Bird News Saturday 31st January

An adult Yellow-legged Gull was seen briefly at the RSPB Belfast Harbour reserve with an adult Med Gull at Kinnegar (Stuart McKee)

The Water Rail was still showing, along with a Little Egret at Moat Park, Dundonald (Karl Martin)

A pair of Crossbills and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were seen near the Mountain Centre at Tollymore Forest Park. Two Dippers were also seen, one at Parnell's Bridge, the other just upstream of the Hermitage.(Angus Kennedy)

The Black Redstart was still in Newcastle Harbour (Robin Vage)

Thanks to Karl Martin for this pic of the Water Rail in Moat Park: Also to Angus Kennedy for the pic of the Dipper at Tullymore forest park and Chris Henry for the Gadwall taken at Killonga, N'ards. 

Bird News Friday 30th January

An adult type Glaucous Gull headed north off Larne this lunchtime. The 1st winter Iceland Gull was still in the harbour. (Neal Warnock).

4 Goosander (2 male and 2 fem/imm) were along the River Main at Slaght near Ballymena (David Steele).

A Dipper was singing and a Water Rail showing well on the stream at moat park Dundonald (Harry Byron)

Thanks to Rodney Monteith for the first Bullfinch picture, Christine Cunningham for the second Bullfinch picture, Dick Glasgow for the Lapwing picture and Ginny McKee for the Goldfinch picture.

Bird News Thursday 29th January

The Ring-billed Gull was at Carrickfergus harbour, Belfast Lough today (Paul McCullough)

Minerstown Co Down had 70 Twite in two flocks, one off 40 and one off 30 (Chris Murphy)

The Spoonbilll was off Castle Espie (Dot Blakely).

A high count of 85 Gadwall and 8 Shoveler were at Kiltonga in Newtownards (Ivor McDonald)

Buzzard Display - Many thanks to Paul Allen for sharing his video of a pair of Buzzards displaying - including the locking of talons:

Thanks to Paul McCullough for this pic of the Ring-billed Gull and William Hamilton for the Song Thrush:

Bird News Wednesday 28th January

In a field across the road from the Killough brickworks were high counts of 700 Lapwings, 89 Curlews and 2,000 Starlings. (Chris Murphy)

You can share rare or scarce bird news by email at , twitter @nibirds , Flightline 02891467408 or text 07973 403146.

Thanks to James O'Neill for this pic of the Kinnego Glaucous Gull from yesterday:

Bird News Tuesday 27th January

4 Pink Footed Geese were at Darkley Lake, Co Armagh, today. (Joe Devlin)

A Brambling was still at a garden in Brunswick Road, Bangor (Derek Polley).

The 1st winter Glaucous Gull was still at Kinnegoe Marina, Oxford Island, see picture below. (Tom McCreery/ James O'Neill).

A Great Northern Diver was at Portrush harbour, 50 Sanderling were along the coast between the East and West Strands. (James McDowell).

Thanks to Ian Jackson for the picture of a Sanderling from Tyrella, to Tom McCreery for the pictures of the Glaucous Gull and the Common Gull from Oxford Island and to David Hill for the picture of the Yellowhammer from Myroe:
Glaucous Gull, Oxford Island - Tom McCreery
Common Gull, Oxford Island - Tom McCreery
Yellowhammer, Myroe - David Hill

Sanderling, Tyrella - Ian Jackson


Bird News Monday 26th January.

The 1st winter Glaucous Gull was still in Ardglass Harbour. A Great Northern Diver was also present. Two pairs of Stonechats were on Arglass Golf Course. Another pair of Stonechats was on the shore at Coney Island, together with  20 Rock Pipits (no Meadow Pipits),  2 Grey Plovers and a Little Egret.( Chris Murphy)

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen in flight and also heard calling in the Stormont estate late this afternoon.(Paul McCullough)

An adult Ring-billed Gull, was at Lurgan Park Lake (Stephen Hewitt).

We have received a request for reports of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, which might seem to becoming familiar yet only began nesting in Ireland (in Co Down) as recently as 2006. They can be heard drumming now as they go establishing their territory and attracting a mate. All reports would be much appreciated.

Also Chris Murphy is doing a "big day" (which involves seeing as many species of birds in one given day) this coming Sunday 1st Feb. If anyone is interested in doing the same he plans to meet at 18.00 at the Hole in the Wall Strangford to compare notes.

Thanks to Paul Allen for this link to his video of the Hobby which was at Brackagh Moss last year:

Bird News Sunday 25th January

The Glaucous Gull is still showing well at Oxford Island. (Garry Armstrong / Mark Killops)

Yesterday, seven Sandwich Terns were at Portaferry marina (John Wilson Foster)

A Red Kite was over the Ballydugan Rd, Downpatrick, between Downpatrick & Clough.  Circa 150 Linnet and 2 Buzzard also in same area. (Kevin Kirkham-Brown)

Red Kite video - Paul Allen has sent us a link to a Video he took at Closkelt Area of  a Red Kite on Friday 16th January 2015
which was on the Drumgooland Road, County Down:

The Little Egret is still frequenting Orangefield Park, east Belfast. (Linda McKee)

On Strangford Lough at Greyabbey Bay were 2 Black-throated Diver and 5 Slavonian Grebe. Another 2 Slavonian  Grebe and 4 Great-northern Diver at Horse Island. Yesterday there was a Whimbrel at Orlock Point. (Richard Weyl)

500 Golden Plover were in flight over the M1 near Moira. 2,000 Golden Plover were at Derrycrow as well as a Pink-footed Goose with the Greylag (David Clarke)

Thanks to Cecil Smith for the Tree Sparrow and Buzzard pic, taken at Portmore Lough RSPB reserve and Mark Killops for the Kinnego Glaucous Gull:

Birdwatching Workshops

Bird News Saturday 24th January

In Co Down the 1st winter Glaucous Gull was still at Ardglass harbour. Also the Black Redstart was still at Newcastle harbour. (Keith Bennett)

The adult Ring-billed Gull was at Carrickfergus Harbour (Wilton Farrelly)

The Whooper Swan flock in the Holywood Hills is currently 42 birds (Wilton Farrelly).

The first winter Glaucous Gull was still at Kinnegoe Marina, Oxford Island today. A Pink-footed Goose was with the Greylag flock at Reedy Flats. (James O'Neill).

The first winter Iceland Gull was still at Sandy Bay in Larne, a first winter Kumliens Gull was off the car-park at Glenarm. (Garry Armstrong).

The Green-winged Teal and an adult and juvenile Whooper Swans were at Ballycarry. (Cameron Moore).

Bishopscourt had a pair of Buzzards, 800 Golden Plover, 60 Lapwing, 1 Jack Snipe, 20 Fieldfare, 6 Redwing, 26 Skylarks, 40 Tree Sparrows, 30 House Sparrows, 20 Yellowhammers, 1Reed Bunting, 10 Linnets, 10 Chaffinches and a Stonechat. Another Stonechat and a Sparrowhawk were along Station Rd in Killough. The Ardglass Glaucous Gull moved between the shore at low tide and the roofs of the fish stores on the Downpatrick Rd at high tide. (Chris Murphy)

A Merlin flew over Castle Espie heading towards Strangford Lough and a Little Egret was on the pools by the Brent Hide. (David McCormick).
The adult Mediterranean Gull was along the seafront at Newcastle near the Catholic Church (Leonard Charles).

A Red Kite was at Carrigvale near Dundum Castle (Sean Hennessy).

A Red Kite was on the land side of Tyrella beach as well as 60 Skylark. A Kestrel was at Rossglass and 100 Fieldfare, 50 Golden Plover and Lapwings at St John's Point. 60 Ringed Plover were at Killlough Harbour (David Clarke). 

200 Pied Wagtail were roosting at Antrim Area Hospital (Richard Gray).
Glaucous Gull, Oxford Island - James O'Neill
Iceland Gull, Larne - Garry Armstrong
Kumliens Gull, Glenarm - Garry Armstrong

Ring-billed Gull, Carrickfergus - Wilton Farrelly


Bird News Friday 23rd January.

Between St Johns Point and Rossglass...130 Brent Geese were grazing on inland pasture, a recently observed habit in this area. A pair of Stonechats were at the point; there is a minimum of 9 winter territories on the 10km coastline between St John’s Pt and Tyrella. In a cost saving exercise the Commissioners of Irish Lights plan to replace the sweeping beam of St John’s Pt lighthouse with a small, flashing LED. A campaign to save light's iconic beam is about to get underway(Chris Murphy)

Yesterday a 1st winter Glaucous Gull was at Ardglass Harbour.(Chris Shaw)
Purple Sandpiper - Christine Cassidy.

Pochard - James O'Neill.

Song Thrush.

Bird News Thursday 22nd January

A female-type Hen Harrier was at Barr Hall Bay (Outer Ards, Co Down), hunting along the shore. (Keith Bennett)

A first winter Glaucous Gull was at Kinnego Marina, Lough Neagh (James O'Neill)

A Barn Owl has been found dead on the M1, close to the Bog Meadows, Belfast (Irish Birding)

At Larne Lough the Green-winged Teal was at Ballycarry as well as 3 Whooper Swan, a Greenshank and Little Egret. Three Goosander (one an adult male), 3 Greenshank and a Little Egret were at Glynn (Cameron Moore)

Dundrum Bay from West Tyrella had 800 Common Scoter, 89 Red-throated Divers and 525 Sanderling. Also 800 Golden Plover, 20 Twite, 1 Grey Wagtail, 15 Stonechats (7 pairs and a single male) occupying 8 winter territories. In Killough 27 Blackbirds were in a small field off the Ropewalk, present for several days together with less obvious increase in Song Thrushes, Robins and Goldcrests. Also 1 Great Northern Diver in the inner harbour and 2 Red-throated in the outer harbour. (Chris Murphy)

A male Smew was very watchable at the sluice gates, Inch Lake, Co. Donegal (Hill Dick / Peter Robinson)

Thanks to Sean McCourt for this pic of two Black Guillemots on the River Lagan, Denis Chambers for the male Red-breasted Merganser and James O'Neill for the Glaucous Gull. You can see more pics at :

Bird News Wednesday 21st January

A male Brambling was in a garden at Brunswick Road, Bangor (Derek Polley)

The first winter Iceland Gull was still at Sandy Bay, Larne Lough (Thom Shannon)

A Great Northern Diver was at Lough Beg (David Steele)

A Sandwich Tern was at Fisherman's Pier in Carrickfergus (Gerard McGeehan)

Yesterday 50 Twite were off the hide at Ballykelly, Lough Foyle (Michael McLoughlin)

Thanks to David Hill for these pics of a Great Northern Diver and Derek Polley for the Brambling. You can see more bird pics at

Bird News Tuesday 20th January

A Glaucous Gull was at Gilmores Point, Lough Neagh. For the exact location, see the map on the Bird Pics Blog. (Sean McCourt).

A pair of Blackcaps are visiting a garden in Bangor and a Purple Sandpiper was just west of Bangor harbour. (Derek Polley).

Many thanks to Sean McCourt for the picture of a Glaucous Gull and to David Hunter for the picture of the Blackbird. You can see more pics at


Bird News Monday 19th January

The first winter male Black Redstart was still at Newcastle Harbour (James McQueen)

At Larne Lough the Green-winged Teal, 5 Little Egret, a juvenile Whooper Swan and Greenshank were at Ballycarry Bridge (Cameron Moore, David McNeilly)

A female Goosander and Kingfisher were at Craigavon South Lake and the WeBS count of Lurgan Park Lake produced 280 Black-headed Gull, 18 Common Gull, 5 Herring Gull and 34 Shoveler (Stephen Hewitt, Ciara Laverty)

A second-winter Glaucous Gull was off Ballycastle. Late news was of 2 Waxwing along Rathgael Road in Bangor on Saturday (Kerry Leonard).

Thanks to James McQueen for this picture of the Black Redstart, Cameron Moore for the Jay and David Hunter for the Brent. You can see more bird pics at :

Bird News Sunday 18th January

The Slaty-backed Gull was showing well in Killybegs Harbour Co Donegal. this morning (up to 10am, no sign of bird after it though)

The male Surf Scoter was seen again in the bay at Newcastle at 12.30.(Birdguides)

The 1st winter Iceland Gull was still at Sandy Bay, Larne (Keith Bennett)

The Black Redstart was still at Newcastle Harbour (Garry Armstrong)

A male Brambling was at Tullymore and two Red Kite at Ardilea (Wilton Farrelly)

AWhimbrel was at Orlock Point Co.Down.(Derek Polley)

We published a record today of Chough in good faith. The picture was not taken in NI.

Thanks to Richard Gowen and David Hunter for today's pics:

Black Redstart - Richard Gowen.

Robin & Great Tit - David Hunter.

Bird News Saturday 17th January

The Black Redstart was still at Newcastle harbour (Co Down), (Keith Bennett)

In Down a pair of Goosander were at Lough Island Reavy, still. 6 Twite were still at Tyrella (Keith Bennett)

The 1stw Iceland Gull, a 2ndw Med Gull & male Goosander were in Larne Lough today (Neal Warnock)

A male Goosander this morning at Ballydougan Lake, Downpatrick. 7 Pink-footed Geese with approx. 200 Greylags in a field off Churchtown Road, (that is at the crossroads near Turllyratty/Great Dam on Downpatrick - Strangford Road,  opposite the turn off for Castleward). (David Nixon)

A Little Egret was feeding in a sheugh in Islands Park, Newcastle (Eric Jones)

3 Great Northern Divers were in Killough Harbour (Tim Murphy)

A high count of 25 Little Grebe, were at Camagh Bay Co. Fermanagh (Gareth Buchanan)

A Slaty-backed Gull was at Killybeggs all day, giving views down to 20 feet. See: (Birdguides / Birdwatch Sligo)

Thanks to Cameron Moore for the picture of a Twite, Pauline Majury for the Long-eared Owl, and Cecil Smyth for the Redpoll:

Bird News Friday 16th January

A Peregrine was at Bangor Marina (Derek Polley).

Killough had 3 Little Egret, 1 Peregrine, 1 male Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Shelduck. Tyrella Beach had 19 Twite, 25 Tree Sparrow and 60 Linnet. (Tim Murphy)

Thanks to David Hunter for the pictures of the Tufted Duck and the Coot.

Dead Seabirds

Bird News Thursday 15th January.

Hillsborough Lake this morning had..1 Kingfisher,5 pairs of Gadwall  a Grey Wagtail at manmade waterfall ( Garry Wilkinson)

A Red Kite has been around the junction of Manse and Glencregagh Roads at Knockbreda in Belfast for the last few days (Maureen Waterstone).

Blackcaps are now appearing in peoples gardens throughout the province, Tony Donaldson photographed this one in his garden this morning.

Big Garden Birdwatch

The world’s biggest wildlife survey needs you!


For the past 36 years the RSPB has been asking people to count the birds which visit their garden to help create a 'snapshot' picture of bird numbers in the UK.

Of the 127,700 birds counted in Northern Ireland during last year’s Birdwatch, house sparrows were the most commonly seen. Despite the wet and windy conditions during the two-day Birdwatch, these birds were spotted in 66 per cent of gardens.

More unusual sightings which have been reported to RSPB Northern Ireland during previous Birdwatch surveys include red kite, great spotted woodpecker and even a peregrine falcon!

If you’d like to get involved in Big Garden Birdwatch 2015 it couldn’t be easier. Just spend one hour counting the birds you see at any time during the 24 or 25 January.

When the Birdwatch kicks off you'll be able to use the online bird counting tool to identify and record the birds as you see them directly on your laptop, tablet or smartphone. You can also take part with pen and paper and then enter your results on your computer or by filling in a paper survey form and posting it to the charity.

Participants are also asked to log some of the other wildlife they see in their gardens – from squirrels to hedgehogs - to help build an overall picture of how important our green spaces are for giving all types of animals a home.

You can register to take part in Big Garden Birdwatch 2015 now at

Bird News Wednesday 14th January

Orlock Point this morning had c12 Yellowhammers, 20+ Reed Buntings, c150 Linnet, c100 Skylark, & 1 Woodcock. (Michael Richardson, James Whitla, Robert Hart & Fulton Somerville)

The Quoile Pondage had a1st winter male Scaup, 1 Gadwall, 3 Pintail. The Quoile river opposite Inch Abbey had a Little Egret and a Whooper Swan. Also, at the Quoile Pondage on 7/01/15, there was a probable adult 'sinensis' Cormorant opposite the hide (Tim Murphy)

Thanks to Noeni Bryars for the Redshank / Ringed Plover pic and Pauline Majury for the Goldcrest:

Bird News Tuesday 13th January

The  red-head Goosander was still at the weir in Randalstown this morning. (Dermot Hughes).

One of the Siberian Chiffchaffs was still near the Discovery Centre at Oxford Island. (Tom McCreery).

The Black Redstart was still at Portmuck on Islandmagee, see picture below. (Cameron Moore).

Sights around Killough over the last few days:
9/01/15 Killough: 7 Stock Dove.
11/01/15 Killough: 1 adult male Peregrine.
13/01/15 Killough: 30 Blackbird including a leucistic bird , 15 Collared Dove, 64 Ringed Plover, 110 Redshank, 3 Little Egret, and 3 Great Northern Diver showing well by the pier.

A stubble field near Clare, Co. Armagh had: - 33 Skylark, 35 Linnet, Snipe, Reed Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Raven and all 5 thrush species. (Fulton Somerville).

The Black Redstart was at Newcastle Harbour. About 1,000 Common Scoter (some of them close) were off the Harbour in choppy conditions, and good numbers of Great Northern and Red-throated Diver were also present. 2 male and a fem/imm Goosander were at Lough Island Reavy and single Red Kites at Moneyslane, Katesbridge and Banbridge (Richard Gray, Garry Wilkinson).  

Thanks to Cameron Moore for the picture of the Black Redstart, to Tom McCreery for the picture of the Jay and to Fulton Somerville for the picture of the Greenshank.