Bird News Saturday 30th April

At Ardmore on the south shore of Lough Neagh 96 Whimbrel were in fields just east of Emerson's Sand Pit and at least 60 White Wagtails were around the pit itself. Further west at Reedy Flat there were 14 Whimbrel, 2 Ruff and 2 Pintail. (Garry Armstrong).

A possible eagle species was seen high over Ravenhill drifting east. (Ian Mercer)

A Great-spotted Woodpecker was drumming in Ballysallagh Forest Craigantlet (Jonny Clark) 

Another Great-spotted Woodpecker was in woods near the Argory, Co Tyrone.

Auks were returning in numbers to Gobbins cliffs today, including one pair  of Puffins. A male Whinchat and three Wheatear were at Glenhead Rd, Glenwhirry. (Richard Gray)

Yesterday the Red Kite was seen again at Junction 9 of the M1 (Martin Pettinger)

Thanks to Wilf Swain for this pic of a Meadow Pipit: 

Bird News Friday 29th April

A first summer Iceland Gull was at the RSPB WOW reserve. Also four Whimbrel there and another at Kinnegar Shore (Stuart McKee)

Lower Lough Erne islands RSPB reserve Co Fermanagh this morning had 29 White Wagtail, 15Whimbrel and 21 Black-tailed Godwit (Brad Robson)

A Spotted Redshank in summer plumage was at the Bann Estuary today on the Porstewart side of the river, it was with six Whimbrel. (John Clarke)

Bird News Thursday 28th April.

Details on the Belted Kingfisher are in the previous blog post.

A Marsh Harrier was seen flying at Carrickfergus, along Belfast Lough this afternoon (Gerard McGeehan)

A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at the WOW Belfast reserve.a Ruff was also present (Tim Murphy/Derek Polley) )

Late reports from yesterday of two Glossy Ibis flying in an easterly direction over Carryduff, Belfast.(Birdguides)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming nr the Belmont Rd area of East Belfast. (Gilly Irwin)

Also a Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming nr Lisnarick Co.Ferm. further evidence that GSW are spreading in a westerly direction (Gareth Buchanan)

A 3rd winter Glaucous Gull was at Portballintrae (Colin Guy)

Grasshopper Warbler - Patrick Barton. 

Great Spotted Woodpecker - Gareth Buchanan

Belted Kingfisher

A male Belted Kingfisher was seen on a branch overhanging the river in Mountsandel forest above the Cutts, River Bann, on the evening of Friday 22nd April. The bird was seen twice that evening. It has since been looked for unsuccessfully. It is however worthwhile keeping an eye on the Bann in the Coleraine / Castlerock area in case it still remains. (Jonathan Roberts)

Further info: "It was seen from the northern bank from the path as is rises to overlook the Cutts on the river, there are lots of overhanging trees at this point within Mountsandel forest"

Bird News Wednesday 27th April

A pair of Ravens this morning were on a rooftop on Royal Avenue Belfast - above Mace near CS supplies. (Vincent Kinnaird)

Another pair of Ravens were seen at Castle Park, Bangor (Noeni Bryars)

3 Whimbrel and a Med Gull were at Green Island Carlingford Lough Co Down (Charles Wilkinson)

A Raven was being mobbed by a Hooded Crow over Killyleagh. (Spencer & Joan Marshall)

There were 24 Ruff at Reedy Flat this evening, mainly males (some in near-full summer plumage), along with around 100 Whimbrel, 40 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Whooper Swans and a Grasshopper Warbler. (James O'Neill)

You can see more pics of local birds at

Thanks to Jeff Silvers for these pics of Whimbrel at Groomsport today:

Bird News Tuesday 26th April

A 1st-year Mediterranean Gull was seen flying north-east over Keady Mountain near Limavady this afternoon - an unexpected sighting at this location! (David Steele).

Small numbers of Swifts and Sedge Warblers along with good numbers of Blackcaps and House Martins were at Oxford Island. (Gilly Irwin).

A pale phase Arctic Skua and 200+ Manx Shearwaters were seen off Ramore Head this evening. (Colin Guy).

A Little Gull was still at the  Quoile Pondage today and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose was still with 150 Brent at Dundrum South Inner Bay, best seen from Keel Point car park at high tide. (David Nixon).

A Black Redstart was reported from Magherafelt. (Birdguides).

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the male Sparrowhawk and to Attracta McKinley for the picture of the female Sparrowhawk.


Rathlin White-tailed Eagle

Many thanks to Neal Warnock for these superb pics of the Rathlin White-tailed Eagle (taken on Saturday). In one of the pics you can see the size difference compared to a Buzzard!

Bird News Monday 25th April.

2 Ruff where at the WOW RSPB reserve.(Noeni Bryars) see pic below.

Late news from yesterday 20+ Sedge Warblers, 5 Blackcap, 3 calling Water Rails with 4 pairs of Scaup present at Blackers Rock, Lough Neagh.(Godfrey McRoberts

Ruff - Noeni Bryars.

Bird News Sunday 24th April

Late news for yesterday is at Reedy Flat in the evening there was a female Merlin which was hunting Snipe; a kestrel, 12 Ruff, (including males moulting into summer plumage) in among a flock of 100 Golden Plover. Also two late Whooper Swans, 15 Whimbrel and 3 Swifts. (James O'Neill).

This morning a flock of 200+ Whimbrel and 150 Black-tailed Godwit were in fields just east of Emerson's sand pit at Ardmore on the south shore of Lough Neagh. 4 White Wagtail were at the Discovery Centre at Oxford Island. (Garry Armstrong)

A 2nd cal-year Iceland Gull was at Drains Bay, Co. Antrim (Neal Warnock)

Ballymacormick Point had 6 Whimbrel and a White Wagtail (Wilton Farrelly)

Grasshopper Warblers were calling in the reedy field on the right between Knock Bridge and Moneypenny Lock along the towpath towards Portadown (Karen Elliott)

A first year little gull at Portavoe Reservoir. (Richard Weyl)

The Merlin was still at Reedy Flat today, along with 2 Wheatear, c.60 Whimbrel and 10 Ruff. (James O'Neill)

Thanks to James O'Neill for this picture of a female Merlin:

Some of the 200 Whimbrel at Ardmore.

Bird News Saturday 23rd April

The White-tailed Eagle was giving colossal views this morning at Coastguards to East Light on Rathlin. (Neal Warnock)

The first summer Med Gull, a second summer and an adult Ring-billed Gulls were all at the RSPB WOW reserve (Stuart McKee)

The drake Ring-necked Duck was still at Inch, Co Donegal (Brad Robson)

A male Whinchat was at Craigmacagan Lough, Rathlin (Neal Warnock)

As well as the Whinchat Rathlin also had 5 Whimbrel, 7 Wheatear and 4 Brent Geese. (Colin Guy).

A Dark-bellied Brent Goose was at Dundrum inner bay (David Nixon)

Inch lough and levels Co Donegal as well as the male Ring-necked Duck (displaying to Tufties) had 1 ad Med Gull on the island, also 1 leucistic Black-headed Gull, 169 White Wagtail, 15 Common Tern, a Sedge Warbler. Blanketnook had 15 Common Tern, 130 Whimbrel, a Ruff, 1 White Wagtail and a Sedge Warbler (Brad Robson)

Thanks to David Nixon for the picture of the Dark-bellied Brent Goose, to Linda Thompson for the picture of the Wheatear and to Brad Robson for the picture of the Ring-necked Duck:


Bird News Friday 22nd April

Two Cuckoo, Red Grouse and Grasshopper Warbler wear near Sixmilecross this morning. (Adam McClure).

At least two Cuckoos were at Murlough. (Dougie Gamble/Jim Crozier).

2 pairs of Mediterranean Gulls were at Belfast Lough RSPB WOW reserve. (Stephen Maxwell).

Last night a singing Grasshopper Warbler was briefly seen at Round Lake, Fivemiletown. (Naomi & Colin Bell).

A Red Kite was over the Scarva Road in Banbridge. (Karen Elliott).

A leucistic Chaffinch was in the grounds of Mount Stewart, the same bird was present last year. There is a short video of the bird here (Margaret Adamson).

A Cuckoo was calling at Fews Forest, Newtownhamilton (Clifford Sharpe).

A late report from Tuesday is of an eagle species adjacent to the River Maine, Lough Neagh. (Sam Andrews).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was feeding in Creagagh Wood near Cushendun. (Patrick Barton).

An adult Mediterranean Gull was on Swan Island today in Strangford, it was very territorial and seemed to be paired with a Black-headed Gull. (Dermot Hughes).

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for the pictures of the Mediterranean Gull and the Black-tailed Godwit and to Margaret Adamson for the picture of the leucistic Chaffinch.


Dawn Chorus Broadcast - Radio Ulster

Sunday 1 May

Live on BBC Radio Ulster from Midnight


Hear BBC Radio Ulster presenter Annie-Marie McAleese and Dr Kendrew Colhoun from the RSPB on International Dawn Chorus Day (Sunday 1 May) as they link up with RTÉ and across Europe to celebrate this ornithological opera.


Following from the success of last year’s link-up, Anne-Marie will once again be joining RTÉ’s Derek Mooney and, in addition this year, several other broadcasters from across Europe live on air throughout the night – including Radio Russia, NRK Norway, and BBC Radio 4.


Presenter Anne-Marie, along with Dr Colhoun, Senior Conservation Scientist with the RSPB, will be at Tollymore National Outdoor Centre, outside Newcastle, in County Down.


This year’s Dawn Chorus programme runs from Midnight until 7am offering listeners the chance to hear some fascinating conversation about the nature of birdsong, and the wonder of the chorus itself as our avian friends wake up across Europe.

Bird News Thursday 21st April

A sub adult Golden Eagle was south of Cappanagh Forest this morning, soaring for about 15 minutes. Yesterday 20th, a Cuckoo and Grasshopper Warbler were near Bushmills. (Dermot Hughes)

A Reed Warbler was along the Newry Canal at Carnbane this morning (Frank Carroll)

A Great-spotted Woodpecker was seen at Newforge on the River Lagan (David Gotto)

A Whitethroat was at Groomsport this morning - incidentally equals last year's early date. (Julian Greenwood)

The Red Kite was seen again near the Moira Roundabout (David Gotto). It was also seen at 11am this morning, outside Moira, 1/4 mile up Lisburn Rd (Linda Magee)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming today near Ballynahinch (Ian Jackson)

3 Swift were at Lurgan train station (Stephen Foster)

32 Whimbrel, 6 White Wagtail, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, a Sedge Warbler  and a Cuckoo were at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB Reserve, Co Fermanagh (S McCaffrey, Amy Burns, Brad Robson)

A good movement of Common Gulls went through RSPB WOW Reserve and included an adult Ring-billed Gull (a new bird). Also present were twelve Whimbrel (Stuart McKee)

5 Swifts were over Edenderry yesterday (Sam Thomas)

Six whimbrel were at Ballyholme beach this afternoon. Also four Swifts were over central Lisburn this evening. (Suzanne Belshaw)

A Cuckoo was at Peatlands Park. (David Gill)

A 1st year Glaucous Gull was at Dunfanaghy Estuary, Co. Donegal (Colin Guy)

Thanks to David Gotto for the pics of the Great-spotted Woodpecker and the Red Kite:

Bird News Wednesday 20th April

A White-tailed Eagle was seen on Rathlin Island this morning (Damien McFaul) - also see further sighting details below.

A Golden Eagle was seen flying over the RSPB Portmore Lough reserve at 11.45am(RSPB staff)

A pair of Red Kites seen soaring over Castlewellan Rd, area of Banbridge this afternoon. (David McCreedy)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker has been heard and seen over this past week or so at Drum Manor ,near Cookstown. Heard it drumming this morning and Ian McNeill, yesterday morning. (Ronnie Irvine)

20 White Wagtail, 7 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Whimbrel wee at lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB reserve this morning. Also a Cuckoo was bear Boho Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

The White-tailed Eagle was seen again flying low pursued by a Raven over Church Bay, Rathlin at 5pm (presumably Damien's bird). This bird has no wing-tags. Also seen on Rathlin during the day - a Short-eared Owl, 2 Pink-footed Geese, a Ring-tailed Hen Harrier, a 2nd year Glaucous Gull,1 Sedge Warbler, 1 female Merlin, 20+Wheatears, 5 White Wagtails and a Chough (Colin Guy).
Collectors  Bay at the Quoile had 1  Little Egret, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Common Tern and 2 Common Sandpiper. 60+ Brent Geese were on the Strangford side of the causeway on Castle Island Road. (Derek Polley).

First year Med Gull was at the RSPB WOW reserve today (Stuart McKee)
Thanks to Damien for this pic of the White-tailed Eagle:

Bird News Tuesday 19th April

Late news for yesterday is that a Swift was seen at Oxford Island (Margaret Adamson)

A White Wagtail and 6 Common Sands were at lower Lough Erne islands RSPB reserve, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson).

2 Twite were still at the boatyard in Whitehead. (Ian Enlander).

The Red Kite was seen again near Moira. (David Stirling).

6 Whimbrel and 350 Brent Geese were at Dundrum South Inner Bay and a Stock Dove was at Ardilea. (David Nixon).

A leucistic Jackdaw was in a carpark opposite the harbour in Ardglass, see picture below. (John Moore)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in Rostrevor Forest. (David Cooper)

At Belfast Lough RSPB WOW reserve there was a pair of adult Mediterranean Gulls and a pair of second summer Mediterranean Gulls on the tern raft. Both pairs showed courtship behaviour and the second-summer pair were mating! There was also a Grey Plover present. Also 6 Whimbrel were at Kinnegar. (James O'Neill)

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of Sanderling and to John Moore for the picture of the leucistic Jackdaw..


Bird News Monday 18th April.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming in Kilbroney Forest Park, Rostrever. (Kate Leneghan)

10 Greenland White-fronted Geese, 3 little egrets and still a flock of 400+ brent geese at Myroe levels today. (Gareth Bareham)

The Red Kite was seen around 4.00pm close to the M1 roundabout at Moira (James Erwin)

Male Blackcap - Cameron Moore. 

Bird News Sunday 17th April

Three second year and four adult Med Gulls were at RSPB WOW reserve in view at same time. Also three Whimbrel and two Ruff. One Common Sandpiper was at Kinnegar pool. (Stuart McKee)

There was a juvenile Golden Eagle seen today in County Antrim. (David Stirling).

Three Garganey (two males and a female) were on Lough Beg today, along with good numbers of other duck including 900 Teal and 40 Shoveler. Also, 26 Ruff with the godwit flock on the western shoreline and another five Ruff at Paddy's Dub. 25 White Wagtails were at Mullagh. (David Steele).

A first year Med Gull and an adult Ring-billed Gull (a smaller individual than the last bird) were at the RSPB Belfast WOW reserve this evening (Stuart McKee).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen in Lady Dixon Park in Belfast. (Irish Birding).

Thanks to Linda Thompson for this picture of a Black Guillemot.