Bird News Tuesday 22nd April

Dargan Bay this morning had 950 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Knot and 80 Dunlin. The Belfast Harbour area - (D3) had 260 Golden Plover. RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve had 200 Black-tailed Godwit, a Common Sandpiper and 2 White Wagtail (Ian Enlander)

Two Black-throated Divers were at Greyabbey Bay South and two Great Northern Divers were north of Ballyhenry Bay, Portaferry (David Taylor)

Belfast Harbour RSPB reserve had this afternoon two Little Gull. Nearby a Mediterranean Gull was at Kinnegar shore (Wilton Farrelly)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard near Peatlands Park (Mark Killops)

This morning between Portstewart and Portrush, there was a flock of 150 Golden Plovers, 14 Black Guillemots and 3  Wheatear (Anne Guichard)

There was no sign of the Yellow Wagtail today.

Thanks to Karl Martin for the pics of the leucistic Jackdaw and the Black-tailed Godwit, Mark Killops for the Yellow Wagtail from yesterday and Anne Guichard for the Wheatear in flight:

Bird News Monday 21st April

The Yellow Wagtail is still at Oxford Island, around the Discovery Centre this morning, along with 13 White Wagtail. (Irishbirding / Danny Gibson)

The Spotted Redshank and a Common Sandpiper were at Kinnegar pool and the first year Little Gull was at the Belfasft Lough RSPB reserve. (Garry Armstrong).

The Spoonbill was still showing at Castle Espie, Co Down. (Kevin Kirkham-Brown)

A pair of Ring-necked Ducks were at the Mullagh, Lough Beg. A drake Green Winged Teal was at the south end and over 150 White Wagtail were seen. A Brent Goose was also present (David Steele)

4 Whimbrel were in Dundrum Bay (Jason Starbuck)

A Cuckoo was heard at Drumack Road Rasharkin (Celine Boyle)

Over 20 Swallows and House Martins returned to Crossgar over the weekend (Spencer Marshall)

Four Sanderlings, two Whimbrels, 18 Ringed Plovers and 10 Sandwich Terns were at Ballywalter this morning (James Robinson)

Thanks to Mark Elliott for this pic of a Pichard from Oxford Island, Christine Cassidy for the Black Guillemots and the Sabd Martin and Danny Gibson for the Yellow Wagtail:

Bird News Sunday 20th April

A Yellow Wagtail was with 23 White Wagtail on the roof of the Discovery Centre at Oxford Island. (Ed O'Hara).

3 Ring-necked Duck (2 male and a female) were with Tufted Duck at the south end of Lough Beg. Also present were a female Ferruginous Duck, 2 male Scaup, 2 Common Tern, a Greenshank, 4 Whimbrel, 80 Black-tailed Godwit and 500 Golden Plover (Tim Murphy).

A first-summer Mediterranean Gull (with a yellow ring) and the first-year Little Gull were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon. The near summer-plumaged Spotted Redshank was at Kinnegar Pool and a first-year Iceland Gull at Whitehouse Lagoon (Stuart McKee, George Gordon)

Cushendall, Agnew's Field  had 2 Whimbrel, 2 Sandwich Tern, 1 Great Northern Diver. Cushendall beach had 2 Great Northern Diver and a Twite.(John McKillop).

7 Swift where at Oxford Island.(William Smiton)

Yesterday 2 Grey-bellied Brent Geese were on the beach at the stream outfall just north of Killard. (Garry Armstrong).

Black Guillemot - Liam McCafferty
White Wagtail - Garry Armstrong
Grey-bellied Brent Goose - Garry Armstrong
Grey-bellied Brent Goose - Garry Armstrong
Yellow Wagtail - James O'Neill
Yellow Wagtail - Zach McCreery
Yellow Wagtail - Tom McCreery
Yellow Wagtail - Tom McCreery
Robin - Mark Elliott


Bird News Saturday 19th April

Late news from yesterday evening, a male summer plumage Long-tailed Duck was at Reedy Flat, Lough Neagh before flying east with a small flock of Tufted ducks. Also at Reedy Flat were 2 Wheatear, 2 Ringed Plover and drumming Snipe. (James O'Neill)

A male and female Great Spotted Woodpecker were seen in Mount Stewart estate today. (R Graham).

The Green-winged Teal and the adult and juvenile Little Gulls were still off the hide at the Quoile Pondage, 2 White Wagtail and 3 Common Tern were also present. (Garry Armstrong). 

A Common Sandpiper was at Newry Estuary/River this morning. (Frank Carroll).

A Peregrine and 2 Raven were at Carrickarede together with Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Razorbills and Guillemots. An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Ballycastle harbour.(Kevin Kirkham-Brown).

A male Cuckoo and a male Crossbill were at Lough Braden, County Tyrone this morning (Richard Donaghey).

3 Glossy Ibis were at Oxford Island today. (Birdguides).

A Cuckoo was at Belleek (Fionbarr Cross).  

5 Wheatear were at Colebrooke River at Upper Lough Erne (Brad Robson).

The Spotted Redshank was still at Kinnegar Pool. (Stuart McKee/Tom Ennis).

Oxford Island today had 2 Swift and 2 Common Terns. (James O'Neill).

The Spoonbill was still at Castle Espie today. (Tom Ennis).

An adult Iceland Gull was at Fanad Head in Donegal. (Wilton Farrelly).

Thanks to today's photographers, James O'Neill, Lindsay Hodges, Richard Donaghey, Christine Cassidy, Stuart McKee and Karl Martin. You can see more NI bird pictures at

 Dipper - James O'Neill
Sandwich Tern - Lindsay Hodges
Ring Ousel, Copeland Bird Observatory - Richard Donaghey
Sand Martins - Christine Cassidy
 Spotted Redshank - Stuart McKee
Spotted Redshank - Stuart McKee
Kestrel - Karl Martin
Raven Carrying a Mouse - Karl Martin

Bird News Friday 18th April

Lower Lough Erne islands RSPB reserve Co Fermanagh had 6 White Wagtail, a Common Sandpiper and 5 Sandwich Terns back for another season (Brad Robson)

The drake Green-winged Teal remains at the Quoile (Birdguides)

A Golden Eagle was at the East Light on Rathlin Island and a Whinchat was also seen (Neal Warnock)

The near summer Spotted Redshank was still at Kinnegar shore.(William Smiton) see photo below

Scarva to Poyntzpass this morning produced...
39 Willow Warblers, 13 Blackcap, 10 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 20+ Swallow, 3 Raven & 10+ Buzzard & 1 Sparrowhawk.(Fulton Somerville)

Yesterday 70-80 White Wagtails were at Paddy's Dubh,Lough Beg. (Ciarán Burns)

Male Hen Harrier - Dick Glasgow.
Female Hen Harrier - Dick Glasgow.

Black Guillemot - Tom McCreery.
Willow Warbler - Tony Donaldson.

Spotted Redshank - William Smiton.


Habitat Damage

At this time of year we get many reports about hedgerows being cut / damaged and fields being drained - a reflection of diminishing habitats in NI for our birds and wildlife. However two recent reports demonstrate that the NI environment continues to be under enormous pressure.

Firstly Dick Glasgow contacted us regarding a Heather fire in north Antrim. As you can see in his pics below, this is only one field away from Breen Forest & less than a mile from one of our national treasures: Breen Oakwood National Nature Reserve. Had this fire travelled further it could have resulted in a real disaster. However no doubt this destruction has decimated a number of ground nesting species.

A second habitat to be affected during the breeding season was brought to our attention by Lindsay Hodges and involves damage to Kinnegar shore (see third pic below). The drainage channels have been widened and water levels have dropped in the ponds. Enquiries seem to show that this work has been carried out without any consideration on birds breeding and feeding in the area.

Both of the above highlight the continuing challenges that our wildlife face.

Bird News Thursday 17th April

A first winter Iceland Gull, an Arctic Skua and two Manx Shearwater were seen from the ferry to Tory Island (Chris Ingram)

A Great-spotted Woodpecker was seen at Lagan Meadows, Belfast (Brian Murphy)

Portmore Lough RSPB reserve today had a male Wheatear, 2 Grasshopper Warblers reeling, 6 Swallows, 4 House Martins, a Kestrel pair, 250 Golden Plover and 60+ black-tailed godwits (Amy/Laura/Ken/Phyllis)

The two Glossy Ibis were still at Oxford Island (Bird Guides)

This morning 3 male Wheatear and 2 Swallow, Myroe Levels Co Derry (Brian Hegarty)

5 House Martin were along Castlewellan Road in Banbridge (Karen Elliott)

Three Sedge Warblers were at Lough Neagh (Irish Birding)

Copeland Bird Observatory today had a Ring Ouzel (the first ringed  there in 14 years), 6 Greenland Wheatear,  a Carrion Crow, 6 Willow Warbler and 2 Chiffchaff (Chris Acheson)

Thanks to Viviene Beck for this pic of Long-tailed Tits collecting cob-webs for a nest. Also Stephen Maxwell for the Great-crested Grebes:

Bird News Wednesday 16th April

A male Wheatear was in a garden this morning in Brookeborough, Fermanagh (John Young)

A Grasshopper Warbler was singing near Claudy today. A Jack Snipe was at Glenshane on 14th. (Kerry Leonard)

2 Tree Sparrows were with house sparrows and finches in a garden in Scarva this evening. (Fulton Somerville)

At least one of the Little Gull was at Quoile Pondage (Garry Wilkinson)

A Spotted Redshank was at Kinnegar Pool (William Smiton)

An adult summer Ring-billed Gull and a first-year Mediterranean Gull were at Belfast Harbour Lagoon and a Grasshopper Warbler at Woodburn Forest (Stuart McKee)

Thanks to Noel Austin for this Wheatear pic, Dick Glasgow for the pic of a pair of displaying Buzzards and Christine Cassidy for the Buzzard being mobbed by a Hooded Crow:

Bird News Tuesday 15th April

A rufous phase female Cuckoo flew across the Ballygowan Road this evening at 5.00 from farmland into the memorial daffodil garden at Roselawn cemetery. (Chris Shaw).

There were still 100 Whooper Swans at Inch Levels in Donegal, a Common Tern was also present. (Christine Cunningham).

A pair of Chough and a pair of Raven were on the Inishowen Peninsula today. (Christine Cassidy).

A dead Long-eared Owl was at the verge at Killycolp one mile south of Cookstown (David Steele). 

A House Martin was at Aghalee (Brad Robson).  

Yesterday evening 12 Whooper Swan flew into Ballykeel fishing lake (Garry Wilkinson).

A male Cuckoo was calling this morning near Kileter in Co. Tyrone (Richard Donaghey).

Swallows have been widely reported today including in Portaferry, Newtownards, Millisle, Donaghadee and at Inch in Donegal. (Nicholas Sanders, David McCormick, Christine Cunningham) 

The Mediterranean Gull with a white ring E742 photographed by Cameron Moore at Glynn on 8th was ringed at De Kreupel Island in North Holland on 21st June 2012.

A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling at the Newry Canal near Moneypenny's Lock today. (James O'Neill)

Two Glossy Ibis were still at Oxford Island (Birdguides)

A sub-adult Golden Eagle was observed at 4.30pm being mobbed by hooded crows, adjacent to Enagh Road between Slieve Croob and Waringsford, Co Down. Also at least 4 singing skylarks near to path/road leading up Slieve Croob earlier in afternoon. (Andrea Johnston)

Thanks to today's photographers, to Dick Glasgow, Chris Henry, Christine Cassidy, Thon Shannon, Christine Cunningham, Karl Martin,Stephen Maxwell and James O'Neill. You can see more NI bird pictures at

 Meadow Pipit - Dick Glasgow
 Stonechat - Chris Henry
 Chough - Christine Cassidy
 Raven - Christine Cassidy
 Black Guillemot - Thon Shannon
 Shelduck - Christine Cunningham
  Willow Warbler - Karl Martin
Little Egrets - Stephen Maxwell
Grey Wagtail - James O'Neill

Bird News Monday 14th April

Between Scarva and Pontzpass this morning were 17 Chiffchaff, 22 Blackcap, 43 Willow Warbler, 6 Swallow, 6 Bullfinch, 6 Buzzard, 5 Lesser Redpoll, 8 Tree Sparrow and a Little Egret flying NW from Lough Shark. (Fulton Sommerville)

A Short-eared Owl and male Shoveler were at Balloo Wetland in Bangor (Aaron Devlin).

The Spoonbill still remains at Castle Espie.(Birdguides)

Skylark - Noel Austin.
Blackcap - Fulton Somerville.
Sparrowhawk - Christine Cassidy.
Willow Warbler - Zach McCreery.