Bird News Tuesday 31st January

A Water Rail was showing along the River Lagan this morning. (Tom Ennis & Tony Dodds).

20 Black Guillemot and 20 Turnstone, all showing signs of summer plumage, were at Netwalk, Killyleagh this morning. (Spencer & Joan Marshall)

A first winter Iceland Gull was at Larne Harbour this lunchtime (Neal Warnock).

A Chiffchaff was just south of the flyover along the Newry Canal at Carnbane this morning, this is a different bird to the one seen in the area recently.  ( Frank Carroll).

The red head Smew was still at Portmore RSPB. (Birdguides).

A Dipper was on the Glen Stream at Rostrevor. (Gerard Tinnelly).

Thanks to Jane McLaughlin for the picture of the female Blackcap.


Bird News Monday 30th January

2 adult Mediterraanean Gulls, a second-year Iceland Gull and 30 Twite were between Donaghadee and Orlock Point (Stephen Foster, Ronan Owens).

Late news from yesterday the Iceland Gull and the Pink-footed Goose were both still at Belfast Waterworks yesterday morning. (Gary Cunningham)

25 Waxwings were at Craigville Garden Centre, Sligo Road, Enniskillen (Dara McAllister)

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at Ramore Head, Portrush today. (Matthew Tickner).

21 Waxwings were still in Tesco's car-park in Lisburn this morning. (Tony Dodds & John Edwards).

Bird News Sunday 29th January

There were still 23 Waxwings at Tesco car park in Lisburn this morning. (Clive Mellon / Karen Elliott / Mark Elliott)

At least 10 Waxwings are at Pennybridge roundabout across from Moy park, Ballymena (Jeff Larkin).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Oxford Island this morning. (Garry Armstrong).

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

There was a flock of 8 waxwings today on the Halfpenney Gate Road, Broomhedge. (Chris and Ethan Veale)

A 1st Winter Iceland Gull was on The River Bann, from Dunnes car park in Coleraine (Jeff Larkin)

There are a small flock of Whooper swans on Hydepark Dam, Mallusk, this afternoon (Gerard McLaughlin)

A fem/imm Goosander was off Maghery, Lough Neagh, Armagh, (David Knight)

Carnlough had 4 Common Scoter and a Great Northern Diver (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

Unusually, there are now 7 Gadwall on Galwally Lake, south Belfast (Dermot Hughes)

A Little Egret was at Corradillar Quay, Co. Fermanagh. (Gareth Buchanan)

The second winter Ring-billed Gull was still at The Round O, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh (Annette Elkin)

There are some great pics in from the last few days on our pics Blog at:

Below are pics of the Waxwings from Tesco's car-park in Lisburn:

Mark Elliott:

Garry Armstrong:

Purple Sandpiper, Whitehead, Cecil Smyth:

Ring-billed Gull, Annette Elkin:

Bird News Saturday 28th January

There have been 2 groups of Waxwings in Lisburn this week. First group of 25 to 30 were in Tesco carpark.(early in the morning). The second group 30 to 40, in the housing estates at the Duncans Road, Mageralave road junction. (Chris Veale)

Three Waxwings and two Redwings were still feeding on the berries at Donard Court, Bangor (Stephen Macauley).

5 Waxwings were in a garden in Knockmore, Lisburn today, see picture below. (Kevin Kirkham-Brown).

A Dipper was on the Lagan in Dromore Park this morning.

7 Waxwing were at the rear of the leisure centre in Gilford this afternoon. (Clifford McCready).

The 2nd winter Ring-billed Gull was still at the Round O jetty in Enniskillen, an adult Iceland Gull and a 3rd winter Glaucous x Herring hybrid were at Enniskillen dump. (Brad Robson).

The Black Redstart and the Twite flock are still in Whitehead. (Wilton Farrelly).

There were approximately fifty Waxwing on the Ballyclare Road in Newtownabbey, They were close to the junction of Cedar Lodge. (Jason Bain).

Thanks to Kevin Kirkham-Brown for the picture of the Waxwing, to Thomas Campbell for the picture of the Goosanders from the River Maine in Randalstown, to Angus Kennedy for the picture of the Kingfisher and to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Sanderling.



Bird News Friday 27th January.

10 Waxwing where in Broughshane.(Gillian McKillop)

Late news from yesterday a Pink-footed Goose was at the Belfast Waterworks.(Davy Knight)

A Great White Egret, a Little Egret, 5 Goosander were at Castle Caldwell, Lower Lough Erne Islands, Co Fermanagh today (Amy Burns / Finnobar Cross)

The Black Redstart is still around Whitehead sea front, bird uses the boat yard quite abit.(Cameron Moore) see Cameron's pic below 

Bird News Thursday 26th January

8 Goosander (inc 3 males) were on the River Maine at Randalstown this morning (Richard Hunter).

Approximately 20 Waxwings were on the Ballymena Road in Antrim. (Davy Hunter).

Yesterday a Little Egret, 10 Black-tailed Godwits and a pair of Bullfinches were at the Quoile Pondage. (Spencer & Joan Marshall).

The Twite flock was still around the boatyard at Whitehead, see picture below. (Cecil Smyth)

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at the Water Works on Antrim Road in Belfast. (David Knight).

9 Waxwing were in Lower Cairncastle Road in Larne this afternoon. (Tom Ennis & Tony Dodds).

A 1st winter Glaucous Gull was at The Downings in Donegal. (Philip Graham).

The Green-winged Teal is still showing well at the Ecos Center, Ballymena. (Hill Dick/Peter Robinson).

The 2nd winter Ring-billed Gull was still at the Round O in Enniskillen, see picture below. (Ronan Owens).

Late news from last Saturday is of 2 Great White Egrets together at Castle Archdale in Co. Fermanagh. (Annie & Brian Foggin).

4 Little Egrets were together at the Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB reserve today. (Amy Burns, F Cross & Brad Robson).

Thanks to Cecil Smyth for the picture of the Whitehead Twite and to Ronan Owens for the picture of the Ring-billed Gull.


Bird News Wednesday 25th January

Two Glaucous Gulls, an adult and a first winter, were at Corbally Reservoir, Portrush (Adam McClure)

6 Little Egret were at Whitehouse Lagoon (Gerard McGeehan)

Yesterday 5 Goosander (1 male) and a Dipper were on the River Main at Randalstown (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop).

There was a group of 7 Greenland White-fronted Geese (2 adults and 5 immatures) at Lough na Cranagh, Fair Head this afternoon. Last seen in a field to the south of the lake, (Clive Mellon).

20 Waxwings were seen again in Larne, in Lower Cairncastle Road, see pictures below. (Bill Guiller).

A Little Egret, Peregrine Falcon, and Merlin were seen today at Knockninny, Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh. (Ronan Owens and Stephen Carters).

Thanks to Bill Guiller for the pictures of the Waxwings, to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Jay, to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Long-tailed Tit and to Christine Cunningham for the picture of the Red-breasted Merganser.


Big Garden Birdwatch

RSPB Northern Ireland is encouraging local people to take part in the world’s biggest wildlife survey later this month.

The Big Garden Birdwatch is a chance for everyone to help nature by donating just one hour to count the birds and other wildlife in their gardens. The data gathered from this survey provides a vital health-check of the wildlife that makes its home here.

In 2016 around half a million people counted the feathered friends in their patch, including a record 35,000 people across Northern Ireland. Starlings swooped into top spot here after being seen in almost 70 per cent of gardens and green spaces. Now this year, for the first time, the charity is extending the Big Garden Birdwatch weekend by another day to give even more people the chance to get involved.

Just visit the Birdwatch website ( and spend one hour counting the birds you see at any time during 28, 29 or 30 January. You can use the handy online bird counting tool on the website to identify and record the birds as you see them directly on your laptop, tablet or smartphone. They’d also love you to log some of the other wildlife you see in your garden – from squirrels to hedgehogs.

Top ten bird species spotted in NI during Big Garden Birdwatch 2016:

   %   gardens
House sparrow
Blue tit
Great tit
Coal tit

 Greenfinch, one of the species in decline from our gardens:

Bird News Tuesday 24th January

Two Waxwing were outside the Lagan Valley Hospital, Lisburn (Brian Murphy)

Last Friday a Long-eared Owl was seen at the Spa Road, Ballinahinch (Jim Leitch)

Thanks to Lindsay Hodges for this pic of a Redpoll and Wilf Swain for the Goldfinch:

Bird News Monday 23rd January

The Drake Lesser Scaup was still showing closely at Airport Road West with 30+ Greater Scaup (Sam Thomas)

20 Waxwing where seen in Woodcroft Heights, Ballymena this afternoon, they flew off towards the Galgorm Rd. (Richard Gray)

31 Common Scoter were off Whitehouse (Gerard McGeehan)

10 Gadwall and 2 Shoveler where on Hillsborough Lake this morning.(Frank Carroll)

A female Velvet Scoter was off Inch Island, Co Donegal today along with 26 Common Scoter & 2 Long-tailed Ducks (Brad Robson)

Thanks to Bill Guiller for this picture of one of the Whitehead Twite:

Bird News Sunday 22nd January

The Lesser Scaup was still off Airport Road West, the Black Redstart and Twite flock were still at Whitehead (Philip West)

The red head Smew was at Portmore (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

A 3rd w Iceland Gull was on fish cages at Waterfoot this afternoon. (Neal Warnock)

Two Slavonian Grebe were at Mountcharles, Co Donegal (Annette Elkin)

160 Whoopers Swans were with 60 Greylag Geese and a mixed flock of Fieldfare and Redwing in fields at Sandy Bay, Portmore (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

Many thanks to Annette Elkin for this pic of a Slavonian Grebe and Kevin Kirkham for the Portmore Smew:

Bird News Saturday 21st January

The Drake Lesser Scaup was still off Airport Road West, Belfast, with the Greater Scaup flock (Daniel Newton / Joe Lamont)

50 Twite were on Lighthouse Island, Copeland Bird Observatory. (CBO team)

2 Goosander were on the River Main, Randalstown (Joe Lamont)

Today in Donegal, 260 Whitefronts were at Big Isle, the drake Smew and 8 Scaup at Inch Lake, 26 Twite in fields on the approach road. Inch Levels had 51 Pink feet and 3 Barnacles. A Ruddy Shelduck was with Whoopers nearer Burnfoot (Richard Gray).

5 Red Throated Divers (showing signs of summer plumage) were off Portstewart Head today. (Sean Hickey).

2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were at Tollymore in Newcastle.

The Green-winged Teal was still at the Ecos Centre in Ballymena this morning, see picture below. (John Parkinson)

Thanks to Annette Elkin for the picture of the Smew at Inch Lake, to Andrew Poots for the picture of the female Yellowhammer and to John Parkinson for the picture of the Green-winged Teal.


Bird News Friday 20th January

The drake Lesser Scaup was still off Airport Road West, Belfast this morning, although more distant than the last few days. It then showed closer to shore at lunchtime (Stuart McKee / Derek Polley)

Four Crossbill and circa 20 Siskin were at the west side of Hillsborough Lake. (Billy Miskelly)

A white phase Gyr Falcon of unknown origin was seen today at Gawleys Gate, heading north (Rob Martin). An escaped Gyr was reported recently from Kells (Neal Warnock) and a bird was recently photographed on top of a roof at Saintfield. However these could be different birds.

On Strangford Lough at Greyabbey Bay were 20 Slav‎onian Grebe and a Black-throated Diver. At Horse Island were 9 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Black-throated Diver and a Jack Snipe. (Richard Weyl)

A Slavonian Grebe was off Myroe (Mike Savage)

Approx 120  Common Scoter were off Portstewart Beach this afternoon (John Clarke)

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

There were 2 Great Northern Divers off Portstewart Head this afternoon. (Sean Hickey)

Bird News Thursday 19th January

5 Waxwings were at the bottom of Ballymena Road, Antrim (Davy Hunter).

The Lesser Scaup was still from the car park at the end of Airport Road West this afternoon (Wilton Farrelly)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard by the River Lagan at Edenderry footbridge. (Michael Burns)

A first winter Glaucous Gull and 2 argetatus Herring Gulls were at Corbally Reservoir, Portrush (Stuart McKee / Wilton Farrelly)

5 Snow Buntings were on Bienevenagh (Dick Glasgow)

Glaucous Gull, Wilton Farrelly:

Bird News Wednesday 18th January

Yesterday 60 Waxwings were near Cushendall (Dick Glasgow)

There are still 3 Waxwings at Grange, Bangor this morning (Derek Polley)

A drake Lesser Scaup is off the car park at Airport Road West. (Stuart McKee). The bird was still showing well up to 4.30p.m. (Ronald Surgenor)

Around 60 Waxwings are currently on the Duncan's Road Lisburn. (Karen Elliott).

Between 08.10 - 09.30 this morning a watch at Whitehead had 137 Red-throated Diver and 14 Great Northern Diver flying into Belfast Lough. (Ian Enlander)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was with a mobile tit flock at Eshywulligan, County Fermanagh this afternoon. A ringtail Hen Harrier was nearby at Teiges Hill (near Brookeborough). (Clive Mellon).

Many thanks to Dick Glasgow for the picture of the Cushendall Waxwings, to Ronald Surgenor for the second and third Lesser Scaup pictures, to Stuart McKee for the fourth Lesser Scaup picture, to Jason Bain for the Treecreeper picture and to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Brent Geese:

Lesser Scaup (front bird) and Greater Scaup, Wilton Farrelly:

Lesser Scaup, Ronald Surgenor:

Treecreeper, Jason Bain:

Brent Geese, Wilf Swain:

Copeland Winter Meeting - 24th January

Bird News Tuesday 17th January

A Glaucous Gull was in Bangor Central Primary School - seen during the Schools Birdwatch! You can also see a video of the bird here:  (Derek Polley)

The drake Ring-Necked Duck was still at the Templewater, NT Castle Ward (Ronald Surgenor)

10 Goosander (inc 4 males) were on the River Maine, Randalstown (Brenda Campbell)

30 Scaup were between WOW and Kinnegar opposite the carpark. (Brian Hill)

The Black Redstart and Twite flock were still at Whitehead (Noeni Bryars)

The Floodgates, Newtownards, had 3 Little Egrets, approx. 500 Golden Plover and a Greenshank (Ian McKee)

Three Waxwings and two Redwings were feeding on the berries at Donard Court \ Rugby Manor, Grange Road,  Bangor (Stephen Macauley \ Dora Ferguson)

A Great White Egret & a redhead Goosander were at White Island near Castle Archdale Lower lough Erne islands, RSPB reserve, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson / Amy Burns)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in a garden at Benvardin Road, Ballymoney (Annabel Farrell)

Two Ravens and a Kestrel were seen at The Ponderosa, Glenshane (Christine Cassidy \ Lindsay Hodges

The Black Redstart and Twite flock were still at Whitehead (Noeni Bryars)

Glynn had 2 Whooper Swans and 3 Greenshank. Lough Mourne had a Whooper Swan, Pochard and 2 Raven (Gerard McGeehan)

Thanks to Derek Polley for the Glaucous Gull and Dora Ferguson for the Waxwing pic:

Bird News Monday 16th January

2 Waxwings in Rowan trees next to Spar at Cornagrade Road, Enniskillen. Also redhead Goosander, 2 Jack Snipe and 1 Little Egret on Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB Reserve (Brad Robson).

An adult Mediterranean Gull and 3 Greenshank were at Whitehouse Lagoon (Ruben Douglas).

A Chiffchaff was in the willows on the East side of Belfast Waterworks (Larry Toal).

This afternoon a Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Derrnavogie Road near Fivemiletown in Co Fermanagh. (Colin Bell).

A Waxwing was at the leisure centre in Stramore Road, Gilford at 3-15pm. (Cliford McCready).

A single Pink-footed Goose was with 200 Greylags at Crannagh Bridge, Aghagallon, today. (David Nixon/Philip McHaffie).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming in Hillsborough Forest today. (Mandy Cromie/Paul McCullough) 

Bird News Sunday 15th January

The Waxwing flock were still at the bottom of Lower Cairncastle Road, Larne this morning (Daniel Newton \ Bill Guiller). You can see video of the birds by Daniel at:

A Glaucous Gull and 2 Iceland Gulls were at Corbally Reservoir, Portrush (Daniel Newton)

The Waxwing flock of circa 40 birds were still at Loughgall Road, Portadown (James O'Neill)

A Slavonian Grebe was at Glynn and a 1w Glaucous Gull was seen flying over towards Ballylumford (Gerard McGeehan \ Shirley Dunlop)

The redhead Smew was still at Drumgay Lough, Enniskillen. No sign of the Great White Egret (Adam McClure)

We have had some excellent pictures in today and you can see them at:

Waxwing, Bill Guiller:

 Waxwing, James O'Neill:

Waxwing, Linda Thompson:

Bird News Saturday 14th January

The drake Ring-Necked Duck was showing well at the lake at Castle Ward NT, Co Down (Daniel Newton)

35+ Waxwing are at the bottom of Lower Cairncastle Road, Larne (Neal Warnock).

Dargan Bay and Greencastle areas had 21 Common Scoter, 27 Scaup and 700 Shelduck. Whitehouse Lagoon had 1 Pintail. (Ian Enlander).

The red head Smew and a Little Egret were at Portmore Lough this afternoon. (Clive Mellon).

A Kingfisher was at the outfall of Patton's Marsh, tidebank, Newtownards this morning. (Hilary McKee), 

A Black Redstart was at Annalong Harbour. (David Knight).

The Great White Egret was still at Drumgay Lough in Co. Fermanagh. (Ronan Owens)

A juvenile and a 2nd winter Iceland Gull, 4 Lesser Black Backs and a "Viking" type hybrid were at Enniskillen Dump. (Brad Robson).

The Black Redstart is still at Whitehead with over 50 Twite (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop & Cecil Smyth)

The 40+ Waxwing flock is still at Loughgall Road in Portadown and includes one bird that was ringed at Ballater in Royal Deeside, Aberdeen on 10th December last year. If you find a colour-ringed Waxwing you can report it to the Grampian Ringing Group at and help to track the Waxwing spread across the country. (James O'Neill).

Thanks to Cecil Smyth for the picture of the Black Redstart, to Lillian Cummings for the picture of the Purple Sandpiper, to Rod Gillan for the picture of the Redwing and to James O'Neill for the picture of the Waxwing.



Bird News Friday 13th January

The Black Redstart was showing well this afternoon at Whitehead. (Linda Thompson).

A flock of 25 Waxwings are on the Loughgall Road opposite St Colombus church in Portadown. The flock  has been feeding in the area for approx. 3 days. (Mark Killops).

A White-tailed Eagle was at  Trory Bay Lower Lough Erne. The Great White Egret was again at Drumgay Lough Enniskillen (Brad Robson)

A Little Egret was in Comber this morning in the river at Mill Street (H Hill).

A flock of approx. 200 Linnets were visiting gardens in Windmill Road, Hillsborough. (Garry Wilkinson).

Thanks to Linda for the picture of the Black Redstart and to Rod Gillan for the picture of the Bullfinch.

Bird News Thursday 12th January

The Spoonbill was again on show at Castle Espie this morning (WWT Castle Espie)

Yesterday the King Eider was on show again at Mermaids Cove, Mullaghmore (Birdguides)

A flock of 12 Waxwings are in Latharna House/St. Sedma's area in Larne. Birds extremely mobile. (Neal Warnock)

The Black Redstart is still at Whitehead (Ronald Surgenor)

Drumgay Lough Enniskillen had a Great White Egret and a redhead Smew. Enniskillen dump had a 2nd winter and a juv Iceland Gull and a hybrid Glaucous x Herring Gull. The 2nd winter Ring-billed Gull was also at Enniskillen Dump, Enniskillen (Brad Robson)

The Ring Billed Gull was in Carrickfergus. The Black Redstart, 3 Purple Sandpipers and the flock of Twite wee still at Whitehead. The Green-winged Teal was at the Ecos centre. A Black Redstart was also at East Strand Portrush. A 2nd winter Glaucous Gull was at Corbally Reservoir and an adult Little Gull at the Bann estuary (Garry Wilkinson/ Nigel Moore)

At RSPB WOW today were over 40 species including: 3 Twite, Peregrine, Buzzard, 200+ Bar-tailed Godwits and Redpoll (Derek Polley)

A Little Egret was in Lurgan Park, Co Armagh (Pam Faulkner)

Many thanks to Rod Gillan for this pic of a Greenfinch and Lilian Cummings for the Black Redstart:

Bird News Wednesday 11th January

The 2nd winter Ring-billed Gull was still at The Round O, Enniskillen. A first Winter Iceland Gull and a third winter Glaucous Gull were at Enniskillen Dump (Wilton Farrelly)

The Black Redstart and Twite flock were still at Whitehead, Co Antrim (Richard Hunter/Jason Bain)

A possible male Lesser Scaup was seen at Oxford Island. The wing pattern was not observed. (Joe Devlin)

The drake Ring-necked Duck was still on the lake at Nationals Trust Castle Ward (Garry Wilkinson)

Ring-billed Gull, Wilton Farrelly and thanks to Jason Bain for the pictures of the Black Redstart, Twite and Purple Sandpiper