Bird News Friday 16th March

2 male Wheatears were on Ramore Head today (Colin Guy)

A first winter Iceland Gull, a pair of Mediterranean Gulls and an adult Ring-billed Gull were at RSPB WoW this morning (Kevin Kirkham-Brown).
Thanks to Kevin for the pictures of the Mediterranean Gull and the Ring-billed Gull, to Cameron Moore for the picture of the Iceland Gull and to Colin Guy for the picture of the Wheatear:


Bird News Thursday 15th March

Two Iceland Gulls were at Whitehead this morning (Cameron Moore)

A male Brambling was in a garden off the Lisburn Road, Belfast this morning (Dave Allen)

A male Wheatear was on Ramore Head this morning (Colin Guy)

The Bann Estuary had an adult and a 1st winter Iceland Gull, 10 Whooper Swans, 57 Black-tailed Godwit and 205 Golden Plover (Hill Dick)

A second year Glaucous Gull was on Rathlin (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

Many thanks to Ric and Hazel for this pic of a Glaucous Gull on Rathlin:

Bird News Wednesday 14th March

An Iceland Gull was at RSPB WoW this morning (Daniel Newton)

Yesterday a Spotted Redshank was in the channel at Myroe (Jonny Rosborough)

Today a Glaucous Gull flew past the sea embankment at Myroe; also present there c350 Whooper Swans, c300 Brent Geese, c450 Golden Plover and 4 Greenshank. (Hill Dick/Peter Robinson)

Thanks to Jonny for this pic of the Spotted Redshank:

Ringed Sanderling

This ringed Sanderling was photographed on Portballintrae beach by James Crozier. We would be pleased to receive any information on where this bird was ringed. Update: Thanks for the feedback and we believe we have details of the ringing of this bird and will publish details in the future.

Bird News Tuesday 13th March

A first year Iceland Gull was out towards the Skerries, Portrush and an adult Glaucous was seen in flight. The Bann Estuary had another first year Iceland and a second year Glaucous Gull (Stuart McKee).

Thanks to Kevin Kirkham-Brown for the picture of the Siskin:

Bird News Monday 12th March.

Two Sand Martins and two Little Stints where at Mullagh, Lough Beg.(David Steele)

The Green-winged Teal was still at the Ecos Centre. A first year Iceland Gull was the at Bann estuary, another first year flew past Ramore and a first winter/summer Ring-billed Gull was briefly at East Strand car park Portrush before flying off towards Ramore Head (Stuart McKee)

8 Pink-footed Geese were at Keeble Lough, Rathlin (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

Our thanks to Andrew Poots who has sent in this photograph of a Common(Mealy) Redpoll that he took from his garden in Richill. As from this year under the IOC, Common Redpoll is now a separate species from Lesser Redpoll which is the one most people see in their gardens:

Bird News Sunday 11th March

17 Slavonian Grebe were off Greyabbey Bay South (Laurence Irvine)

Capanagh had 50 Fieldfare and 15 Skylarks. 5 Red-throated Divers and a Sanderling were at Sandy Bay, Larne (Gerard McGeehan \ Shirley Dunlop)

Thanks to Wilf Swain for this pic of a drake Red Breasted Merganser:

Bird News Saturday 10th March

A female Great Spotted Woodpecker was feeding in a garden beside Gosford Forest (Aubrey Percy)

An Iceland Gull was at RSPB WoW early this morning (Daniel Newton)

First winter Glaucous Gulls were at Corbally Reservoir and Dunseverick (Garry Armstrong)

As we head in to the breeding season, a reminder that we do not publish pictures of rare breeding birds or birds at nests. 

Thanks to Aubrey Percy for this pic of the Great Spotted Woodpecker:

Gyr Falcon

A white phase Gyr Falcon flew past Ramore head this afternoon it headed east across the bay in the direction of Dunluce Castle (John Clarke)

Bird News Friday 9th March

An Avocet has been reported from the Bann Estuary, Castlerock, yesterday afternoon (Alan Faulkner)

In excellent conditions on Strangford Lough a record 97 Slav. Grebes (6 at Horse Island,72 between Greyabbey and Kircubbin 16 off N'ards Sailing club) Also 7 Black-tharoated Diver.(Richard Weyl)

A pair of Goosanders were on the River Maine south of Slaght this morning (Richard Gray)

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

A pair of Red Grouse were seen on Slieve Donard, Mournes, Co. Down on Tuesday 6 March (Keith Dalzell)

Late  news from yesterday was of a flock of 100 Twite in a stubble field between Ballintoy Church and Carrick a rede.(Colin Guy)  

Oystercatcher - William Smiton

Five of the Black-throated Divers - Richard Weyl.

Bird News Thursday 8th March

An inland Red-throated Diver was near Devenish Island, Lower Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

At least 6 Bramblings were in a garden on the Dunminning Rd, Cullybackey (Jeff Larkin).

At Belfast Lough RSPB reserve today there were approximately 45 Bar-tailed Godwits, including one bird coming into summer plumage, a Red-breasted Merganser and 6 Mediterranean Gulls as follows: 2 birds in summer plumage (neither had complete back heads but liberally speckled white at front) had formed a pair. Very aggressive and much chasing of Black-headed Gulls from their chosen spot. A full adult with complete black head. An adult with black head except for a small spot or streak of white at the bill base. Another adult with grizzled appearance because the head was very heavily spotted and streaked white. A second winter bird with blackish mask and black spots on primaries. (Tom Ennis, Derek Polley, Stephen Maxwell, Denis Connolly & Chris Sturgeon).

A female Hen Harrier was seen in the Sperrins. (Adam McClure).

Thanks to Ian Jackson for the picture of the female Siskin, to Paul & Niall Mulvenna for the picture of the Kingfisher and to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Tufted Duck:


Bird News Wednesday 7th March

2 Waxwing were at the entrance to Mountsandel Fort, Mountsandel Rd. Coleraine  at 2.30 pm today. (Michael Barton)

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was near White Rocks,Portrush and another 1st Winter was at Dunseverick Harbour (Colin Guy)

Three Med Gulls and 2 Ruff were at RSPB WoW (Gerard McGeehan)

Knot, Wilf Swain:

Terry Hanna, Curlew:

Bird News Tuesday 6th March

A Red Kite was over the Dromara Road in Dundrum this morning. (Wilf Swain).

A flock of 13 Twite were feeding at Fishermans Quay in Carrickfergus. (Adam McClure).

A pair of Common Scoter were off Kinnegar shore this morning. (Daniel Newton).

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of a Buzzard and to Annette Elkin for the picture of the Red-breasted Merganser:


Bird News Monday 5th March.

A Glaucous Gull was off the Barmouth Hide foraging with other gulls at high tide this afternoon and was then seen in flight over the River Bann heading towards Coleraine (Ken Perry and Tyrone Nelson).

Goldfinch - Wilfred Swain.

Bird News Sunday 4th March

An adult Yellow Legged Gull was at Kinnegar shore (Wilton Farrelly)

Three Pink-footed Geese were with Whoopers and Greylags at Oxford Island (Brian Murphy)

A Woodcock flew over the River Lagan in Lisburn at the weir between the Union and the Moore's Bridge (Eric Randall)

A Jack Snipe was seen on waste ground close to RSPB WiW, Belfast (Daniel Newton)

A Goosander was at the Bann Estuary (Richard Donaghey)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in Portglenone Forest yesterday (Greg Moorehead)

Blackcaps are been reported widely. Two were in a garden at Scarva (Fulton Somerville)

If you know the origin of this ringed Bar-tailed Godwit, please contact Gareth Platt at:

Bird News Saturday 3rd March

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at The Round O, Enniskillen. (Wilton Farrelly).

Two male Blackcaps were visiting a garden in Comber. (Chris Shaw).

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for the picture of the Golden Plover, to David McIlveen for the picture of the Sanderling, to David Hunter for the picture of the Redwing and to Raymond Elkin for the picture of the Yellowhammer:


Bird News Thursday 1st March

Last night, a Barn Owl was seen about 8pm at Coragh, Loughgall, Co Armagh (Dennis Lavery)

An Iceland Gull was in Coleraine (John Clarke)

5 Snow Bunting were on the cliff path at Portstewart near the old Strand Hotel building site. Same area had hundreds of waders including Golden Plover and a Red-throated Diver just off shore as well as Redwings on the coast (Garry Wilkinson)

A Jack Snipe was at Keeble, Rathlin (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

Thanks to John Clarke for this pic of the Iceland Gull and David Cassells for the Great Spotted Woodpecker from Dromore:

Request For Volunteers To Help With Heronry Census 2018

2018 is the 90th anniversary of the UK Heronries Census and BTO are hoping to achieve a full survey of all current and historical nest sites across Northern Ireland. That of course means more volunteers are needed! The survey method is straightforward and details will be provided. If you are interested in being part of this major survey, please contact Ian Enlander directly for further information email: There is no need for existing heronry volunteers to get in touch.

I am particularly keen to hear from people who can cover the following areas which have a number of historical sites in them and are currently unallocated.

Key sites - Cookstown -  Desertmartin.

Other sites - Augher - Clogher - Fivemiletown Loughgall - Benburb - Coalisland - Stoneyford - Dundrod - Crumlin - Randalstown - Toome - Clough - Dundrum - Armoy - Ballycastle - Bushmills Ballykelly - Limavadey - Dungiven.

A great chance for a good days birding while helping with this important survey programme.

Bird News Wednesday 28th February

Late news for yesterday was that an adult Mediterranean Gull was at Lurgan Park. On Monday the Smew was still at Portmore Lough (Suzanne Belshaw)

Thanks to Suzanne Belshaw for the pics of the Smew and the Med Gull:

Bird News Tuesday 27th February

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at Glynn (Joe Lamont)

The Green-winged Teal was still at the Ecos Centre, Ballymena (Adam McClure)

Some late news from Saturday. 4 Crossbill were seen at Slieveanorra forest, Co. Antrim (Godfrey McRoberts)

Bird News Monday 26th February

The 3rd year Glaucous Gull was still on Rathlin today (Ric Else and Hazel Watson)

A flock of at least 36 Stock Doves were today along the Ballyrolly Road, near Clough, Co Down. (David Nixon)

Blackcap, Linda Thompson:

Goldfinch, Wilf Swain:

Bird News Sunday 25th February.

Ardglass had a 1st winter Iceland Gull and an ad Med. Gull.(Garry Armstrong )

An ad Med Gull and a 1st winter Iceland Gull where on the river at Strand Rd, Coleraine.(John Clarke)

A Black-throated Diver at Marlfield and the Iceland gull still at Portavogie. (Richard Weyl)

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at Merchant's Quay, Newry.(David Knight)

There were two Red Throated Divers and a Great Northern off Portstewart Head( Sean Hickey )

14 Yellowhammers where on the concrete area in front of East Down Farmers(Paul Mulvenna)

An early Whimbrel and a Glaucous Gull where on Rathlin Island(Richard Else/Hazel Watson)

Our thanks to David Knight for the pic of the Iceland Gull and also to Paul Mulvenna for his pic of the two Yellowhammers,bottom pic is from Ric Else of the Whimbrel from Rathlin Island.

Bird News Saturday 24th February

Yesterday an adult Mediterranean Gull and  2 juvenile Iceland Gulls were at Enniskillen dump. (Brad Robson).

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Goldcrest and to Christine Cunningham for the picture of the Wigeon:


Bird News Friday 23rd February.

A Black Redstart was seen at Helens Bay,bird seen at carpark at coast guard cottages which takes you down to the boat house at shore line.(Ronnie/Lillian Snoddy)  coast guard cottages are at the bottom of Coastguard Ave which is off the Craigdarragh Rd

A Spotted Redshank was at Myroe Co. L'derry this afternoon.(G Bareham/M.Tickner)

The Green-winged Teal remains at the Ecos centre in Ballymena.(Richard Gray).

A Red Throated Diver was in the bay at the first tee at the Old Course Portstewart at 2-30. (Sean Hickey).

The Ring-billed Gull was still at Carrick harbour (Joe Lamont)
Black Redstart - Ronnie Snoddy.

Pied Wagtail - Noel Austin.

Bird News Thursday 22nd February.

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Troopers Lane, Carrickfergus.(G.McGeehan)

A Red Kite was flying over the A1 at the quarry at Banbridge at 4.30pm.(Karen Elliott)

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at Portavogie. (David Nixon).

At Inch Lake,Co.Donegal, the male Smew was viewable close to the floodgates. Blanket Nook had 15 Pink-footed Geese. (Hill Dick/Peter Robinson).

A female Scaup was at Belfast Lough RSPB reserve. (Derek Polley).

Long - tailed Tit - Wilfred Swain.

Bird News Wednesday 21st February

In excellent conditions on the east side of Strangford Lough there were 69 Slavonian Grebe (6 at Horse Island, 54 between Kircubbin and Greyabbey and 9 off Newtownards Sailing Club), 4 Black-throated Diver at Kirbubbin and a Mediterranean Gull at Newtownards Sailing Club. (Richard Weyl).

A pair of Ravens were at Belfast City Hall. (Paul McCullough).

Thanks to Noel Austin for the picture of the Water Rail, to Christine Cunningham for the picture of the Yellowhammer and to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Meadow Pipit:

Bird News Tuesday 20th February

Yesterday a juvenile Iceland Gull was at Enniskillen dump. (Brad Robson).

The Turtle Dove was still in Doagh and the Green-winged Teal was at the Ecos Centre in Ballymena. (Brian McCloskey & Mark Stewart).

A 1st winter Iceland Gull and a 2nd winter Ring-billed Gull were at Waterworks Park in Belfast. (David Knight).

A 2nd calendar year female Hen harrier was hunting along the shore of Lough Neagh from Reedy Flat to Ardmore, this is possibly the bird that has recently been at Portmore. (James O'Neill).

Thanks to Mark Stewart for the picture of the Turtle Dove, to James O'Neill for the picture of the Hen Harrier, to David Knight for the picture of the Ring-billed Gull, to David Hill for the picture of the Sanderling and to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Buzzard: