Yesterday a Red Kite was circling quite low over the Newcastle Road, just past the turnoff for Bryansford on the way to Castlewellan. (Helen Bradley).
Yesterday, Lough Beg SW shore and Paddy's Dub had an Osprey off Church island, a male Garganey, 11 Shoveler, 2 Whooper swan, a Little egret, 6 Dunlin and a Common tern (Godfrey McRoberts)
An adult summer Glaucous Gull was near the Bush River at Portballintrae (Colin Guy)
2 Adult Dark-bellied Brent plus 12 Pale-bellied Brent were still at Kinnegar Shore (Tom Ennis)
The 2nd summer Little Gull was at RSPB WoW this evening. (Wilton Farrelly)
A Cuckoo was at Magilligan today (Jason Bain)
In relation to your article, the Svalbard / Greenland breeding birds are from a separate flyway population - the East Atlantic population. Whilst NI birds stage in Iceland and do actually fly over Greenland, they breed in High Arctic Canada, and our birds are called the East Canadian High Arctic (ECHA) population.
From my own personal observations, this end-of season flush of dark-bellies, mainly juveniles in my experience, is an annual occurrence, usually encountered at places which hold birds late-season, like Dundrum, Killough and the Strangford Narrows. The sites affected are often used late-season by staging marked pale-bellied Brent which we know have over-wintered in Normandy, France, where pale-bellied and dark-bellied brent geese are both present in considerable numbers. It would therefore be my hypothesis that these birds are being sucked into the migration of “our” birds at the southern limit of the range. I chatted to one of the Icelandic guys last week, and they regularly encounter small numbers of dark-bellies, which are presumably the same ones. Indeed, one (an adult) was caught in one of our catches there last week.
Concerning the flocks of brent in Regnéville, France, most of the time pale and dark bellies are mixed on the salt marshes even if roughly each species keeps more or less together grazing. Dark-bellied Brent arrive first and were more numerous in the very begining of the winter season but things are quickly reversing and pale-bellied are nowadays more numerous than the dark ones unlike in the past.
A 2nd summer Little Gull was at the RSPB WOW reserve this afternoon.(Ron Price/Ronnie Milligan)
A Red Kite was just outside Dromara this afternoon on the Castlewellan Road. A Cuckoo was calling at the edge of Drumkeeragh Forest and a Whitethroat was in scrubland near the forest carpark.(Chris and Amanda Rankin)
Two male Ruff, including one in full breeding plumage, were at RSPB WoW. (Jonny Clark)
Two Spotted Flycatcher were seen this morning along the Newry Canal near Goraghwood. (Frank Carroll).
Yesterday 12 Crossbills were at Foglish Road, Fivemiletown. (Colin Bell).
A 2nd year Iceland Gull was with other gulls on the seafront at Portstewart. (Colin Guy).
Thanks to Neil Cartmill for the picture of the Reed Warbler and to Wilf Swain for the pictures of the Meadow Pipit and Little Egret
Not much to report from the eastern part of Rathlin today, with few migrants other than at least 8 Spotted Flycatchers. The only other notable was the first Lapwing since March. Yesterday there was another or the same Tree Pipit near the west end. (Ric Else & Hazel Watson).
In Larne a Hoopoe has been reported from a private garden in Ballylesson Road. (Birdguides).
Thanks to Linda Thompson for the picture of the Spotted Flycatchers, to Terry Hanna for the picture of the Sedge Warbler and to Lilian Cummings for the picture of the Long-tailed Tit.
At lest 15 Brent Geese were at Kinnegar Shore with at least 2 Dark-bellied Brents amongst them. At least 6 Med Gulls were seen from the roadside hide at RSPB WoW (Tom Ennis \ Tony Dodds
Yesterday a female Merlin, two Snipe and 2 Raven were at Cuilcagh Mountain, Co Fermanagh (Garry Wilkinson)
For more great pics of local birds, see: http://nibirdpics.blogspot.co.uk/
Thanks to Michael O'Dwyer for this pic of a Great Spotted Woodpecker in Strangford and Tony Donaldson for the Red Kite: