Bird News New Year's Eve

The Ring-billed Gull is back at Carrickfergus harbour.(Paul McCullough).

The Marsh Harrier and the Red-head Smew were both still at Portmore RSPB. (Seamus Feeney).

A Great Northern Diver was off the harbour in Newcastle. (Daniel Newton).

A Great Northern Diver was off Crawfordsburn this morning. (Derek Polley).

Thanks to Neal Warnock for this picture of a Dark-bellied Brent, a Pale-bellied Brent and a leucistic Brent from Myroe yesterday.

Bird News Friday 30th December

This afternoon, there was a first winter Iceland gull off Strickland's Glen, Bangor West. (Philip Watson)

18 Snipe and a Pintail were at RSPB WOW (Gerard McGeehan)

A Barnacle Goose, a dark-bellied Brent Goose along with a leucistic Brent where at Myroe Levels, a Glaucous Gull was on the Corbally Rd reservoir in Portrush.(Neal Warnock)

A second winter Kumliens Gull was at Whitehouse lagoon. (Stuart McKee)

41 Scaup were off Dargan (Daniel Newton)

Thanks to Stuart McKee for the pic of the Kumliens Gull and David Hunter for the Sanderling:


Bird News Thursday 29th December

A flock of 18 Waxwings were over Birch Green, Glengormley, with a Sparrowhawk (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

Two Waxwings were at the west end of Clogher at noon today (Richard Gray)

28 Scaup were off Dargan (Daniel Newton)

Rathlin today had 30 Twite, 3 Common Scoter and a Gadwall & bottlenose dolphins were seen from the ferry. (Neal Warnock).

A Barn Owl flew across the road at Annahilt Orange Hall at 17.04 today. (Gayle & Garry Wilkinson).

A Little Gull was at Ballycastle. (Gareth Platt).

The Green-winged Teal was seen again at the Ecos Park, Ballymena. (Jeff Larkin).

Both the Red Head Smew and the Marsh Harrier were still at Portmore RSPB this morning. (Garry Armstrong).

An adult and a 2nd winter Little Gull were at Bishopscourt this afternoon. (Ian Jackson)

Thanks to Gareth for these pictures of the Little Gull:


Bird News Wednesday 28th December

The flock of 40+ Waxwing were still present Birch Green, Newtownabbey. These birds can be absent from the street for long periods. (Richard Hunter)

A first winter Iceland Gull was at Whitehouse Lagoon (Stuart McKee)

The female Goosander is still at Six Mile Water Park, Ballyclare but now in the Duck Pond. Still there at 1300 hrsAt RSPB Portmore Lough this afternoon the female/first winter Smew was still present. (Tom Ennis/Tony Dodds)

Thanks to Rod Gillan for this pic of a Blackcap in a garden in Portstewart:

Bird News Tuesday 27th December

2 Iceland Gull(adult & 1st winter) where seen at E'killen dump.(Brad Robson)

A female Smew was at the RSPB Portmore Lough reserve,2 Little Egret where also present.(G.McGeehan/Shirley Dunlop)

30 Waxwing where at Birch Green, Newtownabbey.(Birdguides)

Bird News Boxing Day

Four Goosanders, 1 a male, were on Lough Island Reavey this morning. (Ron Price).

20 Waxwings were in Ballyhenry Road, Glengormley. (Birdguides).

A1st winter Glaucous Gull and about 25 Long-tailed Duck were at Glasagh Bay, Fanad in Donegal. A single Manx Shearwater was off Fanad Lighthouse. (Wilton Farrelly).

The Great White Egret was in Tully Bay, Lower Lough Erne, near the Church Hill picnic area on the Lough Shore Road. (Annette Elkin).

A Barn Owl was seen flying towards a marshy area on Windmill Road in Hillsborough this evening. (Gary Wilkinson).

Thanks to Annette Elkin for these pictures of the Great White Egret.

Bird News, Christmas Day

Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas.

5 Waxwings were in trees on the Hillsborough Old Rd, Lisburn this morning. (Eric Randall)

The Ring-billed Gull was still at the Round O, Enniskillen (Gavin Thomas)

Bird News Saturday 24th December

The Ring-billed Gull was still at the Round-O, Enniskillen (Wilton Farrelly)

The Marsh Harrier was still showing well at RSPB Portmore Lough. Also there are around 30 Pintail on the lough. (Laura Smith)

3 Jack Snipe were today at Aughnagurgan Lough, Co. Armagh and 2 at Clay Lake, Co. Armagh. (David Knight)

A pair of Goosanders were today on the Erne at Belleek for a couple of hours (Paul McGahon)

Blackcaps continue to be reported from gardens.

We wish all viewers and contributors of the Blog, a Merry Christmas.

Ring-billed Gull - Wilton Farrelly
Tree Sparrow, Portstewart - Rod Gillan

Bird News Friday 23rd December

The Ring-billed Gull was still at the Round O, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

Bird News Thursday 22nd December

The Green-winged Teal was still present at the Ecos Park, Ballymena. (Jeff Larkin)

The female Goosander was at Ballyclare again this morning (Neal Warnock)

There was a Jack Snipe on the NW slope of Croaghan Hill, County Antrim this morning (Clive Mellon)

Thanks to Neal for this pic of the Goosander:

Bird News Wednesday 21st December

The Waxwings were still about Carnvue, Carnmoney and surrounding area. This is the fourth day in the area. (David Adrian)

Bird News Tuesday 20th December

A flock of Waxwings are currently at Carnvue Road, Carnmoney. (David Adrian)

The drake Green-winged Teal was still at the Ecos Centre, Ballymena. The female Goosander was at Six Mile Water Park, Ballyclare, downstream side of the bridge. 20+ Waxwings were still at Carnvue Road, Carnmoney at 2.30 but the birds were very flighty. (Tom Ennis & Tony Dodds).

38 Shoveler and 14 Gadwall were at Dargan. (Adam McClure)

Thanks to David Adrian for the pictures of the Waxwings and to Lesley Barker for the picture of the Redpoll.


Bird News Monday 19th December

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen over Stiles Way, Antrim today (Davy Hunter)

Two Sandwich Terns were at Groomsport today (Philip Watson)

A Little Egret was off Sandown Road, near Clara Park, Belfast today (Richard Somerville)

1300 Common Scoter, 3 female/imm Velvet Scoter a Great Northern Diver and 30 Red-throated Divers were off Tyrella today (Chris Murphy)

A redhead Goosander was on the river in the Six Mile River Park in Ballyclare today (Brenda Campbell)

Thanks to John Parkinson for this pic of Waxwings at Broughshane last Saturday and Brenda Campbell for the Goosander:


Bird News Sunday 18th December

A flock of 37 Waxwing are at the west end of Broughshane, Co Antrim (Wilton Farrelly)

The drake Green-winged Teal was still at the Ecos Centre, Ballymena (Jeff Larkin). You can see a video of the bird by Daniel Newton at;

A red head Smew and 2 Kingfisher were at Portmore Lough RSPB (Karen Elliott)

The drake King Eider was still off Mermaids Cove, Mullaghmore, Co Sligo (Michael Bell)

The drake Smew and a Green-winged Teal were at Inch, Co Donegal (BirdGuides).

You can share news on rare or scarce birds with others via  Twitter: @nibirds or Text: 00 44 7870 863782.

Thanks to Neal Warnock for this pic of one of the Broughshane Waxwings:

Bird News Saturday 17th December

The Green-winged Teal was still at the Ecos Park, Ballymena. (Jeff Larkin)

An adult Yellow Legged Gull was at Whitehouse Park around four pm (Stuart McKee).

Four Snow Buntings were on Slieve Gullion in Co. Armagh. (David Knight).

Thanks to David for the pictures of the Snow Buntings.


Bird News Friday 16th December.

Kingfisher - Phillip McErlean

Two Waxwings were reported by Lady Moyola, feeding on berries in Moyola Park, Castledawson today (Chris Murphy)

Bird News Thursday 15th December

Two Velvet Scoter were with the Common Scoter flock just south of the harbour in Newcastle. (Joe Devlin).

Belfast Lough WOW reserve at high tide this morning had 150+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 200+ Dunlin, 300+ Lapwing, 120+ Shelduck 540+ Teal, 225+ Wigeon, 200+ Knot, 13 Snipe and a male Pintail. (Derek Polley).

A Brambling was with a flock of Chaffinches in a garden in Islandmagee. (Robert McDowell).

Bird News Wednesday 14th December

The drake Green-winged Teal was still at the Ecos Centre, Ballymena (Jeff Larkin)

A Brambling, along with over  60 other finches, was in a garden at Gilnahirk, Belfast. (Ron Price)

2 Pink-footed Geese were with 83 Greenland Whitefronts at Lough Macnean, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

On Sunday 11th, 3 Little Gulls and a Ruff were at Dundrum Bay.  On Saturday 10th there were 31 Shoveler, 5 Pintail and a flock of 1010 Lapwing on the Quoile pondage. (David Bryant)

Lower Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh today had 2 Great White Egrets, at least 5 Little Egrets, 1 red head Smew at Castle Caldwell along with 1 Great N Diver (Fionnbarr Cross)

In Sligo, at Mermaids Cove, Mullaghmore, the drake King Eider and Velvet Scoter were still present (Michael Bell)

Thanks to Wilf Swain for this pic of a Goldfinch and David Bryant for the Little Gull:

Bird News Tuesday 13th December.

A Green-winged Teal was seen at the Ecos park in Ballymena, a Water Rail was also present.(Jeff Larkin) see pic below.

Blackcaps are now being reported in gardens (Derek Polley et al)

On Sunday 20 Common Scoter were approximately a mile offshore in Bangor Bay. (George Henderson)

You can share rare or scarce bird news with other birders by emailing details to

The Green winged Teal is the left hand bird in the reeds.

Bird News Sunday 11th December

A Great White Egret was in a field at Ardilea, near Dundrum, early afternoon (Chris Henry)

A large flock of 300 Chaffinch and one Brambling were in west Fermanagh this afternoon. (Brad Robson)

A pair of Common Scoter were close in at Kinnegar this morning (Daniel Newton)

Tyrella beach had 18+ Twite, and two Long-tailed Duck (Garry Armstrong)

21 Purple Sandpiper were at Newcastle Harbour (Wilton Farrelly)

A Black Redstart was in Botanic Gardens, Belfast. It was in the rose bushes to the left of the pergola as you go up to it (Dan Barry)

198 Pintail were at The Maltings, Newtownards (John Moore)

A drake King Eider was at Mermaids Cove, Mullaghmore, Co Sligo. A Velvet Scoter was also present. (Annette Elkin)

Thanks to Annette for this pic of the King Eider:

Bird News Saturday 10th December

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at the mouth of Inver River (looks like Drains Bay bird) & 2 Velvet Scoters were still off Glynn. (Neal Warnock).

Both the Siberian Chiffchaff and the common Chiffchaff were still around the Discovery Centre at Oxford Island. A Little Egret was at the mouth of the Closet River. (Garry Armstrong).

The 1st winter Greenland White-fronted Goose was with Greylags at Glynn. A Slavonian Grebe was also present. (Neal Warnock).

Farland Bank, Inch Lake this morning had 2 Kingfishers, a Smew, 1 Goldeneye, & 2 Mergansers. (Dermot Mc Laughlin & Christine Cassidy).

An escaped Mandarin Duck was in Sionmills. (Brian Hegarty). 

Thanks to Neal Warnock for the picture of the Iceland Gull, to Angus Kennedy for the picture of the Pintails and to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Smew.

Bird News Friday 8th December

The Marsh Harrier was still at Portmore Lough this morning (Neal Warnock)

An adult Mediterranean Gull, East Strand Car Park, Portrush, also flew back and forth to the beach (Hill Dick)

5 Pink-footed Geese were with a large number of Barnacle Geese at Trawbreaga Bay, Inishowen in Donegal (Michael McLaughlin).

Whooper Swans - Stephen Maxwell.
Smew (this bird is at Inch, Co Donegal) - David Hill

Redwing & Fieldfares - Christine Cassidy.

Bird News Thursday 8th December

Eight Snow Buntings today at Keady Mountain near Limavady (David Steele)

Male Smew showing very well at Inch floodgates, Co Donegal (Hill Dick/Peter Robinson)

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for this pic of two Dippers and Rod Gillan for the Reed Bunting:



Bird News Wednesday 7th December

The 2nd w Ring-billed gull remains at Round O, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. (Brad Robson).

2 Slavonian Grebe were in the Strangford Narrows opposite Kilclief and a Merlin was 50yds along entrance road to Kearney. (Dick Haydon).

Bird News Monday 5th December

Seven Goosanders, two males and five redheads, were at Lough Island Reavy today. A Red Kite was overhead. (David Nixon)

An immature Iceland Gull was seen at Ballygalley and subsequently at Drains Bay, Larne (Neal Warnock)

Whitehead had a morning flypast of 64 Red-throated Diver and 9 Great Northern Diver between 08.15 - 09.10, all flying into Belfast Lough (Ian Enlander)

There were five Great Northern Divers of Portstewart Head today, (Sean Hickey)

Yesterday a Chiffchaff was seen in woodland at Blacker’s Rock, Lough Neagh, Co. Tyrone. Also a male Stonechat was present in the reedbeds, which are irregular at this site. (Godfrey McRoberts)

A Red Kite was over Dundrum on Sunday morning (Cathal Ferris)

Thanks to Rod Gillan for this pic of Golden Plover at Portstewart Strand and Dessie Loughrey for the Buzzard:

Golden Plover, Rod Gillan:

Buzzard, Dessie Loughrey:

Bird News Sunday 4th December

3 adult winter Med Gulls were off the Gas Works in Strangford Lough. (Philip West/Garry Armstrong)

Yesterday a small group of Crossbills were in the Fardross area, near Clogher Co Tyrone. (Colin Bell)

The drake Smew was still at Inch Lake, Co Donegal, along with two Ruff (Brian Murphy)

We would like to pass on our condolences to the family of Norma Percival-Price who has passed away suddenly.

Thanks to Thomas Campbell for this pic of a Fieldfare:

The Ultimate Bucket List

Keith Betton (co-editor of 'Behind the Binoculars' with Mark Avery) will be giving an NIOC talk at the Ulster Museum, Stranmillis Road, Belfast on Wednesday 7 December at 7.30 pm. The talk is titled 'The Ultimate Bucket List' - 20 birds to see before you die, selected by Keith from his life list of approximately 7200 birds! A life-long bird-watcher, Keith is an avid traveller and has visited around 100 countries.

Bird News Saturday 3rd December

The Great White Egret was at Lowery Bay not far from Roscor viaduct in Co. Fermanagh, see picture below. (Annette Elkin).

A Ring-necked Duck was at Lough Shivnagh in Donegal (Birdguides) and a Black Duck at Templehouse Lake in Sligo. (Seamus Feeney). 

Great White Egret Annette Elkin;

Bird News Friday 2nd December.

12 Waxwings were at the bottom of My Lady's Mile Holywood, before flying off in the direction of Sullivan School. (John Edwards)

It is now confirmed that there are indeed 2 Great White Egrets currently in Co Fermanagh , yesterday one was at Rosscor and the other near the Lough gates. (Brad Robson)

An adult Little Egret was at Mullagh River at Maghera (David Morrow).

Thanks to Thomas Campbell for this picture of a Goldcrest:

Bird News Thursday 1st December

A Slavonian Grebe was at Lough Beg today, also 25 Little Egrets and ten Ruff (David Steele)

Bird News Wednesday 30th November

Yesterday the Ring-necked Duck and 20 Whooper were at the Quoile. (Tony Donaldson).

A Chiffchaff was along the Newry Canal south of Scarva this morning, the Kingfisher was still present. (Frank Carroll).

Thanks to Tony Donaldson for the pictures of the Goldcrest and the Buzzard.

Bird News Tuesday 29th November

Maybe 2 Great White Egrets on Lower Lough Erne, one at west end and 1 at Inishmakill/Glenross Bay.(Brad Robson)

A Waxwing was at Kearney, Co Down (Dave Allen)

Another Waxwing was in a garden in Eglinton today (Jonny W)

A Ruff, 2 Little Egret, 40 Knot  and10 Bar-tail Godwits were at Whitehouse (Gerard McGeehan)

Yesterday 7 Sandwich Tern were at Portaferry (John Wilson Foster)

A Little Egret was in Orangefield Park, Belfast this morning (Rhona Galway)

A walk along the Scarva towpath to-day produced a Kingfisher a Water Rail and lots of Redwing.(Karen Elliott)

Slightly further afield... A male Smew and a Ruff where at Inch Lake Co. Donegal and 12 Long-tailed Duck all of which seem to be female type seen at Mill Bay off Inch Island. (David/Phillip McHaffie)

At Murvagh, Rossnowlagh, a drake Surf Scoter was with 1700 Common Scoter (Ralph Shepperd)

For those following the A6 Toome Road issues, an appeal is to be heard into it.

Mediterranean Gull -Garteth  Platt.

Bird News Monday 28th November

Two Chiffchaffs were feeding together at the Discovery Centre at Oxford Island. One of them is a clear ssp. collybitta but the other paler one is a Siberian Chiffchaff, ssp. tristis. A video recording which includes the call - can be seen here:  (James O'Neill)

88 Whooper Swans and two Mute Swans were at the Billy Neil Playing Fields outside comber (Stephen Maxwell and Harry Byron)

A flock of 14 Snow Buntings seen this afternoon at Skerry Hill near the Altnahinch Road, Antrim Plateau. (David Steele)

Two Little Egret were on Lower Lough Erne (Brad Robson)

A second winter Mediterranean Gull was at Glenarm (Gareth Platt)

Thanks to James for this picture of the Siberian Chiffchaff and Stephen Maxwell for the Whoopers:

Bird News Sunday 27th November

Two Chiffchaffs were at Oxford Island this morning, one pale bird resembling a Siberian Chiffchaff. But pictures confirmed that it was not Siberian but a pale Common Chiffchaff. See pictures below.  (Garry Armstrong).

The Water Pipit was looked for at the gasworks but without success (Daniel Newton et al)

Three Sandwich Tern and four Carrion Crows were at Ballyholme, Bangor (Wilton Farrelly)

The two Velvet Scoters and two Long-tailed Duck were off Glynn (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

On the east side of Strangford Lough the Spoonbill was south of Anne’s Point and at Marlfield there were 5 Sandwich Tern (Richard Weyl)

There Sandwich Tern were also seen at Portaferry (Richard Weyl / John Wilson Foster).

There are now five Goosanders (an adult male and four females) along the River Main at Slaght near Ballymena. (David Steele).

Pale Common Chiffchaff at Oxford Island:


Bird News Saturday 26th November

A Water Pipit was on the  shore near the Gasworks outside Newtownards. (Julian Greenwood).

The two Velvet Scoter were still off Glyn Station, Larne Lough (Neal Warnock)

The Long-tailed Duck was still off Kinnegar (Daniel Newton)

5 Long-tail Ducks were off Fishermans Quay, Carrickfergus. Another 3 were off Greenisland (Gerard McGeehan).

An albino Jackdaw was in Magherafelt this afternoon. (Gary Cunningham).

A female Merlin was just north of Ardglass.(James O'Neill)

Bird News Friday 25th November

A Green Sandpiper was near the yacht club on the Quoile yesterday around midday. (Julian Greenwood)

A Red Kite flew over the A1 at Banbridge.(Karen Elliott)

Slightly further afield..Innishowen Co.Donegal had 345 Barnacle Geese, 5 Pink-footed Geese, 3 Little Egrets,4 Great Northern Divers beyond village. There was 450 Barnacles at Malin Head, 12 Red-throated Divers and 14 Twite at Ballyliffin.(Richard Gray)

60 Slavonian Grebe, 5 Long-tailed Duck and a Common Scoter were between Ballykelly and Myroe, Lough Foyle this afternoon in flat calm conditions. (Matthew Tickner).

Tyrella beach this afternoon had: Dunlin 24, Sanderling 31, Golden plover +80, Ringed Plover 13, Curlew 3, Black-tailed Godwit 1, Oystercatcher 15, Little Egret 1, Merganser 4, Red-throated Diver 1, Shag 1, Cormorant 1, Black-headed Gull +70, Common Gull 10, Twite 2, Goldfinch 2, Greenfinch 1, Stonechat 1, Pied wagtail 2. (Toni Costello).

45+ Whooper Swans were in a field alongside the Comber - Ards dual carriageway. (Derek Polley).


Bird News Thursday 24th November

The Great White Egret, a Little Egret and a late Common Sandpiper were at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB reserve in Co. Fermanagh. (Amy Burns & Fionnbarr Cross).

The two juvenile/female Velvet Scoters were still off Macedon Point in Belfast Lough. (Stuart McKee).

The Ring-necked Duck was still at the Quoile. (Joe Devlin).
A Little Egret was on the small steam that runs under Castle Street in Comber this morning. (Chris Shaw).

Thanks to Rod Gillan for the pictures of the Golden Plover and the Stonechat.

Bird News Wednesday 23rd November

The Spoonbill was beside Rough Island, Strangford Lough, viewed from Island Hill car park at 2:45pm (Robin Vage)

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Mill Quarter Bay in Co Down today (David Nixon)

The Drake Ring-necked Duck was present at Lough Mourne today. Observers (Ray Bennett, Carol Gillespie, Nigel Moore and Tom Ennis)

A Merlin and ten Little Egret were at Myroe along with excellent numbers of wildfowl (Sean Hickey)

The Marsh Harrier was showing at Portmore Lough RSPB Reserve this morning (Ronald Surgenor)

Remember that you can share rare / scarce bird news by email:  Thanks to all observers for their sightings. 

Bird News Tuesday 22nd November

A pair of Goosanders (male and female) were along the River Main at Slaght, near Ballymena this morning. (David Steele).

A drake Ring-necked Duck and three Scaup were among 11 species of duck at the Quoile this morning. Also three Whoopers (1 juv), Little Egret, adult Mediterranean Gull (with red ring) and a partially leucistic Lapwing. In Killough Harbour there was a Peregrine and an impressive murmuration of Starlings. (Chris and Tim Murphy).

A Brambling was at Islandmagee and a White-fronted Goose was at Steele's Point in Larne Lough, see pictures below. (Cameron Moore).

Thanks to Cameron for the pictures of the Brambling and the White-fronted Goose.


Bird News Monday 21st November

A Brambling was seen along the coast at Larne (Jason Bain)

A first-winter Iceland Gull was at the Waterworks Park, Belfast. (David Knight)

There is a report that a Lesser Scaup was shot on Lough Neagh on the 10th September (Kris Gibb / John Edwards)

Thanks to Jason for a pic of the Brambling:

Bird News Sunday 20th November

2 Velvet Scoter off Glynn station, also 48 Whooper and a Long Tailed Duck. (Garry Armstrong / Philip West) Two Goosander were also seen (Neal Warnock)

A Snow Bunting was on the beach at White Park Bay, Co Antrim (Wilton Farrelly)

An American Wigeon has been reported at Dundrum Bay, Co Down (Birdguides)

At Greyabbey Bay were 5 Slavonian grebe and a Black-throated Diver. At Horse Island there was a Whimbrel. On 13th 7 Sandwich Tern were south of Millisle‎ and another 3 south of Burial Island. (Richard Weyl)

A first winter Greenland White-fronted Goose was at Larne Lough  (Cameron Moore)

132 Pintail were 300m south of the Maltibgs at Strangford Lough. A Merlin was also at Kearney (John Moore) 

Thanks to our photographers today:

Cameron Moore, Greenland White-fronted Goose:

John Moore, Merlin:

Stephen Maxwell, Mediterranean Gull:

You can see more local bird photographs at: