Bird News Friday 26th May

A Temmincks Stint, was in the bay to the left hand side of Church Island this morning. An Osprey was also present (Billy Miskelly)

Bird News Thursday 25th May

Two Pectoral Sandpipers were at the south west corner of Lough Beg (Davy Hunter)

The Little Gull was still at Kinnegar this morning. RSPB WoW had 240+ Common Terns, 7 Med gulls and 2 Knot, one in summer plumage (Derek Polley)

A female Great Spotted Woodpecker has been frequenting a garden in Annahilt (Garry Wilkinson)

At least two Spotted Flycatchers were in Dromore Park, Co Down (Chris Rankin)

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for this pic of a Redpoll:

Meet the Peregrines

NI Raptor Study Group are delighted to announce that the Whitehead Peregrines are back nesting this year after their failure last year and the chicks have hatched and are going from strength to strength. Due to the position of the nest you can watch these birds from a public area as they go about their daily business - without disturbing them.

Ian Enlander, along with the Mid- and East Antrim Council, has once again organised the wonderful 'Meet the Peregrines' day where you can get great views of the adults and their chicks, and the NIRSG will be there to help tell you all about the birds and answer any questions you may have.  

'Meet the Whitehead Peregrines' is on Saturday 17th June, from 10am until noon (though you are welcome to stay on for as long as you like!) and is at the Beach Road Local Nature Reserve in Whitehead. You should bring binoculars or a telescope if you have them but don't worry if you don't.

This is a great opportunity to see wild Peregrines without disturbing them and is free and open to everyone of all ages. 

Bird News Wednesday 24th May

A Wood Warbler was singing on Rathlin, a Red-throated Diver, Grey Wagtail and the first Eider chicks were also present. (Ric Else & Hazel Watson).

Thanks to Ric for this picture of the Wood Warbler and to Chris Easton for the picture of the Grey Wagtail.

Bird News Tuesday 23rd May

An adult Dark-bellied Brent remains with 2 adult Light-bellied birds at Dundrum South Inner Bay. (David Nixon).

Yesterday a Red Kite was circling quite low over the Newcastle Road, just past the turnoff for Bryansford on the way to Castlewellan. (Helen Bradley).

Bird News Monday 22nd May

Yesterday, Lough Beg SW shore and Paddy's Dub had an Osprey off Church island, a male Garganey, 11 Shoveler, 2 Whooper swan, a Little egret, 6 Dunlin and a Common tern (Godfrey McRoberts)

An adult summer Glaucous Gull was near the Bush River at Portballintrae (Colin Guy)

2 Adult Dark-bellied Brent plus 12 Pale-bellied Brent were still at Kinnegar Shore (Tom Ennis)

The 2nd summer Little Gull was at RSPB WoW this evening. (Wilton Farrelly)

A Cuckoo was at Magilligan today (Jason Bain)

Dark Bellied Brent Update

Following the post on the 2nd May, feedback has been received from a number of readers:

Per Graham McIlwaine:
In relation to your article, the Svalbard / Greenland breeding birds are from a separate flyway population - the East Atlantic population. Whilst NI birds stage in Iceland and do actually fly over Greenland, they breed in High Arctic Canada, and our birds are called the East Canadian High Arctic (ECHA) population. 
From my own personal observations, this end-of season flush of dark-bellies, mainly juveniles in my experience, is an annual occurrence, usually encountered at places which hold birds late-season, like Dundrum, Killough and the Strangford Narrows. The sites affected are often used  late-season by staging marked pale-bellied Brent which we know have over-wintered in Normandy, France, where pale-bellied and dark-bellied brent geese are both present in considerable numbers. It would therefore be my hypothesis that these birds are being sucked into the migration of “our” birds at the southern limit of the range. I chatted to one of the Icelandic guys last week, and they regularly encounter small numbers of dark-bellies, which are presumably the same ones. Indeed, one (an adult) was caught in one of our catches there last week.

Per Alain Livory, France: 
Concerning the flocks of brent in Regnéville, France, most of the time pale and dark bellies are mixed on the salt marshes even if roughly each species keeps more or less together grazing. Dark-bellied Brent arrive first and were more numerous in the very begining of the winter season but things are quickly reversing and pale-bellied are nowadays more numerous than the dark ones unlike in the past.

Light and Dark Bellied Brent, Kinnegar Shore, 14th May 2017 - Ronald Surgenor:

Bird News Sunday 21st May

The two Dark-bellied Brent were at Kinnegar Shore and the summer breeding plumaged Ruff was at RSPB WoW Belfast (Garry Armstrong)

A Great Skua, a pale morph Arctic Skua and a Red-throated Diver flew south past the Isle of Muck, Islandmagee. (Jeff Larkin)

An Osprey was at Lough Melvin Co. Fermanagh this afternoon. (Michael Stinson)

A female Marsh Harrier was at Copeland Bird Observatory this afternoon (CBO / Richard Donaghey)

Two Great Skuas landed on the lake at Keeble in Rathlin (Brian Halligan)

Many thanks to Lilian Cummings for this pic of one of the male Ruff that have been at RSPB WoW:

Bird News Saturday 20th May

A Garden Warbler was at Kinnegar Pools (Daniel Newton)

A 2nd summer Little Gull was at the RSPB WOW reserve this afternoon.(Ron Price/Ronnie Milligan)

A Cuckoo is calling this morning near the Slievetrue Road/ Lisglass road in Newtownabbey. (George Stewart)

A drake Garganey was at the Ecos Park, Ballymena (Jeff Larkin)
Two Dark-bellied Drent geese were at Kinnegar Shore. (Wilton Farrelly)

A Red Kite was just outside Dromara this afternoon on the Castlewellan Road. A Cuckoo was calling at the edge of Drumkeeragh Forest and a Whitethroat was in scrubland near the forest carpark.(Chris and Amanda Rankin)

Two male Ruff, including one in full breeding plumage, were at RSPB WoW. (Jonny Clark)

A Whooper Swan was still in residence this morning at RSPB Portmore Nature Reserve. (Robin Brown)

Thanks to Jonny Clark for this pic of a male Ruff:

Bird News Friday 19th May

A Reed Warbler was at Lough Shark. (Joe Devlin).

Two Spotted Flycatcher were seen this morning along the Newry Canal near Goraghwood. (Frank Carroll).

Yesterday 12 Crossbills were at  Foglish Road, Fivemiletown. (Colin Bell).

A 2nd year Iceland Gull was with other gulls on the seafront at Portstewart. (Colin Guy).

Thanks to Neil Cartmill for the picture of the Reed Warbler and to Wilf Swain for the pictures of the Meadow Pipit and Little Egret


Bird News Thursday 18th May

A male and female Long-tailed Duck, Whimbrel and a Garden Warbler were at Lower Lough Erne islands RSPB reserve, Co Fermanagh this morning (Brad Robson)

A Red Kite flew over the Four Winds area of east Belfast this morning this morning (Dan Barry)

A male Ruff was at RSPB WoW, at times it was displaying to Black-tailed Godwits (Derek Polley)

Thanks to Derek Polley for this picture of the male Ruff and to Wilf Swain for the Swift:

Bird News Wednesday 17th May

A Quail was calling at Portmore Lough RSPB Reserve this morning (per Garry Wilkinson)

A female Marsh Harrier passed Teiges Hill near Brookeborough, County Fermanagh today (Clive Mellon)

A Whinchat was at Ballyboley, in the Antrim Hills (Adam McClure).

Not much to report from the eastern part of Rathlin today, with few migrants other than at least 8 Spotted Flycatchers. The only other notable was the first Lapwing since March. Yesterday there was another or the same Tree Pipit near the west end. (Ric Else & Hazel Watson).

In Larne a Hoopoe has been reported from a private garden in Ballylesson Road. (Birdguides).

Thanks to Linda Thompson for the picture of the Spotted Flycatchers, to Terry Hanna for the picture of the Sedge Warbler and to Lilian Cummings for the picture of the Long-tailed Tit.


Bird News Tuesday 16th May

A male Monagu's Harrier was at Lough Beg (Chris Murphy). The bird was looked for this evening without success.

The Baltimore Oriole was not seen today on Tory Island (Brian McCloskey)

At lest 15 Brent Geese were at Kinnegar Shore with at least 2 Dark-bellied Brents amongst them. At least 6 Med Gulls were seen from the roadside hide at RSPB WoW (Tom Ennis \ Tony Dodds

Yesterday a female Merlin, two Snipe and 2 Raven were at Cuilcagh Mountain, Co Fermanagh (Garry Wilkinson)

For more great pics of local birds, see:

Thanks to Michael O'Dwyer for this pic of a Great Spotted Woodpecker in Strangford and Tony Donaldson for the Red Kite:

Bird News Monday 15th May.

A Baltimore Oriole has been found on Tory Island Co.Donegal this morning. (Anton Meenan)

A single Ruff was at RSPB WoW first thing this morning (Daniel Newton)

A female Marsh Harrier was near the western end of Rathlin island this afternoon (Ric Else and Hazel Watson)

Manx Shearwaters were showing well in Belfast Lough, including Kinnegar (Ronald Surgenor and Daniel Newton)

The three Dark-bellied Brent were still at Kinnegar shore (Wilton Farrelly)

Thanks to Cecil smyth for this pic of a Meadow Pipit: