Bird News Saturday 21st October.

9 Ruff where in a field at the 12 arches, Murlough Co Down.(David Nixon)

A seawatch from Ballycastle produced...5 Great Skua, 3 Arctic Skua, 1 Pom.Skua an ad Sabines Gull, juv Black Tern, 6 Great Northern Diver, 5000+Kittiwakes.(  Neal Warnock)

At Kearney a Chiffchaff (noticeably pale but not calling), a Blackcap and 6 Whooper Swans. 2 Little Stint at Drumfad Bay, Millisle, a Great Skua ‎at Burial Island and a Wheatear at Ballywalter.(Richard Weyl)

20 House Martin where over Castleward heading towards Portaferry.(Dan Barry)

Redwings are now widely reported.

A Barn Owl was seen in a garden near Maze racecourse last night.(Garry Wilkinson)

Ruff - David Nixon.

Bird News Friday 20th October

6 Twite and a Wheatear were at Ramore Head. (Colin Guy).

An adult female Ring Ouzel was found dead at St John's Point lighthouse. Also at St John's Point were 1 Chiffchaff, 8 Goldcrest, 4 Song Thrush, 3 Redpoll, 8 Reed Bunting and 1 Swallow. (Tim Murphy).

Thanks to Michael O'Dwyer for the picture of the Guillemot:

Bird News Thursday 19th October

An eclipse male Goosander was at Waterfoot. (Neal Warnock)

Thanks to David Hunter for this pic of two Hooded Crows:

Bird News Wednesday 18th October

The Long-tailed Duck is still at Cairndhu Rowing Club in Larne. (Jason Bain)

8 Twite were at Ramore Head this morning (Matthew Tickner).

3 House Martins were in Markethill today.  (John Anderson).

Late last night (at 22.00), 20 Whooper Swans flew low over the Carrickfergus shoreline, heading north east. (Roger Woodward).

3 Pink Footed Geese and 3 Whooper Swans were seen from the Rathlin Ferry. The island was rather quiet with a flock of approx. 20 Siskins seen flying low over Rue Point and out to sea. Also at Rue, 5 Great Northern Divers were flying overhead and were all calling. Only Warbler on the island was a Chiffchaff.  (Colin Guy).

The Bann Estuary today had 1 Little Stint, 38 Sanderling, 148 Teal and 8 Whooper Swans. (Hill Dick/Peter Robinson).

Thanks to Neal Warnock for the picture of the Long-tailed Duck:

Northern Ireland's Last Golden Eagles

Many thanks to Dick Glasgow for highlighting the presence of this fascinating footage of the ringing of the last breeding pair of Golden Eagles in NI:

Bird News Tuesday 17th October

A Firecrest was around the main toilet block area at Kearney this afternoon (14.30). There were also circa 30 Goldcrests. A Merlin was also seen. (Ian Graham)

A Yellow-browed Warbler, was at Kelly's Wood, St John's Point at 8:45 (Tim Murphy)

Another Yellow-browed Warbler was in the Cemetery Car Park, Portrush Rd,  Coleraine, beside the railway line. (John Clarke)

A Grey-bellied Brent Goose was seen from the old stone hide at Castle Espie, just outside the Castle Espie WWT enclosure this afternoon (Tom Ennis \ Tony Dodds)

At least 4 Twite were with the Linnet flock at Sandy Bay, Larne. Also a Knot there. Several small groups of Whoopers were arriving overhead and a Bonxie was on the sea. Yesterday a juv Dark-bellied Brent and a first winter Med Gull were at Drains Bay. (Neal Warnock)

A 1st winter Little Gull was at Marconi's, Ballycastle (Colin Guy)

8 Whooper Swans were at Islandhill, Strangford Lough (Stephen Maxwell)

Strand Lough, Co Down had 6 Whooper Swans. St John’s Point had 7 RedThroated Divers. Newcastle had c500 Common Scoter and 6 Great Northern Divers in summer plumage and from Bloody Bridge car park there were 12 Red Throated Divers (Fulton Somerville)


Bird News Monday 16th October.

10 Swallows were flying around this morning just outside P'down,birds obviously flying in front of storm Ophelia.(Brian Nelson)

A seawatch off St John's Point Co.Down produced 9 Great Skua, 11 Swallow, 1 Great Northern Diver and 3 Red-throated Diver. (Ronald Surgenor)

2 Sand Martins and a Wheatear were along the shore near Portstewart beach.(Colin Guy)

8 Pomarine Skua(together), 2 Great Skua, 6 Manx Shearwater and 10 Sandwich Tern passed St John's Point this afternoon. A Wheatear, 2 Goldcrest and 6 Redwing were on land.  A Pomarine Skua, an Arctic Skua, a Great Skua and 300 Kittiwake were at Tyrella beach (Tim Murphy)

Our thanks to Cameron Moore for the pics of the Med Gull and the Common Terns. Also to Ronald Surgenor for the pics of the 2 Arctic Skuas and the Great Skua

Bird News Sunday 15th October

An adult Little Gull was at Groomsport. (Richard Weyl).

A male Hen Harrier was being mobbed by Hooded Crows at GR ID228075 on the Antrim Plateau between Buckna & Capanagh Wood at 14:30 this afternoon, a Raven was also present. (Kevin Kirkham-Brown).

5 adult Whooper Swans were at Strand Lough at 5pm before flying off south. (Tim Murphy).

A Red Kite was just north of Armoy, Co. Antrim this afternoon. (Colin Guy).

A Red-throated Diver was on the Bann Estuary today, see picture below. (John Clarke).

A Redwing, the first reported this winter, was in Bangor today. (Kerry Leonard).

Red-throated Diver John Clarke:

Bird News Saturday 14th October

A 2nd Yellow Browed Warbler was trapped on CBO this morning and the Wryneck was heard calling. (CBO).

A Great Skua was at Burial Island and a Blackcap and 14 Goldcrest‎ at Kearney.(Richard Weyl).

Bird News Friday 13th October

In Donegal an eclipse male King Eider was with 6 male Eider at the south end of Murvagh Beach, an adult male Surf Scoter, a juvenile Little Gull and a possible male borealis Eider were off Rossnowlagh Point. (Brad Robson).

2 juvenile Wheatear and 3 Goldcrest were at St John's Point. (Tim Murphy).

Yesterday a Merlin was beside the road at Atnamollyboy townland in Co. Fermanagh (near Fivemiletown). (Clive Mellon).

A Lapland Bunting was calling frequently as it flew over Ramore Head (Hill Dick).

Thanks to Clive for the picture of the Merlin.

Copeland Day Trip

A day trip to Copeland is planned for Saturday. If you would like to visit the island, contact David Galbraith on: 07934 416668

Bird News Thursday 12th October

A Yellow-browed Warbler was on Copeland Bird Observatory this morning. The Wryneck was also still present. (David Galbraith)

A Red Kite was just outside Downpatrick flying over Killough Road (Emma Mulholland)

A Snow Bunting, 52 Whooper Swans & 3 Twite were the best on a blustery Rathlin today (Neal Warnock)

On Carlingford Lough high counts of Shag (minimum of 350 on Green Island, Block House and associated reefs near Greencastle) and Great Black-backed Gull (minimum 120 in south-east side of Mill Bay) were seen (Ian Enlander)

A Hen Harrier was hunting along the Quoile River, Downpatrick (Michael O'Dwyer)

Over 80 Red Breasted Mergansers were off Whiteabbey this morning (Gerard McLaughlin)

Lurgangreen, Co Louth had 1500 + Golden Plover, 60 Grey Plover, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 130 Ruff & 3 Swallows. (Fulton Somerville)

Many thanks to David for this pic of the Yellow-browed Warbler and Michael for the Hen Harrier:

Yellow-browed Warbler, David Galbraith:

Hen Harrier, Michael O'Dwyer:

Bird News Wednesday 11th October

Approx 1200 Whooper Swans and a Merlin were at Inch levels. (Christine Cassidy and Lindsay Hodges).

Yesterday 39 Whooper Swans were in a stubble field at Dunseverick. (Dougie Gamble).

Thanks to Christine Cassidy for the picture of part of the Whooper Swan flock at Inch, to Rod Gillan for the pictures of the Wheatear and the Rock Pipit and to Dougie Gamble for the picture of the Whoopers from Dunseverick.

Bird News Tuesday 10th October

Off Ramore Head, Portrush this morning were 22 Pink-footed Geese, 11 Purple Sandpiper, 13 Golden Plover, 2 Raven and a Peregrine (Christine Cassidy and Lindsay Hodges)

An adult Med Gull was at Sandy Bay, Larne today (Joe Lamont)

The Bann Estuary had 4 Pink-footed Geese, 1 Little Stint, 2 Ruff and c400 Golden Plover (Hill Dick)

A Little Gull was at Sandy Bay, Larne (Lillian Cummings)

Thanks to Lindsay Hodges for this pic of a colour ringed Sanderling and Lilian Cummings for the juvenile Little Gull:

Sanderling, Lindsay Hodges:

Little Gull, Lilian Cummings:

Bird News Monday 9th October.

48 Whooper Swans and 7 Pink Footed Geese were in a field opposite Dunseverick  Castle .  2 Wheatears were at Ballintoy. Yesterday 38 Barnacle Geese and 3 Great Northern Divers flew past Ramore Head. (Colin Guy)

Rathlin had a Lapland Bunting, one Iceland Gull, 5 Arctic Skuas a Great Skua, 4 Twite, 4 Common Scoter, 2 Wheatear.(Neal Warnock)

Bird News Sunday 8th October

A Wryneck was on Copeland Bird Observatory this morning.(CBO) This is only the second record for the Observatory and only the fourth record for Northern Ireland  

A Yellow- browed Warbler was at the small pine wood on the southern side of Kearney (Garry Armstrong)

Ramore Head this morning had 2 Sooty Shearwaters, 1 Bonxie, 3 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Northern Divers and 17 Whoopers (Daniel Newton)

7 Slavonian Grebe were at Greyabbey Bay. 4 Swallow and 14 Red-throated Diver were at Ballyquintin Point. A Whimbrel was at Orlock Point and a Merlin was seen flying from Big Copeland to Donaghadee. (Richard Weyl)

The Snow Bunting was at Ramore head at 2.20 pm (Denver Shiels).

4 Mediterranean Gulls, 3 adults and a 1st winter, were at Ballywalter, another Mediterranean Gull, a 2nd year bird was at Lough Cowie. (Garry Armstrong, Wilton Farrelly & Ian Graham).

A pair of Red Kite were over a field on the main Rostrevor to Hilltown Road this afternoon. (Michael Holgate).

Mullagh, Lough Beg this afternoon had a Green Sandpiper, Little Stint and 90 Ruff, also two Chiffchaffs and 25 Swallows. (David Steele).

A Red Kite was on Lighthouse Road outside Leitrim, Co. Down. The bird had a green wingtag, possibly number 34. (Bill Guiller).

Many thanks to CBO for the picture of the Wyneck, to Cecil Smyth for the picture of the Buzzard and to Bill Guiller for the picture of the Red Kite:

Bird News Saturday 7th October

An adult Little Gull and an Arctic Tern were at Ballyhalbert, Co Down (Richard Weyl)

7 Chough were at Malin Head, Inishowen. (Dermot Mc Laughlin, Philip O' Doherty and Christine Cassidy)

A Pink-footed Goose was on Mew Island (CBO)

Yesterday 5 Wheatear were on Slieve Donard, near the summit (Roger Woodward)

Many thanks to Christine Cassidy for this pic of a female Kestrel:

James O'Neill Art

This Sandwich Tern picture is by local birdwatcher and artist James O'Neill.
 Painted in Acrylics on 50 x 20cm canvas.

Bird News Friday 6th October

A Garden Warbler was trapped and ringed at Portstewart dunes this morning. (Richard Donaghey, John Clarke).

Black Head had 1 Chiffchaff in mixed flock with 40 Goldcrest and 25 Long-tailed Tit. Total of 18 Harbour Porpoise between Black Head and Portmuck. (Ian Enlander.

The juvenile Black Tern was still at Mullagh, Lough Beg today. Also present was a Little Stint, a new bird, up to 80 Ruff and 41 Swallows. (David Steele).

4 Slavonian Grebe were at Greyabbey Bay, 300+ Skylark were at Kirkiston and 14 Red-throated Diver flying south at Burial Island. (Richard Wiel).

The female Snow Bunting is still at Ramore Head. (Colin Guy).

This afternoon there was 20 adult Whooper Swans flying over Portavoe Resovoir heading south over the Warren Road in Donaghadee. (David McCormick).

A 1st winter Little Gull, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 15 Manx Shearwater, 5 Pink-footed Geese, 1 Chiffchaff, 10 Goldcrest, 6 Redpoll, 7 Reed Bunting, 10 Tree Sparrow and 300 Linnet were at St John's Point. 2 Yellowhammer and 250 Linnet were in fields 500m south of Killough. (Tim Murphy).

Thanks to John Clarke for the first picture of the Garden Warbler and to Richard Donaghey for the second picture.


Bird News Thursday 5th October

9 Ruff remain at the RSPB WOW reserve.(Derek Polley)

6 Whooper Swans all adults, were at Corbet Lough, Banbridge this morning. 4 Buzzard and 2 Red Kite also present. (David McCreedy)

10 Ruff were at Bann Estuary and c275 Brent at Ballykelly. A Myroe stubble field held c100 Skylarks and 25 Tree Sparrows. (Hill Dick/Peter Robinson)

Ramore Head and Portrush Area  up to 1300hrs had at least 6 Leach's Petrels, 6 Bonxies, 5 Great Northern Divers, 1 Sabine's Gull 35 Barnacle Geese, 1 Snow Bunting,1 Arctic Skua, 24 Brent Geese, 8 Teal, 17 Tufted Ducks (Colin Guy, Ian Dickey et. al. ) Another 47 Barnacle Geese were seen at Dunseverick . An evening sea watch from Ramore Head  between 1800 and 1900 hrs produced 5 Bonxies, 2 Arctic Skuas, 9 Red throated Divers, 16 Barnacle Geese.(Colin Guy)

This interesting Goose was photographed at Dundrum Inner bay this morning by David Nixon. It is presumably a Pink-foot due to the bill colour and the leg colour but the head shape seems a bit strange and it looks quite large - you can also that the bird has damage on it's belly (possibly from a gun shot?). Any comments or other sightings of this bird would be most welcome. You can see David's pics below.

Robin Cunningham: Freshly arrived Whooper Swans at Inch Levels Co.Donegal

Bird News Wednesday 4th October

A Snow Bunting was at Ramore Head this morning (Matthew Tickner). The Snow Bunting was still present early this afternoon along with a Lapland Bunting (John Clarke)

Late news for yesterday was that a juvenile American Golden Plover was at the Myroe Lawn fields (David Nixon / Trevor Wilkinson)

Thanks to Trevor Wilkinson for this pic of the juvenile American Golden Plover (centre):

Bird News Tuesday 3rd October

A juvenile Black Tern, 2 Little Stint and 75 Ruff were at Mullagh, Lough Beg this evening. (David Steele).

8 Whooper Swans flew west over the Skerries, Portrush at 1200 hrs. (Colin Guy).

A 2 hour sea-watch at Ramore this morning produced 11 Bonxie, 5 Arctic Skua, 5 Leach's Petrel, 58 Barnacle Geese, 7 Red-throated Diver, 18 Great Northern Diver, 3 Common Scoter, 43 Wigeon, 29 Teal, 12 Tufted Duck, 6 Red-breasted Merganser, 36 Brent Geese and a single Manx Shearwater. Large numbers of Auks were heading west. (Matthew Tickner & Colin Guy).

Four Greenland-type Wheatears were at Ballykinler beach today. (James O'Neill)

Thanks to Linda Thompson for the picture of the Gannet, to James O'Neill for the picture of the Wheatear and to David Hill for the pictures of the Buzzard and the Whooper Swans.

Bird News Monday 2nd October

Two Black Terns are now at Marconi's cottage, Ballycastle. A flock of Pink-footed Geese also flew by this morning. (Michael Latham).

6 Whooper Swans were back in their usual fields near Swanlinbar Bridge, Derrylinn, Fermanagh today. (Paul McAnulty).

A Little Gull was at Sandy Bay in Larne, see picture below. (Jason Bain).

Portstewart Head had 4 Great Skua and 2 Red-throated Diver flying west, there were large numbers of Gannets, both adult and juvenile off the head. (Sean Hickey).

A Ramore Head sea-watch at midday produced 2 Sooty Shearwaters, 25 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Bonxies and up to 100 auks flying west. Gannets..adults/juveniles were numerous. (Hill Dick).

A seawatch at Ramore Head between 0700hrs and 0900 hrs today produced a Leach's Petrel, 4 Bonxies, 14 White-fronted Geese, 33 Brent Geese,1 Common Scoter, 1 Red Breasted Merganser,7 Teal, 15 Tufted Ducks, 9 Arctic Terns,16 Wigeon,1 Great Northern Diver and unusually a Great Crested Grebe (Colin Guy).
Another 3 Great Northern Divers flew past at Lunchtime.(Colin Guy).
This evening at Ramore between 1800 and 1900 there were 8 Bonxies, 2 Arctic Skuas, 1 Leach's Petrel, 3 Great Northern Divers and 2 Red-throated Divers, 10 Manx Shearwaters. Approximately 60 Arctic Terns were feeding off the Skerries nearby (Colin Guy/Matthew Tickner)

Sea-watching at Kilcummin Head between 07.00 - 18.10 produced 3 juvenile Sabine's Gull, 106 Bonxie, 8 Arctic Skua, 1 adult Pomarine Skua, 406 Sooty Shearwaters, 20 Grey Phalaropes, 5 Leach's Petrel, 1 Storm Petrel, 40 Kittiwake, 6 Fulmar, 1 Lapland Bunting and 17 Whooper Swan in off the sea. (Brad Robson & Joe Donaldson)

  Thanks to Michael Lathan for the pictures of the Black Terns and the Pink-footed Geese and to Jason Bain for the pictures of the Little Gull and the Turnstone:



Bird News Sunday 1st October

The adult American Golden Plover was still at Ballykelly this morning (Daniel Newton)

11 Ruff where at the RSPB WOW reserve, a Little Stint circled but didn't land in.(Garry Armstrong)

A Black Tern was feeding at Marconi's outfall at Ballycastle and a female Goosander flew past. A Great Northern Diver was seen at Ramore Head.(Colin Guy) a record pic. of the Tern can be seen below

Brent over Strangford - John Moore.

Bird News Saturday 30th September

Ballymacormick Point, Co Down had a Bonxie and an Arctic Skua (Wilton Farrelly)

In flooded meadows along the  Newry Canal today between Poyntzpass and Jerrettspass there was a minimum of 29 Ruff. (Joe Devlin).

A late Swallow and a Kingfisher were seen this morning along the Newry Estuary. (Frank Carroll).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in trees at the mouth of the Closet River at Oxford Island this morning. (Garry Armstrong).

A Wheatear and a Red Grouse were seen at Capnagh (Gerard McGeehan / Shirley Dunlop).

An adult winter Mediterranean Gull and 2 Sandwich Tern were on Cockle Island at Groomsport (George Gordon).

About 30 House Martins and a single Swift were seen high over Limavady mid morning. (Raymond Fulton)

Thanks to Noeni Bryars for the picture of the Wheatear taken on Divis Mountain.


Bird News Friday 29th September.

A Little Stint and 50 Ruff where at Mullagh, Lough Beg this evening.(David Steele)

3 first winter Black Terns, 1 adult Arctic Tern and 25 Sandwich Terns were feeding between Minerstown beach and St John's Point lighthouse. (Tim Murphy)

Our thanks to Stephen Foster for this stunning pic.of a Gannet.

Bird News Thursday 28th September

RSPB WOW had 9 Ruff, a Peregrine, and a Stonechat. A Water Rail was seen briefly in the cut channel in the reed bed to the left of the observation room. (Derek Polley)

Many thanks to Stephen Maxwell for this picture of a Sparrowhawk with a Black-tailed Godwit - the Godwit survived!


Bird News Wednesday 27th September

A Mediterranean Gull was in Newcastle. (Leonard Charles).

Thanks to Lilian Cummings for the picture of the Black-tailed Godwit.

Guillemot Wrecks

There have been reports from the Firth of Clyde of Guillemots dying-off, potentially from a pox similar to puffinosis.

If you are out and about on the coast and see any wrecked seabirds, it would be helpful if you could report them to me (location, date, any signs of disease) and if possible take a photo.

Many thanks,

Dr Katherine Booth Jones,
British Trust for Ornithology Northern Ireland,
Northern Ireland Environment Agency,
Klondyke Building,
Cromac Avenue,
Gasworks Business Park,
Malone Lower,
Belfast, BT7 2JA.

Peregrine Watch hailed a success!

 Below is an update on the first season of Peregrine Watch - a bit of good news this morning for all of you interested in raptor conservation!

So far the story has been picked up here;

And you can hear Dr Marc Ruddock speaking about Peregrine Watch this morning on Good Morning Ulster at 7:26am, 0:56:40 in to the programme

The joint approach once again shows how PSNI are making wildlife crime a priority and Peregrine Watch is helping insure that those who are determined to persecute birds of prey need to be looking over their shoulder at all times - now we have eyes in the sky!

Dr. Eimear Rooney,
Raptor Officer,
NI Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group.

Annual UK Peregrine Watch Scheme in Northern Ireland hailed a success
 Following the successful launch of Operation Raptor in March 2016 the PSNI have continued to show their commitment to tackling wildlife crime by contributing to a UK initiative named
 “Peregrine Watch” throughout 2017.
Peregrine Watch is an ongoing initiative to prevent and stop any peregrine persecution and this can include theft of eggs and chicks from nests and/or the killing of adults and/or chicks through poisoning, shooting or trapping at any time of the year.
The PSNI have been using the latest technology to help prevent and combat wildlife crime. Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA), more commonly known as ‘drones’, fitted with specialist cameras, have been used throughout the nesting season to monitor ‘hot-spot’ areas across Northern Ireland where crimes against birds of prey.
The Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group (NIRSG), who monitor peregrine breeding sites every year across Northern Ireland, have said “There was a very clear reduction in the number of persecution incidents recorded at peregrine sites this year. The average number of successful nests in Northern Ireland each year is 49 – in 2017 there were 55.
Among these was a nest site in Co. Armagh at which persecution has been recorded for at least the past 30 years, and for the first time in 15 years a pair of peregrines at this site was successful in producing young. In total, 138 peregrine chicks have fledged this year, compared to the average annual production of 109. We still recorded a number of suspected persecution incidents, but overall this was certainly lower than in an ‘average year’.”
PSNI Wildlife Liaison Officer, Emma Meredith, said, “We are delighted to have been of assistance in the fight against wildlife crime, and are pleased to be able to continue to work with our partners. As far as we are aware, the Police Service of Northern Ireland is one of the first Police Services in the UK to use this technology in this way. We are pleased to be able to effectively target hotspot areas and areas further afield as and when required so we can work with our partners in the hope that we can all prevent this type of crime and reach our ultimate goal to combat wildlife crime.
She continued “The Police Service of Northern Ireland take all types of crime seriously and this includes wildlife crime such as shooting, poisoning or trapping of birds of prey. On occasions, baits (examples such as a rabbit carcass or sausages) have been laid laced with poison in the public domain. Be under no illusion that some poisons could also be fatal to humans, not only wildlife suffers but also any child, adult or pet could find and ultimately consume poisoned baits. Given the potential dangers of this and other poisons, for the first time PSNI began to use the PSNI drones fitted with specialist cameras to assist in prevention and if possible catching the perpetrators, who if caught will be reported to the Public Prosecution Service. I would also ask if anyone find what they suspect to be a poisoned bait or suspicious dead bird to leave it in situ and call the police on 101.”
Sgt. Scott Fallis said, “I was very happy to be involved with Peregrine Watch, and have been involved with NIRSG scientists over the last couple of breeding seasons in monitoring nest sites, and ringing peregrine chicks. This is an element of wildlife crime which PSNI take very seriously to ensure these birds are protected for future generations to enjoy. We will robustly investigate any form of persecution of these birds not only at nesting time but throughout the year, alongside any other protected species.”

Bird News Tuesday 26th September

Two Arctic Skuas (one light, one dark phase) were seen from the Rathlin Ferry. The island was breezy and quiet apart from 2 Wheatears ,a Carrion Crow and about 10 White Wagtails. (Colin Guy)

5 Ruff were at the south end of Dundrum South inner Bay today. Another 2 Ruff were in North Inner Bay, at the mouth of Blackstaff River. (David Nixon)

2 Willow Warbler in Groomsport on the trees near the house on the Point (Margaret Adamson)

Many thanks to Jason Bain for this pic of a Bar-tailed Godwit:

Bird News Monday 25th September.

The RSPB Belfast Harbour reserve had 5 Ruff, (a winter plumaged male and 5 juv) a Little Stint and a Kingfisher. (Tom Ennis/Stephen Maxwell/Denis Connolly )

A Kingfisher was at the Lagan weir this evening. (Paul McCullough)

A Kingfisher was also at the Sam Thompson bridge, Victoria Park.(Tony Dodds)

The best on Tory Island today was a Lesser Whitethroat (Brad Robson)

A morning seawatch at Portmuck had 3 Manx Shearwater + 1 dark phase Arctic Skua harassing Kittiwake (Ian Enlander)

Ad winter plumaged male Ruff.- Stephen Maxwell.

RSPB NI on the lookout for red kite volunteers

IT’S a pivotal time for red kites in Northern Ireland – and RSPB NI needs your help.

Northern Ireland has been home to these stunning raptors for nine years now since their reintroduction in 2008 thanks to RSPB NI, the Golden Eagle Trust and the Welsh Kite Trust. They are a spectacular sight and people continue to be enchanted and excited every time they see one.

However, our red kite population is small and vulnerable to persecution and natural losses. Sadly, just last month, a young red kite was shot dead in Moneyslane in Co Down.

RSPB NI has been successful in securing funding for our exciting new RKites Project, which is specifically geared towards safeguarding the species in NI and strengthening the link between people and this amazing bird.

“Now we need active ‘on the ground’ volunteers to help monitor red kites across counties Down and Armagh,” says Alan Ferguson, RSPB NI’s RKites Project Officer.

“We need to find out where their territories are, where they nest, and where they roost so we can accurately monitor their population.

“This is a great opportunity to put your skills to the test and learn some new ones. Species recognition, record-keeping and attention to detail are important aspects of this role, but full training and mentoring will be provided.”

The RKites Project has received £97,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) - made possible by money raised by National Lottery players - and additional funding from Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. The Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group (NIRSG) and Mourne Heritage Trust will help to provide support.

As well as looking for volunteers, we would also encourage anyone who sees a red kite to report the sighting via - telling us the time, date and location of your sighting and any wing tag colours, letters or numbers. We were actually able to find two new territories this year as a direct result of people contacting us, so information from the public is crucial.

Having lived side by side with us for several years now, many people are fiercely protective of them. And why shouldn’t they be? They are your red kites and they need your help.

* For more information on putting your name forward to become a red kite volunteer, contact RSPB NI’s Red Kites Project Officer Alan on 07527 665668 or email 

Bird News Sunday 24th September

A male Hen Harrier was seen from the cliff path just west of Dunseverick Castle. (Colin Guy).

10 Crossbills were in Capanagh Forest and up to 12 Ruff were at Belfast Lough RSPB Reserve. (Michael Latham).

A neck-collared Dark-bellied Brent Goose was at Islandhill, this is the sixth time that this bird has been seen at Islandhill since September 2015. (John Moore).

An Arctic Skua and 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls plus many Auks and Kittiwakes, 15 Common Scoter, Dolphins and Porpoises were feeding off Larne today. (Neal Warnock).

The best on Tory Island was a Lesser Whitethroat and 4 Willow Warblers (Brad Robson)

Thanks to Michael Latham for the picture of the Crossbill and to John Moore for the picture of the Dark Bellied Brent.