Bird News Saturday 22nd October

The juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper was still at Inch Lake at high tide this afternoon. (Birdguides).

 A drake American Wigeon was at the Culdaff Estuary on the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal. (Michael McLaughlin).

A Yellow-browed Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat were at Malin Beg, Co Donegal (John O'Boyle / Ian Enlander).

A Chiffchaff and a Blackcap were at Kearney on the Outer Ards. (Richard Weyl)

Thanks to John Bamford for the picture of the Dipper and to Wilf Swain for the picture the Brent Geese.

Bird News Friday 21st October

A Goosander was at Nandas Bridge, below the Lock-keepers Cottage on the River Lagan, Belfast (Muriel Moore)

Two Green Sandpipers were at Clea Lakes, Co Down (Julian Greenwood).

Two families of Whooper Swans were at Ballyronan in Lough Neagh. (David Morrow).

A female Scaup was in the channel at Myroe. (David Hill).

A Pink-footed Goose and a Goldeneye flew north past St John's Point this morning. A Wheatear was at Minerstown beach. 2 Wheatear, 2 Scaup, 2 Gadwall, 1 Teal, 20 Widgeon, 10 Great Northern Diver, 115 Red-throated Diver, 1 juvenile Velvet Scoter and 1500 Common Scoter were between Tyrella and Ballykinler. (Chris & Tim Murphy).

A Red Kite was flying towards Newry directly above the A1 near its junction with the road to Blackskull at approximately 1330hours today. (William Webb)

Thanks to Muriel Moore for the picture of the Goosander, to David Morrow for the picture of the Whooper Swans and to David Hill for the pictures of the female Scaup and the Black Guillemots;


Bird News Thursday 20th October

A Great White Egret was at Lowery Bay, Lower Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh. This is the first county record. (Amy Burns)

Rathlin Island today had a Snow Bunting, 12 Twite, 2 Barnacle Geese, Blackcap, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, 16 Fieldfare, Hen Harrier and 10 Common Scoter (Neal Warnock)

500 Whooper Swans were at Inch Levels, Co Donegal (Christine Cunningham)

12 Whooper Swans flew over Prehen Park this morning, heading towards Inch (Christine Cassidy)

7 Whooper Swan where at Glynn Co Antrim. (Linda Thompson)

14 Whooper Swan where at Islandhill, Strangford Lough.(Dot Blakely)

20 Golden Plover and 2 Ravens were at RSPB Belfast WOW (Derek Polley)

A Glossy Ibis was seen at Malin Head (Birdguides)

Thanks to Amy for this pic of the Great White Egret:

Trip to Islay

30,000 Barnacle Geese  arrived on Islay yesterday. There will be a boat trip to Islay on Saturday to see these huge flocks of geese and much more. Contact Jim Wells on 07856235144 for further details. 

Bird News Wednesday 19th October

45 Pink-footed Geese were seen flying over Antrim this morning. (Davy Hunter).

17 Whooper Swans were on Killylane Reservoir outside Larne this afternoon. (Brenda Campbell).

8 Whooper Swans were flying towards the Quoile this morning. (Tony Donaldson).

Castle Island hide at the Quoile today at 2.45pm had the Marsh Harrier hunting in front of hide. Kilclief Bay had a Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, 5 Gannets, a Red-throated Diver, Greenshank, 4 Whoopers, family of Brent with 6 young, and 60+ Golden Plover. (Dot Blakely/Noeni Bryars).

2 Swallow were near the entrance to DuPont at Maydown near Derry (William Hiles).

At Ramore Head in Portrush there were 4 Great Northern Divers, 2 Red-throated Diver, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 7 Teal, a lone Eider, 8 Whooper Swan and 107 Barnacle Geese. Also present were 15 Purple Sandpiper and a single Twite. (Dean Jones).

Thanks to Tony Donaldson for the picture of the Whooper, to Noeni Bryars for the picture of the Buzzard and to Cameron Moore for the picture of the 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull.


Bird News Tuesday 18th October

Late news from Saturday was of a juvenile White-winged Black Tern at Portmore Lough, see pictures below. (Gavin Ferguson)

The Marsh Harrier was still at the Quoile, along with a Ruff (David Nixon)

A seawatch over the day at Ramore Head produced an impressive array of birds including a juvenile Long-tailed Skua, a Sabines Gull, 11 Arctic Skua, 12 Pom Skua, 18 Great Skua, 2 Grey Phalarope, 350 Barnacle Geese, 16 Whoopers and 4 Manx Shearwater (Neal Warnock)

A second winter Mediterranean Gull was at Whitehead (Cameron Moore)

4 Gannets, 2 Sandwich Tern, 30 Razorbills, a Guillemot and a Black Guillemot were off Killyleagh seafront in Strangford Lough. (Spencer & Joan Marshall)

Bird News Monday 17th October

The Marsh Harrier was flying around in front of the Castle Island hide this morning at 9:50am. It landed on a small tree low down next to electric pole far left from hide. It was also seen late afternoon. (Tony Donaldson).

6 Gannets were fishing close to shore at Killyleagh in Strangford Lough this morning, a Buzzard and 40 Meadow Pipits were also present. (Spencer & Joan Marshall).

2 Wheatear were on the beach at the Quays restaurant, Portavogie, a Red-throated Diver and lots of Gannets where out at sea, a Merlin was opposite the Kirkistown race track.(John Edwards)

23 Great Northern Diver flew south off St John's Point this morning. Also at St John's Point were 1 Merlin, 1 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Common Buzzard, 2 Raven, 1 Stock Dove, 4 Redpoll, 60 Goldfinch, 80 Skylark, 200 Linnet and 160 Lapwing. 100 Swallow and 8 House Martin were at Killough. (Tim Murphy)

Thanks to Tony Donaldson for this pic of the Marsh Harrier:

Bird News Sunday 16th October

A juvenile Sabine's Gull (flying north), 1 Manx Shearwater, 1 Great Skua, 1 Sandwich Tern, 1 Fulmar, 1 Great Northern Diver, 4 Red-throated Diver and 25 Black Guillemot were seen at St John's Point during a sea-watch from 8.20am-11am.
An adult winter Mediterranean Gull, 1 Goldeneye, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 13 Little Egret and 15 Swallow were at Killough Harbour.  (Tim Murphy)

14 Pink-footed Geese were 1 mile north of Ballycarry Bridge in Larne Lough. (Cameron Moore).

Yesterday a Woodcock was at Slieve Martín, Rostrevor. (David Cooper).

The Mediterranean Gull with the red leg ring PNU0 was still at Whiteabbey, a second Mediterranean Gull was at Whitehead. (Gareth Platt).

Thanks to Robin Cunningham for the picture of the Black-tailed Godwits, to Cameron Moore for the picture of a Sparrowhawk and to Gareth Platt for the picture of the Mediterranean Gull.


Finnish Visitors

These two Black-headed Gulls, seen here in September, were ringed in Finland in 2004 and 2006, well travelled birds.

Bird News Saturday 15th October

The Glossy Ibis was at Strand Lough, Killough, still, at 9am. (Tim Murphy)

A female / imm Marsh Harrier was at the Quoile (Joe Lamont).

An adult Mediterranean Gull with a green leg ring, AETC, and a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull were at Whitehead Promenade. (Cameron Moore).

An adult Ring-billed Gull was at Carrickfergus Harbour at high tide (Brian Sutton).

The juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper was still at Inch in Donegal. (Birdguides).

On the shore of Belfast Lough at Whiteabbey were a Mediterranean Gull with a red leg ring, PNU0, which was ringed in Poland in May 2012, a Lesser Black-backed Gull with a black ring, F461, which was ringed in Portugal in November 2014 and a Common Gull with a blue ring, 2AIP, which was ringed on the Copelands in June 2012. (Gareth Platt).

Thanks to Cameron Moore for the pictures of the adult and 2nd winter Mediterranean Gulls and the Pied Wagtail and to Christine Cunningham for the picture of the Teal.


Bird News Friday 14th October

A Glossy Ibis flew north over Killough Harbour at 1pm. (Tim Murphy).

A Snow Bunting was at Ramore Head in Portrush and a Merlin was at Magilligan Point. (Christine Cassidy & Lindsay Hodges).

A Marsh Harrier has been present at the Quoile for the last two days. (Tony Donaldson).

6 Red Kites were in the Leitrim area of Co. Down. (Bill Guiller).

A single male Ruff (which has been there for around 3 weeks) was with 155 Black-tailed Godwits in Dundrum South Inner Bay. 14 Grey Plovers were near Green Island in North Inner Bay. This morning in stormy conditions, around 80 Razorbills and Guillemots were sheltering close to shore around the Rock Pool area in Newcastle and 220 Sanderlings were roosting on the rocks nearby. (David Nixon).

This evening at Killough there was the Glossy Ibis (constantly chased by gulls and jackdaws), along with 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Goldeneye, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 56 Lapwing, +350 Black-headed Gull, 4 Little Egret and 4 Grey Heron. Also at Kilclief were 35 Golden Plover, 1 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin. (Toni Costello).

A juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper was at Inch Lake in Donegal. (Birdguides).

Yesterday a Little Egret was on the River Bann at Carnroe, Aghadowey. (Maura Creelman).

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for the picture of the Snow Bunting, to Tony Donaldson for the picture of the Marsh Harrier, to Bill Guiller for the picture of the Red Kite and to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Grey Heron.

Bird News Thursday 13th October

A Crossbill was seen this morning in Slieve Gullion Forest Park. (Frank Carroll).

The Red-flanked Bluetail was looked for but not found at Kelly's Wood this afternoon. (William Smiton).

A female Common Scoter was at Lough Beg today, also 16 Ruff. The six Pinkfeet (a juvenile and five adults) were still at Mullagh. (David Steele).

Belfast Lough off the RSPB WOW reserve had a Red-throated Diver, 3 Guillemot, a Black Guillemot and 2 Great Crested Grebe. (Derek Polley).

A Jack Snipe was at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB reserve this afternoon. (Brad Robson).

Thanks to Marty McClenaghan for the pictures of the Kestrel and the Grey Plover and to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Little Egret.

Bird News Wednesday 12th October

Red-flanked Bluetail still showing well at times, 40m north from the south end of Kellys Wood, St John's Point. The bird was still present at this location at 4pm (Tim Murphy)

The 2nd winter Ring-billed Gull was still at the Round O, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

A Lesser Whitethroat was seen today on Rathlin Island and an adult Little Gull was at Fair Head. (Eamonn Larresey)

At Teiges Hill near Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh this morning there were 3 Swallows, a total of about 60 Redwings and 11 Fieldfare,  also seen were 32 Crossbills. (Clive Mellon).

A 1st winter Little Gull was at Glynn in Larne Lough this morning, see picture below. (Cameron Moore).

The Spoonbill was still at Ballykelly this morning.

A White-tailed Eagle was at Lower Lough Erne in Co. Fermanagh today.

Thanks to Cameron for the picture of the Little Gull at Glynn.


Seamus Heaney Homeplace - Birds in the Landscape

An event that may be of interest to Blog viewers is ‘Birds in the Landscape’ which is being held at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy on Sunday 23 October at 4pm.


It features two writers who share Seamus Heaney’s fascination with birds - in his book A Single Swallow, travel writer and novelist Horatio Clare followed the epic flight path of a migrating Swallow across fourteen countries from Cape Town to Wales, while in Birds and People, naturalist (and Birds Britannica co-editor) Mark Cocker drew on 40 years of writing and studying birds to present a wide-ranging celebration of man’s relationship with birds.


More details are available here:

Bird News Tuesday 11th October

A Marsh Harrier was flying over the reedbed at Portmore Lough today. Seen this morning and seen again at 3.30pm. (Zoe McGee/Laura Smith)

The Red-flanked Bluetail was looked for by a number of birders without success.

Late news for yesterday was off 2 Curlew Sandpipers at RSPB WOW. (Noeni Bryars)

Thanks to Mervyn Guthrie for this pic of the Spoonbill and Little Egrets at Ballykelly (taken on Sunday):

Tree Sparrow, Ginny McKee: