Bird News Saturday 31st August.

No sign of the Wilsons Phalarope this morning at the Belfast Harbour estate reserve, it did have 3 Ruff, 1 Green Sandpiper and 60 Dunlin (Garry Armstrong/Ed O'Hara)

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Whiteabbey, Belfast Lough this evening. (Paul McCullough).

 Along the Armagh shore of Lough Neagh an adult Yellow-legged Gull was at Ardmore - apparently seen later at Reedy Flat (Clifford Sharpe).

There were 3 Ravens at Scrabo quarry outside Newtownards this morning. (David McCormick).

A juvenile Golden Eagle has been seen by 3 different people on different days passing over the Shantallow, Galliagh, Buncrana Road in Derry. Last seen on Tuesday morning 27th. the bird flys in the direction of the Skeoge Mountains. Anyone in the Inch area may want to keep a look out for it. (Martina Boyle).

Slighty further afield....A Semi -palmated Sandpiper was at Bloody Foreland and a sea-watch produced 7 Pomarine Skua, 7 Arctic Skua, 40 Great Skua, 203 Sooty Shearwater, 100 Manx Shearwater.(Chris Ingram)
Melmore Head Co.Donegal produced 1 ad Sabines, 14 Pom.Skua, 38 Great Skua, 6 Arctic Skua, 1 Long-tailed Skua, 1 Balearic Shearwater,200 Sooty Shearwater, 50 Arctic Tern and a Great Northern Diver (Eric Randall)

The Snowy Owl was still on Aranmore (Brian Hegarty)

Our thanks to Zach McCreery for the wonderful shot of a Kingfisher and to Peter Welch for the picture of the young Wheatear.  


Bird News Friday 30th August

The juvenile Wilson's Phalarope was at Belfast Harbour Lagoon until at least 7pm. Also noted over the day there were 100 Dunlin, 5 Ruff and 2 Common Sandpiper (Gerard McGeehan, George Gordon, Warren Fowles).

A Marsh Harrier flew south at 1pm along Ballynahinch Road 4 miles from Lisburn (Nigel Ireland).

At Larne Lough 5 Little Egret were on the south side of Ballycarry Bridge (Cameron Moore)

A 3hr seawatch at  Melmore Head tonight had: 1 adult sabs 3 grt shears 4 poms 12bonxies 2 arctic skua 52 sooties15 arctic terns. (Eric Randall)

Thanks to William Smiton for this pic of the Wilsons Phalarope (top) and to Cameron Moore for the pic of the Grey Plover (bottom):

Bird News Thursday 29th August

The Wilsons Phalarope is still at Belfast Harbour RSPB Reserve (Chris Sturgeon)

A juv Black Tern was seen on Big Copeland & a Short-eared Owl on Mew Island this afternoon (Kerry Leonard)

A Little Egret flew past this Briggs rocks this evening , 12 Knot were being harassed by a female Merlin earlier.(Colin Guy)
Two White-rumped Sandpipers were at Blanketnook, Co Donegal (Ralph Sheperd)

Thanks to Stewart McKee for these 2 pics of the Wilsons Phalarope from today: Also to Christine Cassidy for this fine image of a Turnstone and also to John Clarke who unexpectedly trapped this Knot while ringing Strom Petrels. 


Bird News Wednesday 28th August

A Wilsons Phalarope is at Belfast RSPB Reserve (Gerard McGeehan / Stewart McKee / Chris Sturgenor)

The Snowy Owl was still on Aranmore, Co Donegal, above the twin lakes. (Brian Hegarty)

The White-winged Black Tern was at the south end of Cruisetown Beach, Co Louth this afternoon.

3 Kingfisher (adult and 2 juvenile), a Grey Wagtail and a Dipper were along the River Lagan at the weir above Edenderry (Des Price).

At least one of the Osprey was at Lough Beg (Tom Ennis, Tony Dodds).

Thanks to Stewart McKee for these pics of the Wilsons Phalarope:

Bird News Tuesday 27th August

Yesterday a juvenile Mediterranean Gull was at Marconi’s Cottage,Ballycastle –a different bird to the one about 10 days ago. (Colin Guy).

Also yesterday evening 40 House Martin went south at Ballysillan Playing fields in Belfast (Andy Elliott).

Thanks to today's photographers, to Mervyn Campbell for another picture from yesterday of the Osprey at Lough Beg, to Ian Jackson for the picture of the female Bullfinch, to David Hill for the pictures of the Greenshank, Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit and to Alistair Prentice for the picture of the juvenile Blackbird feeding on berries. You can see more NI bird pictures at


Bird News Monday 26th August.

The Osprey and 12 Whooper were at Lough Beg. (K. Kirkham-Brown )

The Green Sandpiper was still at Shaws Lake (Clifford Sharpe).

3 Wheatear were on Cockle Island and a Kingfisher was at Ballymacormick Point, Groomsport.(Gilly Irwin)

An unusual sighting of a flock of 34 (at least) Mistle Thrushes feeding on rowan berries in Ardarawood Comber this morning at first light. (Chris Shaw)

Our thanks to Robert Booth who kindly sent in this fine photograph of a Sparrowhawk. Also to Mervyn Campbell for the picture of the Lough Beg Osprey. 4 of the 12 Whoopers from Lough Beg (with Mute Swans in the background) has been sent in by Kevin Kirkham-Brown.    

Bird News Sunday 25th August

11 Greenshank & 2 Kingfisher were at Glynn and 9 Little Egret at Magheramourne, Co Antrim (Adam McClure)

Two Osprey were seen at Lough Beg. There was also an excellent count of 27 Ruff in the area. (David Steele). The 2 Ospreys were still present from 7.15, but one Osprey flew off half an hour later (south) and the other Osprey stayed until last light.  The best views without disturbing them is on the Ballydermot Road. (Ciaran Burns)

3 juvenile Ruff, an adult Knot and a Water Rail were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (George Gordon)

A Bairds Sandpiper and 2 Little Stint were at Blanketnook, Co Donegal (Chris Ingram)

The Snowy Owl was still on Aranmore, Co Donegal (Irish Birding)

The White-winged Black Tern was still at Cruisetown Strand, Co Louth today (Irish Birding)

Please send your news on rare or scarce birds, and your bird pics to

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for this pic of a Ringed Plover and Alistair Prentice for the Swallow. You can see more pics at

Bird News Saturday 24th August

Two Ruff and a Green Sandpiper were at RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve. (Robert Scott)

The Outer Ards had 22 Sandwich Tern. Ballyquintin Point had a Peregrine Falcon, 19 Whimbrel and an oddly marked Oystercatcher (see pic below). (Richard Gowen).

Copeland Bird Observatory had today, 175 Swallow, 10 Willow Warbler, 6 Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 5 Whimbrel, 1Grey Plover, 2 Arctic Skua.(Kerry Leonard).
Thanks to Alistair Prentice for the male Sparrowhawk, Richard Gowen for the Oystercatcher picture and Eric Phillips for the picture of the Grey Herons:


Bird News Friday 23rd August

30 Sanderling were on the beach at Castlerock and a dark phase Arctic Skua chasing 2 Sandwich Terns at the pier (Mervyn Guthrie). 

15 small grey geese were seen in flight over Cullybackey Richard Gray).

2 Ruff were at the Belfast Lough RSPB reserve. (Gerard McGeehan).

A Corncrake was heard calling this afternoon at Coshquinn, near the border on the Buncrana road in Derry. (F O'Connor).

The Osprey was seen again at Lough Beg this evening from 7.15 pm to 8.20pm, it was sitting on a broken fence that is on the shore between Dewhamill Island and Long Point. (Ciaran Burns).

Thanks to Alistair Prentice for this picture of a Bullfinch. You can see more NI bird pictures at

Irish Wildlife Crime Conference

Bird News Thursday 22nd August.

An Alpine Swift was along the Moira Road in Lisburn at the junction of Knockmore Road. It was flying fast and seemed not to stay in the area (Billy Miskelly)

A Green Sandpiper was at Lough Beg in the evening (David Steele)

A Red Throated Diver was seen at Carnlough and an Osprey was seen today at Lough Beg between Long Point and Dewhamill, it was sitting from 19.47-20.22 until it was disturbed then flew north. (Ciaran Burns)

The Spotted Redshank still at the RSPB Belfast Harbour estate reserve.(Birdguides)

The Green Sandpiper was still at Shaw's Lake.(Frank Carroll)

Our thanks for the photograph's kindly sent in by Alistair Prentice of the Kingfisher   also to Neil Cartmill of the Sparrowhawk. The third photo. is of a Chiffchaff from Zach McCreery and the bottom pic. of a Kingfisher is from Tom McCreery.


Bird News Wednesday 21st August

A Spotted Redshank and a Green Sandpiper were at the RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve (Gerard McGeehan)

A Ruff and a Common Sandpiper are in the Kinnegar lagoon in the company of a few dunlin, redshanks and lapwing. (Gilly Irwin)

A Green Sandpiper was at Shaws Lake - considered a different bird to the one seen there on 18th (Joe Devlin, Clifford Sharpe)

In Co Louth, the Pectoral Sandpiper was still at Dundalk Docks this afternoon (Gerry O'Neil)

A Spotted Flycatcher seen this morning behind along the Newry Canal just north of Newry. (Frank Carroll)

Thanks to David Hill for this picture of a Common Tern from RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve, Alistair Prentice for this Blackbird enjoying the berry crop and David Cassells for the Buzzard:

Bird News Tuesday 20th August

In Belfast Lough 4 Arctic Skua were seen from a boat off Grey's Point flying into Helen's Bay (Brian Meharg).

  At Lough Beg a juvenile Wood Sandpiper was at Long Point and an adult Osprey at Church Island (David Steele).

6 Buzzards were seen in the Antrim hills. (Bill Guiller).

Yesterday evening an adult Little Gull and 6 Whimbrel were on the shore at Hazelbank (Stuart McKee).

 Also yesterday a late Swift was over Crossgar. (Spencer Marshall).

On Sunday a possible Purple Heron was seen going north, being mobbed by Arctic Skua's, during a seawatch from Clogher Head in Co. Louth. Worth bearing in mind if you are birdwatching around south Co. Down in the coming days. (Gerry O'Neill).

Thanks to today's photographers, to Noel Austin for the pictures of the Reed Warblers, to Tony Donaldson for the first Buzzard picture and the picture of the female Blackcap and to Bill Guiller for the final two Buzzard pictures. You can see more NI bird pictures at


Appeal for information following Red Kite deaths

The RSPB is appealing for information after the death of another red kite in Northern Ireland.

The bird was discovered in the Castlewellan area last Wednesday (14 August) and is the fourth that has been found dead this year.

The conservation charity is asking the public for help in uncovering the cause of the deaths, which represent 30 per cent of the breeding red kite population in the province.

The body of the bird that died last week has been submitted to the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute for a post-mortem. However it is strongly suspected that it, and the other birds, fell victim to poison.
Adam McClure, Red Kite Officer for the RSPB, said all birds of prey are protected under the law, but unfortunately this doesn’t always mean that they are safe from poison.
“In some cases, they are deliberately targeted as some people incorrectly see them as a threat to livestock or game birds," he said. "They may also ingest the poison by eating dead mice or rats that have been killed by rodenticides.
“We do not know for certain what caused the deaths of these four birds as yet and are eagerly awaiting the post-mortem results dating back as far as January. However we suspect that they did not die of natural causes.”

Dead adult red kite (c) RSPB NI
Red kites were once common in Ireland but were persecuted to extinction in the 18th century. In 2008 the RSPB, along with project partners the Golden Eagle Trust and Welsh Kite Trust, began a reintroduction project that has been successful in encouraging the birds to breed here.
They have since become a rare, but welcome, sighting over the skies of County Down.
However, with only 10 breeding pairs, every death is a blow and may have serious consequences for the fragile population here in Northern Ireland.
Of the four deceased animals, two were breeding males, one was a breeding female and one was a juvenile. Sadly, the female was found dead in the nest where she was incubating two eggs, meaning the chicks inside also perished.
“Alongside landowners in south Down, project partners, the Golden Eagle Trust and Welsh Kite Trust, our funders NIE and RES and local councils Newry and Mourne, Down and Banbridge through Ulster Wildlife Landfill funding, we have worked hard to create a home for red kites in Northern Ireland over the last five years so it is disappointing when we lose any of them, even more so in circumstances like this,” Adam concluded.
Emma Meredith, PSNI wildlife liaison officer, added: “Police take wildlife crime seriously and if it is found that there is a breach in the legislation then they will investigate.
“Currently police have requested tests on the birds reported to identify the cause of death.
“Anyone who suspects a crime and/or has information about the deaths of the birds is asked to contact the Police Service of Northern Ireland on 0845 600 8000 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Dead juvenile red kite (c) RSPB NI

Dead rabbit, buzzard, fox and red kite (c) RSPB NI

Bird News Monday 19th August.

Black Head lighthouse This evening had 250 swallow feeding around lighthouse and low over the sea 1Carrion Crow (Ian Enlander)

Our thanks to Alistair Prentice for this photo of a male Bullfinch. Viv Beck also sent in this pic of a male Yellowhammer which is still feeding young!

The Birds of Ireland - A Field Guide

The new photographic identification guide for the Birds of Ireland is the first of its kind for the island of Ireland. The book covers over 260 of the common and scarce species which can be found here during the calendar year. The new guide takes the best of both photographic and illustration-based guide formats. Over 1,600 photographs have been used, of which approximately 1,450 images are Mark Carmody's, with between 6 and 14 images on the plates of each of the common species. Images have been selected to show a variety of plumages and the species from different angles and in flight to aid the user in identifying the species in the field. This easy to use format marks out the guide as unique in terms of its plate design and layout, particularly in an Irish context. The concise text has been written to highlight the key identification features of each species. This new and refreshing format could set the tone and standard for future photographic guides! Below are a selection of plates and the cover:

Bird News Sunday 18th August

An Osprey flew west north of Capanagh Forest at 9.30am (Larry Toal)

The female Ring-necked Duck and 5 Ruff were at Lough Beg (David Steele)

200 Kittiwake were to the east of Copeland Bird Observatory (George Henderson)

The juvenile Ruff, 3 Snipe, 84 Teal, 60 Dunlin, 12 Knot and a pair of Gadwall were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Dot Blakely)

A Green Sandpiper was seen today at Shaw's Lake Glenanne Co. Armagh (Joe Devlin)

At Church Island, Lough Beg, another Green Sandpiper was present feeding on the exposed shoreline. (Ciaran Burns)

Ramore Head in 2.5hrs had 525 Manx, 14 Sooty Shearwater, 154 Whimbrel, 1 Ad Sabine's Gull, 2 Arctic Skua and 3 Bonxie (Neal Warnock)

Bloody Foreland, Co Donegal, from 6.15 to 11.45 had 2 Corys, 268 Sootys, 744 Manx, 5 Bonxies, 2 Arctic Skuas, 4 Poms, 4 scoters and 94 Whìmbrel (Chris Ingram / Ralph Shepard)

Melmore Head highlights this morning included a Corys and 2 Great Shearwaters. Also 57 Sooty Shearwater, a Pomarine Skua, an Arctic Skua and 20 Whimbrel. Last night a Great Shearwater was also present. (Eric Randall)

In County Sligo a Buff-breasted Sandpiper, was of Streedagh Point today. (Sligo Birding)

The Snowy Owl was seen again at the Twin Lakes area, Aranmore, Co Donegal.  (Robert Vaughan)

Our thanks to Tom McCreery for this fine image of a Kingfisher, Alistair Prentice for this pic of the Brackagh Moss Hobby, last seen a few days ago, to David Steele for the female Ring-necked Duck (on the right) and Joe Devlin for the Green Sandpiper: