Bird News Monday 29th February

There were 7 Ruff at Reedy Flat today with a mixed flock of Golden Plover and Lapwing. (James O'Neill).

6 Whooper Swans were in the bay at Ballintoy. (Colin Guy).

Thanks to Jason Bain for this picture of a Buzzard.

Bird News Sunday 28th February

A juv White Tailed Eagle was seen on Rathlin Island from Church Bay drifting westwards, other birds of note where 2 Chough and a Merlin.(Colin Guy)

An adult Ring-billed Gull and 3 adult Med. Gulls where at Glynn this afternoon.(Neal Warnock)

On the east side of Strangford 29 Slavonian Grebe (25 between Greyabbey and Kircubbin, 2 at Horse Island and 2 at Newtownards Sailing Club) and 4 Black-throated Diver at Horse Island.(Richard Weyl)

The ever popular Black Redstart was still showing well around Newcastle harbour.(Phillip West)

A very late report of a Montagu's Harrier seen last Tuesday(23rd) was reported to Irishbirding to-day, it was seen at Crigshane, a wind farm south of Killeter Co.Tyrone, we have no other info. on the bird.

Bird News Saturday 27th February

The Glossy Ibis was seen again at Toome this afternoon (Annette Elkin)

The 2nd winter Iceland Gull was still at Whitehouse, Belfast Lough (Brian Murphy)

A Little Egret was giving good views at Moat Park, Dundonald (Karl Martin)

There was a hunting Merlin at Portmore Lough this evening. (James O'Neill)

In Donegal the male Smew and 2 male Scaup were at Inch Lake, and a Greenland White-fronted Goose, a Barnacle and 3 Pink-footed Geese were with 1,000 Greylag Geese at Inch Levels (Richard Gray)

For anyone interested, one space remains on the day trip to Islay and Jura tomorrow. Travel conditions are forecast to be excellent so if you are interested, please contact Jim Wells on 07856 235144 ASAP.

Thanks to Karl Martin for this pic of the Little Egret and Annette Elkin for the Glossy Ibis:

Bird News Friday 26th February

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the Stormont Estate. (Paul McCullough).

The adult Mediterranean Gull, now in summer plumage, was at the north promenade in Newcastle (Leonard Charles).

The Glossy Ibis was still on the Antrim side of the River Bann at Toome this afternoon. (Neal Warnock).

A pair of Goosander was along the River Maine at Slaght in Ballymena. Lough Beg had 24 Pintial, 30 Shoveler and 750 Black-tailed Godwit. The fem/imm Smew and 8 Little Egret were at Mullagh, and 11 Ruff in wet fields at the Creagh (David Steele).  

Thanks to Ray Brogan for the picture of the Sparrowhawk and to Cecil Smyth for the picture of the Twite at Whitehead boatyard.


Lost Binoculars?

A high quality pair of Nikon binoculars has been found at Strand Lough, Killough. If you were the owner, you can contact the finder at 075473623232

Bird News Thursday 25th February.

A female Smew  was at Lough Beg Mullagh and 6 Little Egret all together roosting in a tree at East side of Lough Beg.( Gareth Bareham)

A second year Mediterranean Gull and the third-year Iceland Gull were at Loughshore Park (Stuart McKee).

 Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB had a fem/imm Smew, 2 Goosander and 2 Great Northern Diver (Fionbarr Cross, Amy Burns).

An Iceland Gull was at the marina on Lough Foyle.(Martina Boyle)

At 08.20 this morning a Red Kite flew over the Motorway approx. two miles from the Moira roundabout , heading towards Lurgan.(Tim Ryan).

1 Barnacle Goose was amongst a flock of 89 Canada Geese and 52 Greylag Geese in Co. Fermanagh. (Gareth Buchanan).

Twite - Cameron Moore.
Jay - Martina Boyle.
Barnacle Goose - Gareth Buchanan

Greenfinch - Wilfred Swain


Day trip to Islay & Jura

With the settled weather conditions, a day trip to Islay & Jura is planned for this Sunday, departing Ballycastle. Two places are left on the boat.
The purpose of the trip will be to see the large geese flocks, Golden Eagles, White-tailed Eagles and of course wonderful scenery. If you are interested in this day trip, please contact Jim Wells ASAP on 07856 235144.

Bird News Wednesday 24th February

Myroe had 3 Little Egret, 4 Buzzards, a Kingfisher And 7 Greenshank. Magilligan had a female Merlin. (Christine Cassidy & Ray Brogan)

12 Twite were at Kilroot today (Linda Thompson)

You can see more pictures of local birds at:

Thanks to Christine for this pic of a Greenshank and Linda for the Twite:

Christine Cassidy, Greenshank:

Linda Thompson, Twite:

Bird News Tuesday 23rd February

A female Merlin was at the farm at Ballyhornan. (Karl Hamilton).

The Lesser Scaup was still at Dargan in Belfast Lough.(Tom Ennis & Ray Bennett).

Thanks to Marty McClenaghan for the picture of the Goldcrest.


As from the 18th March, Flightline (the free telephone information service) will finally close down. Flightline has been running everyday since 1980 and has provided much needed information on the rare and scarce birds seen in Northern Ireland and also, on occasions, rarities seen in the ROI. The service has been provided in all that time by only two people - George and Pat Gordon. Their dedication and enthusiasm  has been incredible. We could not think of anyone within Northern Ireland who would have shown so much commitment for 36 years to provide everyone with daily news, for no personal gain?
Before the days of Flightline, you had to be "in the know" or on the "Grapevine" to learn of any rare bird that turned up in the Province and when you did eventually hear about it, the bird could be long gone. So it was decided by the NIBA committee off the time, to make rare/scarce birds available to everyone, and Flightline was created. This service was very popular for a number of years with local birders seeing rarities such as Whites Thrush, White-billed Diver, Ross's Gull and King Eider all via information from Flightline. However with the advent of the Internet, smartphones, tablets and laptops, information could be sourced and shared immediately. As more and more people turned to their mobile phones Flightline alas, has become a service that has numerous alternatives, such as this Blog, that cost less money to run and are more flexible to run.

We are therefore immensely thankful to George and Pat for their dedication, enthusiasm and support in the last 36 years. Let's hope that George and Pat now enjoy their free evenings, they both deserve it!

Bird News Monday 22nd February.

The Black Redstart was still around the harbour at Newcastle.(Guy Hamilton)

A red-head Smew was at the Mullagh, Lough Beg. 10 Pintail were on Lough Beg intake and 6 Little Egrets all together in a tree roost along the east shore of Lough Beg today (Gareth Bareham)

Sparrowhawk - Christine Cassidy.

Golden Plovers - Linda Thompson.

Bird News Sunday 21st February

A Long-tailed Duck and 3 Slavonian Grebe were at Newtownards Sailing Club (Richard Weyl)

There are now 4 Iceland Gulls around Coleraine and a Med gull in Portrush. (John Clarke)

The drake Lesser Scaup was seen again today at Dargan, Belfast Lough (Gerard McGeehan)

The Glossy Ibis was outside Toome today – feeding in the flooded field on the east bank of the River Bann beside the bridge. (Seamus Burns)

The Ring-billed Gull was still at Carrickfergus and the second winter Iceland Gull at Whitehouse, Belfast Lough. (Paul Clingan / Brian Murphy)

A Chiffchaff was at Derryboye, Crossgar, this morning. A Chiffchaff was also at Reedy Flat, Lough Neagh this afternoon. 5 Slavonian Grebe were at Greyabbey Bay (James O'Neill)

Thanks to John Clarke for the pics below of an Iceland Gull and a Mediterranean Gull:

Bird News Saturday 20th February

The red-head Smew was still at Drumgay Lough, Enniskillen (Wilton Farrelly)

The drake Smew, five Pink-footed Geese and four Barnacle Geese were seen at Inch, Co Donegal today (Brian Murphy)

Killybeggs had a first winter Kumliens Gull and four Iceland Gulls (Irish Birding)

Thanks to Angus Kennedy for this pic of a male Blackcap visiting his garden:

Bird News Friday 19th February

2 Iceland Gulls were in Belfast Lough. One at Loughshore and another was off Whitehouse (Gerard McGeehan).

The Little Egret was seen again at Moat Park in Dundonald.

A Black-headed Gull with an orange leg ring 2anx and a Common Gull with an orange ring 2ao6, were in Carrickfergus. (Cameron Moore).

Three Otters were along the north coast. (Sean Hickey)

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the pictures of the Brent Geese and the Curlew and to Cameron Moore for the picture of the Grey Wagtail.


Bird News Thursday 18th February

About 40 Twite were still at Whitehead (Gerard McGeehan)

Two adult and one juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls were back at the Tesco warehouse roof colony in Antrim (Mark Smyth)

The Pink-footed and White-fronted Geese are still with the Greylag flock at Larne Lough between Magheramorne and Ballycarry (Linda Thompson)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen this morning in Slieve Gullion Forest Park Co Armagh (Frank Carroll)

Thanks to Linda for this pic of the Pink-footed Goose:

Bird News Wednesday 17th February

The Iceland Gull was at Whiteabbey, Belfast Lough today. 310 Pied Wagtails were counted going to roost in the trees at Bridge Street, Belfast City this evening. (Paul McCullough)

Portrush today had 29 Purple Sandpipers on the Lansdowne shoreline (Hill Dick / Sean Hickey)

The Ring-billed Gull was at East Strand Car Park. (Hill Dick)

The flooded fields opposite the brickworks in Killough had 2,000 Golden Plover, 1,000 Lapwing, 50 Dunlin, a Little Egret and 2 Shelduck (David Clarke)

For an update on one of the ringed Twite at Whitehead, see:

Thanks to Karl Martin for this picture of a Kingfisher at Pattons Marsh, Newtownards:

Barn Owl from Co Kerry found in NI

A Barn Owl ringed in County Kerry has been found dead in Northern Ireland. You can see more on this fascinating story at:

Bird News Tuesday 16th February

No news so far today.

Thanks to Wilf Swain for these pictures of a Red Kite and to David Hill for the picture of the Barnacle Geese from Donegal.


Bird News Monday 15th February.

A Spotted Redshank was at Ballykelly (Lough Foyle). The count of the whole Foyle produced 37 Slavonian Grebe, 17 Red-throated Diver, 18 Common Scoter and 10 Little Egret (Gareth Bareham, Matthew Tickner).

A Woodcock was flushed in the Balloo Wetlands reserve, Bangor Co.Down.(David McCormick).

The Black Redstart was still at Newcastle harbour and a Red Kite was at Clough. (Karl Martin).

2 Choughs were present on Rathlin. Also present was 1 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 30+ Song thrushes and 5 Wigeon .(Colin Guy).

Black Redstart - Karl Martin

Kestrel - Karl Martin

Dunlin - Wilfred Swain.
Goldfinch - Wilfred Swain

Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre - Re-opening

 The RSPB Seabird centre is set to re-open after major refurbishment on THURSDAY 24TH MARCH. It is a great place to see seabirds like Puffins, Kittiwakes and Guillemots at close hand. The centre will open until September. For RSPB members admission is free for non-members there is a fee of £5.00 for adults and £2.50 for children, more details can be found

Bird News Sunday 14th February

A male Brambling is still visiting a garden in Gilnahirk, Belfast. (Ron Price)

A male Brambling was in a garden in Glenwherry, Ballymena today (Gregory Moorehead)

The Spoonbill and four Pintail were at Castle Espie (Jason Cray)

The Black Redstart was still at Newcastle Harbour (Birdguides)

The drake Smew, four Barnacle Geese and six Pink-footed Geese were at Inch, Co Donegal (Brian Murphy / Elizabeth Moore)

The Yellowhammer is still at Larne Lough near Ballycarry Bridge this afternoon and the Twite at Whitehead (Linda Thompson)

Thanks to Gregory for this picture of the Brambling and Linda for the Twite:

Bird News Saturday 13th February

Yesterday a 1st winter Iceland Gull was at the Waterside Car Park in Coleraine and the Ring-billed Gull was at the East Strand car park, Portrush (Clive Mellon)

Portmore Lough today had over 1000 Wigeon, 50+ Pintail and 3 Tree Sparrow (Toni Castello)

The flock of Twite were still at the boat yard at Whitehead (Linda Thompson)

Thanks to Linda for this picture of the Twite:

Bird News Friday 12th February

A Red Kite was along the M1 at Moira, where the railway crosses under the M1 (Gareth Buchanan)

The drake Lesser Scaup was still in Dargan Bay today.

16 Pintail were at the Quoile (Tony Donaldson)

Thanks to Cameron Moore for this pic of a Yellowhammer:

Bird News Thursday 11th February

The Black Redstart was still at Newcastle Harbour. 2 Red Kites were at Murlough Nature Reserve, County Down (Christine Cassidy & Lindsay Hodges)

The Spoonbill was at the Linekiln, Castle Espie. 40 Grey Plover were also present.

A second-winter Mediterranean Gull and 20 Twite were at the boat compound in Whitehead (Cameron Moore)

The adult Mediterranean Gull was seen again along the seafront in Newcastle (Leonard Charles)

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for this pic of the Black Redstart:

Bird News Wednesday 10th February

At Dundrum Bay 1,000 Common Scoter were off Murlough (Dot Blakely).

The Lesser Scaup was still with the Scaup flock in Dargan Bay, a Yellowhammer was at Ballycarry Bridge and a Long Eared Owl was near Nutts Corner. (Nigel Moore).

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for the picture of the Sparrowhawk, to Noeni Bryars for the picture of the Grey Wagtail, to Linda Thompson for the picture of the Skylarks and to Nigel Moore for the pictures of the Lesser Scaup and the Yellowhammer.



Bird News Tuesday 9th February

19 Woodcock were in a 3ha woodland on an island at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB Reserve (Brad Robson)

The Pink-footed Goose & White-fronted Goose were still with the flock of Greylags at Larne Lough (Linda Thompson)

Thanks to Ray Brogan for this picture of a garden visiting female Sparrowhawk, Ross Bay, Derry and Linda Thompson for the three species of Geese:

Bird News Monday 8th February.

The Lesser Scaup was still in Dargan Bay (Mark Stewart)

The Spoonbill was also still present at Castle Espie (Mark Stewart)

A female Brambling was still visiting a garden in Antrim.(Mark Smyth)

Thanks to Mark Stewart for the pic of the Lesser Scaup:

Bird News Sunday 7th February

The drake Leaser Scaup was still in Dargan Bay (Neal Warnock)

7 Yellowhammer were in a garden at Richill, Co Armagh (Andrew Poots)
The Spoonbill was visible from the Lime Kiln Hide at WWT Castle Espie, early afternoon (Kevin Kirkham-Brown).
The Ring-billed Gull continues to show well at Carrickfergus, see picture below. (Neal Warnock). 

The Iceland Gull was still at Whiteabbey shore this afternoon, see picture below. (Gareth Platt).

The single White-fronted Goose and Pink-footed Goose were with the Greylag flock near Ballycarry Bridge. (Linda Thompson).

The Red Kite was still along the M1 near the junction for Moira (Annette Elkin).

A Merlin was between Tunny Cut and Portmore. 2 Greenland White-fronted Geese were with the Greylag there (Paul Toner).
Many thanks to Andrew Poots  for the picture of a Yellowhammer from his garden, to Gareth Platt for the picture of the Iceland Gull, to Neal Warnock for the picture of the Ring-billed Gull, to Linda Thompson for the picture of the Pink-footed Goose and to Kevin Kirkham-Brown for the pictures of the Spoonbill and the Little Egret :