Bird News Thursday 31st July

Wader migration is visible at Belfast Harbour. A juv Ruff was at the reserve along with three Common Sands, a Little Gull (moulting more adult like) two Greenshank and a Sanderling (Stewart McKee)

9 Little Egret were at Carlingford (Neil Cartmill)

An adult Mediterranean Gull, Common Sandpiper and 100 Manx Shearwater were at Whitehead (Cameron Moore)

Last night Barn Owls were along Magheradartin and New Roads (Garry Wilkinson)

Thanks to Neil Cartmill for this pic of the Little Egrets

Bird News Wednesday 30th July

Late news for yesterday was that at Bloody Foreland were 2 Cory Shearwaters, 2 Balearic Shearwaters, a Sooty Shearwater and at Derrybeg a juv American Golden Plover. (Chris Ingram)

An hour and a half at Ramore Head produced a pale-phase Arctic Skua. A raft of 200 Manx Shearwater was raised by a Great Skua and a Balearic Shearwater was with them (Stuart McKee)

A Juvenile Mediterranean Gull was at Portrush East Strand car park today
Late news from yesterday was a Juvenile Mediterranean Gull at Briggs Rocks and 9 Common Scoter passing (Colin Guy)

"A conversation with Jim Wells, Chair of the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group. Recorded for Hen Harrier Day 2014" can be heard at:

Thanks to Ginny McKee for this pic of a juvenile Kestrel at Whitepark Bay and Christine Cassidy for the Kestrel in flight:

Bird News Tuesday 29th July

Late news for yesterday was of an adult Mediterranean Gull at the slipway at Whitehead seafront. (Cameron Moore)

Many thanks to today's photographers, to Cameron Moore for the picture of the adult Mediterranean Gull, to Jane McLaughlin for the pictures of the Lapwing and the Bar-tailed Godwit and to Dick Glasgow for the picture of the Buzzard:

Pelagic Opportunity

If you are interested in a birding pelagic to deep water on Saturday 2 Aug leaving Blacksod pier Mayo @ 6am, returning late evening, there are a few places left on a boat. The cost is 100 euro each. If weather is not suitable on the 2nd we'll go 3rd. Can you contact  Brad Robson asap on 07711019808 if you are interested.

Bird News Monday 28th July.

The Cattle Egret was still showing in fields behind Hillsborough Lake.(Garry Armstrong)

A juv. Ruff was at Belfast Harbour Estate reserve. Yesterday 2 Little Egret a Greenshank and 2 Sanderling where also at the Harbour Estate, 2 Sanderling and 620 Redshank at Whitehouse Lagoon.(Stuart McKee)

Fulmar - Richard Gowen.
Gannet - Richard Gowen.

Pied Wagtail - Ginny McKee.

Bird News Sunday 27th July

3 juvenile Mediterranean Gulls currently on east strand, Portrush. An adult was seen on a seawatch at Ramore Head earlier (Neal Warnock)

Ramore Head in a 3 hrs seawatch had 750 Manx Shearwater, 1 Sooty Shearwater,1 Puffin, 4 Mediterranean Gulls, 14 Common Scoter, 5 Whimbrel & 100 Golden Plover/ (Neal Warnock).

Thanks to Mark Killops for the Reed Warbler pictures from Oxford Island, John Parkinson for the pictures of the Gannet and the Puffin and Fulton Somerville for the pictures of the Sanderling and Little Terns from Co. Louth. You can see more of John's pictures at 

 Reed Warbler - Mark Killops
 Reed Warbler - Mark Killops
 Reed Warbler - Garry Armstrong
Gannet - John Parkinson
 Puffin - John Parkinson
Sanderling - Fulton Somerville
Little Terns - Fulton Somerville

Islay Boat Trip

There is a plan during the first week of August to have a day trip from Ballycastle to Islay.

It is intended to liaise with experts on Islay to see the Island's specialities such as Chough, Corncrake, and Sea Eagle.

At this stage I am looking expressions of interest and an indication of the dates which are convenient. Tickets will cost around £40 return.
Jim Wells - 07856235144

Bird News Saturday 26th July

The Honey Buzzard has been looked for today without success. (Jim Bowman, Denis Carty, Aidan Kelly et al)

At Glenoo Mountain, nr Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone this afternoon was a Cuckoo being fed by Meadow Pipit, a group of Crossbills drinking in a stream a Wheatear, Kestrel and Buzzard. (Colin Bell)

A juvenile Hobby was unsuccessfully chasing Meadow Pipit and then resting on a fence pole near road 200 m south of The crossroads at Slieveanorra. Seen from Nowtown-Crommelin Road at 11am today. 3 Red Grouse were flying on hill south-east side of Glendun River at 1200 (Jim Bowman, Denis Carty)

A Little Egret was at Briggs Rocks this afternoon (Colin Guy)

The highlights of an evening watch off Ardglass from 2000-2100 were one Minke Whale (feeding) and one Arctic Skua pursuing shearwaters. Another Minke Whale and a Harbour Porpoise were off Killough coastguard at the same time. (Chris and Tim Murphy)

Last night two minke whales, two harbour porpoises and 1,000 plus Manx Shearwaters off Ardglass. Also two porpoises from S John’s Pt and one from Killough coastguard. At least two of the three Killough Long-eared Owl families are still calling.(Chris and Tim Murphy)

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for the pic of the Meadow Pipit and Wilton Farrelly for the littoralis Rock Pipit:

Bird News Friday 25th July

A Honey buzzard was at Slieveanorra this morning at 1020hrs. Over the forest above Bryvore Bridge (where the four roads meet on the Glendun side of Slieveanorra) it then dropped down to the north over Beaghs. (David Steele).

The Cattle Egret was still showing distantly in the fields behind Hillsborough Lake. (Garry Armstrong).

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for the pictures of a Peregrine and a Buzzard.

Bird News Thursday 24th July

The Cattle Egret was still in a field behind Hillsborough Lake. (David Nixon)

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for this pic of a Greenshank:

Bird News Wednesday 23rd July

The Spoonbill was at Dundrum Bay, on the Blackstaff River this morning (Birdguides)

Newry canal from Scarva to Lough Shark produced 2 calling Water Rails, Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Raven, 3 Buzzards, Bullfinch, Long-tailed Tit, Common Sandpiper and Blackcap. (Fulton Somerville)

At least one Humpback Whale was seen of the Copelands.

If you have any rare or scarce bird news, please share it via

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for this pic of a Raven:

Bird News Tuesday 22nd July

Yesterday a Common Sandpiper was feeding at the edge of a garden pond in Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh, a good garden tick. (John Young).

 4 Sanderling were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Stuart McKee).

Bird News Monday 21st July.

The Cattle Egret was still  in fields (along with cows) behind Hillsborough Lake.(Garry Armstrong)

3 Reed Warbler were in  front of Kinnego Hide, Oxford Island.(Adam McClure)

5 Sanderling were on the shore opposite Troopers Lane on the Antrim side of Belfast Lough (Gerard McGeehan)

Late news from yesterday... 9 Common Sandpiper and 480 Curlew where at  the Belfast Harbour Estate and a Med Gull at Whitehouse Lagoon. (S.McKee)

Black Guillemots - Martha Boyle.

Kingfisher - William Smiton.

Bird News Sunday 20th July

9 Common Sandpiper were along the Newry Estuary / Clanrye River this morning (Frank Carroll)

The Spoonbill was feeding well this Sunday morning in front of the Castle Island Hide at the Quoile (Tony Donaldson / Mark Elliott)

Also at the Quoile were a Carrion Crow and a Water Rail was sharming. (Mark Elliott)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was found in a garden pond having flown into a window of a house on the Tullyard Road, Drumbo (S Hanna)

2 Little Egret, 3 Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper and Carrion Crow were at Ballycarry Bridge in Larne Lough (Cameron Moore)

The first summer Little Gull, a Little Egret and 3 Greenshank were at Kinnegar Pool (Wilton Farrelly)

Thanks to Tony Donaldson (top) and Mark Elliott for the pics of the Spoonblil:

Bird News Saturday 19th July.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was along the Lagan at Drumbeg 5 minutes walk south-west of the bridge.(Vernon Carter)

A first summer Little Gull and a Little Egret were at Kinnegar Pool and 5 Greenshank,7 Common Sandpiper a Whimbrel and 2 Snipe at Belfast Harbour Lagoon.(Joe Lamont)

Grey Heron - Karl Martin.

Bird News Friday 18th July

A Quail was calling at Myroe Levels in the field with the fishing pond near the horseshoe bend. 5 Golden Plover were at the lawn turf fields. (Stuart McKee).

Thanks to Adam Middleton for the picture of the Puffins and to William Smiton for the pictures of the Razorbill and the Swallow. Both the Puffin and Razorbill pictures were taken on a Round Rathlin Boat trip.

Round Rathlin Boat Trip

There was a full boat for yesterday's trip and the excellent weather conditions gave observers the opportunity to see the huge numbers of seabirds.   

The next boat trip will leave Ballycastle Marina at 4.30pm this Saturday (19th July).

The seabirds will soon leave the cliffs so this may be one of the last chances to see this amazing spectacular this year.
If you would like seats please text me on 07856235144 or send an e mail to -

Please do not phone me

Jim Wells

Bird News Thursday 17th July

A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling in a field opposite the Chimney Corner Hotel, Newtownabbey. (Colin Davies)

Portmuck had 2 Puffin off Isle of Muck and a Whimbrel flying past. Glynn Station in Larne Lough had 108 Red-breasted Merganser, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank and 1 Little Egret (Ian Enlander)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Knockmany Forest near Augher (Clive Mellon).

A Grasshopper Warbler was at Capanagh (Gerard McGeehan)

Four Little  Egrets were at Killough this
afternoon (Tony Donaldson)

This morning at Tullylish bridge over the Bann nr Gilford Co Down, a Kingfisher, Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher and Blackcap were all showing. (Fulton Somerville)

Thanks to Tony Donaldson for this pic of the Quoile Spoonbill and Colin Davies for the pair of Ring-necked Ducks (with a Tufted Duck):

Bird News Wednesday 16th July

The male and female Ring-necked Ducks, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whooper Swans, 4 Pochard and about 50 Tufted Ducks were at The Mullagh, Lough Beg (C Davies)

An adult Med Gull and five Bar-tailed Godwit were at Whitehouse Lagoon. (Adam McClure).

9 Common Sandpiper were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon and 2 first-summer Little Gull at Kinnegar Pool (Stuart McKee).

Two male and one female Siskins  were visiting a feeder in Greenisland. (Anthea Cross).

The Spoonbill was still at the Yacht Club end of the Quoile Pondage, a Little Gull and good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits were also present. (Tony Donaldson).

Rathlin Boat Trips

The next Round Rathlin boat trip will leave Ballycastle Marina this Thursday 17th July at 4pm.

We have four seats available for this trip and if you would like to book please contact me.

Jim Wells.

A few pictures from previous trips.

Bird News Tuesday 15th July

The first summer Little Gull was still at Kinnegar Lagoon, Belfast (Adam McClure)

A Greenshank was at Belfast Harbour Lagoon

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for the Black Guillemot pic and Dick Glasgow for the juvenile Tree Sparrow:

Bird News Monday 14th July.

A Fea's Petrel was seen of St John's Point  Co.Down at 17.52 this evening. (Warren Fowles)

The Spoonbill was still at the Quoile Pondage.(Jim Bowman/Denis Carty) see photo below.

A female Garganey and 4 Ruff were in the south-west corner of Lough Beg and the pair of Ring-necked Duck nearby at Mullagh.(David Steele)

9 Common Sandpiper and a Spotted Redshank(going into winter plumage) were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon.(Joe Lamont)

 A  Kingfisher was seen at the pond beside  Castle Espie.(Mark Elliott)

Slightly further afield... a littoris Rock Pipit was at Fanad Head Co.Donegal, large numbers of Manx Shearwater were also noted.(Wilton Farrelly)

Spoonbill - Jim Bowman.
Starling with staining from New Zealand flax.  

Bird News Sunday 13th July

The Spoonbill was still at the Quoile, Co Down (Keith Bennett).

A first-summer Little Gull and 2 Common Sandpiper were at Kinnegar Pool and another 11 Common Sandpiper and 6 summer plumage Bar-tailed Godwit nearby at Belfast Harbour Lagoon (Stuart McKee).

The next 'Round Rathlin' boat trip will leave Ballycastle Marina on Monday 14th July at 4pmThere are five seats available on this trip and if you like to book please contact Jim Wells on 07856235144

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for the picture of a juvenile Robin:

Bird News Saturday 12th July

The Spoonbill was at the Quoile - from the hide to the extreme right or from the turn in the road closer to the yacht club. (David Stirling)

39 Storm Petrels were ringed at Ballyreagh early this morning. (John Clarke)

Three well-grown broods of Long-eared Owls were on the outskirts of Killough: on Crew Road, Quarter Hill Road and Killough Road (Chris Murphy)

Yesterday Barn Owl was near Hillsborough and nearby an adult Long Eared Owl was quartering a field (Garry Wilkinson)

Thanks to John Clarke for the picture of the Storm Petrel and Dick Glasgow for the juvenile Tree Sparrow.

Bird News Friday 11th July

A family party of 3 Barn Owls was at a site between Moneyreagh and Comber (David Clarke).

The Spoonbill was still at the Quoile Pondage in the far bay best seen from corner of Castle Island Road as it goes round towards the yacht club. (Tony Donaldson)

The Cattle Egret was still in the fields behind Hillsborough Park Lake. (Garry Armstrong).

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for the pictures of a juvenile Cuckoo, to Tony Donaldson for the picture of the Spoonbill and to Dick Glasgow for the pictures of the Willow Warbler, young Robin and Merlin. You can see a video of  Tree Sparrows nesting in Dicks garden at

Juvenile Cuckoo - Christine Cassidy
Juvenile Cuckoo - Christine Cassidy
Spoonbill - Tony Donaldson
Willow Warbler - Dick Glasgow
Robin - Dick Glasgow
 Merlin - Dick Glasgow
Cattle Egret - Garry Armstrong