Bird News Friday 31st March

The drake American Wigeon was still at Dundrum Inner Bay, at high tide. (David Nixon)

A male Brambling was still in Portstewart yesterday and today (Rod Gillan)
A Willow Warbler was along the Newry Canal (Frank Carroll)

Swallows were seen at Kilroot at lunchtime today (Linda Thompson)

Redwings were heard migrating over Co Down last night (Robin Vage)

White Wagtail was at Lower lough erne islands RSPB reserve Fermanagh today (Brad Robson)
A 2nd winter Glaucous Gull was briefly in Portrush Harbour and a Swallow was near Ramore Head(Colin Guy)

A Swallow was seen yesterday and today at a smallholding near Ballynahinch. (Andrew Bingham).

Approximately 20 Swallows were at the Quoile today. (Terry Hanna).

Thanks to Terry Hanna for the pictures of the Little Egret and the Rock Pipit.


Bird News Thursday 30th March

On Rathlin, a 3rd year Iceland Gull was on Ushet Lough. The White Wagtail still present. 3 Sand Martins were seen heading south and a Manx Shearwater off Rue Point. Siskin, Redwing and several Goldcrests and Wheatears were at Rue Point. A Common Scoter was in Church Bay. 12 Redwings were at Kinramer. Yesterday a Willow Warbler and Merlin at the west end of the island. (Ric Else and Hazel Watson)

3 Med gulls, - 2 adult and 1 second summer, were at RSPB WOW, Belfast (Derek Polley)

Two Carrion Crow were seen at Ballycarry (Brian Sutton)

Thanks to Jeff Silvers for this pic of a Redshank from Groomsport:


Bird News Wednesday 29th March

3 Mediterranean Gulls and a Swallow were at RSPB WOW Reserve today (Brian Murphy)

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for this pic of a Little Egret from Ballykelly:

Bird News Tuesday 28th March

At the Lough Beg ‘intake’ this morning there were c.500 Golden Plover, several singing Willow Warblers and a female Merlin flying north up the shoreline. (Paul Lynas).

5 Wheatears, 1 White Wagtail, and a pair of Chough were on Rathlin Island today. (Ronald Surgenor).

The American Wigeon was still at the blue bridge in Dundrum today, see pictures below. (Stuart McQueen).

The Quoile Pondage had 10+ Sand Martins, at Castlespie, just west of WWT were 6 Greenshank. Belfast Harbour Reserve had: Ruff 1, Swallow 1, Mediterranean Black-headed Gull 1 second winter holding territory on the tern island where a pair in this plumage bred in 2016. The bird had full black head etc., and resembled a breeding adult but had dark spots on primary tips. I have not seen this bird before today. (Tom Ennis & Tony Dodds).

A sub adult Glaucous Gull was at the Bush River Estuary, Portballintrae. (Colin Guy).

Today at Ballykelly there were 4 Pintail, 50 Brent, 4 Slavonian Grebes in summer plumage, 100 Ringed Plover, 22 Little Egrets and 6 Tree Sparrows; Myroe had 300 Brent, 1 Barnacle Goose, 11 Greylags and 4 Littie Egrets, also 4 Hares. Bann Estuary a magnificent 320 Black-tailed Godwits, 500 Golden Plover, 200 Sanderling and 4 Whooper Swans. (Hill Dick & Coleraine RSPB Group).

This evening a Little Egret was seen fishing in the Newry to Portadown canal approximately half a mile south of Scarva. (Phil Webb). 

30 Sand Martins, a Common Sandpiper, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and a Willow Warbler were at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB reserve, Co Fermanagh (Amy Burns and Finnobar Cross)

Three Sand Martins were at Portavoe Reservoir, Groomsport (Julian Greenwood)

Thanks to Stuart McQueen for the pictures of the American Wigeon and to Tony Donaldson for the picture of the Chiffchaff.

Bird News Monday 27th March

The drake American Wigeon was still at the blue bridge south of Dundrum this morning (Paul McCullough)

Rathlin Island today had a small Canada Goose from an unknown source, a male Wheatear,2 Sand Martins , 1 Redwing, a Carrion Crow, a Chough, 9 Jackdaws, 2 Twite and 10+ Goldcrests (Colin Guy)

3 Sandwich Tern where at the RSPB Belfast reserve.(Kevin Kirkham-Brown/Tom Ennis)

Blacker’s Rock, Lough Neagh, Co. Tyrone Sat 25/3/17 had a leucistic Black- tailed Gdwit amongst a flock of 40.(Godfrey McRoberts)

News from Rathlin Island:
Sunday 26th March. 1 Brambling at Kinramer Cottage. 1 Grey Wagtail 'in off' at Rue Point. 1 Chiffchaff. Goldcrests everywhere at Kinramer. Numerous Wheatears. 
 Monday 27th March: 3 Crossbills, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 1 Willow Warbler 1 Yellowhammer and 1 Grey Wagtail, all in the Kinramer area. Also 4 Siskins flying around near the seabird centre and the first Puffin of the year (Richard Else )

A pair of Little Egrets were at Castle Archdale, Co Fermanagh today. (Sheila McGirr)

A Wheatear was today on rocks at the east end of Ballyholme beach, Bangor. (Ian McKee)

The first Manx Shearwaters of the year were ringed on Copeland last Friday night (CBO) 

Our thanks to Steven Robinson for the mating Kestrels and also to Christine Cassidy for the freshly arrived Wheatear.

Cuckoo Records:

Mark the return of Spring by listening out for the cuckoo!
Help in recording what is for many the distinctive sound of Spring – the call of the cuckoo. If you see or hear a cuckoo please submit your record online.
The Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR) is asking for people to report when they see or hear a Cuckoo using the newly launched online recording facility.
The Cuckoo is a rapidly declining species Red Listed as a bird of conservation concern in the UK. They arrive from Africa in April and May and sing throughout the Spring. They are much more likely to heard than seen. Their calls are distinctive but can be mistaken for Collared Dove and Woodpigeon.
More information on the Cuckoo can be found on the Priority Species of Northern Ireland website.
If you see or hear a Cuckoo then please visit and submit your record.

Bird News Sunday 26th March

5 Slavonian Grebe were seen from the lay-by at Greyabbey. At least 8 Pink-footed Geese were with the Greylags at Anne's Point. (Daniel Newton).

The drake American Wigeon was on the marsh at the blue bridge, just south of Dundrum village (Wilton Farrelly)

5 Med Gulls were at Glynn, Larne Lough (Gerard McGeehan).

A male Green-winged Teal was at Paddy's Dub, Lough Beg this morning. Also 92 Shoveler, 20 Pintail, four Ruff and total at least 20 Little Egrets were around the Beg. (David Steele).

A Brambling was in Whitehead, see pictures below. (Cameron Moore).

7 Sand Martins were at Balls Point and 100 Redwing at Bellarena.

A 1st winter Glaucous Gull was at the fishing lake on Fair Head. (Colin Guy).

The adult Mediterranean Gulls were at RSPB Belfast Lough reserve again. (Daniel Newton).

Thanks to Cameron Moore for the pictures of the Brambling and to Linda Thompson for the pictures of the Redwing.


Bird News Saturday 25th March

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Belvoir Park, close to the RSPB centre. (Christine and Stephen Armstrong)

A Sandwich Tern was at Crawfordsburn this morning (Michael Latham)

On the east side Strangford Lough were 73 Slavonian Grebe, mostly in full summer plumage - 56 between Greyabbey and Kircubbin, 10 east of Chapel Island and 7 north of Newtownards Sailing Cub. (Richard Weyl)

This morning a Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard across the Quoile estuary at the first car park, and a female Merlin was hawking among the old RAF huts at Killard. (Dougie Gamble)

2 Sand Martins were near Runkerry Head Co. Antrim (Colin Guy)

A Black Redstart, a 2w Iceland Gull, 5 Chiffchaffs, 40+ Goldcrests, 4 Twite, 2 Whimbrel & a Chough were on Rathlin today (Neal Warnock)

Thanks to Thomas Campbell for this pic of a Red Kite in Co Down:

Bird News Friday 24th March

A flock of 50 Waxwings are in Collinbridge Road, Newtownabbey (Nichola Henry)

Another flock of 8 Waxwing where spotted in flight in Portadown.(James O'Neill)

Chiffchaffs are now being widely reported now, this fine stretch of fine weather has obliviously aided their migration, thanks to everyone who has taken time out to pass on their sightings.

Sparrowhawk - Wilf Swain
Great Spotted Woodpecker - Carl Bayliss.


Winners In The NIOC Photographic Competition 2017





Bird News Thursday 23rd March

A Chiffchaff, 2 Redwing and a Blackcap were at Monkstown Wood (Dot Blakely).

Bird News Wednesday 22nd March

A male Merlin was seen on the road in to Portavogie (Stephen Maxwell)

Below are pics and history on two Black-headed Gulls from Antrim Marina, provided by Gareth Platt. A species that we often take for granted, the records below show the differing origins of these gulls:

'Iceland 571487' above has been recorded throughout the winter at Antrim Marina and this should be the final sighting until next Autumn. It certainly got well fed by folk feeding the ducks, a sign that it is building up for it's return to Iceland. Gareth first recorded it in March 2014.

The second BHG is a first winter that put in it's first appearance at Antrim Marina last weekend.  Gareth, realising it was foreign, it gave him the run-around as he took photos of the ring. He eventually managed to obtain the full code - Lithuania HA24.967. Another nice sighting and many thanks to Gareth for this information.

Thanks to Thomas Campbell for the picture below of a Treecreeper. You can see more pics from local photographers at: :

Bird News Tuesday 21st March

A flock of around 30 Waxwings were still at the Mersey Street bridge in Belfast this morning, see picture below. (Stephen Maxwell).

The drake American Wigeon was still in Dundrum Inner Bay (David Nixon)

A Red Kite was other Gilford (Richard Gray).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen along the Riverside Walk, Ballynahinch this afternoon. (Ian Jackson)

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for this pic of one of the Mersey Street Waxwings:

Bird News Monday 20th March

The first winter Kumliens Gull was at RSPB WOW early this morning (Daniel Newton)

A flock of about 30 Twite were at Whitehead boatyard this morning. (Christine Beggs)

A House Martin was in old Rectory Close, Cookstown this morning (Tony McCormick)

9 Waxwing were near the river bridge on Mersey Street, East Belfast at 5.30 this evening. (Paul McCullough).

Belfast Harbour Reserve: Mediterranean Gull; 3 Breeding Plumage Adults plus 1 First Winter New Ferry, Co. Antrim: Whooper Swan 120+,Lesser Canada Goose Branta canadensis parvipes 1, Ecos Centre, Ballymena: Green-winged Teal 1♂ Mersey Street, Belfast: Waxwing 25+ (Mike Meidlinger & Tom Ennis).

A first winter Iceland Gull was on the shore below St Columbs Park, Derry (Michael Savage)

Thanks to Stephen Foster for the picture of the Jay, to William Smiton for the picture of the Sparrowhawk and to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Brent Geese.


Bird News Sunday 19th March

A female Brambling was in a garden at Richhill this morning. (Andrew Poots) 

A male Brambling was in a garden in Portstewart (Rod Gillan)

The drake Ring-necked Duck was showing in front of the hide at the Quoile, Co Down (Wilton Farrelly)

Four Mediterannean Guls were at RSPB WOW reserve. (Garry Armstrong)

About 10 Twite were at the Boatyard at Whitehead at lunchtime (Christine Beggs).

The drake American Wigeon was still at Dundrum Inner Bay this afternoon (Michael Latham)

12 Purple Sandpiper were in Newcastle (Michael Latham)

Another male Brambling was at Listooder, between Ballynahinch and Crossgar (John Moore)

Two 2nd year Iceland gulls were at the Barmouth, 5 Pink-footed Geese were at Myroe along with a Wheatear (Ivor McDonald)

A Long-eared Owl flew across the Bangor to Belfast dual carriageway this evening,near Hollywood. (Colin Bell)

8 Waxwing were at Mersey Street in East Belfast - in trees beside Connswater Greenway (Simon Morton)
Thanks to Andrew for the Brambling pic, Michael for the American Wigeon, Wilton for the Ring-necked Duck, Thomas for the Red Kite and Rod for another Brambling:

Brambling, Andrew Poots:

American Wigeon, Michael Latham:

Ring-necked Duck, Wilton Farrelly:

Thomas Campbell, Red Kite:

Brambling, Rod Gillan:

Bird News Saturday 18th March

Two House Martins were over the Rathgael Road in Bangor, early this morning.  On 15th a Chiffchaff was singing at Dagger Road, Lisburn.  (Kerry Leonard)

A Sand Martin was over the River Braid at Harryville, Ballymena this morning. (Richard Gray)

Chiffchaffs are now widely reported.

Slightly further afield an Iceland Gull was at Inch Co Donegal along with a Ruddy Shelduck of unknown origin. (Brian Hegarty) see pics below

Below is the Iceland Gull on Inch Lake and the Ruddy Shelduck seen in fields at Inch. The Curlew pic was sent in by Stephen Foster.

Bird News Friday 17th March

A Brambling was at a bird table in Portstewart this morning. (Rod Gillan).

The wintering Chiffchaff was still at Kinnegar and a Siskin at RSPD Belfast Lough WOW reserve. (Daniel Newton).

Two 1st year Iceland Gulls, an adult Little Gull and 290 Sanderling were at the Bann Estuary. (Stuart McKee).

This afternoon at the Belfast Lough RSPB WOW reserve there was a juvenile Kumlien's Gull and 4 Mediterranean Gulls.The Mediterranean Gulls were on the "Tern Island" where the Med Gulls bred last year. At least 2 were adults but one was a 3rd Summer. (Tom Ennis & Mike Meidlinger).

On 14th at Whiteabbey there was a second winter Iceland Gull, 2 juvenile L. a. argentatus Herring Gulls and 3 Carrion Crow types. (Tom Ennis & Mike Meidlinger).

Thanks to Thomas Campbell for the picture of the Treecreeper.

Bird News Thursday 16th March

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Kinnegar Shore (Brian Murphy)

A young Crossbill was with its parents yesterday at Cooneen Road / Foglish Road Fivemiletown. Crossbills seem to be doing wellin the area (Colin Bell)

7 Purple Sandpiper were at Donaghadee (Richard Haydon)

Thanks to Stephen Foster for this pic of a drake Pochard and Wilfie Swain for the Great Crested Grebes:

Bird News Wednesday 15th March

An adult Glaucous Gull was at Corbally Lough, Portrush (Stuart McKee).

5 Purple Sandpiper were just north of Annalong Harbour this morning. (Frank Carroll).

A Kingfisher was on the Connswater in Victoria Park this afternoon. (Rhona Galway).

A 1st winter Ring-billed Gull and 3 Iceland Gulls were at the Barmouth. (Birdguides).

The American Wigeon was still in Dundrum Inner Bay, see picture below. (Tony Donaldson).

Up to 12 Twite were still around the boat yard in Whitehead, 2 Ravens were at Beach Road Nature Reserve. (Des & Michael Loughridge).

A Carrion Crow and 15 Redwing were in Wallace Park in Lisburn. (Suzanne Belshaw).

Thanks to Terry Hanna for the picture of the Dipper and to Tony Donaldson for the picture of the American Wigeon.


NIRSG Annual Conference

Bird News Tuesday 14th March.

The American Wigeon was still on show at Dundrum. (Ronald Surgenor)

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at Corbally reservoir, Portrush.(S McKee)

Two Great Spotted Woodpecker were drumming in Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Co Armagh this morning, one bird was seen. (Frank Carroll)

Two Iceland Gulls were on the shore below St Columbs Park, Derry this afternoon (Michael Savage)

A 3rd winter Iceland Gull was at the river estuary at Waterfoot (Colin Guy)

Thanks to Wilfie Swain for this pic of a Little Egret:

Bird News Monday 13th March

At Lough Beg the probable Lesser Canada Goose was at Newferry (it has been present in swan flocks in the area). Photo below. 480 black-tailed godwit and 3 Sand Martin were also present (Richard Weyl, Hayley McKeown and Rachel Hamill)
The drake American Wigeon, a Ruff and 13 Snipe were at Dundrum South Inner Bay today.  9 Purple Sandpipers were beside the Rock Pool at Newcastle. (David Nixon/Philip McHaffie)

A Chiffchaff was in full song at Prehen House Grounds, Prehen Park, Derry (Christine Cassidy)

2 Crossbill were at Foglish Road, Fivemiletown on Friday 10th. 3 Crossbill were also on Saturday 11th near Crocknagrally nr Fivemiletown (Colin Bell)

A Ruff and two adult Mediterranean Gulls were at RSPB WOW Belfast (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

A Chiffchaff was along the Comber Greenway this morning (Julian Greenwood)

At Dundrum Bay inner north at 12.00pm, high tide- 50+ black-tailed godwits, 7 little egrets, 13 Greenshank & 200 Brent geese. (Spencer & Joan Marshall)

Two Sand Martins were at Reedy Flats, Lough Neagh (Neil McManus)

The Ring-billed Gull was still at Enniskillen (Brad Robson)

Thanks to Brad Robson for this pic of the Ring-billed Gull and Richard Weyl for the Lesser Canada Goose:

Bird News Sunday 12th March

The drake American Wigeon was still showing well at Dundrum Inner Bay. (Philip West)

A Chiffchaff was on Waterside Greenway this morning (Michael Savage)

The Spoonbill was at Anne's Point, Strangford Lough along with a Merlin (Daniel Newton)

The Greenland White-fronted goose and 2 adult Med Gulls were at Steele's point, Larne Lough (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

3 Iceland Gulls were on the fish cages at Waterfoot (2x 1w and a 3w). A Whimbrel was at Ballygally (Neal Warnock).

A Chiffchaff was on Copeland Island, see picture below. (David Stirling).

The Great White Egret was at Drumgay Lough. The 2nd w Ring-billed Gull was still at the Round O Enniskillen (B Robson)

A White-tailed Eagle was at Lower Lough Macnean, Co Fermanagh (A Brady).

An adult-summer Mediterranean Gull was with Black-headed Gulls on fields by the River Main at Slaght near Ballymena this morning (a different individual to the bird seen last week, which was just starting moult). Also a pair of Goosanders were on the river there. (David Steele).

A Merlin was at Dundrum inner bay this afternoon. (Nichola Henry).

Thanks to David Stirling for the picture of the Chiffchaff, to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Buzzard and to Thomas Campbell for the picture of the Siskin.


Bird News Saturday 11th March

A Yellow-browed Warbler was ringed on Copeland Bird Observatory today, probably the first spring record in NI. There were also good numbers of Goldcrests. (Chris Acheson & David Stirling).

The American Wigeon was at  Dundrum Bay South, giving excellent views from the A2 at the blue bridge over the Moneycarragh river, 30 feet from shore (John Cusack,  Michael Cusack and Vanessa Dunn)

A Wheatear was on the beach near Newcastle, where the golf links meets the Murlough reserve. (Dan Baillie)

The Black Redstart remains at Whitehead, but the popular Twite flock have moved on.(Cameron Moore)

The male Smew was still present at Inch in Donegal, the Ruddy Shelduck was also still present. (Birdguides).

The Black Redstart was still at the boatyard in Whitehead. (Birdguides).

Thanks to David Stirling for the picture of the Yellow-browed Warbler, to Thomas Campbell for the picture of the Red Kite and to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Goldfinch