Bird News Tuesday 28th February

60+ Waxwings are at Balmoral Mews in Belfast, the birds have been present since Sunday. (Julie Tolerton).

50 Twite were at the boatyard in Whitehead (Jason Bain).

Wilton, Garry and myself would like to thank both Neal and Adam for covering the blog over the last few weeks, it was very much appreciated. Ian

Bird News Monday 27th February

A male Goosander was near Moorfields (Ruben Douglas).

A Chough was at Fair Head, Co Antrim (Clive Mellon).

The 5 Velvet Scoter were seen again off Lough Shore, Belfast Lough (Gerard McGeehan and Shirley Dunlop).

An adult Med Gull was at IKEA car park in Belfast (Garry Wilkinson).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming at Drum Manor Forest Park near Cookstown (Shane McGarvey).

It was a good day for raptor sightings around Inch Lake, Co Donegal, with 9 Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk, a Kestrel and a Peregrine seen.  Two Kingfishers were at Farland Bank (Christine Cassidy).

Rathlin Island today had a 3rd winter Iceland Gull, a Pochard, a Goldeneye and a Barnacle Goose.  An adult Iceland Gull flew past Runkerry Head, Portballintrae (Colin Guy).

Thanks to Rod Gillan for this photo of Golden Plover at Portstewart.

Bird News Sunday 26th February

RSPB Belfast WOW today had 2 Scaup, 2 Gadwall, 2 male Red-breasted Mergansers and an adult Mediterranean Gull. There was no sign of the Kumlien's Gull (Tom Ennis).

Around Larne Lough, 6 Purple Sandpiper were at Sandy Bay (Gerard McGeehan), 2 Twite were at Chaine Memorial this evening (Neal Warnock), an adult type Iceland Gull was seen from the Harbour Highway (Neal Warnock) and a first winter Iceland Gull was at Glynn this afternoon (Joe Lamont). Around 10 Mediterranean Gulls were seen at various locations.

An adult Med Gull was at Drains Bay (Neal Warnock).

20+ Waxwings were at the junction of Duncairn Gardens and Antrim Road in Belfast (Tom Clarke).

Thanks to John Bamford for the photo of a Treecreeper.

Bird News Saturday 25th February

A probable first winter Kumlien's Gull and a Med Gull were at RSPB Belfast WOW (Daniel Newton and Ronald Surgenor).

An adult Med Gull and 6 Twite were at Larne Harbour. Four adult and a 2nd winter Med Gull were at Glynn.  An adult Little Gull was at Drains Bay (Neal Warnock).

200 Whooper Swans were in fields between Bartons Bay and Lurgan (Thomas Campbell).

2 Waxwings were in a garden in Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone this afternoon (Colin Bell).

Little Gull, Neal Warnock

Bird News Friday 24th February

17 Waxwings were at Stockmans Lane near Boucher Road. Flock very flighty and moving between Musgrave Park and trees along Stockmans Lane  (Adam McClure).

5 Velvet Scoter, a Long-tailed Duck, adult Med Gull and a Great Northern Diver were at Lough Shore Park, Belfast Lough (Gerard McGeehan / Stuart McKee).

A first winter Iceland Gull came to roost at RSPB Belfast WOW this evening (Daniel Newton).

The Black Redstart was around the boat compound at Whitehead and the Brambling in a private garden (Cameron Moore).

A Great White Egret was at Lower Lough Erne (Irish Birding).

A flock of 20 Whooper Swans were in a field outside Donagh village, Co Fermanagh (John Cusack and Vanessa Dunn).

3 female Goosanders were at Lough Island Reavy, Co Down (David Nixon).

Approximately 10 Tree Sparrows were in a garden at Lowry Hill, Bangor this morning (Ken Davis).

A Brambling was at Lisnagra Woods, Inishowen, Co Donegal (Christine Cassidy).

Up to 400 Pied Wagtails were seen going to roost at Sprucefield car park this evening (Garry Wilkinson).

Brambling, Christine Cassidy
Black Redstart, Cameron Moore

Bird News Thursday 23rd February

Yesterday, a male Smew and a Long-tailed Duck were at Inch Island Lake, Donegal (Peter Robinson et al).

A first winter Kumlien's Gull was at RSPB Belfast WOW this morning (Stuart McKee).

Four adult Mediterranean Gulls were at Larne Harbour this morning (Neal Warnock). Another adult was at Whitehead (David Stirling). A second year Med Gull was at Ballylumford and an adult at Browns Bay, Islandmagee (Cameron Moore). Three Med Gulls were also seen at Glynn today (Joe Lamont). See photos by David and Cameron below.

The Brambling was seen again in Whitehead (Cameron Moore).

Med Gull, Cameron Moore

Med Gull, David Stirling

Bird News Wednesday 22nd February

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming and giving good views at Oxford Island (Billy Miskelly).

A 1st-winter Med Gull has joined the adult at Corbet Lough (Robin Vage)

A Woodcock flew over the A8 at Corrs Corner just before 7am and 8 Med Gulls were at Glynn this afternoon (Adam McClure).

20 Waxwings were at Moylena Grove in Antrim (Davy Hunter), 15 Waxwings at Benagh Road, Greencastle (Stephen Foster) and a single Waxwing in Ballygally. A flock was also reported feeding on trees along Stockmans Lane (Dave Welsh).

The Green-winged Teal was still at Ecos Centre, the Red-throated Diver at Glenarm and Twite and Purple Sandpipers at Whitehead yesterday (Garry Wilkinson/Nigel Moore/Sandy McWilliams/David Tomlinson).

Bird News Tuesday 21st February

Three Jack Snipe and three Woodcock were near Kilrea (Adam McClure)

Late news from yesterday - a single Barnacle Goose was with 23 Brent Geese at Myroe (Tom Ennis / Tony Dodds).

The Bittern was looked for this afternoon at Lough Ross without success (Brian McCloskey).

A first winter Iceland Gull was at Whitehouse Lagoon this afternoon (David Nixon / Philip McHaffie).

Many thanks to Thomas Campbell for the photo of the Black Guillemots.

Bird News Monday 20th February

A Bittern was reported yesterday at Lough Ross near Crossmaglen, Co Armagh. Seen in the reed bed and in flight from a fishing boat (Alan Magee).  The reed bed is situated in the northwest corner, where the river enters the lough.  It is viewable from the public car park, but would require a telescope. Please do not enter private farmland without permission from landowners.

10 Waxwings were showing in Lisburn (Mrs. Shaw).

In Donegal, American Wigeon were reported from Culdaff and Malin Town (Birdguides).

Bird News Sunday 19th February

On Strangford Lough, there were 42 Slavonian Grebe between Greyabbey Bay and Kircubbin and a further 5 north-west of Newtownards Sailing Club  (Richard Weyl).

Two female Brambling and a Great Northern Diver were at Cushendun (Colin Guy).

A Waxwing was at Croft Road, Ballygally and a male Goosander and 6 Twite at Glenarm (Stephen Foster).

At Larne Lough this morning, an adult and 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull were at the Inver River and 4 adult Med Gulls and a 1st winter Iceland Gull at Glynn (Neal Warnock).

Late news from yesterday of a 3rd winter Iceland Gull at the Bann Estuary (Colin Guy).

Siskins are being widely reported from gardens.

Thanks to Gareth Platt for the image of two unfortunate Common Gulls from Millisle. There are more details about the ringed bird here.

Bird News Saturday 18th February

2 Siskin were visiting a garden in Lisburn this morning (Kevin Kirkham).

A Pink-footed Goose, 19 Greenland White-fronts and a Barnacle Goose were at Myroe Levels (Richard Donaghey).

27 Waxwings were along the Antrim Road in Belfast this morning (Larry Toal).

A Little Egret was seen along the canal at Scarva this afternoon (Karen Elliott).

4 Waxwings were at Knightsbridge Park, Stranmillis, Belfast this afternoon (Philip McErlean).

3 Ruff were at Dundrum Inner Bay South, 14 Purple Sandpiper at Newcastle Harbour and good numbers of Great Northern Divers offshore (David Nixon).

At least 7 Waxwings were still in Eden, Carrickfergus this afternoon (Cameron Moore, Shirley Dunlop and Neal Warnock).

Mediterranean Gulls continue to arrive in Larne Lough, with at least 6 present today including displaying adults at Glynn.  Two Purple Sandpipers were at Sandy Bay (Neal Warnock).

Lough Mourne, County Antrim had 360 Teal, 7 Pochard, 25 Goldeneye, 11 Lapwing and single Whooper Swans and Black-tailed Godwits (Neal Warnock).

Lurgan Park today had 40 Shoveler and 2 Little Egrets (Stephen Foster).

In Strangford Lough, 2 Black-throated Divers and a Jack Snipe were at Horse Island, 21 Slavonian Grebe in Greyabbey Bay and another 6 off Newtownards Sailing Club (Richard Weyl).

Many thanks to Christine Cassidy for the photo of the Sparrowhawk, Neal Warnock for the first Waxwing photo and to Philip McErlean for the second Waxwing photo.  More photos can be seen here


Bird News Friday 17th February

The Ruddy Shelduck was still present at Ballysaggart Lough. The bird had clipped wings and allowed close approach.  A Mediterranean Gull was also seen.  The Marsh Harrier was seen again at Oxford Island (Gerard McGeehan / Joe Lamont).

An adult Mediterranean Gull nearing full summer plumage was in Larne Harbour (Neal Warnock).

Between 7:30 and 8:40 this morning, Whitehead had 90 Red-throated Divers and 4 Great Northern Divers flying into Belfast Lough. 30+ Bottlenose Dolphins were also seen (Ian Enlander).

In Donegal, a Smew and juvenile Glaucous Gull were at Inch Island. A Velvet Scoter, Slavonian Grebe, Long-tailed Duck and 60 Scaup were at Mill Bay and a Ruddy Shelduck on the levels (Birdguides).

Goldeneye at Inch Island, Robin Cunningham

Bird News Thursday 16th February

c20 Waxwings are at Eden, Carrickfergus, this afternoon (Brian Sutton)

A Ruddy Shelduck was at Ballysaggart Lough, Dungannon, Co Tyrone. Possibly the first county record (Michael Stinson).

A Great Northern Diver was at Whiteabbey, a Skylark was on the beach (Paul McCullough).

The male Goosander and a Red-throated Diver were at Glenarm and the Twite flock at Whitehead (Garry Wilkinson/Nigel Moore).

Ruddy Shelduck, Michael Stinson

Bird News Wednesday 15th February

14 Waxwings were at Edenderry (Sam Thomas)

A Canada Goose was seen very briefly and at distance with the Whooper Swans at Toome. (Neal Warnock).

50+ Canada geese, 15 Whooper Swans, 7 Cormorant, 30 Wigeon, 6 Teal, 2 Tufted Ducks, 4 Great - Crested Grebe, Mallard, Mute Swans & a Kingfisher were at Upper Lough Erne close to Tamlaght. (Kevin Kirkham-Brown).

A Little Egret was showing well in Islandmagee (near bridge) this morning. (Jim McKeown).

Thanks to Phil Webb for the picture of the Treecreeper.


Rathlin Greylags

Further to the recent post about the Rathlin Island Greylag Goose project, Kerry Mackie caught three Greylags on Rathlin Island on Friday.  All adults – 2 males and one female.  The neck collars are Orange B|VH, B|VI and B|VJ .

If anyone sees these birds either on Rathlin or the mainland please email Clive Mellon at:


Bird News Tuesday 14th February

7 Great Northern Divers were very close to shore at Greencastle, Co Down (Robin Vage)

The Ring-billed Gull was still at The Round O, Enniskillen today (Kevin Kirkham)

A male Brambling was seen again in a garden at Whitehead, Co Antrim (Cameron Moore)

The Little Egret was still in Lurgan Park (Phil Webb)

Thanks to Robin Vage for the pic of the Great Northern Diver and Wilfie Swain for the pic of a Curlew and Wigeon:

Bird News Monday 13th February.

A Woodcock was seen over Conlig, flying towards Green Road at 4.30pm (John Edwards)

A male Marsh Harrier and 3 Pink-footed Geese were at Lough Beg (Sean McCourt /Richard Weyl)

A Chiffchaff was in a garden on Newington Avenue, Larne, today. (Geraldine Seymour)

Brent Geese - Wilf Swain

Bird News Sunday 12th February

Three Goosanders (inc 2 males) were at Waterfoot & another male at Glenarm, where there are now 7 Twite. A Carrion Crow was at Ballygally. (Neal Warnock)

The Spoonbill was still at Castle Espie (Ronald Surgenor)

The Twite flock were still at Whitehead (David Stirling).

5 Waxwing were in trees on the Knockmore Road between Trinity Methodist Church and the junction with Prince William Road in Lisburn. (Garry Armstrong).

A Red Kite and a Buzzard were at Altnataggart in the Mournes this morning. (David Cooper).

A Chiffchaff has been at Upperlands Dams (Londonderry) for the past 2 weeks (David Morrow).

Thanks to David Stirling for the picture of the Twite, to Ronald Surgenor for the picture of the Spoonbill, to John Moore for the picture of the Dipper and to Cecil Smyth for the picture of the Fieldfare.


Bird News Saturday 11th February

The redhead Smew was still at Drumgay Lough and the Ring-billed Gull was still at the Round O, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

A male Brambling was in a garden in Whitehead. 56 Greylag Geese and also a White Fronted Goose were at Steele's Point Islandmagee. (Cameron Moore)

12 Waxwing were on the Antrim Road in Lisburn this afternoon. (Garry Armstrong).

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at the Barmouth. (Birdguides).

A 1st winter Glaucous Gull flew past Dunseverick Harbour. (Colin Guy).

Thanks to Cameron Moore for the pictures of the Brambling, to Lilian Cummings for the picture of the Redwing and to Gareth Platt for the picture of the Yellowhammer.


Greylag Geese on the North Coast

Allen & Mellon Environmental are doing a study with Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust on Greylag Geese using Rathlin Island and Fair Head. There are two known neck-banded birds  - Orange NDD and NCL – which have been recorded in both areas. We would be grateful for any information on geese using these sites and in particular on any neck-banded birds. You can email details to

Bird News Friday 10th February

20 Waxwing were on a tree at Manse Road, Mossley this morning. (Jim McKeown)

A Red-breasted Merganser was at the RSPB WOW centre, Belfast. (Lorna Henry)

A sub adult Glaucous and second winter Iceland Gull were at Corbally dam. An adult Med Gull was in a field with Black-headed and Common Gulls near Portrush (Stuart McKee).

A flock of 22 Snow Buntings were at the top of Keady Mountain near Limavady today. (David Steele).

Thanks to James McQueen for the picture of the female Blackcap.


Bird News Thursday 9th February.

A Marsh Harrier was at Oxford Island this afternoon, it was watched from the Croaghan hide for half an hour.(Annette Elkin)

The Black Redstart was still at the boat yard in Whitehead.(Cameron Moore) It was also seen up towards the 'Wrens Eggs' on the path (Graham Day) see pic below

A Pink-footed Goose and Greenland Whitefront were in with 200 Greylags at Fair Head. (Clive Mellon)

The Great White Egret was seen again at Horse Island, Co Fermanagh on Monday 6th Feb (A Gallagher)

2 Jack Snipe and a Woodcock were at Lower Lough Erne islands RSPB reserve, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

A Chiffchaff was at the RSPB conservation area on the Airport Rd West.(Derek Polley)


Bird News Wednesday 8th February

The Black Redstart was still at the Wrens Eggs/Port Davey area on the path to Blackhead (Ian Enlander).

Strangford Lough at the Netwalk in Killyleagh this morning had 12 Razorbill and 6 Black Guillemot, all in summer plumage, and 2 Guillemot and a Sandwich Tern. (Spencer & Joan Marshall).

The Waxwing flock were still at the bottom of Oriel road in Antrim (Richard Hunter)

The Spoonbill was spotted again today at Castle Espie, roosting at the pier, at high tide. (Toni Costello)

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Bangor Marina (Stuart McQueen)

A White-fronted Goose was with the Whooper Swan flock at Cullyhanna, Co Armagh (Joe Devlin)

A Common Sandpiper and 4 Little Egrets were at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB Reserve (Brad Robson)

Thanks to Stuart McQueen for this pic of the Med Gull:

Bird News Tuesday 7th February

A Great Northern Diver and 5 Red-throated Divers were off Whitehead. The Black Redstart was up round the path towards the lighthouse (Gerard McGeehan)

The Waxwing flock were still at the bottom of Oriel Road in Antrim (Richard Hunter).

There were 10 Sandwich Terns at Portaferry today, the highest count of the winter. (John Wilson Foster).

A Mediterranean Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 600 Black-headed Gulls were at Corbet Lough today. (Robin Vage).  

Bird News Monday 6th February

17 Waxwings were still around the school and church at the bottom of Oriel Road, Antrim this morning (Davy Hunter)

A Long-eared Owl was seen last night between Moira and Lisburn (Paul Allen)

A Little Egret was in flight along the loughshore at Duross Bay, near Castle Archdale Country Park, Co. Fermanagh (Ronan Owens).

Thanks to Mark Elliott for this pic of the Little Egret in Lurgan Park. Lots more local bird pics can also be seen at:

Bird News Sunday 5th February

17 Waxwings were in St Comgalls school grounds, Antrim (Davy Hunter \ Philip McErlean)

A hybrid drake European /American Wigeon was at RSPB WOW reserve (Stuart McKee)

This morning Portmuck, Islandmagee had 49 Red-throated Diver actively feeding with 11 Harbour Porpoise also present. Black Head had 6 Red-throated Divers (Ian Enlander)

A Velvet Scoter was in the Scoter flock off Newcastle, Co Down (Wilton Farrelly)

This morning 32+ Black Guillemots were in Bangor Harbour (North Pier).  Most were already paired up and 3 pairs were in nest boxes (Margaret Adamson)

The Spoonbill was at Island Hill, Strangford Lough with 8 Grey Plover (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

The Little Egret was still in Lurgan Park (Mark Elliott)

Thanks to Lindsay Hodges for this pic of a Waxwing and Stuart McKee for the hybrid Ameriacan \ Eurasian Wigeon:

Waxwing, Lindsay Hodges:

Wigeon Hybrid, Stuart McKee:

Bird News Saturday 4th February

There are currently around 15 Waxwings in Grange \ Donard Court, in Bangor (Lesley Barker)

40+ Waxwings were showing at 12:45 at Loughside Park, Shore Road, Belfast (Stuart Samuel).

20 Waxwings were on Benagh Road near Greencastle Co Down this afternoon.  (Declan Savage).

A 1 juv/1st w Iceland Gull Enniskillen Dump. Also a late report of 3 Long-tailed Ducks were at Lower Lough Erne islands County Fermanagh on 31st January. The Ring-billed Gull was still at the Round O Enniskillen yesterday. (Brad Robson).

A Goosander was at Waterfoot in Co. Antrim, see picture below. (John Bamford).

The Black Redstart and the Twite flock were still at Whitehead this morning, see pictures below. (Cecil Smyth).

Around 25 Purple Sandpipers were in the bay beside Ramore Head, Portrush today. (Robert Scott).

11 Waxwings were at Edenderry (Sam Thomas)

Thanks to Lesley Barker for the first picture of one of the Bangor Waxwings, to Declan Savage for the picture of the Waxwings near Greencastle, to John Bamford for the picture of the Goosander, to Christine Cunningham for the picture of the Teal and to Cecil Smyth for the pictures of the Twite and the Black Redstart:



Bird News Friday 3rd February

8 Waxings were in Knockmore garden, Lisburn this mornings at 8.30 am. (Kevin Kirkham)

Yesterday 64 Sanderling, a Black-tailed Godwit, 18 Golden Plover, a female Scaup and a pod of 4 Porpoise were at Portstrewart. A Peregrine and 5 Twite were at Carrick-a-rede and 14 Sanderling and a Merlin off the sea from the direction of Skerries at Portrush East Strand (Garry Wilkinson)

30 Waxwings are on the Randalstown Road, Antrim just opposite Castle Gardens (Davy Hunter)

20 Stock Doves were in stubble fields at Ballycairn W of Aghalee; 5 Gadwall and a fem Shoveler on Broad Water, a fem Gadwall, one redhead Smew were at Portmore Lough (John O’Boyle/Dermot Hughes)

The Green-winged Teal remains at the Ecos centre, Ballymena.(Jeff Larkin)

Redwing - Christine Cassidy.

Bird News Thursday 2nd February

A Little Egret has been at Belfast Waterworks off the Antrim Road (Ricky McQuillan \ David Knight)

Unusually, 12 Pochard were at RSPB Belfast WOW (Derek Polley)

Thanks to David Knight for this pic of the Waterworks Little Egret:

Bird News Wednesday 1st February

3 Waxwings were at Buncrana on the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal, see picture below. (Christine Cassidy & Dermot McLaughlin).

5 Goosanders were at Randalstown today, 2 males and 3 females. (Ronald Surgenor).

A Merlin was at Reedy Flat (Adam McClure).

30+ Waxwing were in gardens behind Tescos Garage, Benson Street, Lisburn. Sanderling and Purple Sandpipers were at Portrush East Strand. (Garry Wilkinson).

In Bangor an adult Mediterranean Gull still in winter plumage was west of Pickie along the coastal path, Seacliff Road had 200 + Dunlin and 60+ Ringed Plover roosting. (Derek Polley).

4 Twite were by Glenarm marina late this afternoon, see pictures below. (Gavin Ferguson)

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Waxwing, to Ronald Surgenor for the picture of the male Goosander, to Christine Cunningham for the picture of the Redpoll and to Gavin Ferguson for the pictures of the Twite.