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:


Bird News Monday 19th February.

The Glossy Ibis, 3 Little Stint and the Great White Egret where still at Lough Beg, there was also 22 Ruff and a Great Northern Diver(Matthew Tickner/Gareth Bareham)

A Med Gull and a Sandwich Tern where at Kinnegar shore along with a number of freshly arrived Lesser-backed Gulls.(Kevin Kirkham)

The Glossy Ibis is still present at the RSPB Portmore Lough reserve.

A fem. Goosander was in Groomsport harbour this morning.(George Hall)

14 White-fronted Geese flying west and a Barnacle Goose where on Rathlin Island.(Ric Else/Hazel Watson)

Bird News Sunday 18th February

A 1st winter Glaucous Gull and a 1st winter Iceland Gull were in Ardglass harbour this morning. A large mixed flock of Yellowhammers and Linnets is beside East Down Farmers. (Kevin Kirkham-Brown).

The Spoonbill was at Anne's Point this morning, a Black-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Divers and 3 Slavonian Grebes were off Kirkubbin Yacht Club, 18 Slavonian Grebes were in Greyabbey bay south and another 7 Slavonian Grebes were off Newtownards Sailing Club. (Garry Armstrong).

A first winter Iceland Gull was in Larne harbour. (Neal Warnock).

A Black-throated Diver and a Great Northern Diver were north of Portaferry. (Michael Latham).

The hybrid Ring-billed Gull was at Millisle, the 2 Ruff were still at Kirkiston and the Iceland Gull was still at Portavogie. (Richard Weyl).

The Ring-billed Gull was at Carrickfergus harbour. (Paul McCullough). 

Thanks to Kevin Kirkham-Brown for the picture of the Glaucous Gull, to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Buzzard to Michael Latham for the picture of the Black-throated Diver and to Paul McCullough for the picture of the Ring-billed Gull:



Turtle Dove

A Turtle Dove has been identified at a house in Doagh, Co. Antrim. The bird has been visiting the rear garden for over two weeks but has only been positively identified today.
The bird is only viewable from inside the house, the garden is surrounded by high fencing and the bird is only present intermittently.
The home owners have agreed to allow access to their home for birders to view the bird but this is strictly by prior agreement only. Please note there will be no access to the house tomorrow, Sunday.
If you wish to visit to try to see the bird please call Tom or Eleanor on 07815 699853.
The address is in Brook Meadows in Doagh.

Bird News Saturday 17th February

Yesterday 2 2nd winter Glaucous Gulls were at Garron Point on the Antrim coast. (Gavin Ferguson).

Today the 2 2nd winter Glaucous Gulls, a 1st winter Glaucous Gull and a 1st winter Iceland Gull were south of Garron Point and an adult Glaucous Gull to the north of the Point. (Stuart McKee & Garry Armstrong).

The Green-winged Teal is still at Ballymena Ecos park. (Jeff Larkin).

An Iceland Gull was at Portvogie and 2 Black -throated Divers south of Gransha Point. (Richard Weyl).

A 3rd winter Glaucous Gull was at Ushet Lake on Rathlin, 3 White-fronted Geese flew over the island. (Ric Else & Hazel Watson).

A Slavonian Grebe was of Macedon Point in Belfast Lough. (Michael Latham).

8 Sandwich Terns were at Portaferry this afternoon. (Ian McKee).

A 3rd Winter Glaucous Gull was near Runkerry Point. A 2nd Winter Iceland Gull was near Dunseverick Harbour. Also seen there was a large flock of Twites containing at least 60 birds. (Colin Guy).

A 2nd winter Iceland Gull was Belfast Lough RSPB reserve this morning. (Daniel Newton).

A Little Egret was in Lurgan Park. (Phil Webb).

The Glossy Ibis was still at Portmore RSPB reserve. The Great White Egret and a Hen Harrier were at Mullagh, Lough Beg. (Richard Donaghey).

As well as the Glossy Ibis the red head Smew was also still present at Potmore RSPB reserve. (Linda Thompson)

Thanks to Gavin Ferguson for the picture of the Glaucous Gull, to Phil Webb for the picture of the Little Egret to Noel Austin for the picture of the Water Rail, to Paul Mulvenna for the picture of the Dipper, to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Cormorant and to Linda Thompson for the pictures of the Glossy |Ibis and the Smew:




Bird News Friday 16th February.

A 2nd winter Glaucous Gull was at Downshire, Carrickfergus.(G.McGeehan)

The Glossy Ibis still remains at the RSPB Portmore Lough reserve.

Bird News Thursday 15th February

A 1st winter Glaucous Gull was at Ardglass and a flock of over 30 Yellowhammers at East Down Farms Ltd. (Garry Wilkinson/ Nigel Moore).

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for the picture of the Raven taken at Belfast Lough RSPB reserve and to Nigel Moore for the pictures of the Glaucous Gull:



Bird News Wednesday 14th February

The Glossy Ibis was still at Portmore RSPB reserve. (Jim McKeown).

3 Jack Snipe were at Lower Lough Erne islands RSPB reserve. (Brad Robson).

Thanks to Noel Austin for the picture of the Water Rail:

Bird News Tuesday 13th February

Yesterday a flock of 20+ Twite were in Sandy Bay, Larne. (Jonny Rossborough)

A Red Kite was along the coastal path in Dundrum (Philip McErlean)

A white phase Gyr Falcon was seen for 20 minutes at Ballyconeely, Co Galway (per Dermot Breen)

2 Glaucous Gulls were at Garron Point, Co Antrim (Gerard McGeehan \ Shirley Dunlop)

Thanks to Philip McErlean for this pic of the Red Kite:

Golden Plover in flight, Wilf Swain:

Bird News Monday 12th February.

An ad winter and an ad. summer Med Gull were at Kinnegar shore, Macedon Point had 2 Long-tailed Ducks. (Stuart McKee)

2 Snow Buntings where at Glenarm Rowing Club. 2 Glaucous Gulls where a 1 km outside of Carnlough. (Paul Tout)

The Spoonbill remains at Anne's Point. (Graham Day)

A Bonaparte's Gull was seen at Killybegs, Co.Donegal (Rich Bonser)

Snow Bunting - Paul Tout.
Graham Day - Spoonbill

Volunteers needed.

Please find below a story on RSPB NI’s call for farmland survey volunteers in Co Down. The role gives people an excellent opportunity to further improve bird identification skills, to increase their knowledge of farmland wildlife ecology and to learn more about farming. And of course the survey work helps to let us know if birds including yellowhammers, skylarks and linnets are prospering across the county. Any coverage would be much appreciated and Colin Graham (details at the bottom) is the contact for anyone who is interested in being a volunteer. Here’s a link to a blog by one of our 217 volunteers, Alan Bates: . If you are interested please contact or 02890491547

Bird News Sunday 11th February

The Spoonbill is at Anne’s Point, Strangford this morning (Daniel Newton/John Moore)

An adult Med Gull was at Kinnegar Shore (Daniel Newton).

A Jack snipe was with 20 Snipe at Sheep Point, Groomsport. (Richard Weyl).

A single Twite was at Whitehead habour, see picture below. (David Stirling).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen again at Oxford Island. (Paul Mulvenna).

Two Little Egrets were at Church Island, Lough Beg. (Colm Cunningham).

A Little Egret was at Lough Moss in Carryduff, see picture below.(Anne Thompson).

Two Carrion Crow were on the beach below the Halfway House Hotel at Ballygally on the Antrim coast. (Paul Tout).

50 plus white winged Gulls, including 15 Glaucous and a second winter Kumliens Gull were at Killybeggs (Rich Bonser)

Thanks to David Stirling for the picture of the Twite, to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Buzzard, to Anne Thompson for the picture of the Little Egret and to Paul Mulvenna for the picture of the Water Rail:


Bird News Saturday 10th February

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

The Green-winged Teal is still at the Ecos Centre, Ballymena (Garry Armstrong)

The Twite flock was still at Sandy Bay Larne. (Garry Armstrong)

The Glossy Ibis was showing well at Portmore Lough (Mark Elliott). The Ibis and the red head Smew were showing this afternoon (Gerard McGeehan /Shirley Dunlop)

Two Pink-footed Geese were on Rathlin (Ric Else \ Hazel Watson)

Three Glaucous Gulls (2 1stw & a 2ndw) and an adult Iceland Gull were between Carnlough and Garron Point. Also 30+ bottlenose dolphins. (Neal Warnock)

Two Ruff were at Kirkiston (Richard Weyl)

Thanks to Wilf Swain for this pic of a Red Kite which was at Dundrum this morning:

Glossy Ibis, Mark Elliott:

Bird News Friday 9th February

Two Long-tailed Ducks were at Macedon Point, Belfast Lough (Joe Devlin)

Our thanks to John Parkinson who kindly sent in this pic. of a feeding Redwing.

Bird News Thursday 8th February

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Dromantine, Co Armagh (Neil Cartmill)

Thanks to Neil for this pic of the Great Spotted Woodpecker: