Bird News Tuesday 30th April

The White-tailed Sea Eagle was seen near Capanagh again this morning (Neal Warnock).

A Spotted Redshank in partial breeding plumage was in the RSPB Nature Conservation Area, Harbour Estate this morning (Chris Sturgeon)

An osprey spent an hour last Saturday afternoon fishing in Goblusk Bay, Lower Lough Erne (Dr. Hutchinson via Brad Robson).

This morning at Killard there were 3 pairs of Wheatear, 10+ Whimbrel and a White Wagtail (Norma Perceval-Price).

Adult Little Gull, Greenshank, Little Egret, 32 Common Tern, 144 Black-tailed Godwit and a White Wagtail at Collector's Bay, Quoile this afternoon (Chris Murphy).

A Common Sandpiper was at Murlough (Shelagh Henry).

The first 2 Swift of the year were at Roe Valley Hospital (David McCool)
14 Waxwing were at Wyncairn in Larne (Betty Foster).
136 Pale-bellied Brent were along the Outer Ards including 52 south of Ballyhalbert. 2 Whimbrel were south of Portavogie and 20 Sandwich Tern on Cockle Island (Margaret Adamson)
A Red Kite with a red wing-tag on the right wing was at Capanagh (Cameron Moore).
Yesterday, 3 Waxwing spent the day at New Mossley in Newtownabbey (Ken Moore) and 2 Gadwall and 10 Hooded Crow were at Portmore Lough, with 100 Pied Wagtail roosting in the reed bed to the right of the hide (Mark Smyth).

Lower lough Erne Islands RSPB reserve in land-locked Fermanagh this morning had 1 adult Pale- bellied Brent, 1 Turnstone, 1 Ringed Plover, 74 Black-tailed Godwit, 73 Whimbrel, 52 White Wagtail and 2 Sandwich Tern back at the breeding site (Brad Robson)

Five swift were flying around The Mall, Armagh (Alistair Prentice)
35-40 Brent, 8 Mallard, 4 Shelduck, 8 Oystercatcher, 2 Redshank, 10 Ringed Plover, 2 Eider and 25-30 Turnstone were at Carnlough (Mervyn Campbell).
Many thanks to Stephen Maxwell for the image of the Raven at Scrabo, Tony for the Grey Heron at Quoile and Neal Warnock for the image of the WTSE - you can see more images at NI Bird Pics.

Bird News Monday 29th April.

A White-tailed Sea Eagle (see below) was being mobbed by one of 53 Raven and a Peregrine at Capanagh this evening. White / Black J is a 2011 male from Killarney (Adam McClure/Neal Warnock)

Between Scarva and Lough Shark the following were noted...5 Chiffchaff, 22 Willow Warblers with one displaying, 10 Blackcaps, 2 Sedge Warblers, 19 Swallows, 3 House Martins, 17 Sandmartins, a pair of Treecreepers, 4 Tree Sparrows, 1 female Kestrel. (Fulton Somerville)

7 Waxwing were at Donegall Avenue in Whitehead (Cameron Moore).

346 Brent Geese still in Killough Harbour. 300 Golden Plover at St John's Point.(Chris Murphy)

A drake Garganey and 15 Swift were at Portmore Lough (Paul Scott)

Late news from Sunday on CBO was a fall of 60 willow warbler, 40 blackcap and 6 goldcrest (Chris Acheson)

Our thanks to Neal Warnock for the WTSE photo, Ian Jackson for this photo of a Willow Warbler. Iris Millar for the Cuckoo. Alistair Prentice for the Mute Swans


Sharing Your Bird Sightings

You can share your sightings of rare and scarce birds with users of this Blog by sending in details in any of the following ways:

By email:
By text: 0044 (0) 7973-403146 or 0044 (0) 7511-684398.
Twitter: @nibirds
Flightline: 028 91467408

Bird News Sunday 28th April

The Marsh Harrier was showing well at Portmore Lough RSPB Reserve this morning (Frank Carroll)

2 Common Sandpipers were seen at Sionmills, Co Tyrone (Brian Hegarty)

Two Common Sandpipers were between the two bridges at River Bann, Portadown this morning (Stephen Hewitt)

120 Golden Plover were at Inch Lake this morning (Boyd Bryce)

4 Waxwing were at Glenshesk Park in Bangor (Brian Meharg)

A Great Northern Diver and 220 Pale-bellied Brent were at Glenarm (Dot Blakely)

2 Swift were at Magherafelt and 2 House Martin building a nest in Toome (David Morrow)

25 Swifts were with various hirundines at Antrim Marina. 195 Brent Geese were at Carnlough (Dermot Hughes)

In south Down 22 Willow Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, 6 Wheatear, 30 Whimbrel, 2 Whitethroat and 3 White Wagtail were at St John's Point. A pair of Blackcap was in Killough and for the last week a Reed Warbler has been singing at the brickworks. There was no sing of the Dotterel at Slieve Muck but 2 Raven and 4 Wheatear were seen (Tim Murphy)

Yesterday 5 Wheatear, 4 Cuckoo and a Grasshopper Warbler were at Drowes River in Bundoran (Tony McCormick)

Also yesterday, 14 Whimbrel were near Dundrum (Margaret Adamson)

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for this pic of a Wheatear and Stephen Maxwell for the Purple Sandpiper and Andrew Poots for the Redpoll. You can see more pics at

Bird News Saturday 27th April

The female type Marsh Harrier was at RSPB Portmore Lough Reserve (Keith Bennett)

Reed Warblers were singing at Lough Cowey and Ballyherly Lough, Co Down. At Ballyquintin Point there was a Short-eared Owl, 40 Whimbrel and 2 Wheatear (Richard Weyl)

Around Larne Lough was the Pink-footed Goose, 2 Dark-bellied Brent, 38 Whimbrel, 2 Common Terns, lots of Blackcaps and a few Whitethroats. (Neal Warnock)

10 Whimbrel, a pair of gadwall and a Mediterraneanxblack-headed gull hybrid at RSPB Belfast Harbour (James Robinson)

3 Swifts at Carnmoney Hill, Newtownabbey. (Jim McKeown) and 2 also flew over Daisy Hill Nursery, Newry this morning (Frank Carroll)

Over 70 White Wagtail were seen at Inch Lake, Co Donegal today (Chris Ingram)

3 Dotterel were at the top of Slieve Muck in the Mourne Mountains (Vivien Nixon via Shane Wolsey)

A Yellow Wagtail was at Portmore meadows (Gerard McGeehan) and a drake Garganey also at Portmore (Mark Killops)

3 Swift were back at a colony in Antrim (Mark Smyth).

A Red Kite was along Portaferry Road at Mount Stewart (Aaron Devlin).

A Common Sandpiper was along the Lower Bann in the Loughran, Coleraine this afternoon. (Richard Donaghey).

The Whitehead area this morning had 4 Whimbrel and 5 White Wagtail. The harbour area in Belfast this afternoon had 600+ Golden Plover on storage area (D3 as was), 2 swift and 2 sandwich tern were over the RSBP reserve. Sedge Warbler and Wheatear were at the Conservation Area. (Ian Enlander).

Thanks to Bill Guiller for this Jay picture, to Zach McCreery for the Long-tailed Tit picture, to Cameron Moore for the Waxwing picture and to Mervyn Campbell for the Swallow picture.


Bird News Friday 26th April

A female/imm Marsh Harrier and 59 Black-tailed Godwit were at Portmore Lough RSPB nature reserve. (James Robinson/Matthew Tickner, Seamus Burns).

Yesterday, a Red Kite was hunting over lough shore fields, just north of Portaferry. (Nicholas J A Sanders).

A flock of 21 Waxwings were on roof tops and in garden off the Ormeau Road in Belfast this afternoon. (Robert Scott).

195 Whimbrel were in the Derryadd area of Upper Lough Erne today, including a single flock of 85. Also 15 Swifts and large numbers of hirundines were on the move. (Kerry Leonard).

12 Waxwing were in Larne. (Bill Guiller).

A Cuckoo was being mobbed by a pair of Meadow Pipits near Killeter this afternoon. It has been present since April 19th. (Richard Donaghey).

A Pink-footed Goose, 2 Common Tern, Whimbrel and 40 Pale-bellied Brent were at Glynn in Larne Lough (Gerard McGeehan).   

Yesterday a Cuckoo was at Monea in Fermanagh (Brad Robson) and a Swift at Belfast Crescent Arts Centre (Peter Cush).

5 Waxwing were in a garden in Whitehead and 7 Whimbrel at 40 Acre Bay in Larne Lough (Cameron Moore).

1 Great Northern Diver and 1 Red Throated Diver flew past Briggs Rocks, hundreds of Manx Shearwaters and Kittiwakes  were offshore. (Colin Guy).

Thanks to today's photographers, to Anne Guichard for the picture of the Marsh Harrier from Portmore, to Bill Guiller for the first two Waxwing pictures from Larne, to Robert Scott for the third Waxwing picture from the Ormeau Road, to David Cassells for the Goldcrest picture taken near Oxford Island, to Christine Cassidy for the Treecreeper pictures, to Ian Jackson for the female Blackcap picture and to Tom McCreery for the pictures of the Willow Warbler and the Sedge Warbler from Oxford Island. You can see more NI bird pictures at



Bird News Thursday 25th April

Circa 20 Waxwing were opposite Burger King at Forestside, Belfast (Wilton Farrelly)

The Yellow Wagtail a second-year Ring-billed Gull, a Common Sandpiper and 11 Wheatear were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Stuart McKee/Chris Surgeon)

A Common Guillemot, Black Guillemot and Whimbrel were at the Netwalk in Killyleagh (Spencer and Joan Marshall).

Mobile Waxwings were at Ballycairn, Coleraine at 6.45am (Lowell Mills).

Yesterday a Cuckoo was at Derrynoid, Draperstown at 3pm (David Morrow).

Summer visitors are arriving in good numbers now, Oxford Island had 5  Sedge Warbler, 11 White Wagtail 50+Swift and 2 Whimbrel.(E.O'Hara)

A Sedge Warbler  was at Lower Lough Erne islands reserve and a Cuckoo at Monea, Co Fermanagh this evening (Brad Robson)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was beside the Orange Hall, Comber. (Adam Middleton)

At dusk at Muckle Rucks nr Mullaphad Co Tyrone was a Grasshopper Warbler and a Woodcock (Colin Bell)

Our thanks to(from the top) Alex Coroliu for this pic. of a male Linnet. Danny Gibson for the Redpoll. Ed.O'Hara for the Sedge Warbler one of five seen at Oxford Island to-day.  Ian Jackson for the male Blackcap.
A huge thanks to everyone who contribute to the blog, it is down to all of you that it continues to increase on a weekly basis. 

Copeland Common Gull colour-ringing project

Since 2009, Shane Wolsey has been colour ringing Common Gulls that breed on Big Copeland, the largest of the Copeland Islands, just off the coast from Donaghadee, Co Down.
With approximately 800 pairs, Big Copeland has the largest breeding colony of Common Gull, Larus canus, in Ireland and the aim of Shane’s colour-ringing project is to build up a picture of the population dynamics of this colony.  Why has the colony grown during the past two decades?  What is the reproductive success rate of this colony?  Where do the young and adults winter?
The 2009 season was rather experimental with 12 adults being colour ringed, and six pulli (i.e. young, unfledged birds).  These birds were all ringed with yellow colour-rings with black lettering on the left leg (with the BTO metal ring on the right leg). 
2BBC (c) Brendan Dunlop
As the yellow rings did not show up well against the green-yellow of the bird’s leg, it was decided to change colour and since 2010 dark blue rings with white lettering have been used (again with the colour ring on the left leg, and the BTO metal ring on the right).

2HSF (c) Adam McClure

Since 2010 a total of 196 Common Gulls have been colour-ringed on Big Copeland (13 adults and 183 pulli), although only 14 of these were ringed in 2011 due to a storm in late May badly disrupting that year’s breeding season.
Until the start of this year, there have been relatedly few re-sightings, however, since January 2013 Copeland birds have turned up in quite a number of places. 
Millisle is a favourite place.  There have been a couple of birds (yellow 2BBC, blue 2ADX) there throughout the winter, with the occasional appearance of other individuals (blue 2AAC, 2ACA and 2HSF).  There has also been a considerable build-up of Common Gulls, many of them ringed, at Millisle during March and April – are these all Copeland birds getting ready to get back on the breeding grounds?

2ACA (c) Adam McClure

A small number of Copeland birds have also turned up at Duncannon Strand, Co Wexford.  2AXV and 2HVP were there in January, and 2HPX in February and 2ANN was at Sarsfield Lock, River Shannon, Limerick City in January.
The furthest travel bird to have been reported so far is 2AXH which turned up at Kervigen Beach, Finistère, France on 8th January this year!
Many thanks to all those that have been reporting birds, including Alain Le Dreff, Tom Tarpey, Stephen Drake, David Nixon, Tony Murray, Adam McClure, Graham McElwaine, Brendan Dunlop and anyone else that I have forgotten (sorry!). 

2ADX (c) Adam McClure

If you see any Common Gulls with colour-rings please report them to Shane by emailing 

Bird News Wednesday 24th April

A male Yellow Wagtail was at Belfast Lough RSPB reserve. (Nicky Lynn/Chris Sturgeon). The bird was still present at 18:10 (Keith Bennett).

A flock of 25 Waxwings were perched on tv aerials beside the roundabout at the bottom of the Antrim Road in Lisburn. (Garry Armstrong).

14 Waxwing were at Mill Road, Portstewart (Stephen Maxwell)

The flock of about 20 Waxwing were still in the Rathmena area of Ballyclare (George Stewart).

5 Waxwing were in Coleraine (Chris Edmond)

Yesterday a Merlin was near Groomsport (Julian Greenwood)

Oxford Island had 5 Whimbrel and 200 Golden Plover (Ed.O’Hara / Noel Austin)

Four pairs of Tree Sparrows were nest building in a Co Down garden in four best boxes (Garry Wilkinson)

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for this pic of a Dipper, Stephen Maxwell for the Portstewart Waxwings and Alistair Prentice for the male Blackcap. You can see more bird pics at

Bird News Tuesday 23rd April

A flock of about 20 Waxwing are in the Rathmena area of Ballyclare, they were feeding on pyracantha (firethorn) berries. (George Stewart).

3 Waxwing were seen drinking from a dogs water bowl at Cloughfern, Newtownabbey! ( Valerie McKeown).

3 Garganey were at Portmore Lough, 2 male, 1 female. (Keith Bennett).

A Glaucous Gull was at Whitehouse Lagoon this evening, seen from a passing train. (Paul McCullough).

The Cattle Egret was seen again at Hillsborough Park Lake at 12.30pm (Garry Wilkinson).  

A first-winter Glaucous Gull was at Kinnegar shore near Belfast, possibly the bird seen at Whitehouse Lagoon. (Joe Lamont).    

3 Waxwing were at Foyleside car park in Derry and 2 Blackcap, 6 Siskin, 5 Lesser Redpoll and a Tree Sparrow in a garden in Sion Mills (Hazel Harkness).     

30 Waxwing were at Forestside in Belfast and yesterday a small flock of Waxwing was at Coleman's Garden Centre in Templepatrick (Mark Smyth).

20 Waxwing were seen in flight at Knockeen Crescent in Ballymena. (Jeff Larkin).

3 Grasshopper Warblers were in song along the Newry Canal. (Alistair Prentice).

A female Marsh Harrier was seen flying between Island Hill and Scrabo An adult Mediterranean gull flew over Groomsport calling. 56 Whimbrel including one flock of 14 birds flew past Briggs Rocks, also passing were a Swift, 6 Wheatear and 4 Twite. (Colin Guy).

25 Whimbrel flew over Oxford Island, 600 Golden Plover were in the Closet Meadows and a Sedge Warbler was singing in the reed beds. (Ed O'Hara).

Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB reserve today had 40 White Wagtail, 1 Wheatear and 2 Whimbrel. (Brad Robson)

Thanks to today's photographers, to Alistair Prentice for the picture of Tufted Duck in flight, to Christine Cassidy for the pictures of the Dippers and the Mistle Thrush and to Noel Austin for the picture of the amorous Gadwall at Oxford Island. You can see more NI bird photograph at

Bird News Monday 22nd April

Lower Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh, 2 White Wagtails, 6 Wheatear and 1 Common Sandpiper. (Brad Robson)

A Greenland White-fronted Goose was feeding / roosting in a grassy field at north end of Corbet Lough with Mute Swans (Adam McClure)

1 Crossbill flew over Tempo Car Park, Co Fermanagh today.(Colin Bell)

An ad and 1st winter Med. Gull along with 12 Whimbrel and the Pink-footed Goose were at Glynn this evening.(N.Warnock)

Our thanks to Alistair Prentice for this mono shot of a Swallow.Christine Cassidy for the Dipper.Ian Jackson for the Grey Wagtail.

Bird News Sunday 21st April

A Yellow Wagtail, male, flavissima, was at Mullagh, Lough Beg, with a large fall 400+ White Wagtails in same area. (David Steele)

Peatlands NNR had 1 Raven, 3 Swift. Reedy Flats had 5 Whimbrel (Ed O'Hara)

2 Red Grouse and a Kestrel were at Llendrum Windfarm, Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone (Colin Bell)

The adult-winter Little Gull, a Wheatear, Blackcap and 12 Willow Warbler were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon. 6 Whimbrel and 292 Ringed Plover were roosting at Myroe Levels and 140 Sanderling were offshore (Stuart McKee).

A Grasshopper Warbler was on the way down to the hide at Bann Estuary. Also at the Bann were 340 Black-tailed Godwit, 22 Whimbrel, 4 Knot, a male Pintail, Grey Plover, 46 Golden Plover and a Common Sandpiper (Jeff Larkin)

Copeland Bird Observatory had 30 new Blackcap, 12 Willow Warbler, a Whitethroat, Redwing, Twite and Grasshopper Warbler (David Galbraith)

A male Blackcap, Willow Warbler, three Wheatear, 4 Sandwich Tern and 2 Gannet were at Ballymacormick Point. 115 Golden Plover in summer plumage were at the lagoon (William Smiton)

A pair of shelduck visited a garden in Greenisland early this morning and grazed on the lawn! (Roger Woodward)

7 Brent Geese at Hazelbank Lough shore, Whiteabbey. (Jim McKeown)

Today 48 Whimbrel flew past Briggs Rocks including one flock of 14 birds. Also 1 Swift, 6 Wheatears and 4 Twite also present (Colin Guy)

Thanks to Ed O'Hara for the Raven pic. You can see more pics at

Bird News Saturday 20th April

Rathlin Island had a male Common Redstart, a Yellow Wagtail, 50 Willow Warbler, 5 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 14 White Wagtail, 8 Twite and 13 Wheatear (Neal Warnock)

Oxford Island This morning had a good range of migrants including 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 White Wagtail, 2 Wheatear and 2 Swifts (Ed.O’Hara / Comghal McQuillan)

An Osprey was at Creightons Green Reservoir, Holywood (Wilton Farrelly)

Two Roseate Tern were at Portmore Lough RSPB Reserve (Theo Campbell)

A Cuckoo was calling at the Quoile, the male Common Redstart was still at St John's Point. Whimbrels, Wheatears and Chiffchaffs were widespread along the Down coast. (Keith Bennett)

Two Common Terns were fishing in Belfast Lough at Greenisland the morning. (Roger Woodward)

On Copeland there was a large fall of birds on the island - 200 Willow Warblers, 25 Chiffchaff, 25 Blackcaps, 20 Goldcrests and a Whitethroat (David Galbraith)

Two Water Rail were along the tow path in a swampy field between Scarva and Acton lake. They were on the right between the path and railway track 800 metres from Scarva visitor centre (Mark Elliott)

100+ Kittiwake were at Carrickfergus harbour at 20.00 Hrs catching Ragworm (Paul McCullough)

22 Waxwing were at Cedar Grove along Old Holywood Road in Belfast (David Morrow)

At Island Magee 18 Puffin were on the Gobbins and 2 Willow Warbler and a Blackcap nearby (Cameron Moore).

2 Gadwall were at Lady Bay in Lough Neagh (Mark Smyth, Gary Brown)

A Lesser Redpoll was in a garden near Carnalea in Bangor (Tim Davis)

6 Black-throated Diver were still south of Gransha Point, Outer Ards. At Ballyquintin Point were 6 Whimbrel and 7 Wheatear. (Richard Weyl)

Rocky Point Co Donegal had 2 Whimbrel, a Willow Warbler and 12 Wheatear. Mount Charles had 4 breeding plumage male Long-tailed Ducks and 9 Great Northern Diver (Brad Robson)

Late news for yesterday - A small flock of Greylag Geese flew over Killyfaddy, Magherafelt at 11:15pm, flying west. At Moneynena, outside Draperstown, there was a Long Eared Owl, on Thursday, a Little Egret was feeding in fields with 7 Grey Herons at Toome (David Morrow)

Thanks to Ed for the pic of a White Wagtail.

Cuckoo Records Wanted

Cuckoo (2012) - Bill Guiller

Submit Northern Ireland Cuckoo Records Online

Mark the return of Spring by listening out for the cuckoo!

Help record, what is for many, the distinctive sound of Spring – the call of the cuckoo.

Using the newly launched CEDaR Online Recording facility, the Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR) is asking birders to report when they see or hear a Cuckoo.

The Cuckoo is a rapidly declining species. It is Red Listed as a bird of conservation concern in the UK and a Northern Ireland Priority Species. By recording when you see or hear a cuckoo you will be helping increase our knowledge of this distinctive bird.
If you see or hear a Cuckoo then please visit and submit your record. 

Bird News Friday 19th April

Lower Lough Erne islands RSPB reserve Co Fermanagh this morning had 1 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, 3 Wheatear, 1 Blackcap and a Chiffchaff. (Brad Robson).

Late news from yesterday and 2 Common Sandpiper were at Killylane. (Brenda Campbell).

A Chough was heard calling at St John's Point, the bird is probably the one seen recently at Sheepland near Ardglass. (Tim & Doris Murphy & Sharon Parr).

9 Wheatear were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon. (Ed O'Hara & Gerard McGeehan).

4 Blackcap (three of them male) and a Willow Warbler at Whitehead (Gerard McGeehan).  

The second-summer Mediterranean Gull was still on Cockle Island at Groomsport (George Gordon).

2 Swallows were at Salt Water Brig in Strangford Lough. (Nicholas Sanders).

10 Swift were at Oxford Island. (Alistair Prentice).

A Raven was in Tempo car park in Co. Fermanagh and 2 Wheatear were near Muckle Rocks, Slieve Beagh, Co. Tyrone. (Colin Bell).

Thanks to today's photographers, to Mark Killops for the picture of the Great Crested Grebe, to Margaret Adamson for the picture of the Black Guillemot, to Mervyn Campbell for the picture of the Grey Wagtail, to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Eider and to Alex Coroliu for the second Great Crested Grebe picture. You can see more NI bird pictures at