Bird News Sunday 17th December

The Iceland Gull was seen again at the harbour, Rathlin Island (Ric Else and Hazel Watson)

The Great White Egret was seen again at Lough Beg (Daniel Newton)

Circa 45 Twite were at the Chaine Memorial Tower beach today (Paul Tout)

Bird News Saturday 16th December

The Glossy Ibis was still at Lough Beg this morning (Richard Hunter)

An Iceland Gull was seen on Rathlin Island. (Ric Else/Hazel Watson)

The 11 Pink-footed Geese were still in the back fields at Murlough today. 2 Stock Doves were there too, feeding with Wood Pigeons (David Nixon)

18 Twite where at Kilroot and 2 Long-tailed Duck of Carrickfergus.(Brian Sutton)

Pink-footed Geese - Angus Kennedy.

Bird News Friday 15th December

Yesterday a Common Scoter and a Long-tailed Duck were with 70 Scaup at the mouth of Dargan Bay in Belfast Lough, another Long-tailed Duck was off Lough Shore Park. Today a Jack Snipe was on the waste ground beside Belfast Lough RSPB reserve. (Stuart McKee).

The Glossy Ibis and Great White Egret were both still at the south end of Lough Beg this afternoon and a Crossbill flew west over Mullagh. (David Steele).

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Buzzard:

Bird News Thursday 14th December

A Black-throated and Red-throated Diver were off Groomsport, Co Down (Brian Murphy)

Thanks to Wilf Swain for this pic of a pair of Wigeon:

Bird News Wednesday 13th December

An immature Black-throated Diver was close to shore at Strickland's Glen, Bangor this afternoon.(Philip Watson).

A female Brambling is visiting a garden at the Spa outside Ballynahinch. (David Nixon).

Thanks to Paul Mulvenna for the picture of the Redwing and to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Kestrel:

Bird News Tuesday 12th December

5 Twite were at Whitehead Boatyard (Cameron Moore)

11 Pink-footed Geese were at Dundrum Inner Bay (David Nixon)

The Black-throated Diver was still showing off Groomsport (Richard Hunter)

Thanks to David Nixon for this pic of part of the Pink-footed Geese flock and Cameron Moore for a Twite:

Bird News Monday 11th December.

42 Twite were on Tyrella beach. (Tim Murphy)

A Pied Wheatear was seen at Ballymacoda, Co Cork, yesterday. (A Malcolm)

Curlew - John Moore.

Bird News Sunday 10th December

An adult winter plumaged Bonaparte's Gull was seen briefly at Dargan Bay early this afternoon but not seen subsequently at either Dargan or Whitehouse. (Daniel Newton).

7 Whooper Swans flew over Dundrum Inner Bay south. A Red Kite was at Ballyward. (Mike McLaughlin.

Thanks to Mike McLaughlin for the picture of the Tree Sparrow:

Bird News Saturday 9th December

A Woodcock was in the snow at side of upper Ballynahinch Road close to Waterloo Road near Annahilt at 2.30pm approx. (Garry Wilkinson).

2 male Brambling were on the Grangefoyle Road near Donemana, County Tyrone, see picture below. (Brian Hegarty).

Thanks to John Moore for the picture of the Mistle Thrush and to Brian Hegarty for the picture of the Bramblings:


Bird News Friday 8th December.

2 Peregrine and a Woodcock where at Cairn Wood this morning.(Denis Chambers)

The Black-throated Diver was off the car park at Groomsport (George Gordon)

Our  thanks to Wilfred Swain, whose photo captures how tough it is for birds in these harsh conditions. Also to Jeff Silvers for his Little Egret.
Add caption

Bird News Thursday 7th December

The drake American Wigeon was still at Ardalee, Dundrum Inner Bay. (Richard Hunter)

There were 20+ Snow Buntings on top of Slieve Comedagh in the Mournes, today. (Fergal O’Connor)

A Little Auk was found dead at West Strand, Portrush this morning (Paul Quinn)

Thanks to Rathlin Walking Tours for this pic of the Little Auk:

Bird News Wednesday 6th December

A Common Sandpiper was observed on the banks of the River Lagan near Cutter’s Wharf, Stranmillis.

A large flock of 100-120 Siskins were feeding on Birches and Alders in the car park at SuperValu in Comber at 11.30.(Chris Shaw).

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Cormorant:

Bird News Tuesday 5th December

The drake American Wigeon was at Ardilea around lunch time but there was no sign of the diver at Dundrum (Tom Ennis and Carol Gillespie)

Thanks to Linda Thompson for this pic of a female Scaup in Larne Lough:

Bird News Monday 4th December.

Late news from yesterday was of a Black-throated Diver at Groomsport.(George Henderson)

Bird News Sunday 3rd December

The drake American Wigeon was still at Ardilea, Co Down (Garry Armstrong)

The drake Green-winged Teal was still at the Ecos Centre, Ballymena (Jeff Larkin)

The juvenile diver was on show again at Dundrum, off the Quay. It does not seem to show a white flank typical of Black-throated Diver. (Tim Murphy, Philip West, et al). Any further pictures of the bird would be appreciated. The bird flew off into Dundrum Outer Bay at 3.55p.m.

Dargan Bay / Giants Park early afternoon had 3 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Red-throated Diver and c140 Greater Scaup. (Daniel Newton)

A Hen Harrier was at Portmore Lough (Linda Thompson)

Two Greenland White-fronted Geese were at The Quoile (Wilton Farrelly)

Six Goosander were at Lough Island Reevy, Castlewellan (Garry Armstrong).

Three Red-throated Divers were off the Boathouse in Helen's Bay. (Kevin Kirkham-Brown, Dot Blakely, Caroline & Stanley Carson).

Ten Whooper Swans flew south over Dundrum and a Ruff was in Dundrum Inner Bay. (Tim Murphy).

3 no.Twite where at Glenarm harbour car park this afternoon.(Pauline Majury). 

Hen Harrier, Lind Thompson:

Red Kite, Armoy, Dick Glasgow:
Twite, Kenny Majury:

Bird News Saturday 2nd December

Circa 70 Twite were at Pattons Marsh, Newtownards (Noeni Bryars and Suzanne Belshaw)

A drake Smew was seen off the Farland Embankment, Inch, Co Donegal (Paul McSwiggan)

Thanks to Paul for this pic of the drake Smew:

Bird News Friday 1st December

An adult female Whooper Swan was 200m north of the base of Killard Point. A 1st winter Mediterranean Gull and an adult Lesser Black Backed Gull were at Ardglass. An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Killough Harbour. (Tim Murphy).

A female Brambling was visiting a garden near Annahilt outside Lisburn. (Garry Wilkinson).

A Black-throated Diver was in Dundrum Inner Bay, see picture below. (Wilf Swain).

4 Long-tailed Ducks were off Fishermans Quay in Carrickfergus. (Gerard McGeehan).

Thanks to David Hill for the picture of the Shag and to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Black-throated Diver:


Bird News Wednesday 29th November

Three Goosanders (two males and a female) were along the River Main at Slaght, near Ballymena this morning (David Steele)

5 Snow Buntings were at Myroe (Christine Cassidy and Lindsay Hodges)

On the shoreline beside the Chaine Memorial, Larne were 22 Twite; Off Greencastle, Belfast Lough, there were 2 Long-tailed Ducks. At the Ecos Centre, Ballymena, the Green-winged Teal was showing well. (Peter Robinson/Hill Dick et al)

The female Goosander was near The White Bridge, Murlough (Wilf Swain)

A Red Kite was seen several times over the last week on the Carnacaville Road, near Newcastle. (Helen Bradley)

A Blog contributor has a pair of Leica Ultravid 10x42 HD binoculars in as new condition which they are offering at a significant discount on the retail price. If of interest, please email us at and we will pass your interest on. 

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for this pic of one of the Snow Buntings and Wilf Swain for the Goosander:

Bird News Tuesday 28th November

On Rathlin three Crossbill sp. flew south over Kinramer this morning. Also 6 Greenland White-fronted Geese. The Crossbills looked big and sounded interesting, unfortunately they didn't land. (Ric Else & Hazel Watson).

5 Purple Sandpiper, 25 Twite, 1 Great Northern Diver, 80 Golden Plover and 800 Common Scoter were at Tyrella Beach.(Tim Murphy).

5 Snow Bunting were at Myroe, Co Derry, see picture below.(Christine Cassidy & Lindsay Hodges)

Thanks to Cameron Moore for the picture of the Scaup, to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Little Egret,to Stan Davidson for the picture of the Red-breasted Merganser and to Lindsay Hodges for the picture of the Snow Buntings:


Bird News Monday 27th November.

A Green-winged Teal Was at Faughanvale, Lough Foyle this afternoon (Brad Robson, Matthew Tickner and Graham Bareham)

A Snow Bunting was at Myroe Co.L'derry(Christine Cassidy/Lindsay Hodges) see pic below

Late news from yesterday. The Glossy Ibis and Great White Egret were both seen the Ibis at Mullagh(see pic below) and the Egret at Paddys Dub. (David Steele)

Also from yesterday the Goosander was still present at Ardillea Co.Down (Mike McLaughlin) see pic below,

Bird News Sunday 26th November

The Green-winged Teal is still at the Ecos Park, a Water Rail was also seen (Jeff Larkin)

A male Black Redstart, was on rocks at the east end of Groomsport beach (Billy Miskelly)

4 Crossbills were at Knockagh Road, Co Antrim. Glynn had 27 Whoopers, 4 Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver.  Steel Point nearby had a Pink-footed Goose with Brent. Fishermans Quay, Carrickfergus had 2 Long-tailed Duck (Gerard McGeehan and Shirley Dunlop)

Thanks to Noel Austin for this pic of a Redshank:

James O'Neill - "Wrong Neighbourhood"

This painting is by local birdwatcher James O'Neill:

Wrong Neighbourhood

Titled 'Wrong Neighbourhood', it shows a female Sparrowhawk being mobbed by Swifts and House Martins. Watercolour on A3 watercolour paper.

Bird News Saturday 25th November

An IWeBS Lough Swilly, Co Donegal count included a Ring-necked Duck, a Long-tailed Duck, 9 Pink-footed Geese and 6 Greenland White-fronted Geese. Also seen were 2 Fulvous Whistling Ducks! (Brad Robson).

A hybrid Carrion x Hooded Crow was at Mount Stewart, see picture below. (Angus Kennedy)

A Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier and three Little Egrets were at Portmore. (James O'Neill). 

Thanks to Wilf Swain for the picture of the Redshank and to Angus Kennedy for the picture of the hybrid Crow:


Bird News Friday 24th November.

261 Lapwing, 150 Golden Plover and 50 Skylark were in a ploughed field at Blaris, near Lisburn,  this afternoon. (Chris Acheson.)

A female Brambling was feeding with a flock of Chaffinch on the Cavanreagh Road at Labby, just outside Draperstown this afternoon. (Adam McClure)

Dutch Med Gulls on our doorstep.

I spotted a metal-ringed Mediterranean Gull yesterday (23rd Nov), at Sandy Bay, in Larne.  It took around 80 photographs (many of them useless), to complete the ring number - Arnhem 3.738.593.  This one, turned out to be the same gull, which I spotted on the 28th November 2016, at Glenarm.  It was ringed as a chick, on the 20th June 2015, at De Kreupel Island, in Holland. (Gareth Platt)

Bird of Prey Killing in NI

The latest Raptor Persecution & Poisoning Report for Northern Ireland, covering 2015 and 2016, has been released today. The report is available at the links below for anyone who would like to read the pdf:

The main points are;
  • 12 more confirmed raptor victims of persecution in Northern Ireland in 2015 and 2016 (6 buzzards, 5 peregrines, 1 sparrowhawk)
  • Victims were poisoned (7) and shot (5)
  • 7 incidents occurred in areas where crimes have not been confirmed since reporting began in 2009, showing how widespread the problem is
  • This brings the total confirmed victims since 2009 to 56, with an additional confirmed case of nest destruction.

Bird News Thursday 23rd November

A Glossy Ibis and the Great White Egret were both at Mullagh, Lough Beg this afternoon. Also two Little Stints. (David Steele)

Bird News Wednesday 22nd November

No news so far today.

Thanks to Cameron Moore for the picture of the Little Grebe:

Bird News Tuesday 21st November

10 Pink-footed Geese were at the south end of Inner Dundrum Bay. The drake American Wigeon was at Ardilea, in the Northern section of Inner Dundrum Bay. 17 Greenshank were in two separate High Tide roosts in all of Inner Dundrum Bay. A female  Goosander was in the  Quoile Pondage Area, as were 19 Gadwall. There was no sign of the Hawfinch at  Inch Abbey nor the Ring-necked Duck at the Quoile Pondage (Tom Ennis, Tony Dodds and John Edwards)

A Mediterranean Gull was at Strickland’s Glen, Bangor (Richard Weyl)

Thanks to Denis Chambers for this pic of a Lapwing:

Bird News Monday 20th November

A Marsh Harrier was at the RSPB Portmore Lough reserve. (Robin Brown)

The Great White Egret, a Green Sandpiper and 13 Ruff were at the south end of Lough Beg. (Matthew Tickner)

Our thanks to Cameron Moore for his pics of a Whooper Swan and a Pink-footed Goose.

Bird News Sunday 19th November

A Hawfinch was in the Yew Trees at Inch Abbey, Downpatrick (Wilton Farrelly)

The drake American Wigeon was again at Ardilea and the 10 Pink-footed Geese at Dundrum Bay South and 34 Twite at Tyrella (Garry Armstrong)

A Black-throated Diver was seen off Kinnegar (Daniel Newton)

The Green-winged Teal was still present at Ecos Centre, Ballymena (Daniel Newton)

8 Crossbills were at the Tollymore Outdoor Centre (Wilton Farrelly)

The Spoonbill was at Anne’s Point. 10 Slavonian Grebe were in Greyabbey Bay and another 2 at Gransha Point (with 9 Great Northern Diver). Yesterday there was a Jack snipe at Ballyhenry Island and 208 Whooper swan and 6 Black-tailed godwit at Kearney (Richard Weyl).

A female Merlin and a Little Egret were at Ardmore Point on the south shore of Lough Neagh this evening. (James O'Neill).

Two Peregrines, male and female, were over Ballynahinch town centre this afternoon. A Black Redstart was at the outfall near the Borstal at Millisle beach, it flew along the rocks southwards after dog disturbance. (Garry Wilkinson).

Thanks to Christine Beggs for the picture of the Purple Sandpiper, to Linda Thompson for the picture of the female Scaup and to Mark Elliott for the picture of the Rock Pipit:


Bird News Saturday 18th November

A Red-necked Grebe is at Oxford island, it was very close to the reedbed to the left as you are looking straight out from the big wooden hide that is now closed up (John Cusack)

A Pink-footed Goose was at Knockninny, Upper Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh (Brad Robson)

A Chiffchaff was at the north end of Belfast Waterworks (Larry Toal)

A ring-tail Hen Harrier was sen at Portmore Lough this morning (John Cusack)

The drake Green-winged Teal was still at the ECOS Centre, Ballymena (Michael Latham)

8 Twite were at Kilroot, 3 Long-tailed Duck were off Fishermen's Quay, Carrickfergus and a Great Northern Diver was off Rhanbuoy Close, Carrickfergus (Brian Sutton)

The Kumlien’s Gull is back at Moville, Co Donegal (Birds Ireland)

Thanks to Lesely Barker for this pic of a leucistic Chaffinch taken at Mount Stewart, Co Down:

Bird News Friday 17th November.

A Woodcock today was the 150th species recorded on Rathlin this year. Also 6 Greenland White-fronted Geese, 2 Bramblings and 8 Long-tailed Tits. (Ric Else/Hazel Watson)

Red kites project puts the ‘our’ into RKites

Andrew Marshall (

Red Kites project puts the ‘our’ into RKites

Red kites are one of our most stunning birds of prey and this year 20 territorial pairs have been recorded in Northern Ireland, with 13 pairs successfully fledging 28 chicks - the highest number on record.

RKites, a new funded partnership project officially launched today, will focus on a dedicated public engagement programme reaching out to 40 schools in counties Down and Armagh, young people and members of the public in communities where the red kites are present, as well as working alongside the Mourne Heritage Trust’s Youth Rangers programme. This work aims to ensure that the population of red kites in Northern Ireland thrives, flourishes and expands despite the many challenges that they face.

  The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, RSPB NI, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, with support from the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group and the Mourne Heritage Trust.

Next year will mark 10 years since the ground-breaking reintroduction of red kites in Northern Ireland, after they had been persecuted to extinction around 200 years ago.

Despite the growing numbers, we are still a long way from reaching a sustainable red kite population. Sadly in August of this year a young red kite was found dead after being shot near Moneyslane in County Down.

The aim is to engage local people, especially young people, to become passionate about this majestic species and to raise awareness of the story of these remarkable raptors. To date there has been a fantastic level of involvement from the general public both in terms of signing up as volunteers and reporting red kite sightings via

Speaking at the launch at Tollymore Mountain Centre on the edge of the Mournes, Joanne Sherwood, Director at RSPB NI, said “We’re delighted to be working in this partnership to help secure the future of red kites in our countryside. “With support from our funders and with Alan Ferguson, our dedicated RKites Project Officer, working alongside an enthusiastic team of volunteers, we are determined to bolster red kite numbers further to achieve a sustainable population. “The name ‘RKites’ relates to red kites and to the fact that they are indeed OUR kites. It’s up to all of us to support these iconic birds and to ensure that we can cherish and protect them and give them a home in Northern Ireland for years to come.”

Paul Mullan, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund NI added “We are delighted to support the exciting new RKites project. People play such an important role in the protection of our natural heritage and it’s crucial that they are equipped with the skills and knowledge to do this. The red kite is such an iconic species that it can hook everyone’s imagination and interest, young and old. They then learn more about all our raptor species. We are thrilled that the RKites project will seek to do all of this, so a big thank you should go to National Lottery players who allow us to fund projects which help reconnect people to their heritage.”

*** Representatives from all partner organisations are available for interview ***
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Brian Campbell, Communications and Events Officer at RSPB NI: 07736 477526 /

Bird News Thursday 16th November

A Little Auk was seen off Castlerock this morning (Richard Donaghey).

On Rathlin a Long-tailed Duck flew past Rue Point this morning. Also of note for Rathlin today were a Pochard and a Mistle Thrush. Yesterday there were two Bramblings. (Ric Else/Hazel Watson).

In Donegal a Peregrine and 2 Raven were at Inishowen Head. (Christine Cassidy & Lindsay Hodges).

Yesterday a Red-throated Diver and the Great Northern Diver were at Cairndhu Rowing Club in Larne. Two pairs of Crossbill were up in Capanagh this morning. (Jason Bain).

Thanks to Noel Austin for the picture of the female Red-breasted Merganser, to Kevin Kirkham-Brown for the picture of the Redpoll, to Christine Cassidy & Lindsay Hodges for the picture of the Ravens and to Jason Bain for the pictures of the Red-throated Diver and the Crossbill.