Bird News Wednesday 31st January

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen and heard at Cairn Wood, Craigantlet (Harry Byron).

Thanks to Ian Jackson for the picture of the Tree Sparrow and to Paul Mulvenna for the picture of the Redpoll:


Lough Beg

The campaign to have Lough Beg: Heaney Country recognised by UNESCO as Northern Ireland’s second only World Heritage Site will be launched on World Wetlands Day, this Friday 2 February from 2pm at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast.  More events are planned for Lough Beg on Saturday, see below. Please come along if you are free, bring a friend and give these initiatives all the support you can. The Supreme Court are currently considering whether to hear an appeal on the proposed route of this new road.

In the picture below of the Whooper Swans in the field, the boundary lines with the fence are where the proposed route of the A5 will pass through:

Bird News Tuesday 30th January

A Great-Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming this morning at Castle Ward National Trust, Co Down. (Kev Kirkham)

A female Ring-necked Duck was at Church Bay, Lough Beg. 4 Brambling were also nearby at Church Island (David Steele)

The Glossy Ibis was still at Portmore Lough (Christine Cassidy and Lindsay Hodges)

Runkerry Bay, Port Ballintrae had a Black-throated diver feeding in the bay along edge of River run off. 6 Purple Sandpiper and 14 Sanderling were also present. Causeway Head near Port Moon had a 2nd winter Glaucous Gull (Patrick Barton)

The Spoonbill was at Anne’s Point, Co Down (Adam McClure)

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for this pic of the Glossy Ibis at Portmore:

Bird News Monday 29th January.

2 Jack Snipe where at the RSPB Lower Lough Erne islands reserve.(Brad Robson)

8 Pink - footed Geese where amongst the Greylag Geese  at Reedy Flats(James O'Neill)

RSPB Portmore Lough reserve still had the Glossy Ibis and the ring tailed Hen Harrier, Lisburn arts centre had a Med Gull.( John Edwards and Tony Dodds) The redhead Smew was also present at the Portmore Lough reserve.(David Nixon/Ian Jackson)

A high count of 500+ Knot were on Murlough Beach (Garry Wilkinson)

The Kumliens Gull seen yesterday is probably the bird that was at Dundalk (Gerry O’Neill)

Thanks to Noel Austin for this pic of a Great Crested Grebe from Oxford Island:

Bird News Sunday 28th January

The Glossy Ibis and ring-tailed Hen Harrier were at Portmore Lough (Michael Latham)

A first winter Iceland Gull was at Whitehead (David Stirling)

A first winter Iceland Gull was at Portavigie (Ian Graham). A second different bird was also seen later (Gareth Platt)

The Spoonbill was at Anne’s Point, Strangford Lough (Wilton Farrelly)

An adult winter Med Gull was at Kinnegar shore and three Twite at RSPB WoW Reserve. (Stuart McKee)

An adult Glaucous Gull was on Rathlin (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

Three first-winter Glaucous Gulls were along the East Antrim Coast today. A presumed second-winter Kumliens Gull flew north past Garron Point (Neal Warnock)

A 2nd winter Iceland Gull was at the evening roost at RSPB WOW. (Clive Mellon)

Two Sandwich Terms were at Ballyholme Beach (Gareth Platt)

The drake Ring-necked Duck was still on The Templewater, Castle Ward.

You can see further pictures of some of the Iceland Gulls above and the Glossy Ibis at:

Thanks to Neal Warnock for this pic of the presumed Kumliens Gull:

Thanks to Michael for the pics of the Glossy Ibis and the Hen Harrier:

Bird News Saturday 27th January

The Glossy Ibis was at Portmore Lough RSPB this morning (Katherine Booth-Jones).

The Glossy Ibis was still at Portmore this afternoon, a Hen Harrier was also present. (Paul & Niall Mulvenna).

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was on the Ballycastle Road in Coleraine. (John Clarke).

Approximately 20 Twite are at the Scout hut in Whitehead. (David Stirling).

The Ring-necked Duck was still at the Temple Water, Castle Ward,this afternoon. Also two Carrion Crows at Strangford and a drake Pintail at the Quoile hide. (Clive Mellon).

A Barn Owl flew out of the Larchfield Estate near to the Pheasant Restaurant outside Lisburn this evening. (Garry Wilkinson).

Thanks to John Clarke for the picture of the Iceland Gull, to David Stirling for the picture of the Purple Sandpipers and to Paul Mulvenna for the picture of the Glossy Ibis:


Big Garden Birdwatch this Weekend

This weekend join the Big Garden Birdwatch to see if our garden birds are flying high

Spending an hour watching the birds in your garden this weekend will help provide the RSPB with an annual snapshot of our garden birds as more than half a million people take part in Big Garden Birdwatch across the UK.

Taking part in the world’s largest garden wildlife survey is easy – simply spend an hour counting the birds that visit your garden and submit your results online (
Some resident birds such as greenfinches, chaffinches, blue tits, great tits and long-tailed tits should be showing in good numbers after a positive breeding season and favourable winter weather conditions.

The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is set to bring more than half a million people together this weekend (27, 28 & 29 January) as people uncover what is happening in their garden, helping to create an annual snapshot of how birds are doing across the UK. 
It gives people of all ages the chance to count the number of birds that visit their garden to help the RSPB build up a picture of how our feathered friends are faring at this time of year.

To take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2018, simply spend an hour over the weekend watching the birds in your garden, outdoor space or local park. Once you have recorded the birds that make a visit, whether they are starlings, sparrows or skylarks, submit your results online at

Robin - Wilf Swain

CBO Winter Talk next Tuesday

Bird News Friday 26th January

On Rathlin today were 11 White-fronted Geese, a 3cy Glaucous Gull off the West Light & a flock of 80 Siskins (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

There was an Adult Glaucous Gull at Landsdown car park, Portrush this afternoon (John Clarke)

2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were at Florencecourt estate Fermanagh (P Fogg) 

A new juv Iceland Gull was at Enniskillen dump, a Great Norther Diver was calling on lower lough erne. Late news from Wednesday. A Jack Snipe was on Lower Lough Erne islands RSPB reserve, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

Two Iceland Gulls were at RSPB Belfast WoW early evening (Daniel Newton)

19 Whoopers flew south over Markethill this morning (John Anderson)

John Parkinson has had one of his photos included in the National Geographic Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the week #124. (Scroll down to Photo 7 on the link below):

Bird News Thursday 25th January.

A Red-necked Grebe was off Mullagh,Lough Beg.(David Steele)

The Glossy Ibis was still on show at the RSPB Portmore Lough reserve.(Ronald Surgenor)

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Whitehouse park, two Common Scoter, two Red-throated Divers and one Slavonian Grebe were off Macedon Point (Stuart McKee)

The Ring-necked Duck was still present at Templewater, Castleward.(Annette Elkin)

Ring-necked Duck - Annette Elkin.

Glossy Ibis - Ronald Surgenor.

Bird News Wednesday 24th January

The Great Northern Diver was still in Portrush harbour. (Robert Plant).

There was no sign of the Glossy Ibis at Portmore this morning, good numbers of Fieldfares and Redwings were present.(Jim McKeown & Kenneth Anderson).

The Glossy Ibis was present at Portmore this afternoon from 2p.m. (Richard Cave)

2 Purple Sandpipers were at Whitehead seafront. (Ian Enlander).

A juvenile Great Northern Diver was showing well at the south end of Lough Beg this afternoon - rare at Lough Beg ( just a few previous records). Also seen were a 1st-winter Mediterranean Gull, Great White Egret, Glossy Ibis, three Little Stints and 16 Ruff. (David Steele)

The mixed Brambling / Chaffinch flock still present at Donacavy Road, Fintona (Adam McClure).

A 2nd winter Iceland Gull was at Corbally Reservoir outside Portrush, 5 Tree Sparrows were in a nearby hedgerow. (Hill Dick).

A adult Glaucous Gull was at Ushet Lough on Rathlin, the third different Glaucous Gull this week. (Ric Else & Hazel Watson)

Thanks to Richard Caves for the picture of the Greenshank, to Ian Enlander for the picture of the Purple Sandpipers and to Ric Else for the picture of the Glaucous Gull:


Bird News Tuesday 23rd January

The Glossy Ibis was still at Portmore RSPB reserve this afternoon. (Nigel Moore).

Yesterday a Peregrine flew over Bradbury Place, Belfast at 5pm. (David Stirling).

A Red-throated Diver was at Portstewart Head. (Sean Hickey).

Thanks to Michael Henderson for the picture of the Siskin:

Bird News Monday 22nd January.

The Glossy Ibis was still present at the RSPB Portmore Lough reserve, although it is distant at times.(Kevin Kirham) see Kevin's pic below

Two female Goosanders where on Kebble Lake, Rathlin Island.(Ric Else/Hazel Watson) see pic below

The Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret, 3 Little Stint and 7 Ruff were at the south end of Lough Beg. (Matthew Tickner)

A Great Northern Diver was in Portrush harbour.(Peter Mellor) see bottom pic.

Bird News Sunday 21st January

A 1st winter Iceland Gull and the Twite flock were at Sandy Bay, Larne (Garry Armstrong)

A 1st winter Glaucous Gull and 3rd winter (metal ringed) Med Gull at Ballygally this morning. Late this afternoon 2 Cm Scoter flew into Larne Lough past Sandy Bay and a first winter Glaucous Gull, perhaps the one from earlier, was seen flying into roost in Larne Harbour. (Neal Warnock)

Two Slavonian Grebes and a Long-tailed Duck were off Macedon Point (Stuart McKee)

11 Gadwall and a Shoveler were on Galwally Lake, south Belfast (Dermot Hughes)

2 Slavonian Grebe and a Jack snipe were seen at Horse Island, Strangford Lough today (Richard Weyl)

The male Smew, a female Long-tailed Duck, 4 whitefront geese, 100+ mixed flock of Siskin, Lesser Redpoll and Goldfinch (including a very whiteishRedpoll), 100 + Common Scoter and a Great Northern Diver were all seen around Inch, Co Donegal. A Pink-footed Goose was at Blanketnook (Garry Wilkinson, Richard & Shirley Gray)

Rathlin 2017 Bird Report

Ric Else and Hazel Watson have created a 2017 Rathlin Bird Report which is viewable here:

Bird News Saturday 20th January

The Glossy Ibis was still at Portmore this morning. (Garry Armstrong).

The Glossy Ibis was still present this afternoon, the Hen Harrier was also present. (Linda Thompson)

Four Slavonian Grebe were off Hazelbank Park, Belfast Lough (Michael Latham)

There were 57 Snipe and a Woodcock flushed from a flooded field near Pennybridge, Ballymena today. (David Morrow)

At Portmore Lough this afternoon there was a red head Smew, Little Egret and adult Lesser black-Backed Gull (Clive Mellon).

The Ring-necked Duck was still at Templewater at Castle Ward. (David Stirling).

On Rathlin  a Little Auk and 2 Glaucous Gulls at the Rue this morning. (Ric Else & Hazel Watson).

Two male Goosander and two Glaucous Gulls were at the Barmouth. (Irish Birding)

32 Twite and 4 Purple Sandpipers were at Sandy Bay, Larne (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

A juv Iceland Gull was at Enniskillen dump today (Brad Robson).

 Strangford Lough had 38 Slavonian Grebe (27 in Greyabbey Bay, 2 off Mountstewart and 9 from Newtownards Sailing Club) and a Black-throated Diver in Greyabbey Bay. (Richard Weyl).

On the Antrim coast a 1st winter Glaucous Gull and a 2nd winter Little Gull were at Carnlough, another 1st winter Glaucous Gull was at Garron Point and 2 Goosanders at Waterfoot. (Neal Warnock).

Thanks to Ric Else for the picture of the Little Auk, to David Stirling for the pictures of the Ring-necked Duck and the Great Northern Diver, to Michael Latham for the picture of the Slavonian Grebe and to Linda Thompson for the picture of the Glossy Ibis:


Bird News Friday 19th January

A Glossy Ibis is at Portmore Lough (RSPB)

There were 4 Goosander on Lough Island reavy this morning. Two males and two redheads. (Clive Mellon)

A 2nd Winter Iceland Gull is at RSPB Belfast (Daniel Newton) Three Twite were also seen.(Stuart McKee)

The Goosander was still at the Waterworks, Antrim Rd Belfast.(Stuart McKee).

The Ruff was still at Dundrum Inner Bay.(David Nixon)

A Waxwing was in Bangor (Irish Birding)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Drumatee Road, Markethill today. It spent some time in a tree by the bird feeding area. (Hazel Wilson)

Yesterday a high count of 8 Greenshank were at Whitehouse Lagoon, Newtownabbey. (Stuart McKee)

Local birders may be interested in this new Friends of Oxford Island Facebook page:

The photograph below of this interesting Gull which can be seen at the Waterworks, Belfast... the bare parts and shape of head suggest Common Gull but the upperparts and  the tertial pattern does point towards Ring-billed Gull, could this bird be a hybrid, it has happened in Northern Ireland before. The Black-headed Gull in foreground gives good comparison of the grey upperparts colour...any suggestions on this bird would be most welcome.

Our thanks to Liam Philliban for the pic of the Glossy Ibis, also to Anthony Day for the  very unusual pic of this leucistic ,the photo was taken of Donaghadee, facing the Copelands. Bottom pic from David Nixon of the Ruff at Dundrum Inner Bay.

Bird News Thursday 18th January

A first winter Iceland Gull was seen at Whitehouse, Belfast Lough (John McConnell)

Little Egret was seen over the River Bann at McComb's bridge, Ballycoshone, Rathfriland (Shelagh Henry)

137 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Greenshank were at Dargan, Belfast Lough today (Adam McClure)

Denis Chambers, Grey Heron:

Wilf Swain, Curlew:

Bird News Wednesday 17th January

A female / first winter Goosander was on the upper pond of the west end at Belfast Waterworks (Stuart McKee)

A 3rd winter and juvenile Iceland Gull plus a local rarity of an adult Kittiwake were inland on Enniskillen dump at lunchtime today. (Brad Robson)

A Little Auk was on Rathlin at Church Bay (Ric Else / Hazel Watson).

A Great Northern Diver was off the harbour in Newcastle. (Leonard Charles).

Outside Lisburn a flock of approximately thirty very flighty Waxwings were half way along the Windmill Road landing briefly in trees near the junction of Cabra Road at 16.10pm this afternoon.They flew a short distance towards the New Road again landing briefly before flying again in the general direction of Annahilt. (Garry Wilkinson).

The 1st winter Iceland Gull was still at Carrickfergus. (Adam McClure/Tom Ennis& Tony Dodds)

An argentatus Herring Gull was  on the upper pond at Belfast Waterworks this morning. 3 Purple Sandpipers were at Sandy Bay in Larne. (Tom Ennis & Tony Dodds).

The 2 Black-throated Divers were still off Groomsport (George Gordon).

Thanks to Stuart McKee for the picture of the Goosander:


Bird News Tuesday 16th January

At Belfast Waterworks there was a third year Iceland Gull on the bottom pool and the upper pool had an adult argentatus Herring Gull and a 1st winter Lesser Black Backed Gull (Stuart McKee)

A Ruff was in Dundrum Inner Bay (David Nixon)

A pair of Crossbill were at Ballypatrick Forest, north Antrim (Dick Glasgow)

Crossbill, Dick Glasgow:

Bird News Monday 15th January.

The 1st winter Iceland Gull was at Carrickfergus.(Gerald McGeehan)

The Glossy Ibis and Great White Egret both still at the south end of Lough Beg today. Mullagh had the three over-wintering Little Stints, ten Ruff and a Greenland White-fronted Goose. (David Steele)

A Glossy Ibis was seen briefly nr Aghagallon, Lough Neagh around mid-day, a ring tail Hen Harrier was showing well at RSPB Portmore Lough reserve.(David Nixon/Phillip McHaffie)

The flock of Bramblings just outside Fintona on the Donacavey Rd has risen to around 20 birds, they seem to feeding on the beech mast.( Annette Elkin)

25 Twite and 7 Purple Sandpiper where at  Sandy Bay, Larne.(Kevin Kirkham)

18 Sandwich Terns where at Portaferry this morning.(Kerry Leonard)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen in Crawfordsburn.(Leslie McKee/ Ronnie Snoddy)

A second winter Ring-billed Gull was at the lower pond at Belfast Waterworks (Suzanne Belshaw)

Water Rail - Garry Wilkinson
Brambling - Annette Elkin.

Iceland Gull - Stephen Maxwell.

Ring-billed Gull - Suzanne Belshaw 

Bird News Sunday 14th January

The drake Ring-necked Duck was with circa 50 Tufted Duck at the Templewater, Castle Ward, Co Down (Stuart McKee)

The Pink-footed Goose was feeding with a flock of 78 Greylag at Ballycarry, Larne Lough (Adam McClure)

There are around 10 twite at the scout hall in Whitehead. (David Stirling)

A ring tail Hen Harrier was at Killard, Co Down (Garry Armstrong)

A juv Hen Harrier was at Portmore Lough (Daniel Newton)

Two red-headed Goosander were still at Corbet Lake, Banbridge this morning (Frank Carroll)

On Rathlin Island, the adult Glaucous Gull was at Ushet Lough. Also present on the Island were two ring tail Hen Harriers and two Peregrine (Ric Else and Hazel Watson)

A second year Little Gull was at Glenarm (Pauline Majury)

Many thanks to all who sent through pics today. More pics are at:

Ring-necked Duck, Stuart McKee:

Iceland Gull, Neal Warnock:

Little Gull, Pauline and Kenny Majury:

Bird News Saturday 13th January

The Ring-billed Gull and a 1st winter Iceland Gull are at Carrickfergus (Garry Armstrong).

18 Twite were at Sandy Bay, Larne (Brian Murphy)

Iceland Gull Carrick:

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for this pic of Oystercatchers:

Bird News Friday 12th January

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at Seacliffe Rd car park, Bangor. (Stephen Macauley).

Two female Goosanders are still at Corbet Lake, a single Whooper Swan was also present. 200 Golden Plover are still at Loughbrickland Lake with a flock of Lapwing. (Mike McLaughlin).

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Red-breasted Merganser:


Bird News Thursday 11th January.

The Ring-necked Duck was still at Templewater, Castleward and a Goosander was at the Quoile pondage. (Garry Wilkinson)

An Iceland Gull was at the roadside between Portrush and Portstewart. (Patrick Barton)

A flock of 10 Brambling where in a fixed finch flock just outside Fintona Co. Tyrone.(Annette Elkin)

Two Peregrine were at the WOW reserve this morning.(Derek Polley)

A late report of a juv. Gannet was seen well inland nr. the Colebrook river Co.Ferm. on the 6th Jan (Brad Robson)

A Red Kite was seen at Dromara Road, Dundrum (Wilf Swain)

Iceland Gull - Patrick Barton.

Male and female Brambling - Annette Elkin.

Blue Tit - Angus Kennedy