall).
In Donegal, a Lapland Bunting was at Tory Island (Tim Murphy)

Purple Heron - Boomers Resevoir, Lisburn

A number of people have enquired about the location of Boomers Resevoir, Lisburn. You can see details on Google Maps, by clicking the site link below:,+Lisburn&aq=0&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=10.758411,43.286133&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Derriaghy+Rd,+Lisburn,+United+Kingdom&ll=54.529549,-6.070719&spn=0.01031,0.042272&t=h&z=15


There are typically a few NI Quail records every spring. However it is an extremely hard bird to catch up and even see.
The song is the best way of picking up a bird and if you are unfamiliar with it, you can hear one at:

David Galbraith managed to take a few pictures of the bird he found at Islandmagee and one is below:
Quail, Islandmagee - David Galbraith

Bird News for Thurs.19th May

The Purple Heron was back at Boomer's Reservoir in Lisburn this morning at around 10.00am(W.Veale) There is no access to the reservoir so you have to view from the outside, the bird did fly off but only a short distance but dropped out of sight. It was not seen again and probably went into thick cover. Hopefully for the rest of us it will develop a habit over the next few days and we have a chance to see Northern Ireland's first Purple Heron, fingers crossed.

Bird News Wednesday 18th May

A summer plumaged Slavonian Grebe was at Longfield Point, Co L'derry. (Clive Mellon)

A Quail (see image above) was seen down to 20 feet along a lane at Island Magee (David Galbraith).

A Turtle Dove was at Copeland Bird Observatory. This is the first in 25 years although before that they were almost annual. 3 Whitethroat and a Spotted Flycatcher were also seen. Yesterday up to 3,000 Guillemot/Razorbill an hour were passing (Neville McKee).

Yesterday a Bittern was reported flying north at Killard Point (Patrick Boyle).

Bird News Tuesday 17th May

The Quail was still singing at Lough Beg in the vicinity of Coney Island on the western shore, the two drake Garganey, four Arctic Tern and five Red Breasted Merganser were also present on the Beg. (David Steele).

A Purple Heron was found this afternoon by Dave Allen and Clive Mellon at Boomers Resevoir, Deriaghy Rd, Lisburn. It was seen to fly off South East at 2:44. There have been high numbers of Purple Herons in Britain recently so worth keeping an eye out for!
A female type Marsh Harrier was at Tully Ratty Dam, Castle Ward, Co. Down (Irish Birding)

All photos of the Purple Heron courtesy of Clive Mellon:

Bird News Monday 16th May

An Osprey was seen at Garvagh (D Weir)
2 Garden Warbler were at Weary Wood, Co. Antrim (Irish Birding)
7 Little Egret were at Castle Espie and 2 Spotted Flycatcher at the Quoile Pondage (P Scott)
Fulmar, Antrim Coast - Mark Killops

Bird News Sunday 15th May

2 male Garganey were at Lough Beg. A Quail was calling along the western
shore and 25 Arctic Tern were at Church Island (David Steele).

A Red Kite was between Downpatrick and Killough. 2 Reed Warbler were at
Strand Lough and 2 Red Throated Diver and a Whimbrel at St John's Point

A Spotted Flycatcher was at Castle Espie (Dot Blakely).

2 Reed Warbler and 100+ Swifts were at the Kinnegoe Hide at Oxford Island and a pair of Garganey were at Portmore. (Ed O'Hara/Mark McMullan).

The escaped White Stork was still on playing fields opposite the Asda store in Downpatrick. (Irish Birding).

Bird News Saturday 14th May

100 Swallow, 30 House Martin, 2 Sand Martin, 6 Swift, 2 Gadwall, 2 Common
Tern and 2 Sandwich Tern were at Farrs Bay. A Jay, Sparrowhawk, 2
Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler, 4 Blackcap, a Dipper and 2 Red Legged Partridge were
at Randalstown Forest (Andy Elliott).

The White Stork was still beside the Asda store in Downpatrick, it has a metal ring on its left leg so appears to be an escaped bird.

Bird News Friday 13th May

A White Tailed Eagle was seen flying south off Whitehead Promenade. (Irish Birding).

A White Stork has been reported to the RSPB from Downpatrick, it was near the Asda store on the Ballyduggan Road. This may be the bird reported from Derry and Donegal although this bird was reported as being present in Derry today.

8 White Wagtail, 2 Wheatear and a Whimbrel were at Ramore Head.

A large bird of prey, almost certainly an Osprey, was seen flying over Waringstown this morning, and seemed to be heading in the direction of Craigavon Balancing lakes. (David McCreedy).

Thanks to Martina Boyle for this shot of the presumed escaped White Stork in Derry

White Stork - Martina Boyle

Bird News Wednesday 11th May

A Marsh Harrier in female type plumage was at the south east side of Slieveanorra on the Antrim Plateau. The bird was perched near the road for 20 minutes before flying off north west over the forest. 3 Red Grouse were also present and a Golden Plover was at the top. 3 male Whinchat, at least 2
Cuckoo, a Red Grouse and a Grasshopper Warbler were at Altarichard (David

A Scandinavian Rock Pipit was near Marconi's cottage in Ballycastle (Colin

A Garden Warbler was in song at Ely Lodge Forest in Co.Fermanagh. A Great Northern Diver was seen in flight at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB Reserve. Spotted Flycatchers arrived in Fermanagh on 9th (Brad Robson).

A Spotted Flycatcher was seen this morning at Killeavy Old Church, Co Armagh. (Frank Carroll).

A Barn Owl was seen at 12.30am near the Castledawson roundabout on the main
Belfast/Derry road (David Morrow).

A Spotted Flycatcher, Buzzard, Peregrine and 17 Common Tern were at Belfast
Harbour RSPB Reserve (Dot Blakely).

Yesterday 60 Common Tern were at Sandy Bay, Lough Neagh (George Henderson).

Copeland Bird Observatory On TV

If you haven’t been watching Chris Packham’s BBC2 series The Animal's Gude To Britain on Thursday evenings, you have missed some great and original filming. But the best is yet to come. This Thursday, at 8pm on BBC2, there will be 10 or 15 minutes of Chris Packham’s visit to our wee island last August. The story of the study and what has been discovered using tracking methods on our shearwaters over the last three years will be revealed. Our man on the spot was Kerry Leonard who will be presenting the Copeland story along with Chris.

Bird News Tuesday 10th May

A first summer Little Gull and 40 Black-tailed Godwit were at the Bann Estuary
(Colin Guy).

Bird News Monday 9th May

6 Swift and 2 Sand Martin were at Ballysillan in Belfast (Andy Elliott).

The Black Swan was at Kinnegar. (R Taylor, C Cardy).

There is a White Stork in Gweedore in Donegal - coming to digestive
biscuits. This is probably the bird seen in Castlerock last week. (Irish Birding).

Thanks to Mervyn Guthrie for this shot of the White Stork in Castlerock last week

White Stork, Castlerock - Mervyn Guthrie

Bird News Sunday 8th May

A dark morph Arctic Skua was at Burial Island (Richard Weyl).

3 Red Grouse, 2 Cuckoo, 2 Siskin, 2 Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk were at Slieve
Beagh (Mark McMullan).

A Cuckoo was calling today and yesterday at Gortnagarn along Rylagh Road
north of Omagh (Ronan Doherty).

30 Arctic Tern were on Cockle Island (George Gordon).

3 Wheatear, 9 Whimbrel, 6 White Wagtail, 5 Dunlin and 25 Black Tailed Godwit were at Reedy Flats this afternoon. (Ed O'Hara)

Thanks to Ed for these shots from Reedy Flats today

Wheatear, Reedy Flats - Ed O'Hara

White Wagtail, Reedy Flats - Ed O'Hara

Whimbrel, Reedy Flats - Ed O'Hara

Bird News Saturday 7th May

2 Common Tern, 12 Common Scoter, 2 Red Throated Diver and a Whimbrel were at St John's Point between 8.30 and 9am (Chris Murphy).

10 Arctic Tern were at Portaferry and 2 Whimbrel and 2 Common Sandpiper at Kearney Point (Keith Bennett).

Yesterday 2 Red Legged Partridge were at Lough Money (Ian Mitchell).

A Great Reed Warbler was on Saltee in Wexford (Tim Murphy).

Bird News Friday 6th May

White Stork
A White Stork has been reported from Castlerock. It is in a field on Glebe Road 500m west of the trout farm. It roosted on a local barn roof last night. (Irish Birding).

The White Stork took off at 10.00a.m. and headed towards Coleraine. (Mervyn Guthrie)

A female or immature Marsh Harrier flew northeast just north of Elliott's Hill at
4.30pm. It was just to the north of the wind farm. (Clive Mellon).

Thanks to Richard Hoy for this photo of a Siskin

Siskin - Richard Hoy

Bird News Thursday 5th May

The only news today is an Osprey that was seen in flight over Belfast. (Dan McGartland)

Thanks to Seamus Burns for these shots of the Dotterel on the Garron Plateau yesterday.

Dotterel, Garron Plateau - Seamus Burns

Dotterel, Garron Plateau - Seamus Burns

Bird News Wednesday 4th May

A Dotterel - probably a male - was 700m north of Loughgarve on the Garron Plateau. It was on short grazed ground and Loughgarve is 1km east of Dungonnell Dam (Matthew Tickner, Seamus Burns).

60 Whimbrel and 2 Wigeon were at Lough Beg (Dave Allen, Clive Mellon).

On Slieve Beagh mountain there was a Crossbill, a Kestrel and several singing Grasshopper Warblers and Whitethroats, this is one of the areas that has been hit by the recent gorse fires. (Colin Bell).

A female Hen Harrier was seen in Co. Fermanagh. (Stephen Scarlett).

Great Spotted Woodpeckers In Co. Down

The landowner of the property in the Downpatrick area were Great Spotted Woodpeckers have been breeding for several years has contacted Chris Murphy to voice concerns about the large number of people who have been visiting the site recently.
Apparently individuals and groups of people have been coming to the area and entering the private property were the woodpeckers are breeding.
This obviously risks disturbing these rare breeding birds but, just as importantly, is causing concern and disquiet to the people who live at this property and whose goodwill is needed to ensure that these birds can continue to breed successfully.
The landowner has asked that birdwatchers stop visiting this site and we would request that all birdwatchers respect these wishes. We would also like to remind birdwatchers that disturbing nesting birds is an offence, and that entering private property against the owners wishes can only damage the reputation of birdwatching and all birdwatchers.

Bird News Tuesday 3rd May

A female Yellow Wagtail, a female Whinchat, 6 Wheatear and 15 Rock Pipits were feeding on the tideline at Coney Island Bay just north of Killough, Co. Down.

There are 2 pairs of Little Egret displaying in the trees at the heronry at
Delamont Country Park - they can be seen from the bird hide there without
disturbance (Spencer, Joan and Andrea Marshall).

30 Crossbill - including recently fledged young, were at Binevenagh
Forest (Irishbirding).

2 Grasshopper Warblers, and 2 Garden Warblers, were singing on Inishfendra/Crom, Co. Fermanagh. (Stephen Scarlett).

A Greenland Wheatear and a White Wagtail were at Whitehead seafront, Co. Antrim. (Ian Enlander).

Yesterday 2 Common Sandpipers were at Killough Brickworks and 2 Grasshopper Warblers at Strand Lough.

Bird News Monday 2nd May

A Whinchat was at Glenhead Road and 2 Crossbill were at Shillanavogey Forest, Co. Antrim. (Ed O'Hara).

The 4 Dotterel were still at Ballyquintin and a Cuckoo seen and heard at
Murlough (D Clarke and J Pyper et al).

24 Red Throated Diver, 4 Great Northern Diver and 1400 auks - mainly Common Guillemot
passed Ballyquintin between 7.15 and 7.45 (Richard Weyl).

6 Swift were at Killyleagh (Spencer and Joan Marshall).

Thanks to Ed O'Hara for these shots of the Whinchat at Glenhead Road today

Whinchat, Glenhead Road, Co. Antrim - Ed O'Hara

Whinchat, Glenhead Road, Co. Antrim - Ed O'Hara

Dotterel Monday 2nd May

The 4 Dotterel were still at Ballyquintin Point this morning and thanks to Nigel Moore for these superb shots of them.

Dotterel, Ballyquitin Point - Nigel Moore

Dotterel, Ballyquintin Point - Nigel Moore

Dotterel, Ballyquintin Point - Nigel Moore

Dotterel, Ballyquintin Point - Nigel Moore

Bird News Sunday 1st May

4 Dotterel were showing well this morning at Ballyquintin Point, Co. Down (Garry Armstrong)
(3 of the birds can be seen above, click on photo for better image- Ian Graham)
Directions - Ballyquinton Point is south of Kearney heading towards Portaferry, although not signposted the lane to the point has a yellow neighborhood watch sign, drive along this lane until you come to a car-park on your right hand side. From the car park look straight ahead and you will notice a white coastguard look-out post, the birds where in the ploughed field next to the look-out.
3 Wood Sandpiper were at the south west corner of Lough Beg (David Steel)
A female Yellow Wagtail was at the marsh immediately south of Portvogie between 12.00 and 12.30. Also at Ballyquintin 6 golden plover and 30 whimbrel.  15 whimbrel at Kearney and 10 south of Portavogie. (Richard Weyl
Lady's Bay, Lough Neagh had 17 Whimbrel and Portmore lough had 3 Jack Snipe (Ed O'Hara)
30 Swift were at Oxford Island (David Knight)

Thanks to Angus Kennedy for the shot of a Wood Warbler, taken at Bannagher Glen yesterday:

Wood Warbler, Bannagher Glen - Angus Kennedy