Bird News Friday 31st August

Late news from yesterday, the Long-eared Owl was still hunting Coney Island shore of Killough Harbour from 19:30. Also in Killough were 1 Ruff, 139 Curlew, 11 Greenshank, 3 Black-t Godwit, 3 LittleEgret (Tim and Chris Murphy). 23 Greenshank were at Ardilea (Tim Murphy).   

Also yesterday evening at Glynn in Larne Lough were 106 Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Greenshank, 7 Little Egret, 92 Oystercatcher, 71 Curlew, 159 Redshank and 4 Sandwich Tern (including a colour ringed juvenile). (Adam McClure).      

A female Sparrowhawk was at Belfast Lough RSPB reserve. (Stephen Maxwell).

2 Wheatear were at Islandreagh on Strangford Lough today. (Chris Henry).

Two Chiffchaffs were in Kelly's Wood early evening and two white wags in Killough (Tim Murphy)

Thanks to Alistair Prentice for this pic of a young Willow Warbler. You can see more pictures at

Bird News for Thursday 30th August

An impressive 4600 Brent Geese were on Strangford Lough this morning. 2500 were at Mount Stewart with the rest near the Maltings. It is highly unusual for such big numbers to be this early (John Wilson Foster/Francis Duffin)

At Lough Beg a Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper and 6 Ruff were at Mullagh (David Steele).

A Kilcummin Head seawatch, from 0630 - 1400, by Brad Robson and Joe Donaldson had 1 Sabs Gull, 1 Pom Skua, 1 Leach's Petrel, 1 Strom Petrel 1 Balearic, 8 Sooty Shearwater, 23 Bonxies, 4 Arctic Skua, 33 Brent. 2 Arctic Tern 130 Sandwich Tern and 3 Puffin.

A seawatch at Bloody Foreland in Co Donegal had a Balearic Shearwater and 3 Long-tailed Skuas. A Little gull was at Derrybeg. An unidentified dark raptor was over Dunlewey and was possibly a Black Kite. (Chris Ingram)
The second summer Ring-billed Gull remains at Groomsport.
Our thanks to Alistair Prentice for this lovely image of a pair of Knot.

Bird News for Wednesday 29th August

Brent Geese have been widely reported arriving in Northern Ireland today.
350 Brent flew past Whitehead this morning en route to Strangford Lough (Ian Enlander).
100 Brent flew west along Belfast Lough at Hollywood at 5.30pm (Richard Woods).
33 Brent flew along the ast Strand in Portrush this evening. (John Clarke).
700 Brent were between Ballintoy and the Giants Causeway. (Colin Guy).
500 Brent were at the Giants Cuaseway. (Gerard McGeehan, Shirley Dunlop).
80 Brent in two skeins were over Newtownards. (Ian McKee).

The Hobby was seen again at Montiaghs Moss near Portmore Lough (Paul Toner).        

The juvenile Spotted Redshank was at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Stuart McKee).

Thanks to Ed O'Hara for todays pictures of a Common Sandpiper and Tom McCreery for the picture of a Sanderling. Check out more NI bird pictures at

Bird News for Tues.28th August.

The presumed escaped Gyrfalcon was still at Giant's Causeway before flying off towards Runkerry Point. The second year Glaucous Gull was at Ballintoy Harbour (Colin Guy).

6 Whimbrel, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Dunlin and a Turnstone were at Bann Estuary (Lowell Mills).

2 Ruff, 40 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Shelduck and 40 hirundines were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Andy Elliott).

The second-summer Ring-billed Gull was at Groomsport.

Our  thanks to Wilbert Hollinger for to-days image of a Coal Tit and also to Zach McCreery for this image of a Little Egret.

Gyr Pics

It may not be truly wild but it does deserve an award for being photogenic! Thanks to Richard Donaghey for these two pictures below:

Bird News Monday 27th August

Following the Gyr Falcon excitement (see previous post), we are back to normal NI end of summer birding.

Lough Beg had an impressive six Garganey (4 male, 2 female type) and a Spotted Redshank in the south west corner. A Crossbill also flew over. (David Steele)

The juvenile Black Tern was still at RSPB Belfast. See Ed and Stephens pictures below (Ed O'Hara and Stephen Maxwell)

The Little Egret was still at RSPB Belfast Harbour (Paul Scott). Many thanks to Stephen Maxwell for the pic of this bird below.

Over 1000 House Martin were seen at the Giants Causeway (John Clarke / Rick Hoy)

54 Curlew flew east at Ballintoy and a large raft (60+) of Cormorants were on the water near Sheep Island (John Loughlin)

5 Golden Plover were at the lagoon at the east side of Ballymacormick Point (Derek Polley).
Black Tern - Stephen Maxwell
Black Tern - Ed O'Hara
Little Egret - Stephen Maxwell

Gyr Falcon Update 2

The bird has a large ring on its leg and is now is a presumed escape!!
It was on show at the Giants Causeway up to 2pm. It is high up the cliff face not too distant from the Visitors Centre. It is probably an adult male (Rick Hoy)

Thanks to John Clarke for the pics below. R

Juvenile Waders

Many thanks to Allen Gillespie for this portfolio of three of our most common small passage waders. All birds are juveniles. They are Sanderling, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. This is an excellent time of year to check out wader flocks and pick up the plumage differences between juvenile and adult birds.

Bird News Sunday 26th August

No positive word on the Gyr Falcon but rare raptors are difficult to pin down!

A juvenile Hen Harrier was hunting at Divis above Belfast. It was seen at 9am and 11.30am (Larry Toal).

The second-summer Ring-billed Gull was at Groomsport (George Gordon)

An early Great Northern Diver was at Halfway House Hotel, Ballygally (Pauline Majury)

An hour's seawatch from Donaghadee tonite had 573 Manx shearwater (north), 180 gannet (south), 8 common scoter, 1 dark phase Arctic skua, 2 red-throated diver and 12 kittiwake (James Robinson)

A raft of at least 100 Manx Shearwater was off Portstewart Strand (Simon Morton).

A few Swifts were still at Ballyronan along the Londonderry shore of Lough Neagh (Tony McCormick).

The Snowy Owl was showing well again today between the twin lakes on Aranmore, Co Donegal.

Thanks to Tom McCreery for the pic of a Long-tailed Tit and to Pauline Majury for the first winter Kittiwake. You can see more bird pics at

Gyr Falcon - giants Causeway

A Gyr Falcon was observed and photographed last night at the Giants Causeway. The bird was seen to fly to a ledge between the visitors centre and the Causeway (Tim, Ben & Jonathan Sparks). This follows on from the report of a possible Gyr in the area (from Colin Graham) a few days ago and as reported on Wednesdays posting.
Ben took the top photo and Jonathan the bottom pic!

Bird News Saturday 25th August

A Pied Flycatcher (female), is at St Johns Point, down near the house at the end of the lane to the lighthouse (Jason Starbuck and David Steele)

Ramore Head from 8.30 to 12.30 had 1 juvenile Sabines, 9 Arctìc Skua, 8 Bonxies, and 1 Glaucous Gull (Garry Armstrong, Ed O'Hara)

2 Sanderling were with a mixed flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plover in a field beside Cranagh Road on the way down to the Bar Mouth, see pictures below. (Ed O'Hara, Garry Armstrong).

An hour and half seawatch from Ballyhalbert this pm, had highlights: 3 dark phase Arctic skua, 120 gannet, 95 Manx shearwater, 30 kittiwake, 9 common tern, 6 common scoter, 2 common sandpiper and 5 black-tailed godwit. (James Robinson)

The Black Tern was still at RSPB Belfast Harbour (Stephen Maxwell)

From Ballywalter beach this evening 2 sanderling, 2 knot, 2 ad Med gulls, 30 sandwich tern and 1 dark phase Arctic skua (James Robinson).

A juvenile Spotted Redshank, 3 Ruff, 1,500 Black-tailed Godwit, 149 Redshank and 290 Curlew were at Belfast harbour Lagoon (Stuart McKee).    

In the evening at Lough Foyle a juvenile Marsh Harrier and a Mediterranean Gull were at Myroe . Portstewart Point in the evening had 10 Arctic Skua, an adult Pomarine Skua, 3 Great Skua and 15 Storm Petrel (Matthew Tickner).

A Long Eared Owl was hunting along the Coney Island side of Killough harbour from 8.00pm. Also present were 1 Ruff, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Greenshank, 11 Grey Heron and 3 Little Egret. (Tim Murphy).

Thanks to today's photographers, Ed O'Hara for the Glaucous Gull and the Sanderling, Stephen Maxwell for the Black Tern and Tom McCreery for another great shot, this time of a female Reed Bunting.


Bird News Friday 24th August

Yesterday the Snowy Owl (male) was showing again between 0900 - 1130 on Arranmore Island - between the twin lakes and Frenchmans Hill. Also 13 Chough, Merlin, 5 Arctic Terns on the island. Also150 Dunlin, 5 Knot, 100 Sanderling and 100 Ringed Plover at Ballyness Bay / Magheroarty (Oscar Campbell, Nick Moran, Eric Palmer)

Last weekend an escaped Gyr x Saker was re-captured on Tory Island! Thanks to Brad Robson for the pic of the bird below.          

2 Balearic Shearwater and an Arctic Skua were at Portstewart Point. At Lough Foyle 2 Little Stint were at Myroe (Matthew Tickner).     

Belfast Harbour Lagoon had the juvenile Black Tern, a Little Gull, 3 Ruff and 3 Greenshank, see pictures below. (Gerard McGeehan, Oscar Campbell, Kerry Leonard, Stephen Maxwell).

The Ring-billed Gull was still at Groomsport, see picture below.

A seawatch at Torr Head between 11.20 and 2.00 produced one Great Skua, 1 Fulmar and 40 Gannet. (John Mckillop).       

At Lough Beg 9 Ruff were on the spit at Mullagh (Ricky Hunter).   

Thanks to Alan Gallagher for the picture of the Long-tailed Tit, Brad Robson for the falcon picture and Stephen Maxwell for the pictures of the Black Tern and the Ring-billed Gull. You can see more pictures of NI birds at



Bird News for Thursday 23rd August

3 Swift north of Portadown this evening.(B.Nelson)

A Barn Owl was at the Toye outside Killyleagh (Jason Starbuck)

Yesterday two Balearic Shearwater were off the Bann Estuary at the Barmouth; also a juvenile Roseate Tern and juvenile Little Gull.
Also from yesterday a Long-eared Owl was at Coney Island nr.Ardglass.(D.Clarke) 

The Marsh Harrier was seen again briefly to-day at Inch Co Donegal.(R.Shepard)

Our thanks to Ian Jackson for this image of a Med Gull(top)to Stephen Maxwell for his image of a Greenshank and finally to Alistair Prentice for this fine image of a Bullfinch.

Bird News for Wednesday 22nd August

The Black Tern was still at RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve (Stephen Maxwell)

The 2nd summer Glaucous Gull was still in Ballintoy harbour along with 2 Twite and a White Wagtail.

At Lough Foyle 8 White Wagtail, 3 Golden Plover, 30 Ringed Plover and 20 Dunlin were at the lawn turf fields at Myroe Levels. 2 Sanderling were along the shore (Richard Gray).

The second-summer Ring-billed Gull was at Groomsport (George Gordon)

A juvenile Med Gull was at Drains Bay, Co Antrim (Neal Warnock)

Morning at Melmore Head(4.5 hours): 1 Sabine's Gull, 1 Pomarine Skua, 7 Arctic Skua, 12 Bonxie, 13 Sooty Shearwater, 200 Manx Shearwater, 2 Common Scoter, 2 Arctic Tern. Also: single Basking Shark and Minke Whale off Melmore yesterday (21st) (Oscar Campbell, Nick Moran, Chris Mills, Chris Murphy, Eric Randall, Eric Palmer)

A large pale falcon was seen at the Giants Causeway so it's worth keeping an eye out for any unusual raptors in the area!

Thanks to Alistair Prentice for this pic of a juvenile Knot and to Stephen Maxwell for the pic of the Black Tern. You can see more pics from local photographers at

Black Tern - Stephen Maxwell

Stephen got these fine shots of the Black Tern at Belfast Harbour RSPB reserve today.

Bird News for Tuesday 21st August

A Black Tern was at Belfast Harbour RSPB reserve. (C.Sturgeon ).

This evening the Harbour reserve had 3 Ruff and a Swift, Kinnegar had 2 Common Sandpiper and 40 Ringed Plover. (Ian Enlander)

2 Black Tern were at the Bar Mouth. (Irish Birding).

At Larne Lough a Little Egret, juvenile Ruff, 39 Dunlin and 7 Black-tailed Godwit were at Ballycarry Bridge. (George Gordon).

Thanks to Tom McCreery for this fantastic shot of a female Blackcap and to Alistair Prentice for the superb flight shot of a Sparrowhawk. You can check out more NI bird pictures at

Bird News Monday 20th August

The White-rumped Sandpiper was seen again at the Bann Estuary.

The second-summer Ring-billed Gull was at Groomsport (George Gordon)

A pair of Greater-spotted Woodpeckers were seen in a garden at Crossgar, Co Down (C Michael)

An Adult Mediterranesn Gull was at the high tide roost in Dundrum South Inner Bay, 18 Knot at Green Island and a minimum on 12 Little Egrets at the Blackstaff (David Nixon / Ian Jackson)

A female Marsh Harrier was at Inch, Co Donegal (Chris Ingram)

Thanks to Alistair Prentice for this pic of a Ringed Plover at Newcastle. You can see more pics at

Bird News Sunday 19th August

The White-rumped Sandpiper is still at the Bann (Jeff Larkin / Keith Bennett) - see the pics of the previous post.

Also at the Bann, there is the juv Black Tern, an adult Black Tern, 2 Little Stint, 1 Ruff, 1 Knot, 6 Sanderling along with numerous Dunlin and Ringed Plover (Keith Bennett)
An adult Honey Buzzard was at Struell Wells near Downpatrick at 14.45 before flying off south (Nick Morgan).

A dark morph Arctic Skua was at the Barmouth of the Bann. Another 2 dark morph Arctic Skua and 5 summer Red-throated Diver were at Magilligan (Jeff Larkin).

3 juvenile Ruff, a Greenshank , 5 juvenile Knot and a Whimbrel were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (George Gordon). Another Whimbrel was at Kinnegar shore and on Thursday 4 Little Tern were at the Harbour Lagoon (Sandy McWilliams).

An Osprey, Ruff and fem/imm Garganey, are at Lough Beg, Co.Derry (Neal Warnock)

Tory Island was quiet with a juvenile Little Stint, juvenile Ruff, 2 Willow Warbler and 1 Great Skua (Brad Robson)

Yesterday 2 Peregrine and several Buzzard were on Rathlin and for those interested a Golden-ringed Dragonfly was seen on the way out to the East Light (Garry Wilkinson).

Thanks to Angus Kennedy for this picture of a Black-tailed Godwit flock. You can see more pics at

White-rumped Sandpiper

Many thanks to Allen Gillespie for these excellent pictures of the White-rumped Sandpiper from the Bann Estuary yesterday.

Bird News Saturday 18th August

A White rumped Sandpiper is at the Bann Estuary. It is feeding at the little stream leading from the golf course which is roughly half way between the hide and the Barmouth itself.(A.Gillespie /T.Ennis )

A juvenile Black Tern was also at the Bann (Gerard McGeehan)

A juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Sanderling and 61 Ringed Plover were at Kinnegar shore. 3 juvenile Ruff were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Stuart McKee).

27 Storm Petrels were ringed at Ballyreagh this morning, 3 of these were controls, see pictures below. (John Clarke, R Hoy, R Donaghy)

Some late news:
On 17th a Garganey, 2 Turnstone and 20 Shoveler were at Paddy's Dub, Lough Beg. On 15th 5 Greenshank and 5 Ruff were there and on 13th a Pectoral Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper and 70 Snipe (Matthew Tickner, Seamus Burns).

On 16th a Twite was with a small Linnet flock at Rinagee Coastal Park in Portstewart (Lowell Mills).

Thanks to todays photographers, Tom McCreery for another superb Willow Warbler shot, Ed O'Hara for the Common Sandpiper from the Belfast Lough RSPB reserve and John Clarke for the Storm Petrels trapped at Ballyreagh.