Bird News Monday 4th May

A Wood Warbler was singing close to the entrance gates to Belfast Castle. Through the gates and up the road to the left about 75 m. Seen at 8.00 and 9.45. (Larry Toal)

3 Swifts were in flight at Cloughfern, Newtownabbey. (Jim McKeown)

A Garden Warbler was in song beside the ancient ruins at Inishmcsaint, Lower Lough Erne, Co. Fermanagh. (Brad Robson).

This morning 14 Whimbrel were at Corkey Point to the west of Ardmore on the south shore of Lough Neagh and 8 White Wagtails were around the Discovery Centre at Oxford Island. (Garry Armstrong).

A 2nd winter Iceland Gull was at the River Bush at Portballintrae. (Colin Guy).

Mullagh at the south end of Lough Beg had 150 White Wagtail, a Grasshopper Warbler, female Ruff and 120 Whimbrel (David Steele).  

Yesterday a second-winter Iceland Gull was at the mouth of the Bush at Portballintrae and a Twite at the pier (Simon Morton).

Thanks to Bill Guiller for the picture of the Crossbill, to Noel Sofley for the pictures of the Jay and the Song Thrush, to Stephen Maxwell for the Black-tailed Godwit and to Angus Kennedy for the picture of the Fulmar.


Bird News Sunday 3rd May

A drake Garganey is at Belfast RSPB WOW Reserve (Gerard McGeehan)

6 Whimbrel were on the seashore at Whitehead (Ian Enlander)

A Cuckoo, 2 Blackcap, 3 Wheatear, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver, 8 Brent Geese, 4 Shelduck, 23 Turnstone, 8 Whimbrel, 30 Dunlin and 10 Ringed Plover were at St Johns's Point, Co Down (Tim Murphy)

Along the Tyrone shore of Lough Neagh 60 Whimbrel, a drumming Snipe, 3 Red-breasted Merganser. 2 pair of Scaup, 2 pair of Goldeneye and 30 Pochard (mostly male) were at Blackers Rock (Godfrey McRoberts).

 21 Arctic Tern were back on Cockle Island at Groomsport (George Gordon).

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for this pic of a female Sparrowhawk: Also to Nigel Moore for the Common Sandpiper.

Bird News Saturday 2nd May.

Not a lot of news to-day as you would expect with the weather.

Slightly further afield in Co. Donegal..1000 Golden Plover and 2 Sparrowhawk where at Inch.(Christine Cassidy)

Meadow Pipit - Noel Austin.

Jay  - Jane McLaughlin.

Bird News Friday 1st May

Last night a Cuckoo was at Crocknagrally Pony Trail nr Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone. (Colin Bell).

5 Whimbrel were at Sandeel Bay near Orlock Point (George Henderson).  

A Swift was at Killyleagh (Spencer and Joan Marshall).

131 Whimbrel went through Lough Erne today (largest flock 94); also 17 White Wagtails, 6 Black-tailed Godwits and 5 Shelduck. (Brad Robson).

50+ Whimbrel were near the M1 bridge over the River Blackwater at 3.00p.m. (Birdguides).

A 1st winter Iceland Gull flew in from the sea at White Rocks, Portrush. (Colin Guy).

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for the picture of the Yellowhammer and to Bert Montgomery for the picture of the Black Guillemot at Long Hole, Bangor.

Bird News Thursday 30th April

Washing Bay, Lough Neagh Co Tyrone had 120 Tufted duck, 15 Scaup, 2 Goldeneye, a Pochard, 4 Gadwall, a Whooper Swan and 28 whimbrel. During a BBS survey at Glasdrumman, Ballynahinch, there was a Stock Dove in display flight. (Dermot Hughes)

Two Cuckoos were on the Ballyloughlin Road, Dundrum. (John Bradley)

A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Mount Stewart, Ards. In oaks ca 100m NW of lake. (Keith Bennett)

A Cuckoo was last night at Crocknagrally Pony Trail nr Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone (Colin Bell)

Dick Glasgow's video clips of the Cuckoos in the Antrim Hills, on Tuesday are at:
Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for this pic of a Raven at Scrabo and Noel Austin for the Wheatear:

CBO - Help Needed

CBO have received a grant to replace the old and corroding roof on the observatory buildings, and we have purchased a new Kingspan Trapezodial insulated and Firesafe roof as its replacement.

The new roof panels, and associated builders materials, will be delivered to the quay-side at Donaghadee on Saturday morning, 9th May, at 9.00 am.

This is one of the biggest jobs undertaken by the observatory for many years and CBO urgently need help to deliver the panels and materials to the observatory buildings. They plan to have teams present at the harbour (throughout the morning) and on the island (throughout the day) – ideally we need up to thirty people.

If you are capable of helping - at any stage during the day (9.00 am – 5.00 pm) – and would like to find out more, or to volunteer, contact:

Wesley Smyth
Mobile: 07837 44 92 64

Bird News Wednesday 29th April

An immature Marsh Harrier was at the Bann Estuary at 10am this morning. Also present were 1 Knot and 3 Whimbrel. (Richard Donaghey).

The summer plumaged Spotted Redshank was in Dundrum South Inner Bay, as were 61 Brent Geese and a few Whimbrels. (David Nixon).

At least 4 Cuckoos were calling in the Antrim hills yesterday. (Dick Glasgow).

A Cuckoo was heard calling this evening in Big Gortgole Forest, Portglenone along the river bank (possibly 2). With large numbers of swallows feeding low over the river due to heavy rain. (Peter McAllister). 

Thanks to Noel Austin for the first picture of a Cuckoo from Murlough Nature Reserve and to Dick Glasgow for the second Cuckoo picture and the Stonechat picture:



Bird News Tuesday 28th April

A female Marsh Harrier flew from left to right past the hide at the Quoile Pondage towards the wooded area on the far side (Garry Wilkinson).

A pair of Goosander was still along the River Main at Slaght near Ballymena. Mullagh at the south end of Lough Beg had 300 White Wagtail. 120 Whimbrel and a male Ring-necked x Tufted Duck resembling a Ring-necked Duck (David Steele).  

7 Common Tern were at Whitehouse Lagoon in Belfast (Gerard McGeehan).

A Swift was at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB (Brad Robson).

15 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Snipe, 1 Stock Dove, 8 Teal, 3 Shelduck, 15 House Martin and 1 Swift were at Strand Lough, Killough. On 23/04/15 there was a Jack Snipe there. (Tim Murphy).

Corbally Reservoir, Portrush, had a 1st summer Iceland Gull; Larrybane had a Twite and 2 Wheaters; Ballintoy had 3 White Wagtail, 3 Wheatear, 2 Raven, and a Common Sandpiper. (Peter Robinson + Coleraine RSPB Group).

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for the pictures of the Jay and the Mistle Thrush

Bird News Monday 27th April.

A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling in the NW corner of Lough Beg, 2 suspected  Jack Snipe where  in rush pasture.(Gareth Bareham)

7 Whimbrel, 21 Brent Geese, 2 Greenshank, 60 Golden Plover and 45 Dunlin were in Killough Harbour. 1 drake Eider and 8 Sandwich Tern were in the outer bay.(Tim Murphy)

 1 adult summer Little Gull, 1 Pochard, 1 Goldeneye, 40 Tufted Duck, 1 Sandwich Tern and 60 Common Tern were at the Quoile Pondage. 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker could be heard drumming from the hide.(Tim Murphy)

Yesterday a Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen at Brackagh Moss,nr Portadown.(Paul Allen) see photo below.
Great Spotted Woodpecker - Paul Allen.

White Wagtail - Stephen Maxwell.

Bird News Sunday 26th April

Yesterday a female Whinchat was at Glenhead Road, Glenwherry (Joe Lamont).

This morning, a dark bellied Brent was at Kinnegar shore. It was later at Lough Shore Park. Also a first summer Iceland Gull, two Manx Shearwaters and a Whimbrel. Two Whimbrel were earlier at Kinnegar (Stuart McKee)

The adult Little Gull was still at the Quoile Pondage, Co Down, from the Castle Island hide. (Keith Bennett)

A summer plumaged Spotted Redshank was in Dundrum bay (Jason Starbuck)

A female Crossbill was at the car park at the southern end of Ballyboley Forest (William Smiton)

In Tyrone a Cuckoo was at Skin Boy Wood near Victoria Bridge (Brian Hegarty)

A Swift was this afternoon at Portmore Lough RSPB Reserve. (Kate McAllister)

The River Braid between Ballymena and Galgorm this morning had 7 Blackcaps
2 Sedge Warblers (John Loughlin and Irene Miller)

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for this pic of a male Greenland Wheatear, Cameron Moore for the Whinchat and Stuart McKee for the Belfast Dark-bellied Brent and the Iceland Gull and Chris Henry for the Common Sandpiper:

Bird News Saturday 25th April

Ballyherly Lough had 4 singing Reed Warbler and 200 Swallow. (Richard Weyl).

A late Whooper Swan was on the Lagan at the weir between Moore's and Union Bridges. It had been on a field nearby but flew to the river where it was harassed by a local Mute Swan. (Eric Randall).

21 White Wagtails were at Oxford Island. (Birdguides).

A flock of Whimbrel were at Killard. (Angus Kennedy).

The first summer Mediteranean Gull was at Belfast WOW reserve (Stuart McKee)

Thanks to Dick Glasgow for the pictures of the Yellowhammer and the Willow Warbler and to Angus Kennedy for the pictures of the Whimbrel and Sand Martin.



Bird News Friday 24th April.

The Ring Ouzel is still present on the Glenhead Rd, Glenwherry Co Antrim.(Joe Lamont) see photo's below
A male Ring Ouzel was at Mount Stewart (Eimear Rooney).

A first-summer Mediterranean Gull was at Belfast Harbour Lagoon.(Brad Robson)

The 2 dark bellied Brent where again in Dundrum South Inner Bay along with 11Whimbrel.(David Nixon)

2 Whimbrel a Red Kite and large numbers of Sand Martin where seen at Corbet Lough, Banbridge.(David McCreedy)

 Swifts were back at Botanic in Belfast (John Pyper).

 A first-year Iceland Gull was at Portrush (Matthew Tickner).

Our thanks to Joe for the pics of the Ring Ouzel

BBC Radio Ulster joins forces with RTE for the Dawn Chorus

Dawn Chorus   

Saturday 2 May – Sunday 3 May

Live on BBC Radio Ulster from Midnight


BBC Radio Ulster is joining forces with RTE to broadcast one of our most beautiful sounds – the dawn chorus live on air from Saturday 2 May at midnightuntil 7am on Sunday 3 May.


Presenter Anne-Marie McAleese, along with Dot Bleakley will be at the RSPB’s Portmore Lough in County Armagh to link up live with RTE’s Derek Mooney and his guests at Cuskinny Marsh Nature Reserve in County Cork. There will also be links with NRK, Norway’s national broadcasting service, and other experts and listeners across Ireland.


Bird News Thursday 23rd April

A Ring Ouzel was at Glenhead Road, Glenwherry this evening, at the same location as the 2011 bird (Gerard McGeehan)

A Hoopoe was in a garden on 13th April, one and a half miles from Balloo Crossroads (on the Downpatrick Road) (Vic Boston)

A male Whinchat was at the Tildarg Dam area near Ballyclare. (Ian Enlander)

Cuckoo's now seem to be widespread. One was on Knocklayde, north Antrim, this morning (Dick Glasgow) and they have been calling in the Fivemiletown area (Colin Bell)

A Spotted Flycatcher was this morning in a garden in Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone. (Colin Bell)

A Grasshopper Warbler was singing in Woodburn forest. Heard from the Slievetrue Road. (George Stewart)

2 Dark-bellied Brent, an adult and a juvenile and presumably the birds previously at Killough Harbour, were with 200 Brent at South Inner Bay, Dundrum today, as were 2 Whimbrels. An adult Dark-bellied Brent was with 40 Brent at Mill Quarter Bay in Strangford Narrows yesterday. (David Nixon)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was intermittently drumming from the woods west of the duck pond at the Silent Valley visitor park around 9am this morning (Dougie Gamble)

Two Grasshopper Warblers were singing from Barnfield Road Derriaghy and one more on Ballycolin road, Slievenacloy, Belfast hills this morning. A Spotted Flycatcher was at Sealstown Road near Mallusk this evening (Eric Randall)

A second hand and unconfirmed report of a possible grey shrike species has come in from Carryduff Sawmill.

Yesterday 3 Sandwich Tern were at the Queen Elizabeth 2 Bridge in Belfast (Andy Elliott)

2 Swifts were at Kirkwoods playing fields in Lisburn. (Peter Casey).

You can email your bird news to or call Flightline on 02891 467408

Thanks to David Hunter for this pic of a Black-tailed Godwit and Dick Glasgow for the Lesser Redpoll:

Bird News Wednesday 22nd April

A single Swift was at Tullagh, Cookstown, Co Tyrone. (Tony McCormick)

A first summer Mediteranean Gull was at Belfast WOW (Brian Murphy)

A Cuckoo was on the Lattone Road, Belcoo, Co. Fermanagh (Eileen McKenzie).

2 Common Sandpiper were at Castle Archdale, Fermanagh (Christine Cassidy)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming at The Argory, Co Armagh and a Common Sandpiper was seen along the Blackwater river. ( Pat Flowerday).

In Fermanagh 38 White Wagtail, a Grasshopper Warbler, Cuckoo and numerous Sedge Warbler were at Lower Lough Erne Islands RSPB. Yesterday evening 2 Long-eared Owl were present (Brad Robson).  

A Sandwich Tern was at Kinnegar and in south Down a Willow Warbler was at the car park at Murlough and a Cuckoo in the dune area (Tom Clarke).

A Red Kite was close to Tyrella Beach and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was in Tollymore Forest, Newcastle. (Michael Norton).

In south Down 3 Cuckoo (2 males fighting over a female) were at Murlough. 100 Pale-bellied Brent were at Dundrum Bay, another 50/60 at Killough Harbour and 50 at Ballyhornan (David Clarke).

Thanks to Michael Norton for the pictures of the Red Kite and the Great Spotted Woodpecker and to Stephen Maxwell for the pictures of the Blackcap and Willow Warbler.



Bird News Tuesday 21st April

A Grasshopper Warbler was seen at Montiaghs Moss near Aghalee and 3 Whimbrel and 2 White Wagtails were at nearby Lady Bay. (David Nixon)

At least one Cuckoo was at Murlough NNR again today. (Philip McErlean)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was calling at Castle Archdale at Lower Lough Erne (Brad Robson)

A female Great Spotted Woodpecker was showing well at the top of Craigagh Wood, Cushendun

Grasshopper Warblers were singing in a rough field after dark at Cairncastle (David Ledsham)

Many thanks to Dick Glasgow for this Lesser Redpoll pic: