Bird News Friday 24th November.

261 Lapwing, 150 Golden Plover and 50 Skylark were in a ploughed field at Blaris, near Lisburn,  this afternoon. (Chris Acheson.)

Dutch Med Gulls on our doorstep.

I spotted a metal-ringed Mediterranean Gull yesterday (23rd Nov), at Sandy Bay, in Larne.  It took around 80 photographs (many of them useless), to complete the ring number - Arnhem 3.738.593.  This one, turned out to be the same gull, which I spotted on the 28th November 2016, at Glenarm.  It was ringed as a chick, on the 20th June 2015, at De Kreupel Island, in Holland. (Gareth Platt)

Bird of Prey Killing in NI

The latest Raptor Persecution & Poisoning Report for Northern Ireland, covering 2015 and 2016, has been released today. The report is available at the links below for anyone who would like to read the pdf:

The main points are;
  • 12 more confirmed raptor victims of persecution in Northern Ireland in 2015 and 2016 (6 buzzards, 5 peregrines, 1 sparrowhawk)
  • Victims were poisoned (7) and shot (5)
  • 7 incidents occurred in areas where crimes have not been confirmed since reporting began in 2009, showing how widespread the problem is
  • This brings the total confirmed victims since 2009 to 56, with an additional confirmed case of nest destruction.

Bird News Thursday 23rd November

A Glossy Ibis and the Great White Egret were both at Mullagh, Lough Beg this afternoon. Also two Little Stints. (David Steele)

Bird News Wednesday 22nd November

No news so far today.

Thanks to Cameron Moore for the picture of the Little Grebe:

Bird News Tuesday 21st November

10 Pink-footed Geese were at the south end of Inner Dundrum Bay. The drake American Wigeon was at Ardilea, in the Northern section of Inner Dundrum Bay. 17 Greenshank were in two separate High Tide roosts in all of Inner Dundrum Bay. A female  Goosander was in the  Quoile Pondage Area, as were 19 Gadwall. There was no sign of the Hawfinch at  Inch Abbey nor the Ring-necked Duck at the Quoile Pondage (Tom Ennis, Tony Dodds and John Edwards)

A Mediterranean Gull was at Strickland’s Glen, Bangor (Richard Weyl)

Thanks to Denis Chambers for this pic of a Lapwing:

Bird News Monday 20th November

A Marsh Harrier was at the RSPB Portmore Lough reserve. (Robin Brown)

The Great White Egret, a Green Sandpiper and 13 Ruff were at the south end of Lough Beg. (Matthew Tickner)

Our thanks to Cameron Moore for his pics of a Whooper Swan and a Pink-footed Goose.

Bird News Sunday 19th November

A Hawfinch was in the Yew Trees at Inch Abbey, Downpatrick (Wilton Farrelly)

The drake American Wigeon was again at Ardilea and the 10 Pink-footed Geese at Dundrum Bay South and 34 Twite at Tyrella (Garry Armstrong)

A Black-throated Diver was seen off Kinnegar (Daniel Newton)

The Green-winged Teal was still present at Ecos Centre, Ballymena (Daniel Newton)

8 Crossbills were at the Tollymore Outdoor Centre (Wilton Farrelly)

The Spoonbill was at Anne’s Point. 10 Slavonian Grebe were in Greyabbey Bay and another 2 at Gransha Point (with 9 Great Northern Diver). Yesterday there was a Jack snipe at Ballyhenry Island and 208 Whooper swan and 6 Black-tailed godwit at Kearney (Richard Weyl).

A female Merlin and a Little Egret were at Ardmore Point on the south shore of Lough Neagh this evening. (James O'Neill).

Two Peregrines, male and female, were over Ballynahinch town centre this afternoon. A Black Redstart was at the outfall near the Borstal at Millisle beach, it flew along the rocks southwards after dog disturbance. (Garry Wilkinson).

Thanks to Christine Beggs for the picture of the Purple Sandpiper, to Linda Thompson for the picture of the female Scaup and to Mark Elliott for the picture of the Rock Pipit:


Bird News Saturday 18th November

A Red-necked Grebe is at Oxford island, it was very close to the reedbed to the left as you are looking straight out from the big wooden hide that is now closed up (John Cusack)

A Pink-footed Goose was at Knockninny, Upper Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

A Chiffchaff was at the north end of Belfast Waterworks (Larry Toal)

A ring-tail Hen Harrier was sen at Portmore Lough this morning (John Cusack)

The drake Green-winged Teal was still at the ECOS Centre, Ballymena (Michael Latham)

8 Twite were at Kilroot, 3 Long-tailed Duck were off Fishermen's Quay, Carrickfergus and a Great Northern Diver was off Rhanbuoy Close, Carrickfergus (Brian Sutton)

The Kumlien’s Gull is back at Moville, Co Donegal (Birds Ireland)

Thanks to Lesely Barker for this pic of a leucistic Chaffinch taken at Mount Stewart, Co Down:

Bird News Friday 17th November.

A Woodcock today was the 150th species recorded on Rathlin this year. Also 6 Greenland White-fronted Geese, 2 Bramblings and 8 Long-tailed Tits. (Ric Else/Hazel Watson)

Red kites project puts the ‘our’ into RKites

Andrew Marshall (

Red Kites project puts the ‘our’ into RKites

Red kites are one of our most stunning birds of prey and this year 20 territorial pairs have been recorded in Northern Ireland, with 13 pairs successfully fledging 28 chicks - the highest number on record.

RKites, a new funded partnership project officially launched today, will focus on a dedicated public engagement programme reaching out to 40 schools in counties Down and Armagh, young people and members of the public in communities where the red kites are present, as well as working alongside the Mourne Heritage Trust’s Youth Rangers programme. This work aims to ensure that the population of red kites in Northern Ireland thrives, flourishes and expands despite the many challenges that they face.

  The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, RSPB NI, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, with support from the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group and the Mourne Heritage Trust.

Next year will mark 10 years since the ground-breaking reintroduction of red kites in Northern Ireland, after they had been persecuted to extinction around 200 years ago.

Despite the growing numbers, we are still a long way from reaching a sustainable red kite population. Sadly in August of this year a young red kite was found dead after being shot near Moneyslane in County Down.

The aim is to engage local people, especially young people, to become passionate about this majestic species and to raise awareness of the story of these remarkable raptors. To date there has been a fantastic level of involvement from the general public both in terms of signing up as volunteers and reporting red kite sightings via

Speaking at the launch at Tollymore Mountain Centre on the edge of the Mournes, Joanne Sherwood, Director at RSPB NI, said “We’re delighted to be working in this partnership to help secure the future of red kites in our countryside. “With support from our funders and with Alan Ferguson, our dedicated RKites Project Officer, working alongside an enthusiastic team of volunteers, we are determined to bolster red kite numbers further to achieve a sustainable population. “The name ‘RKites’ relates to red kites and to the fact that they are indeed OUR kites. It’s up to all of us to support these iconic birds and to ensure that we can cherish and protect them and give them a home in Northern Ireland for years to come.”

Paul Mullan, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund NI added “We are delighted to support the exciting new RKites project. People play such an important role in the protection of our natural heritage and it’s crucial that they are equipped with the skills and knowledge to do this. The red kite is such an iconic species that it can hook everyone’s imagination and interest, young and old. They then learn more about all our raptor species. We are thrilled that the RKites project will seek to do all of this, so a big thank you should go to National Lottery players who allow us to fund projects which help reconnect people to their heritage.”

*** Representatives from all partner organisations are available for interview ***
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Brian Campbell, Communications and Events Officer at RSPB NI: 07736 477526 /

Bird News Thursday 16th November

A Little Auk was seen off Castlerock this morning (Richard Donaghey).

On Rathlin a Long-tailed Duck flew past Rue Point this morning. Also of note for Rathlin today were a Pochard and a Mistle Thrush. Yesterday there were two Bramblings. (Ric Else/Hazel Watson).

In Donegal a Peregrine and 2 Raven were at Inishowen Head. (Christine Cassidy & Lindsay Hodges).

Yesterday a Red-throated Diver and the Great Northern Diver were at Cairndhu Rowing Club in Larne. Two pairs of Crossbill were up in Capanagh this morning. (Jason Bain).

Thanks to Noel Austin for the picture of the female Red-breasted Merganser, to Kevin Kirkham-Brown for the picture of the Redpoll, to Christine Cassidy & Lindsay Hodges for the picture of the Ravens and to Jason Bain for the pictures of the Red-throated Diver and the Crossbill.



Bird News Wednesday 15th November

The Great White Egret was still on the western shoreline, Lough Beg this pm. Also a high site count of 35 Little Egrets were present. (David Steele)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was recently feeding in an old Alder tree near Drum Bridge on the Lagan (Dougie Gamble)

The Green Winged Teal was at the Ecos Centre today (Dougie Gamble)

Thanks to Dougie or this picture of a Teal (top) and the Green-winged Teal, both from the Ecos centre:

Bird News Tuesday 14th November.

Rathlin Island had...a ringtail Hen Harrier, 7 Long-tailed Tits and a Twite at the west end, and 4 White-fronted Geese on the north cliffs. (Ric Else/Hazel Watson)

A Snow Bunting was at Kearney Co.Down this morning.The bird was on the coastal path after the last cottage (Heather Parker)

2 Bramblings are visiting a garden on the Cotterhill Rd, Downpatrick.(Christopher Passmore)

Slightly further afield ...Malin Head Co.Donegal had 500 Barnacle Geese, a Merlin, 7 Chough.(Christine Cassidy/Lindsay Hodges)

Brambling - Christopher Passmore.

Snow Bunting - Heather Parker

Merlin - Lindsay Hodges

Bird News Monday 13th November

Two ring tail Hen Harriers were seen at Portmore Lough today (Brian Murphy)

Approximately 800 Whooper Swans were at Myroe along with 7 Little Egrets. Circa 200 Brent Geese were at Ballykelly (Christine Cassidy & Lindsay Hodges)

Thanks to Wilf Swain for this pic of Brent Geese in flight: