Bird News Thursday 30th April

Washing Bay, Lough Neagh Co Tyrone had 120 Tufted duck, 15 Scaup, 2 Goldeneye, a Pochard, 4 Gadwall, a Whooper Swan and 28 whimbrel. During a BBS survey at Glasdrumman, Ballynahinch, there was a Stock Dove in display flight. (Dermot Hughes)

Two Cuckoos were on the Ballyloughlin Road, Dundrum. (John Bradley)

A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Mount Stewart, Ards. In oaks ca 100m NW of lake. (Keith Bennett)

A Cuckoo was last night at Crocknagrally Pony Trail nr Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone (Colin Bell)

Dick Glasgow's video clips of the Cuckoos in the Antrim Hills, on Tuesday are at:
Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for this pic of a Raven at Scrabo and Noel Austin for the Wheatear:

CBO - Help Needed

CBO have received a grant to replace the old and corroding roof on the observatory buildings, and we have purchased a new Kingspan Trapezodial insulated and Firesafe roof as its replacement.

The new roof panels, and associated builders materials, will be delivered to the quay-side at Donaghadee on Saturday morning, 9th May, at 9.00 am.

This is one of the biggest jobs undertaken by the observatory for many years and CBO urgently need help to deliver the panels and materials to the observatory buildings. They plan to have teams present at the harbour (throughout the morning) and on the island (throughout the day) – ideally we need up to thirty people.

If you are capable of helping - at any stage during the day (9.00 am – 5.00 pm) – and would like to find out more, or to volunteer, contact:

Wesley Smyth
Mobile: 07837 44 92 64

Bird News Wednesday 29th April

An immature Marsh Harrier was at the Bann Estuary at 10am this morning. Also present were 1 Knot and 3 Whimbrel. (Richard Donaghey).

The summer plumaged Spotted Redshank was in Dundrum South Inner Bay, as were 61 Brent Geese and a few Whimbrels. (David Nixon).

At least 4 Cuckoos were calling in the Antrim hills yesterday. (Dick Glasgow).

A Cuckoo was heard calling this evening in Big Gortgole Forest, Portglenone along the river bank (possibly 2). With large numbers of swallows feeding low over the river due to heavy rain. (Peter McAllister). 

Thanks to Noel Austin for the first picture of a Cuckoo from Murlough Nature Reserve and to Dick Glasgow for the second Cuckoo picture and the Stonechat picture:



Bird News Tuesday 28th April

A female Marsh Harrier flew from left to right past the hide at the Quoile Pondage towards the wooded area on the far side (Garry Wilkinson).

A pair of Goosander was still along the River Main at Slaght near Ballymena. Mullagh at the south end of Lough Beg had 300 White Wagtail. 120 Whimbrel and a male Ring-necked x Tufted Duck resembling a Ring-necked Duck (David Steele).  

7 Common Tern were at Whitehouse Lagoon in Belfast (Gerard McGeehan).

A Swift was at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB (Brad Robson).

15 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Snipe, 1 Stock Dove, 8 Teal, 3 Shelduck, 15 House Martin and 1 Swift were at Strand Lough, Killough. On 23/04/15 there was a Jack Snipe there. (Tim Murphy).

Corbally Reservoir, Portrush, had a 1st summer Iceland Gull; Larrybane had a Twite and 2 Wheaters; Ballintoy had 3 White Wagtail, 3 Wheatear, 2 Raven, and a Common Sandpiper. (Peter Robinson + Coleraine RSPB Group).

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for the pictures of the Jay and the Mistle Thrush

Bird News Monday 27th April.

A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling in the NW corner of Lough Beg, 2 suspected  Jack Snipe where  in rush pasture.(Gareth Bareham)

7 Whimbrel, 21 Brent Geese, 2 Greenshank, 60 Golden Plover and 45 Dunlin were in Killough Harbour. 1 drake Eider and 8 Sandwich Tern were in the outer bay.(Tim Murphy)

 1 adult summer Little Gull, 1 Pochard, 1 Goldeneye, 40 Tufted Duck, 1 Sandwich Tern and 60 Common Tern were at the Quoile Pondage. 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker could be heard drumming from the hide.(Tim Murphy)

Yesterday a Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen at Brackagh Moss,nr Portadown.(Paul Allen) see photo below.
Great Spotted Woodpecker - Paul Allen.

White Wagtail - Stephen Maxwell.

Bird News Sunday 26th April

Yesterday a female Whinchat was at Glenhead Road, Glenwherry (Joe Lamont).

This morning, a dark bellied Brent was at Kinnegar shore. It was later at Lough Shore Park. Also a first summer Iceland Gull, two Manx Shearwaters and a Whimbrel. Two Whimbrel were earlier at Kinnegar (Stuart McKee)

The adult Little Gull was still at the Quoile Pondage, Co Down, from the Castle Island hide. (Keith Bennett)

A summer plumaged Spotted Redshank was in Dundrum bay (Jason Starbuck)

A female Crossbill was at the car park at the southern end of Ballyboley Forest (William Smiton)

In Tyrone a Cuckoo was at Skin Boy Wood near Victoria Bridge (Brian Hegarty)

A Swift was this afternoon at Portmore Lough RSPB Reserve. (Kate McAllister)

The River Braid between Ballymena and Galgorm this morning had 7 Blackcaps
2 Sedge Warblers (John Loughlin and Irene Miller)

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for this pic of a male Greenland Wheatear, Cameron Moore for the Whinchat and Stuart McKee for the Belfast Dark-bellied Brent and the Iceland Gull and Chris Henry for the Common Sandpiper:

Bird News Saturday 25th April

Ballyherly Lough had 4 singing Reed Warbler and 200 Swallow. (Richard Weyl).

A late Whooper Swan was on the Lagan at the weir between Moore's and Union Bridges. It had been on a field nearby but flew to the river where it was harassed by a local Mute Swan. (Eric Randall).

21 White Wagtails were at Oxford Island. (Birdguides).

A flock of Whimbrel were at Killard. (Angus Kennedy).

The first summer Mediteranean Gull was at Belfast WOW reserve (Stuart McKee)

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for the pictures of the Yellowhammer and the Willow Warbler and to Angus Kennedy for the pictures of the Whimbrel and Sand Martin.



Bird News Friday 24th April.

The Ring Ouzel is still present on the Glenhead Rd, Glenwherry Co Antrim.(Joe Lamont) see photo's below
A male Ring Ouzel was at Mount Stewart (Eimear Rooney).

A first-summer Mediterranean Gull was at Belfast Harbour Lagoon.(Brad Robson)

The 2 dark bellied Brent where again in Dundrum South Inner Bay along with 11Whimbrel.(David Nixon)

2 Whimbrel a Red Kite and large numbers of Sand Martin where seen at Corbet Lough, Banbridge.(David McCreedy)

 Swifts were back at Botanic in Belfast (John Pyper).

 A first-year Iceland Gull was at Portrush (Matthew Tickner).

Our thanks to Joe for the pics of the Ring Ouzel

BBC Radio Ulster joins forces with RTE for the Dawn Chorus

Dawn Chorus   

Saturday 2 May – Sunday 3 May

Live on BBC Radio Ulster from Midnight


BBC Radio Ulster is joining forces with RTE to broadcast one of our most beautiful sounds – the dawn chorus live on air from Saturday 2 May at midnightuntil 7am on Sunday 3 May.


Presenter Anne-Marie McAleese, along with Dot Bleakley will be at the RSPB’s Portmore Lough in County Armagh to link up live with RTE’s Derek Mooney and his guests at Cuskinny Marsh Nature Reserve in County Cork. There will also be links with NRK, Norway’s national broadcasting service, and other experts and listeners across Ireland.


Bird News Thursday 23rd April

A Ring Ouzel was at Glenhead Road, Glenwherry this evening, at the same location as the 2011 bird (Gerard McGeehan)

A Hoopoe was in a garden on 13th April, one and a half miles from Balloo Crossroads (on the Downpatrick Road) (Vic Boston)

A male Whinchat was at the Tildarg Dam area near Ballyclare. (Ian Enlander)

Cuckoo's now seem to be widespread. One was on Knocklayde, north Antrim, this morning (Dick Glasgow) and they have been calling in the Fivemiletown area (Colin Bell)

A Spotted Flycatcher was this morning in a garden in Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone. (Colin Bell)

A Grasshopper Warbler was singing in Woodburn forest. Heard from the Slievetrue Road. (George Stewart)

2 Dark-bellied Brent, an adult and a juvenile and presumably the birds previously at Killough Harbour, were with 200 Brent at South Inner Bay, Dundrum today, as were 2 Whimbrels. An adult Dark-bellied Brent was with 40 Brent at Mill Quarter Bay in Strangford Narrows yesterday. (David Nixon)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was intermittently drumming from the woods west of the duck pond at the Silent Valley visitor park around 9am this morning (Dougie Gamble)

Two Grasshopper Warblers were singing from Barnfield Road Derriaghy and one more on Ballycolin road, Slievenacloy, Belfast hills this morning. A Spotted Flycatcher was at Sealstown Road near Mallusk this evening (Eric Randall)

A second hand and unconfirmed report of a possible grey shrike species has come in from Carryduff Sawmill.

Yesterday 3 Sandwich Tern were at the Queen Elizabeth 2 Bridge in Belfast (Andy Elliott)

2 Swifts were at Kirkwoods playing fields in Lisburn. (Peter Casey).

You can email your bird news to or call Flightline on 02891 467408

Thanks to David Hunter for this pic of a Black-tailed Godwit and Dick Glasgow for the Lesser Redpoll:

Bird News Wednesday 22nd April

A single Swift was at Tullagh, Cookstown, Co Tyrone. (Tony McCormick)

A first summer Mediteranean Gull was at Belfast WOW (Brian Murphy)

A Cuckoo was on the Lattone Road, Belcoo, Co. Fermanagh (Eileen McKenzie).

2 Common Sandpiper were at Castle Archdale, Fermanagh (Christine Cassidy)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming at The Argory, Co Armagh and a Common Sandpiper was seen along the Blackwater river. ( Pat Flowerday).

In Fermanagh 38 White Wagtail, a Grasshopper Warbler, Cuckoo and numerous Sedge Warbler were at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB. Yesterday evening 2 Long-eared Owl were present (Brad Robson).  

A Sandwich Tern was at Kinnegar and in south Down a Willow Warbler was at the car park at Murlough and a Cuckoo in the dune area (Tom Clarke).

A Red Kite was close to Tyrella Beach and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was in Tollymore Forest, Newcastle. (Michael Norton).

In south Down 3 Cuckoo (2 males fighting over a female) were at Murlough. 100 Pale-bellied Brent were at Dundrum Bay, another 50/60 at Killough Harbour and 50 at Ballyhornan (David Clarke).

Thanks to Michael Norton for the pictures of the Red Kite and the Great Spotted Woodpecker and to Stephen Maxwell for the pictures of the Blackcap and Willow Warbler.



Bird News Tuesday 21st April

A Grasshopper Warbler was seen at Montiaghs Moss near Aghalee and 3 Whimbrel and 2 White Wagtails were at nearby Lady Bay. (David Nixon)

At least one Cuckoo was at Murlough NNR again today. (Philip McErlean)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was calling at Castle Archdale at Lower Lough Erne (Brad Robson)

A female Great Spotted Woodpecker was showing well at the top of Craigagh Wood, Cushendun

Grasshopper Warblers were singing in a rough field after dark at Cairncastle (David Ledsham)

Many thanks to Dick Glasgow for this Lesser Redpoll pic:

Bird News Monday 20th April

The Great White Egret was still south of Church Island at Lough Beg (Billy Miskelly).

The Spoonbill was still at Ann's point, Strangford Lough ca 6:30. It was in the muddy field by the road. (Keith Bennett)

A male Ring Ouzel is currently along the Antrim Hills Way.  It is amongst Gorse at the base of the cliffs due west of Ballygally. It is at the north end of the curved cliff face (Richard Donaghey)

2 Little Ringed Plover were seen in flight at Paddy's Dub at Lough Beg (Billy Miskelly)

A Spotted Flycatcher was at McKee's Restaurant at Craigantlet (Ian McKee)

7 Common Sandpiper were in Derry along the River Foyle between the railway station and the Foyle Bridge. The Bann Estuary had 350 Golden Plover, 145 Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Whimbrel, 17 Sandwich Tern, 2 White Wagtail, 2 Buzzard and a Grasshopper Warbler in the marsh (Theo Campbell)

2 Whitethroat and a Grasshopper warbler were singing near the entrance of the University in Coleraine this evening. (John Clarke)

A second hand report has come in of a White-tailed Sea Eagle which flew over Castlerock and Mussenden Temple heading west towards Downhill. A White-tailed Eagle was also seen today of Banketnook, Co Donegal (Derek Brennan)

A Cuckoo and a Grasshopper Warbler were at Tardree forest yesterday afternoon. (Thom Shannon and Ruth Maybin)

Grey Partridge - Linda Thompson.

Wheatear - Cameron Moore.

Black Kite

A Black Kite was seen on Tuesday 14th April by Marc Ruddock & Mark Lewis. Photos below by Marc Ruddock. 

Crossed B66 road over my vehicle flying north to south at Cam Forest C765233 and turned west (parallel with power lines) towards Limavady being mobbed by hooded crow:

Bird News Sunday 19th April

A Black Kite was seen on Tuesday in Co Londonderry. Details On separate blog post. (Marc Ruddock and Mark Lewis)

The Spoonbill was still on Strangford Lough, offshore from Mount Stewart (low tide), in front of Chapel Island. (Keith Bennett)

A dark bellied Brent was at Cloughy, a Whimbrel and White Wagtail at Kearney (Philip West)

The Great White Egret was still at Lough Beg, Co Derry, in the bay south of Church Island. Also 10 Ruff in the bay north of Church Island. (Keith Bennett)

Two Cuckoos were at Murlough Bay, Newcastle. (Stuart and Liz McQueen)

A Wood Warbler was singing from tall tree perches along the Hillsborough Road in Lisburn. (Dougie Gamble)

The Little Gull was still at the Quoile Pondage (Ian Jackson)

Blackers Rock along the west shore of Lough Neagh had at least 20 singing Sedge Warbler, a Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Blackcap and numerous Willow Warbler (Godfrey McRoberts)

The Newry Canal between Scarva and Poyntzpass had a Swift, Sand Martin, 21 Chiffchaff, 32 Wilow Warbler, 5 Lesser Redpoll, a Reed Bunting and 2 Sedge Warbler (Fulton Somerville).

A Cuckoo called briefly at Eshywulligan, Roslea, County Fermanagh today.  A House Martin was also seen (Clive Mellon)

A Puffin was seen on Copeland Island this weekend. (Margaret Adamson)

Yesterday two Red Kites were seen at Musgrave Park, Stockmans Lane at about 2:30pm. They were moving east above Boucher Road  towards the City centre. (Phil Molloy)

Thanks to Stuart McQueen for this picture of a Cuckoo at Murlough:

Bird News Saturday 18th April

The first summer Mediteranean Gull was still at RSPB Belfast Harbour WOW (Stuart McKee)

The drake Ring-necked Duck and a Sedge Warbler were at Ballyherly Loug, Co Down. The Spoonbill is still at Anne's Point. (Richard Weyl) At 6:30 the Spoonbill was feeding offshore from Mount Stewart (low tide), in front of Chapel Island. (Keith Bennett)

The adult lLttle Gull was still at the Quoile Pondage, Co Down, from the Castle Island hide. Also 3 Common Terns. (Keith Bennett)

A Grasshopper Warbler was ringed at Portstewart Strand this morning. (Richard Donaghey/John Clarke).

4 White Wagtail were around the Discovery Centre at Oxford Island this morning, 2 Common Tern were in Kinnegoe Bay. (Garry Armstrong).

A Red Kite was over the A1 dual carriageway at Dromore this morning. (Garry Armstrong).

A 1st winter and a 2nd winter Iceland Gull were at Ballycastle. (Colin Guy).

At Lough Beg a Great White Egret was in the bay just to the south of Church Island. 3 Garganey (2 male and a female were in the south-west corner along with 2 Pintail, 12 Shoveler, several thousand duck (mainly Mallard, Teal and Wigeon). 40/50 Black-tailed Godwit, and 2 Whimbrel. Several Blackcap, Willow Warbler and a few Redshank and Lapwing were also noted (Godfrey McRoberts).

2 Swifts were over Belfast Waterworks this evening. (Larry Toal).

A Cuckoo, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were all present at Murlough, County Down this afternoon. (Terry Jones).  
You can share rare and scarce bird news and pictures of local birds via email

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for the picture of a Kestrel, to Derek Polley for the picture of the Little Gull (with a Black-headed Gull), and to Colin Guy for the picture of the 2nd winter Iceland Gull, also below is a picture of one of the White Wagtails from Oxford Island:



Bird News Friday 17th April

A 1st summer Hobby was on Tory Island today, photographed by Anton Meehan yesterday. (Chris Ingram).

The Little Gull was at Collectors bay, opposite the Castle Island hide at the Quoile. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming at the Quoile Centre across the river on a dawn chorus. At the Quoile were 3 Pintail, 20 Black-tailed Godwit, Swallow, Sand Martin, House Martin, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. There were still good numbers of Wigeon, Shoveler and Teal present. (Derek Polley).

A Ruff was off the hide at the Barmouth. (David Hill).

Several Blackcap were at Upperlands Dam in south County Londonderry (David Morrow). 

20 Swallow were at Killyleagh and House Martins back at a breeding colony (Spencer and Joan Marshall).  

Yesterday Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB had a Jack Snipe, 2 Common Sandpiper and a notable arrival of Blackcaps (Brad Robson).

The 1st winter Iceland Gull was still at Ballycastle Marina. A Chough was at Roonivoolin, Rathlin. . Also Willow Warblers were very numerous and at least 50 Wheatears were present on the island’s eastern area. (Colin Guy).

At Oxford Island this evening, there were 14 Swift, a Sedge Warbler, two Common Terns and 2 Common Sandpiper. (James O'Neill).

Thanks to David Hill for the pictures of the Ruff and the Goldcrest and to Dick Glasgow for the pictures of the Wheatear and the Linnet.

Bird News Thursday 16th April

Moyola, Waterfoot, Co.Antrim had 3 Whimbrel and one Common Sandpiper, surprisingly, no hirundines over L Neagh. (Dermot Hudges)

7 Whimbrel went West at Ramore Head (Derek McIntyre) 

This evening a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling and two chipping Snipe at Whitehead Jubilee Wood (Adam McClure)

The first summer Mediteranean Gull was still at the RSPB WOW Reserve (Stuart McKee)

A Ruff and 15 Black-tailed Godwits at Glynn (Hill Dick/Peter Robinson)

The juvenile dark-bellied Brent was still in Killough Harbour. Also a Whimbrel. (Chris Murphy)

Yesterday at Carn Hill windfarm Woodburn Co Antrim had 2 Jack Snipe , 35 Common Snipe and 20 Wheatear.(Dermot Hudges)

Our thanks to Margaret Adamson who found this leucistic Chaffinch at Mountstewart Co Down. 
Also to Richard Gowen for the picture of a Blackcap taking a break on board a survey ship in the Irish Sea:

Bird News Wednesday 15th April

10 Chiffchaff, 8 Willow Warbler and 5 Blackcap were between Scrabo Tower and the North Quarry (Dot Blakely).

4 Wheatear were at Knocklayde in north Antrim. (Dick Glasgow).

A first summer Mediterranean Gull was at Belfast Harbour WOW Reserve. (Wilton Farrelly / Stuart McKee)

A Chough was heard on the causeway coastal path between the Giants Causeway and Dunseverick today. (Norma Wallace).

A Common Sandpiper and 3 Chiffchaff were at Sion Mills (Brian Hegarty).

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for the picture of the Wheatear, Karl Martin for the picture of the Chiffchaff and Neil Cartmill for the picture of the Meadow Pipit.

Bird News Tuesday 14th April

A second-summer male Marsh Harrier was at the yacht club end of the Quoile Pondage (Billy Miskelly)

11 White Wagtail, a Common Sandpiper, Blackcap, 2 Swallow and lots of Willow Warbler wee at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB Reserve (Brad Robson)

Approx 1000 Golden Plover in summer plumage at Bann Estuary, Castlerock.  (Sandy McWilliams and Stuart McQueen)

A Cuckoo was heard calling between 18 - 20hrs this evening on the Coleraine campus of the University of Ulster. (Ken and Dorothy Perry)

Thanks to Noeni Bryars for this pic of a Common Sandpiper from Belfast WOW yesterday: