Butterfly and Moth Update - 31st May

While by this time last year there had been a huge influx of Painted Ladies, etc, to the British Isles, so far this year there has been nothing on the same scale. There have however been a few Migrant Lepidoptera in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland; I have listed all the 2010 records (of Macrolepidoptera) I am aware of below.


Red Admiral: 1 seen and photographed by Craig Nash on 7th May at Castleward near Strangford, Co. Down (see http://nibirds.blogspot.com/p/other-wildlife.html).
Painted Lady: 1 seen by M. Millar at Skernaghan Point on Islandmagee peninsula near Larne, Co. Antrim, on 22nd May and 1 seen by David McCormick flying very fast across Strangford Lough close to Mountstewart Estate near Newtownards, Co. Down (J549695), on 26th May (see "Butterfly Sightings" at http://www.bcni.org.uk/Main.HTM)


Silver Y: 1 took 1 in a light trap at Clare Glen near Tandragee, Co. Armagh, on 23rd/24th May, and on 30th May saw single specimens on the coast of Co. Down at Sheepland near Ardglass and Murlough NNR near Dundrum.

Thanks to Ian Rippey for this update

Monday 31st May News

Ring-necked Duck - 1, drake, Oxford Island, Co. Armagh
Spotted Flycatcher - 1, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim

Spotted Flycatcher - today, by Ed O'Hara

Here's a couple of shots of a Sedge Warbler from the 28th May by Danny Boyd.

NIBA Bulgaria Update!
Breaking news! Just to keep the blood pressure up - here's the latest from the NIBA excursion so far.

160 species as of yesterday evening (try getting that in Northern Ireland in 3 days!) including:

Dalmatian Pelican
White Pelican
Pygmy Cormorant
Eagle Owl
Eastern Orphean Warbler
Olive Tree Warbler
Eastern bonelli's Warbler
Semi-collared Flycatcher

Of course, I wouldn't believe a word of it unless there's some decent pics.

New Little Tern Website

A website for the  
Kilcoole Little Tern Conservation Project
(run by BWI & NPWS) is now up and running. If you would like to
take a look then follow this link www.littletern.webs.com

Any feedback on the website or the project in general, as well as any sightings of Little Terns from around the country can be sent to kilcoolelittleterns@birdwatchireland.ie

Although it is still very much a pilot website there is plenty to look at including a blog of the latest colony news and a photo gallery. Regular bird & other wildlife sightings from the area are also included.

Hope you enjoy it...and why not come down for a visit?!

All the best,
Niall Keogh

The website for the Baltray Little Tern colony can be found here at the Louth Nature Trust website

If you can't have rare birds......

Dingy Skipper Erynnis tages

Marsh Fritillary Eurodryas aurinia

Real's Wood White Leptidea reali

Thanks to Geoff Campbell for some excellent images.
For more of Geoff's photos visit his website here

Finally, here's a picture of an Azure Damselfly taken by Ed O'Hara at Oxford Island yesterday

The one that got away... and the one that didn't

Thanks to Danny Boyd for a closer look at what's on the menu.

Sunday 30th May News

Very little news again. Thanks to Ed O'Hara for the picture of the rarest bird in Northern Ireland today.

Ring-necked Duck - 1, drake, Oxford Island , Co. Armagh

Marsh Harrier - 1, female, between Portmore and Morrow's Pt., Co. Antrim
Garganey - 2, in flight, Reedy Flats, Co. Armagh
Cuckoo - 1, calling, Derrytrasna

Below: Swift Apus apus by Geoff Campbell
Check out the white collar on the below.

Visit Geoff's excellent photography site here

Scotland pics by Mark Killops added to Trip Photos here

There are now over 800 wildlife pics on this blog (not enough!)

For the latest UK news visit the rarebirdsinbritain blog

For the latest Irish news visit irishbirding

Spot the Bird (Part 19)

Answer to Part 18: Magpie

Yellow-tailed Gulls sighted in North Down!!

More sightings needed.

Not a new species but rather a variant on our commonly seen Common Gull Larus canus. As part of my studies into the largest Common Gull colony in Ireland, on Big Copeland island, I have marked a dozen adult Common Gulls with a yellow dye on the tail and back of the head.  The dye changes to an orangey‐brown colour with time. 
The purpose of marking the gulls is to try to establish their foraging ranges while they feed theirchicks, and where they disperse to immediately after breeding (the dye will be lost as soon as the birds moult in the autumn).
I need to know of any sightings of any of these gulls – date, time, location and what the birds are up to.  Additionally all these gulls have a blue colourring on the leg, each with a unique four letter/figure code.  If this can be read and reported then the information will be even more valuable.
Please let me know of as many sightings as possible!


Shane Wolsey
25 Ballyholme esplanade
Co Down  BT20 5LZ
M: 07831 697371
E:  shane@swolsey.biz  

Saturday 29th May News

Ring-necked Duck - 1, drake, Oxford Island, Co. Down
Garganey - 1, drake, Quoile Pondage, Co. Down
Little Gull - 1, 1st summer, Quoile Pondage, Co. Down
Cuckoo - 1, Quoile Pondage, Co. Down
Cuckoo - 1, Oxford Island, Co. Armagh
Garden Warbler - 1, Mullaghfad Forest, Co. Tyrone
Reed Warbler - 12, (10 singing), Ballyherly Lough , Co. Down
Reed Warbler - 2, Ballyfinragh Lough, Co. Down
Reed Warbler - 2, Lough Cowey, Co. Down

Today's Ring-necked Duck by Ed O'Hara, Oxford Island , Co. Armagh

For the latest UK news visit the rarebirdsinbritain blog

For the latest Irish news visit irishbirding

Friday 28th May News

Marsh Harrier - 2, reported at Croaghan Flats near Oxford Island, Co. Armagh
                           (Croaghan Island is visible from the hide at Closet Bay)
Red Kite - 1, flew over the A2 at Banbridge Coachworks, Co. Down
Peregrine - 1, Tipperary Woods, Newcastle, Co. Down (flyover)
Pomarine Skua - 1, adult, The Gobbins, Island Magee, Co. Antrim

Some decent birds today and I'd have been glad to see any of them. Doesn't put me off showing this picture of a Robin to remind you that Christmas is looming.

To add further insult to injury - a crackpot squad of NIBA birders has touched down in Bulgaria and are seemingly cleaning up.

So far the lads have scored:

Griffon Vulture
Egyptian Vulture
Eastern Imperial Eagle
Chukar Partridge
Syrian Woodpecker
Eastern Rock Nuthatch
Lesser Grey Shrike
Barred Warbler
Black-headed Bunting
Rock bunting

Jealous yet?!

For any of you who don't know what a Wallcreeper is (shame on you) visit here

For the latest UK news visit the rarebirdsinbritain blog

For the latest Irish news visit irishbirding

Spot the Bird (Part 18)

Answer to Part 17: Garganey

Seeking Greater Celandine!

This is an old medicinal plant associated with Early Christian Monastic Sites. It was used to cure warts, ringworm, and many other horrid complaints in the Middle Ages. Today the Russians are testing it as a  possible cancer cure. I have found it at 6 locations in my area, all associated with ancient ecclesiastic sites. I would appreciate records from other parts of Northern Ireland
Walter Veale


Thursday 27th May News

Red-footed Falcons were reported today at Kidlare and Tacumshin - will one be heading our way soon?
(Last Northern Ireland record - Long Pt., Lough Beg, May 1994, stayed over a week)

In the meantime here's some nice pictures of Chaffinches........

.......you can't tell me there isn't more out there than Chaffinches.
I spoke to soon!

Osprey - 1, still at Closet Bay, Oxford Island
Peregrine - 1, Altnadua, Castlewellan, Co. Down
Possible Wood Sandpiper - Quoile Pondage, Co. Down
  - Also present were a Common Sandpiper, pair of Shoveler, Whooper Swan and 2 Common Tern.

No Red-footed Faclons......yet (4 at Tacumshin, Co. Wexford today!)

Moths on the Wing - 27th May

Grey Dagger Acronicta psi

Spot the Bird (Part 17)

Answer to Part 16: Black Guillemot

It's a hard life!

'I'm Hungry!'

'Ah! Breakfast!'

'Where are you going?!'

'Come Back!'

'That's more like it!'

'Keep it coming!'

'Is it still breakfast time?!'

Wednesday 26th May News

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming this morning at a new site in North Down.

There were no other rare or scarce birds today so here's a picture two of the most familiar......that's the level we've sunk to.

Spot the Bird (Part 16)

Answer to part 15: Long-billed Dowitcher !

Tuesday 25th May News

Osprey - 1, Closet Bay, Co. Armagh
Cuckoo - 1, Fardross Mountain, Co. Tyrone

Very little news today - thanks to Ed O'Hara for this picture of a swallow taken at Oxford Island on sunday

Republic of Ireland
Golden Oriole - 1, Inishbofin, Co. Galway

BCNI Event - Co. Fermanagh, Sat 5th June

Northern Ireland Branch of Butterfly Conservation are holding an event in Co, Fermanagh on Saturday 5th June 2010. Details are shown below (from http://www.bcni.org.uk/Main.HTM)

Saturday, 5th June 2010
West Fermanagh (H227445)
Meet at Round 'O' Quay, Brook Park, Enniskillen at 11:00am. This event will be a butterfly safari around sites in west Fermanagh, target species being the Dingy Skipper, the endangered Marsh Fritillary butterfly and Narrow Bordered Bee Hawk-moth, all Northern Ireland priority species.
See http://www.multimap.com/maps/?qs=bt63+5dq&countryCode=GB#map=54.34846,-7.64919|18|4&bd=useful_information&loc=GB:54.34899:-7.6493:18|bt63%205dq| for meeting place which is on the right (north) side of "Lough Shore Road" leading west from Enniskillen to Portora School, which lies on a hill to the right somewhat beyond the Round O Quay.

To give a bit more detail, if the weather is favourable (which of course cannot be guaranteed), we may see a good selection of the following species.

BUTTERFLIES: Dingy Skipper; Real's Wood White; Green-veined White; Orange-tip; Green Hairstreak; Small Copper; possibly Common Blue (which has already been seen in Co. Antrim, well ahead of its normal appearance); Peacock; Marsh Fritillary; Speckled Wood; Small Heath and perhaps 1 or 2 other resident and even migrant species (though so far I know of only 1 Red Admiral and no Painted Ladies in 2010 in Northern Ireland).

MOTHS: Six-spot Burnet, Emperor; Common Heath; Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth; Cinnabar; Small Purple-barred, Mother Shipton, Burnet Companion (macros), Irish Plume moth (micro), etc.

Thanks to Ian Rippey for this update

Moths on the Wing - 25th May

Pebble Prominent Notodonta ziczac

Peppered Moth Biston betularia

White Ermine Spilosoma lubricipeda

Some more of Ian Graham's photos from yesterday.

Monday 24th May News

Osprey - 1, Closet Bay, Oxford Island, Co. Armagh

For the latest UK news visit the rarebirdsinbritain blog

For the latest Irish news visit irishbirding

Moths on the Wing - 24th May

Elephant Hawkmoth Deilephila elpenor

Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica

The Herald Scoliopteryx libatrix

Thanks to Ian Graham for the above pictures, taken this morning in Co. Down - some amazing images, nearly as good as the real thing! We have to say they are much better than the one's that other guy sticks up - whoever he is.

Spot the Bird (Part 15)

Answer to Part 14: Collared Pratincole !

Spring is nearly over!!

The following pictures were sent in by Geoff Campbell and were taken earlier in the spring. They show a White Wagtail, a flock of Whimbrel and a Black Guillemot which looks as if its going to attack the camera. Thanks to Geoff for sharing them with us all.

Spot the Bird (Part 14)

Answer to part 13: Slender-billed Gull

Sunday 23rd May News

Osprey - 1, Oxford Island, Lough Neagh, Co. Armagh
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 2, Downpatrick, Co. Down
Cuckoo - 2, Muckle Rocks, Co. Fermanagh. 
Cuckoo - 2, Peatlands Park, Co. Armagh
Spotted Flycatcher - Richill, Co. Armagh

 Thanks to Danny Boyd for sending in these two great pictures of a Greenshank. They may not be a rarity but Greenshank are certainly up there with the best in the wader world!

For more information about Greenshank click here


For the latest UK news visit the rarebirdsinbritain blog

Republic of Ireland
Pacific Diver - 1, Finvarra Pt., Co. Clare

For the latest Irish news visit irishbirding