Bird News Wednesday 27th February

RSPB WoW had 5 Med Gulls and a Ruff (Gerard McGeehan)

A Chiffchaff was singing today on the Comber Greenway (Harry Byron)

Black Guillemots can currently be seen displaying at Queens Bridge, Belfast. (Paula Campbell)

4 Goosanders  were at Lough Ross, Co. Armagh - 3 males and a redhead. (David Knight).

On Sunday a Carrion Crow was outside Sainsbury's in Londonderry. (Robin Cunningham).

The Newry Canal between Poyntzpass and Scarva had 1 Dipper, 8 Snipe, 29 Red Wing, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Jay, 7 Bullfinch and 7 Goldcrest. (Fulton Somerville).

Two Crossbill and a Twite were on Rathlin this morning. (Ric Else & Hazel Watson).

Thanks to Steve Grieve for the picture of the Treecreeper and to Fulton Somerville for the picture of the Dipper:

Bird News Tuesday 26th February

There were 53 Slavonian Grebe on the east side of Strangford Lough (35 in Greyabbey Bay, 17 off Newtownards Sailing Club and 1 at Horse Island). (Richard Weyl)

A probable Grey-bellied Brent was at Lurgan Green, Co Louth. A Crane was also there but flew south (Brian McCloskey)

You can see pictures of local birds at:

Biking Birder Talk - Ulster Museum - Thursday 28th February

Thursday 28th February 2019 at the Ulster Museum, Belfast. 7.30 – 

A talk by Gary Prescott a.k.a. ‘The Biking Birder’

 This entertaining and informative, illustrated talk is a free event, hosted by RSPB NI Local Groups and is open to all members of the public.

 Gary is a former teacher, keen cyclist and environmentalist, who has devoted much of his retirement to championing various charities and causes. He has won fame and funding in cycling around the UK and overseas, most recently through South America, visiting birding sites and narrating his experiences through social media and other outlets, including BBC Springwatch.

Come and enjoy an evening with Gary and learn about some of the more recent adventures of ‘The Biking Birder’

The RSPB is a registered charity in England & Wales 207076, in Scotland SC037654

Bird News Monday 25th February

A drake and redhead Goosander were at Lough Ross near Crossmaglen this morning. (Joe Devlin).

Thanks to Mervyn Campbell for the picture of a Red Grouse and to Christine Cunningham for the picture of the Red-breasted Merganser:

Bird News Sunday 24th February.

The Lesser Whitethroat was looked for to-day without success, it also wasn't seen yesterday, it appears that the bird has moved on. Over the past 6 weeks or so, 37 people have viewed the bird, I would like to take this opportunity and thank the owners of the property for their warm and welcoming hospitality.

3 Med Gull and a Ruff where at the WOW Belfast reserve.(Gerald McGeehan)

30 + Purple Sandpiper where at the back of Newcastle pier.(Michael Latham)

Purple Sandpiper - Michael Latham

Bird News Saturday 23rd February

Around Belfast this morning were a Ruff & Mediterranean Gull at RSPB WOW Reserve & 3 Common Scoter off Dargan. (Richard Hunter)

A Kumlien's Gull was at Whiteabbey today. 5 Mediterranean Gulls were on breeding platform 2 at the Belfast WoW Reserve. 2 of them had metal rings. First bird appears to be of Dutch origin - missed out on the first number of the 7 digit code ?.735.920. Second bird appears to have a BTO ring. On Kinnegar Beach there were 2 Mediterranean Gulls - 1 adult, plus a 2nd calendar year bird. (Gareth Platt).

Thanks to Gareth for the pictures of the Kumlien's Gull and the Mediterranean Gulls:

Bird News Friday 22nd February

A Woodcock was flushed this afternoon on the Coleraine Univ.campus.(Ken Perry)

Four Crossbills seen on Rathlin today.(Ric Else)

Yesterday 15 Sandwich Terns were at Portaferry Marina (John Wilson Foster)

Long-eared Owls

Long-eared Owls have started their spring courtship. The males start calling at dusk and fly around wing clapping so it is worth checking woodlands for these birds over the next month.This bird is one of two that have been displaying in Coleraine (John Clarke)

Bird News Thursday 21st February

The drake American Wigeon was again at Mullagh, Lough Beg. (Jeff Larkin)

The Great Northern Divers were showing off Newcastle Harbour and a Red Kite was at Tyrella Beach (Paul and Niall Mulvenna)

A male Brambling was still visiting a garden in Whitehead (Cameron Moore)

Lough Mourne, Co Monaghan had 8 Ring-necked Ducks (Conor Foley / Brian McCloskey)

Thanks to Cameron Moore for this pic of the Brambling:

Bird News Wednesday 20th February

7 Great Northern Diver, approximately 40 Common Scoter and 4 Great Crested Grebes were just off the harbour in Newcastle. (Gilly Irwin)

3 Whooper Swans flew past Rue Point and 10 Twite were on the cliff face at Keeble, Rathlin Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of a Buzzard:

A fast moving Oystercatcher.....

This Oystercatcher was seen by Neal Warnock in Larne yesterday afternoon. The previous evening it was in Devon - some 500 kilometres away!

Bird News Tuesday 19th February

 A Snow Bunting was at Keeble, Rathlin (Ric Else / Hazel Watson)

A male Brambling was visiting a garden at Whitehead (Cameron Moore)

Little Egret, Oliver Bernard:

Brent Geese, Wilf Swain:

Bird News Monday 18th February

A Glossy Ibis is at Tunny cut near Portmore. (Nigel Ireland) see photo below

 2 Goosander (female/juv) were on Begny Lake, Dromara, Co Down this morning.(Ron Price/Michael Taylor)

A Barn Owl flew across the main Kilrea-Coleraine close to Moneydig this morning at 6.30.(Michael Hoilgate)

2 Goosander where at Lough Island Reavy, 3 Red Kite also in area. 4 Great Northern Diver and 70 Great Crested Grebe off Newcastle Harbour.(Richard Gray)

A Common Scoter was at Shallow Flat near Derrytrasna, Lough Neagh today (Richard Weyl)

Bird News Sunday 17th February

The Ring-billed Gull was still at Carrickfergus this morning. (Ed O'Hara/Comghal McQuillan)

An adult Iceland Gull and two Med Gulls were at Glynn (Neal Warnock)

Six Great Northern Divers were off Newcastle Harbour (Daniel Newton)

A female Goosander was at Glynn (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

Carrion Crows continue to be seen at Crawfordsburn Beach (Harry Byron)

A first winter Glaucous Gull was feeding on a dead Pilot Whale at Gallasagh Bay, Fanad Head (Wiltin Farrelly)

The Lesser Whitethroat was still visiting the garden in Dromore, Co Tyrone (Dave Fox)

Ring-billed Gull Carrickfergus
Iceland Gull, Paul McCullough:

Bird News Saturday 16th February

Two Carrion Crows were at Groomsport and one at Donaghadee today – all three were in pairs with Hooded Crows. (Clive Mellon).

Four Pink-feet were with a large flock of Greylag and Whooper Swans on the Closet Meadows at Oxford Island. (David Hunter).

The Lesser Whitethroat was showing again this morning in Co. Tyrone. (Birdguides).

The Ring-billed Gull was still at Carrickfergus this morning, see picture below. The female Velvet Scoter was still off Dargan. (Neal Warnock).

The flock of 21 Twite were still at the boatyard in Whitehead, there was no sign of the Black Redstart, see picture below. (Michael Latham)

Thanks to David Hunter for the picture of part of the Whooper and Greylag flock at Oxford Island, to Neal Warnock for the picture of the Ring-billed Gull, to Paul McCullough for the picture of the Sanderling and Dunlin and to Michael Latham for the picture of the Twite:

Bird News Friday 15th February

A Slavonian Grebe was off Macedon Point in Belfast Lough this morning. (John O'Boyle).

The flock of up to 20 Twite were still around the boatyard in Whitehead, see picture below. (Jonny Andrews)

Thanks to Alastair McLean for the picture of the female Stonechat and to Jonny Andrews for the pictures of the Twite and the male Stonechat:

Bird News Wednesday 13th February

The flock of 20 Twite were still at Whitehead, see picture below. There was no sign of the Black Redstart. (Jonny Andrews)

The Common Sandpiper was at Donaghadee along with an adult Med Gull. The Spoonbill, a Spotted Redshank and a Pink-footed Goose were at Ann's point. A Black-throated Diver was at Killyleagh (Gerard and Anthony McGeehan, Bruce Mactavish)

Thanks to Ginny McKee for the pictures of the Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit and Black Guillemots and to Jonny Andrews for the picture of the Twite:

Bird News Tuesday 12th February

The Black Redstart was still in Whitehead. Also present were 7 Red-throated Diver at the Gobbins along with 2 Great Northern Diver (Cameron Moore)

A Mealy Redpoll was in a Richill garden this morning (Clifford Sharpe)

The large mixed Yellowhammer & Tree Sparrow flock, plus 4 Stock Dove, were still at Killard. (Richard Hunter)

Mealy Redpoll, Clifford Sharpe:

The adult Ivory Gull was released yesterday in Ayrshire and a small group of ken NI birders went over to see it. Please keep a look out along the Northern Ireland coast in case it headed west! This picture was taken by Nigel Moore:

Bird News Monday 11th February

A sea-watch at Whitehead seafront from 07.30 - 08.15 produced 118 Red-throated Diver, 6 Great Northern Diver and 4 Common Scoter all flying into Belfast Lough. (Ian Enlander)

A wing-tagged Red Kite was over Dundrum this morning, see picture below. (Wilf Swain)

A Spoonbill was at Ballymorran Bay, Strangford Lough. (Georgina Thurgate). 

BTO Breeding Bird Survey

British Trust for Ornithology
 Available Breeding Bird Survey Squares in the BTO Co. Armagh Region 2019

Please note that due to anomalies with the BTO regional boundaries not all listed survey squares are within Co. Armagh.

Full details of the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), including methodology and field survey sheets are available online at .

If you are interested in surveying a BBS square in Co. Armagh please contact Stephen Hewitt at or Shane Wolsey at .

IH7255 Aughnacloy. Surveyed 2006 and 2012-2014. A good square, with 51 species recorded including sparrowhawk, buzzard, kestrel and five warblers. Two transects along minor roads and a track have been mapped and are easy to access.

IH7346 Caledon. No details online. No roads through square, some coniferous woodland.

IH7354 Aughnacloy. Surveyed only in 2013, has a mainly coniferous woodland and some boggy patches. No transect maps online. Raven, bullfinch and siskin previously recorded.

IH7547 Caledon. Surveyed 2002-2006, good range of species including sparrowhawk, buzzard, jay, five warblers, spotted flycatcher, bullfinch, linnet and lesser redpoll. No transect maps online.

IH7644 Caledon. Surveyed 2002-2005, could be a good one. Previous transects are mapped online and look easy enough, alongside a mixed woodland and the Blackwater, similar range of species as IH7547 above.

IH7659 Granville (near Dungannon). No details online. Getting two transects might be difficult. Some woodland, mainly coniferous.

IH9025 near Newtownhamilton. Surveyed 1999-2008. Transects have been mapped and look good. Again similar range of species.

IH9153 Loughgall. Surveyed 2002-2006, lots of orchards and a decent list of 44 species. Transects online and look easy, along two roughly parallel minor roads. 

IH9625 near Newtownhamilton. Surveyed 1996-2000. About half of it is conifer woodland. Sparrowhawk and five warblers including grasshopper warbler. Also curlew and snipe in 1997 but doubtful the curlew would still be there. Could still be snipe. Also fox, rabbit and mountain hare recorded. Transects not online but looks doable.

IH9643 Hamilton’s Bawn. Surveyed 2005-2017. Farmland. 39 species recorded including blackcap, mistle thrush, grey wagtail, greenfinch, lesser redpoll and yellowhammer. Former surveyor Gary Cranston has kindly agreed to show any new surveyor the transect routes and introduce them to the relevant landowners.

IH9954 Portadown. Surveyed 1995-1999 and 2011-2018. Farmland. An impressive tally of 56 species including kingfisher, kestrel, grasshopper warbler and whinchat. Transects mapped online.

IJ0939 near Poyntzpass. A nice farmland square with easy transects along parallel roads. 41 species including blackcap, sedge warbler, spotted flycatcher and tree sparrow. Transects mapped online.

Please note that due to anomalies with the BTO regional boundaries not all listed survey squares are within Co. Armagh.

Full details of the Breeding Bird Survey, including methodology and field survey sheets are online at .

If you are interested in surveying a BBS square in Co. Armagh please contact Stephen Hewitt at or Shane Wolsey at .

Bird News Sunday 10th February

The adult Ring-billed Gull has been seen again at Carrickfergus (Daniel Newton).

Two Mealy Redpolls were with a large flock of Lesser Redpolls visiting a garden in Richill, see picture below. (Andrew Poots).

20 Twite were around the boatyard in Whitehead, 3 Tree Sparrows were on feeders near the quarry and 3 Twite were in Sandy Bay in Larne. (Ian Enlander/Paul McCullough).

The Lesser Whitethroat was showing again outside Dromore, Co. Tyrone, see picture below.(Ed O'Hara).

Up to 12 Brambling were in the Antrim Hills this morning, see picture below. (Michael Latham).

On the east side of Strangford Lough there were 35 Slavonian Grebe (30 in Greyabbey Bay, 2 at Kircubbin and 3 north of Horse Island). Also 2 Black-throated Diver were at Kircubbin and a Jack snipe at Horse Island. (Richard Weyl).

Thanks to Daniel Newton for the first Ring-billed Gull picture, to Michael Latham for the second Ring-billed Gull picture and the Brambling picture, to Ed O'Hara for the Lesser Whitethroat picture, to Andrew Poots for the Mealy Redpoll picture and to Paul McCullough for the Tree Sparrow picture:

Bird News Saturday 9th February

The Lesser Whitethroat (probably Blythi) was seen again in Omagh...see previous posting on 8th January for access  info (Aidan Kelly)

The Hoopoe on Friday was at Torrent View, Donaghmore.

5 Long-tailed Duck were off Carrickfergus (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop)

4 Pink-footed Geese where amongst 300 Greylags at Ardmore, Lough Neagh.(Ed O'Hara)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Cairn Wood (Daniel Newton)

An Iceland Gull was on Rathlin Island.(Ric Else/Hazel Watson)

Lesser Whitethroat - Aidan Kelly.

Pink-footed Geese amongst the Greylags - Ed O'Hara.

Iceland Gull - Ric Else

Bird News Friday 8th February

Two Jack Snipe were at Giant's park, Dargan Road, Belfast (Stuart McKee)

An adult Iceland Gull was at Larne. Two first winter Med Gulls were at Sandy Bay (Gerard McGeehan).

A Barn Owl flew over Aughlish Road, Scarva (B3) this evening. (Michael Ingelston).

The Hoopoe was seen again in Donaghmore. (Declan Coney).

It may interest some to note that the adult Ivory Gull that was taken in to care in Dumfries and Galloway is now being released on Monday at 1pm at Stevenson Point, Ayrshire.

Bird News Thursday 7th February

The first winter Med Gull was at Portrush and an adult Iceland Gull was at the Barmouth (Brian Murphy)

Thanks to David Hunter for this pic of a Great Crested Grebe:

Bird News Wednesday 6th February

No news so far today.

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Little Egret:

Bird News Tuesday 5th February

A 1st winter Med Gull was at the East Strand car park in Portrush. (John Clarke)

Thanks to John for this pic of the Med Gull:

Bird News Monday 4th February.

The Black Redstart was showing well at its usual area, close to the mouth of the Shimna River and 35 Purple Sandpipers were off the car park beside Rock Pool in Newcastle. At least 12 Grey Plovers were at the Green Island high tide roost in Dundrum Inner Bay. 7 Goosanders, including 2 males, were at Lough Island Reavy (David  Nixon & Philip McHaffie)

5 Waxwing where seen at the Malone Rd house of sport roundabout at 4pm (Paula Campbell)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Cairn Wood Craigantlet (Harry Byron)

Bird News Sunday 3rd February

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Kinnegar shore in Belfast Lough this afternoon, see picture below. (Daniel Newton).

Two Jack Snipe were at the North Foreshore, Dargan Bay (Stuart McKee)

A Glaucous Gull was in Glassagh Bay, Fanad Head along with 47 Purple Sandpipers (Wiltin Farrelly)

Thanks to Daniel for the picture of the Mediterranean Gull and to Alastair McLean for the picture of the Stonechat:

2018 Rathlin Bird Report

Below is the link to download the 2018 Rathlin Bird Report by Ric Else and Hazel Watson:

Bird News Saturday 2nd February

A Golden Eagle was seen on Rathlin this morning. (Ric Else and Hazel Watson).

A Little Gull was with Black-headed Gulls along the West Link in Belfast. (Kevin Kirkham-Brown)

The Black Redstart was in same location near the mouth of the Shimna River, Newcastle, this morning. (Ron Price)

Thanks to Ric Else for the pictures of the Golden Eagle, to Mark Killops for the picture of the Black Redstart, to Chris Babes for the picture of the Song Thrush and to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Kestrel: