Bird News Wednesday 30th November

The Ring-necked Duck was still at Lough Cowey. On the Outer Ards between Quintin Bay and Burial Island there was an excellent count of 38 Great-northern Diver, 3 Red-throated Diver and 6 Sandwich Tern. (9 of the G-n Diver were in Quintin Bay, 14 in Knockinelder Bay, 7 in Cloughy Bay, 5 at Portavogie and 3 at Burial Island). Another 2 Sandwich Tern were at Portaferry. (Richard Weyl)
An adult Ring-billed Gull was at Kiltonga, Newtownards this afternoon (Craig Nash)
9 Little Egret were at Larne Lough. An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Sandy Bay, 2 Kingfisher a the Inver River and 2 Jay flew across the road at Red Hall (Cameron Moore).
Several very late Swallow were at Donaghadee Harbour (Mike Crossley).
4 Twite were in Bangor (Name unknown)
The second winter Ring-billed Gull was still at Groomsport (George Gordon)
A female Scaup was at Collectors Bay at the Quoile Pondage and a large flock of Fieldfare and Redwing along Castle Island Road (Spencer and Joan Marshall).
An adult Mediteranean Gull was at Waterloo Bay, Co. Antrim (Gavin Ferguson)
Mediteranean Gull - Gavin Ferguson
30 Common Scoter and a Long-tailed Duck were off Whiteabbey (Irish Birding)
Grey Wagtail, Myroe - Stuart McKee

Bird News Tuesday 29th November

A male Long Tailed Duck was near Ballintoy harbour. (Colin Guy).

The 2nd winter Ring Billed Gull, 6 Red Throated Diver and 2 Great Northern Diver were at Groomsport. (george Gordon).

The Cattle Egret returned to roost on the island at Hillsborough Park lake at 4.10 this afternoon.

The female Long Tailed Duck was still at Lagan Weir in Belfast.

Bird News Monday 28th November

The Cattle Egret was seen again this morning at Hillsborough Lake, leaving the roost at 8:06 (Peter Phillips) and then returning at 4 pm (Clifford Sharpe). Keep your eyes peeled on the fields around Hillsborough. It is amazing that no one has reported a white bird in their field during the day!
At Larne Lough 2 Purple Sandpiper and a second winter Ring-billed Gull were at Sandy Bay. A Barnacle Goose was at 40 Acre Bay (Cameron Moore).
The second winter Ring-billed Gull was at Groomsport (George Gordon).
Yesterday the male Ferruginous Duck was at Lurgan Park Lake (Ivor McDonald).
A Little Egret was at Glynn Station and another at Ballycarry (Stuart McKee) 

The two Bean Geese were still at Inch Levels, Co. Donegal (Chris Ingram). A further five were at Lurgan Green, Co. Louth yesterday (Gerard McGeehan)

Many thanks to Cecil Smith for the photo below of Fieldfares and a Redwing:

Bird News Sunday 27th November

The Cattle Egret was seen again this morning on the wooded island at Hillsborough Lake. It was then seen again at 2:45 before disappearing. It then flew in at 4:15 from the direction of the village, to presumably roost for the night (Tim Murphy).
A juvenille American Golden Plover was at the lawn fields, Myroe
18 Crosbill were at Crocknagrally Forest Co Tyrone this afternoon (Colin Bell)
The female Long-tailed Duck was still at Lagan Weir (Tim Murphy)
Three Buzzard were at Craigantlet (Stephen Maxwell)
30 Common Scoter, a Long-tailed Duck and a Great Northern Diver were off Whiteabbey (Irish Birding)
At Strangford Lough at Little Egret and 500 Golden Plover were at the Flood Gates (Jim Whitla).

Late news was of a Black Redstart visiting a garden in Conlig from Wednesday to Friday (Janet Rhodes).

The two Bean Geese were still at Inch Levels Co Donegal (Birdguides)
Fieldfare - Ed O'Hara

Bird News Saturday 26th November

A CATTLE EGRET has been seen today at the wooded island at Hillsborough Lake (Jason Starbuck / Drew Middleton). This could possibly bethe Kinnegar bird.

Cattle Egret, Hillsborough Lake - Jason Starbuck

A Swallow was at Ballywalter, a 1st w Mediterranean Gull (with no ring) and 2 Sandwich tern at Drumfad Bay south of Millisle and a Greenland white-front south-east of Anne's Point. (Richard Weyl)
A Greenland White Fronted Goose and 6 Stock Dove were seen in flight near the Quoile Centre. The second winter Ring Billed Gull was still at Groomsport. (Chris & Tim Murphy).
A Little Egret was at Cloony Road in Londonderry. (Irish Birding).
A Jay was at Stranmillis towpath - see picture below. (Cecil Smyth).

Bird News for Friday 25th November.

The second winter Ring-billed Gull was still at Groomsport Harbour. At least 20 Twite were just to the west of Briggs Rocks. At least two are colour ringed and if you manage to read them please let us know (George Gordon).

A Sparrowhawk was at Queen Street in Belfast City Centre (John Young).

Bird News for Thurs. 24th November

A Long-tailed Duck was at the Lagan weir in Belfast.(R.Sturgenor)

A female Brambling, 60 Goldfinch, 18 Lesser Redpoll and 13 Chaffinch were in a garden in Scarva (Fulton Somerville).
Woodcock, near Gortin - Tyrone Nelson

Bird News Wednesday 23rd November

25,000-30,000 Starlings, a Sparrowhawk & a Peregrine at Slievegarran & 30 Stock Dove at Closkelt near Castlewellan, Co. Down (Adam McClure, Neal Warnock & Lynne Peoples)
The Ring-billed Gull was still at Groomsport Co. Down (Birdguides)

Another Desert Wheatear has been found, this time in Waterford. There must be one somewhere along our coast!

Long-tailed Tit - Alistair Prentice

Blue-winged Teal, Co Fermanagh

Brad Robson has kindly sent in details of a Blue-winged Teal which was shot in Upper Lough Erne Fermanagh on 10th November 2011.  He received the specimen, minus its breast, last night.  See photos below.  It is possibly an adult male in eclipse plumage and probably the first record for Fermanagh.

Bird News Tuesday 22nd November

A White Tailed Eagle was at Lower Lough Erne RSPB reserve. At Upper Lough Erne 9 Greenland White Fronted Geese and a male Hen Harrier were at Ross Lough and a male Merlin at Kilmore Lough. (Brad Robson).

At Lough Foyle 3,000 Golden Plover, 500 Lapwing, 15 Shelduck, 150 Dunlin and 3 Little Egret were at the Roe Estuary. (C Stewart).

The second winter Ring Billed Gull was at Groomsport harbour. 22 Twite were at the east end of Cove Bay and 3 Red Throated Diver off Sheep Point. (George Gordon).

A Kingfisher was at Governor's Bridge on the River Lagan in Belfast. (irish Birding).

Barn Owl Appeal - Ulster Wildlife Trust

The Ulster Wildlife Trust are currently trying to raise £10k to support a campaign to help the Barn Owl in Northern Ireland. You can see further detail at:

Bird News Monday 21st November

The male Ferruginous Duck was at Lurgan Park Lake (Stephen Hewitt, Graham West).
On the Antrim Plateau 3 Red Grouse, 5 Crossbill and a Kestrel were at Capanagh and at Larne Lough 5 Greenshank and a Little Egret were at Glynn (Cameron Moore).
A Great Northern Diver, 15 Twite, 16 Dunlin and 16 Ringed Plover were at Groomsport (Jim Whitla).
A Short-eared Owl and three Grey Plover were at Killard, Co Down (Craig Nash)
Short-eared Owl, Craig Nash
A Tundra Bean Goose was at Lurangreen, Co. Louth today (Irish Birding)
Many thanks to Stuart McKee for this picture of the Belfast Harbour Green-winged Teal, seen yesterday:

Bird News Sunday 20th November

The Ring-necked Duck has returned again to Lough Cowey. Strangely it was the only duck on the lake today. (Wilton Farrelly)

Ring Necked Duck, Lough Cowey (a mobile phone pic)

A juvenile Pomarine Skua was at Rossglass and the 2nd winter Iceland Gull was in the fields at St John's Point. 5 Black Tailed Godwit were at Killough Harbour. (Chris Murphy).
4 Black-throated Diver and two Red-throated Diver were off Newtownards Yacht Club. 8 Slavonian Grebe in Greyabbey Bay, 1 Black-throated Diver, 3 Great-Northern Diver and 1 Red-throated Diver were south of Herring Bay, 10 Great-northern Diver and 1 Red-throated Diver were at Monaghan Bank. 1 GN Diver was south of Gransha Point and 6 GN Diver at Marlfield). Also 2 adult Med gulls at Orlock Point.
(Richard Weyl).
An adult Mediteranean Gull was also present at Newtownards Yacht Club.
A Little Gull was along Ardmore Point, Lough Neagh this morning (Frank Carroll)
A Dark-bellied Brent was at Greyabbey Bay and 13 Sandwich Tern were at Cloghy Beach (W Farrelly)
10 Little Egret and a male Goosander were at Ballycarry Bridge. A Great Northern Diver and a Red Throated Diver were at Mill Bay on Islandmagee. (Cameron Moore).
The Green Winged Teal was still at Belfast Harbour RSPB and 15 Red Throated Diver were off Macedon Point. Another Red Throated Diver was off Hollywood. (Stuart McKee).
A Slavonian Grebe, 20 Reed Buntings and 30 Pied Wagtails were at Kinnegar. (Ricky McQuillan).
At Lough Beg 120 Greylag Geese, a Pinkfoot and Greenland White Fronted Geese were at Mullagh. (David Steele).
The second winter Ring Billed Gull was still at Groomsport.
3 Buzzard, including the wing tagged bird pictured below, were at Ballymiscaw Road, Craigantlet. (Stephen Maxwell).
5 Little Egret and 6 Grey Heron were at Islandmagee. (Bill Guiller).
A Green Sandpiper is wintering on the Six Mile Water at Templepatrick, it is on a shingle bank between Paradise Walk and the M2 motorway. There has been a Green Sandpiper there every winter since 2007. (Sandy McWilliams).
2 Crossbill were at Mullaphad, Co. Tyrone. A possible Merlin was on telephone wires by the new A4 dual carriageway between Ballygawley and Dungannon, Kestrel and Buzzard are also regular along this stretch of road. (Colin Bell).

There is a report of a Ring Ouzel at Orlock but no other details at the moment.

Thanks to Mark Killops, Bill Guiller and Stephen Maxwell for todays pictures.

Ring Billed Gull - Mark Killops

Little Egret & Grey Heron - Bill Guiller

Wing Tagged Buzzard - Stephen Maxwell

The Lurgan Park Ferruginous Duck

Many thanks to Stephen Foster for the photos below of the Ferruginous Duck, taken at Lurgan Park today (Saturday 19th). The personal opinion of this writer is that this bird (and it could be different to any previous bird(s) seen recently) is a Ferruginous Duck and am happy for anyone to comment on it.


Bird News Saturday 19th November

Two Pectoral Sandpiper were at Ardmore Point, Co. Armagh (Birdguides)
At Herring Bay, Co Down  - 3 Black-throated Diver, 1 Great-northern Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver and 1 Slavonian Grebe. 12 Sandwich Tern were south of Granagh Bay and another 2 at Portaferry. A Woodcock was at Templecowey. (Richard Weyl)
The Green-winged Teal was at RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve, along with a Whooper Swan (Ed O'Hara)
7 Red-throated Diver were of Macedon Point (W Farrelly \ Paul Scott)
Circa 20 Twite were at Briggs Rocks along with a flock of Linnets (Paul Miskelly)
A flock of 10-12 Twite were in the trees to the right of Percy French Restaraunt in Newcastle with another at the Swimming Pool (Alistair Prentice).
Twite - Alistair Prentice
A first winter Iceland Gull, 400 Lapwing, 50 Curlew and 300 Common/Black-headed Gull were at St John's Point (Tim Murphy).
Yesterday at Lough Foyle a Little Gull and 5 Little Egret were at Myroe and a Slavonian Grebe at Faughanvale (Matthew Tickner).

Two Bean Geese (presumed Taiga) were with Greylags and Greenland White-fronts at Inch Levels, Co Donegal (Brad Robson)

Cranes continue to be seen in good numbers in the south of Ireland \ GB so keep an eye out!

Many thanks to Ed O'Hara for the picture below of the Green-winged Teal:
Green-winged Teal - Ed O'Hara

Bird News for Friday 18th November.

An adult Med. Gull(see photo above) was at Whitehouse Park Co. Antrim along with a Greenshank. 3 Red-throated Diver were off Macedon Point. (S.McKee)

Another ad Med Gull was at Kircubbin and a 1st winter at Herring Bay.(R.Weyl)

Bird News Wednesday 16th November

A male Goosander was back on the river near the golf club at Ballycastle and 14 Whooper Swan flew in off the sea at Portballintrae (Colin Guy).
The second winter Ring-billed Gull was still at Groomsport.
5 Red-throated Diver were at Macedon Point, Belfast Lough (Stuart McKee)
Red-throated Diver - Stuart McKee
At Orlock Point there was a colour ringed 1st winter Mediterranean gull with c1000 gulls (mainly common) on the shore and an adult Little Gull feeding with 500 Kittiwake and 200 Black-headed Gull offshore. Also a Whooper swan flew SE and at least 2 Great-northern Diver.
On Monday a 1st winter Sabines Gull was at Quintin Bay with 20 Black-headed Gull. It flew north towards Knockinelder Bay. A Short-eared Owl X 1 between Kearney & Upper Ballyspurge (Hugh Thurgate)

Apologies for the mistake last night which is actually of a photograph of a Ferruginous duck from January! 

Ferruginous Duck - Co. Armangh, Jan 2011

Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl (SEO) is an uncommon winter visitor and a rare breeder in NI. As our only diurnal Owl, it is well worthwhile looking out for this species on any bogland in NI. Across the UK and Ireland, this autumn has seen quite a few birds arrive on our shores. We have already had a photographed bird from Myroe and two birds have been at Ballyquinton Co. Down in recent weeks. Many thanks to Mark Killops for the superb pics below of one of these birds:

Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teal is now an annual visitor to Northern Ireland. Birds have in the last few years being reported from RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve, Larne Lough and Lough Beg. This north American species is distinctive in male plumage and it is easy to understand why there are no female records (yet....). The photographs below show the differences with Common Teal very well i.e. the vertical white stripes and the less well marked head. Hybrids have however been seen in NI with one bird showing both a vertical and a horizontal white stripe! Many thanks to Stephen Maxwell for these photos of the Belfast Harbour bird:
Green-winged Teal - Stephen Maxwell
Common Teal and Green-winged Teal - Stephen Maxwell

Bird News Tuesday 15th November

The blue phase Snow Goose was still at Lower Lough Macnean Co. Fermanagh. Two Red Grouse and a Woodcock were on the Pettigo Plateau (Brad Robson)
A male Goosander was on the river where it enters the sea at Waterfoot Co. Antrim (Brenda Campbell)
The Ring-billed Gull was still at Groomsport (Joe Lamont). This bird is giving the Hobby a close call as the most photographed bird in NI in 2011!
Ring-billed Gull - Joe Lamont

The Green-winged Teal was still at the RSPB Belfast Harbour reserve (Stephen Maxwell)
A Little Gull was at Collectors Bay at the Quoile Pondage (Spencer and Joan Marshall).
3 Long-tailed Duck and 11 Red-throated Diver were at Greenisland Sea Park (Gerard McGeehan).
Killard Point this morning had 18 Lapwing, 3 Snipe, 1 Pintail, 24 Common Scoter, 6 Eider, 12 Guillemot, 18 Purple Sandpiper, 8 Curlew, 21 Teal and 19 Mallard (Craig Nash).
Yesterday a Swallow was at Groomsport and 20 Twite at Briggs Rocks (Ron Price). 
Eider - Craig Nash

Common Scoter - Craig Nash

Bird News Monday 14th November

4 Crossbill were at Killylane Reservoir. (Jeff Larkin).

2 Sandwich Tern, an adult and a juvenile, were at Portstewart and an adult Arctic Tern and 12 Red Throated Diver were off the Bar Mouth at the Bann estuary. Yesterday a first winter Iceland Gull flew past Ramore Head at Portrush. (Colin Guy)

3 Jay, a Treecreeper, 2 Mistle Thrush and Long Tailed Tits were at Castle Park in Bangor. (Margaret Adamson).

A flyover Snow Bunting, a female Merlin and a juvenile male Hen Harrier were near Rasharkin today. (Kerry Leonard).

10 - 12 Lapwing were in the field opposite the Point of Whitecoat bridge in Portadown, an area were they haven't been seen for a few years. (Alistair Prentice).

Thanks to Stephen Maxwell for this shot of a Red Breasted Merganser taken at Whitehouse Lagoon today.

Bird News Sunday 13th November

A juvenile American Golden Plover and Pectoral Sandpiper were at Ardmore Point, Lough Neagh.
The Red-crested Pochard was still at Lurgan Park lake along with the Ferruginous Duck (probably of hybrid origin). An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Greyabbey Bay South and a Purple Sandpiper at Portavogie (Keith Bennett).
The Green-winged Teal was at RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve along with 2,300 Golden Plover (Stuart McKee / Adam McClure)
The Ring-billed Gull was still at Groomsport (Guy Hamilton)
10 Red-throated, 2 Great Northern, a Black-throated Diver, 12 Common Scoter and 7 Purple Sandpiper were off Cove Bay at Groomsport (Gerard McGeehan, Shirley Dunlop).
4 Redwing and 24 Mistle Thrush were at the car park at Mount Stewart (Dot Blakely).
A Pomarine skua, a Short-eared Owl, at least 8 Sandwich tern, a jack snipe and a little egret at Ballyquintin Point. Also between 9.30 and 11.00 50 common scoter, a g-n diver, a r-t diver, 16 gannet and 300 kittiwake. Also 2 Sandwich tern at Portaferry and 1 at Granagh Bay (Richard Weyl)
Two Black-throated Diver and a Long-tailed Duck were between Greyabbey and Kircubbin (James Robinson
A Woodcock flew over A8 duel carriageway in Larne this morning (Adam McClure) and another was seen on the main Ballynahinch to Belfast road near the Dairy Lough (Ian Jackson)
At Clabby Mountain, Co Fermanagh this afternoon were 4 Crossbill, 1 Kestrel, 1 Raven and 30 Lapwing (Colin Bell)

Yesterday 20-40 Lesser Redpoll were at Briggs Rocks (Ron Price)

Keep a look out for all wheatears along the coast. Two male Desert Wheatears are currently at Bray Head, Co Wicklow!

A picture by Neal Warnock of the juvenile Surf Scoter seen yesterday, on Rathlin is below:
Surf Scoter, Rathlin - Neal Warnock

Shoveler - Stephen Maxwell

Bird News Saturday 12th November

A juvenile Surf Scoter was at Ushet Lough, Rathlin Island. Also 2 Twite, a Greenland Wheatear and Pink-footed Goose on the island  (Neal Warnock)

A juvenile Sabines Gull was on the shore with black-headed gulls, 1 km north of Kearney at 10.40. (Richard Weyl)
The Green-winged Teal was still at the RSPB Harbour Reserve and the Ring-billed Gull still at Groomsport.
A Goshawk was seen at the Monaghan Bank, Kircubbin, Co. Down (Keith Bennet)
A Great Northern Diver was off Seapark, Holywood. A 2nd winter Meditteranean Gull was in Dargan Bay (W Farrelly)
A Brambling was at Markethill, Co. Armagh (Irish Birding)
50 Whooper Swan were at Flatfield along the River Lagan (Chris Murphy).
4 Twite were along the seafront at Whitehead (Ian Enlander).
Also today at Orlock Point a 1st w med gull, 1 whimbrel and 10 r-t diver. At Burial Island 10 Common Scoter and 1 Great-northern Diver. A female Blackcap was 0.5 km west of Knocknelder (Richard Weyl)
A Chiffchaff was at the Oxford Island Discovery Centre (Kerry Leonard,Nick Moran)
At Larne Lough a Barnacle Goose and 20 Greylag were at 40 Acre Bay. A Goosander was at Ballycarry Bridge, 26 Golden Plover at Steel's Bay and 2 Arctic Tern at Brown's Bay (Cameron Moore).
20 Siskin, 20 Goldfinch and 20 Lesser Redpoll were at the Larches, Lagan Meadows (Ricky McQuillan).
Ring-billed Gull, Groomsport - Guy Hamilton
Red-breasted Merganser, Whitehouse Lagoon - Stephen Maxwell

Bird News Friday 11th November

The Green-winged Teal was at RSPB Belfast Harbour Estate (Paul Scott)

Late news for yesterday - 32 Common Scoter seen on Lower Lough Erne. This is the first record from Lough Erne sine 1999. The Erne used to be a major breeding location for Common Scoter (Brad Robson)
A Long-eared Owl was hunting at Donaghadee Rugby Club (Billy Miskelly).
40/50 Mistle Thrush were at Adelaide Park at Malone in Belfast (Ricky McQuillan).
Yesterday 3 Red-throated, one Black-throated and a Great Northern Diver were off Groomsport (Ivor McDonald).

Great Tit - Alistair Prentice

Bird News Thursday 10th November

The Green-winged Teal was again at Belfast Harbour RSPB reserve (Richard Weyl, John Fitzsimmons, Derek Polley et al)
A Lapland Bunting was on the Starbog Road, near Agnews Hill, Co Antrim at about noon today (Clive Mellon).
The Ring-billed Gull was still at Groomsport (Guy Hamilton)
19 Twite were at Ramore Head before flying off towards the Skerries. 30 Purple Sandpiper were at Portandoo and the adult Ring-billed Gull at the East Strand car park (Matthew Tickner).
A Short-eared Owl was at Ballyquinton Point and 5 Sandwich Tern at Portaferry Marina (Keith Bennett)
Ring-billed Gull - Guy Hamilton

Ring-billed Gull - Guy Hamilton

Starling Roosts

This is an excellent time of year to watch Starlings going to roost. Many thanks to Adam McClure for the photos below of Starlings at a roost site near Castlewellan, Co. Down:

Bird News Wednesday 9th November

A quiet day today. The Ring-billed Gull was still at Groomsport and the Mediteranean Gull at Whitehouse (Brendan Toner)
Late news was of 5 Waxwing in a garden at Coleraine before flying off towards Coleraine Academical Institute (Bert Montgomery).
We have received some superb images in recently and as usual, many thanks to our contributors:

Bullfinches, Randalstown Forest - Rob McAllister

Purple Sandpiper, Ramore Head - Slawomir Starznyski

Curlew - Stephen Maxwell

Jail Birds......

Use the link below to read about the breeding Lapwings at Maghaberry Prison and how it is now an ASSI!

Bird News Tuesday 8th November

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Whitehouse and 46 Red-breasted Merganser off Kinnegar (Stuart McKee)

The second winter Ring-billed Gull was still at Groomsport (G Gordon)
Bullfinch - Alistair Prentice

Ring-billed Gull

The photos of the Groomsport Ring-billed Gull below from Stephen Maxwell are superb and remind us how enigmatic Ring-billed Gull is. In NI it is a rare though regular visitor occurring at any time of the year. It is however hard to believe that the first NI record was only in 1981. The first GB record was in 1973 and in Ireland (Broad Lough, Wicklow) in 1979.

This species has been over-looked in the past owing to its similarity to Common Gull and surprisingly there is no record for County Fermanagh. The bird that regularly frequented Whitehouse Lagoon was last seen in spring 2008, amazingly 28 years after it was first seen!

Bird News Monday 7th November

On the Antrim side of Belfast Lough 2 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Long-tailed Duck and 7 Red-throated Diver were off Greenisland (Gerard McGeehan).
The Ring-billed Gull was still at Groomsport (Stephen Maxwell)
At Lough Foyle 7 Slavonian Grebe and 7 Red-throated Diver were off Myroe (Stuart McKee).
At the Barmouth of the Bann Estuary 6 Arctic Tern (an adult and five juveniles), 7 Red-throated and one Great Northern Diver were present. Another Red-throated Diver was at Magilligan (Colin Guy).

Yesterday in Donegal 2 Little Egret were at Dunfanaghy (Colin Guy).

Green-winged Teal, yesterday, Belfast Harbour - Brendan Dunlop