Bird News Friday 22nd September

3 Pomarine Skua, 1 Arctic Skua, 6 Great Northern Diver, 7 Arctic Tern, 30 Manx Shearwater and 50 Black Guillemots flew past St John's Point between 12noon-2pm. (Tim Murphy)

33 Ruff and a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper were at the Mullagh, Lough Beg (David Steele)

12 Pink-footed Geese were at Myroe (David Hill)

There was no sign of the reported Red-breasted Flycatcher today.

A Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Ruff were at the Bann Estuary (Colin Guy)

A Barn Owl was seen this evening on open ground close to Dermott Hill, west Belfast (Stephen Corr)

Thanks to Wilf and David for the pics below:

Pink-footed Geese, David Hill:

Male Sparrowhawk, Wilf Swain: 

Bird News Thursday 21st September

A Red-breasted Flycatcher has been reported by Brendan McKeown, at Kinrush airfield, Co Tyrone. He is happy to take birders to see it. You can call him at 02886737924 to arrange viewing.

Yesterday, as well as the American Golden Plover and the Lapland Buntings, there were 10 Med Gulls, and a presumed Black-headed x Med Gull hybrid (Dave Bakewell)

The best around Newcastle Harbour today was a Wheatear, 17 Turnstone and 23 Sanderling (Fulton Sommerville) 

3 Lapland Bunting, a Hen Harrier, c40 M Thrush and 11 White Wagtail were at Fair Head, Co Antrim (Richard Donaghey)

12 Ruff were at Lough Beg (David Steele)

6 Ruff and a Kingfisher were at RSPB WoW (Derek Polley)

Thanks to Dave for the pics of the presumed hybrid (top) and an adult Med Gull (bottom):

Bird News Wednesday 20th September

The adult American Golden Plover was still at Ballykelly along with two Lapland Buntings (Big WP Year team - Claes Wikstrom, Eric Rask, Marten Wikstrom).

The Lapland Bunting was still along the cliff path near the Giant's Causeway. (Colin Guy).

The Bann Estuary had a high count of 33 Snipe feeding on open mud-flat (Hill Dick/Peter Robinson)

Thanks to the Big WP Year team for this picture of the American Golden Plover and to Hill Dick for the picture of the Snipe.

Bird News Tuesday 19th September.

A Lapland Bunting was on the Giants Causeway path towards Runkerry Point.(Colin Guy)

3 Ruffs were at the south end of Dundrum South Inner Bay  (same area where 3 were seen regularly last winter). An adult Mediterranean Gull was with 300 Sanderlings at the high tide roost between the Glen River and Rock Pool in Newcastle. (David Nixon)

Yesterday..a Chough was near Rue Point , Rathlin. The island was otherwise rather quiet with 2 Chiffchaffs, a flock of 20 Skylarks and a pale phase Arctic Skua from the Ferry The Chough may be the last NI Bird with no breeding this year.(Colin Guy)

Our thanks to David Nixon of the ad. Med. Gull. Also to Dave Bakewell who kindly sent in these pics of the American Golden Plover(right hand bird) and the Buff-breasted Sandpiper,(the Plover and Sandpiper where both photographed yesterday).  

Bird News Monday 18th September

The adult American Golden Plover and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper were in a ploughed field next to the pumping station on the embankment just east of Ballykelly marsh (Dave Bakewell)

3 Med Gulls and 3 Slav. Grebes where also seen at Ballykelly.(Ric Else/Hazel Watson) 

A single Chiffchaff was at Kearney this morning.Guy Hamilton)

Our thanks to Steve Kent for this pic of an adult Sabines Gull seen off Nairn, Co Donegal on the 12th September: Also to Cameron Moore for the pic of the 2nd winter Med. Gull

Bird News Sunday 17th September

A Pectoral Sandpiper was at the Quoile, halfway towards the Yacht Club (Billy Miskelly)

Seven Ruff were at Belfast Lough RSPB this morning showing well outside the Observation Room. (Garry Armstrong).

A female Hen Harrier was at Castle Ward, see picture below. (John Moore).

The Red-necked Grebe was still off Mullagh, Lough Beg, 15 Ruff were also present. (David Steele).

A Hen Harrier, 2 Knot, 4 Twite and a Whitethroat were on Rathlin. (Ric Else & Hazel Watson).

Below is one of the Ruff from Belfast Lough RSPB and thanks to John Moore for the picture of the Hen Harrier and to Lilian Cummings for the picture of the Bar-tailed Godwit:


Two Million Thanks

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Bird News Saturday 16th September

The adult American Golden Plover was still in the ploughed field next to the pumping station at Ballykelly (Garry Armstrong / Wilton Farrelly)

A juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was at the Bann Estuary (Ian Dickey / Richard Donaghey)

Myroe had a Dark-bellied Brent, a Pink-footed Goose, 2 Ruff, a Slavonian Grebe & 3 Med Gulls (Neal Warnock)

American Golden Plover with Golden Plover:

Bird News Friday 15th September

The Bann Estuary had a juv Sabine's Gull off the hide.(see photo below); also 1 Curlew Sandpiper and a Ruff. (Hill Dick/Derek McIntyre).

Two adult Mediterranean Gulls were at Portrush East Strand. (Matthew Tickner).

Thanks to Hill Dick for the picture of the Sabine's Gull and to Derek Pollet for the picture of one of the Ruff from Belfast Lough RSPB yesterday.


Mandarin Ducks

We would be pleased to receive details of any records of Mandarin Ducks in NI to understand the current status of the species. If you have seen any birds recently, please email us details to

Female Mandarin, Gareth Platt:

Bird News Thursday 14th September

Ten Ruff were at RSPB WoW this morning (Derek Polley)

Sea watching from Rue Point, Rathlin this morning produced: 1 Storm Petrel, 3 Great Skuas, 4 Arctic Skuas, 40 Brent Geese, 7 Common Scoters and 1 Arctic Tern. (Richard Else and Hazel Watson)

A juvenile Little Gull was at RSPB WOW (Daniel Newton)

A seawatch at Melmore, Co Donegal Produced 46 bonxies, 18 Arctic Skuas, 2 Poms, 31 Sooties, 30 Arctic Terns, 125 Kittiwakes, 2 Common Scoter, 4 Red-throated Diver and a Great Northern Diver. A Peregrine was also seen making repeated attempts to catch Manx Shearwaters and then a Dunlin (Eric Randall)

Thanks to Stehen Maxwell for these pictures of two Ruff at RSPB WOW:

Bird News Wednesday 13th September

The Red-necked Grebe and two Ruff at were Lough Beg this morning (Richard Hunter)

A single Purple Sandpiper was along the coastal path 100m west of Pickie Fun Park / breakwater, Bangor (Derek Polley)

Lough Foyle today had an American Golden Plover and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Ballykelly (with 750 Golden Plover in a ploughed field heading towards Myroe). A Little Stint was at Myroe lawn fields. Also 3 Ruff and 58 Little Egret in the area (Brad Robson, Gareth Bareham and Matthew Tickner)

Bird News Tuesday 12th September

At least 9 Ruff, all juveniles, were at Belfast Lough RSPB reserve this afternoon. (Tom Ennis & Tony Dodds).

The Red-necked Grebe was still off the Mullagh at Lough Beg. (David Steele)

5 Arctic Skua, a Great Skua, 14 Red-throated Diver, 6 Arctic Tern, 1200 Manx Shearwater, a 1st winter Mediterranean Gull and 1 adult Pale-bellied Brent Goose flew past St John's Point. 1400 Razorbill and 400 Kittiwake were feeding at sea. 2000+ Meadow Pipits, 30 White Wagtails, 20 Skylark and 2 Redpoll migrated south over St John's Point in the morning. (Tim Murphy)

Thanks to James Rankin for the picture of the Sparrowhawk with it's Woodpigeon prey.

Bird News Monday 11th September

Seawatching at Rue Point, Rathlin 0800-1130, this morning produced: 1 (probably 2) adult Sabine's Gull, 1 Leach's Petrel, 1 Arctic Skua, 6 Great Skuas, 16 Sandwich Terns, 12 Arctic Terns, 5 'commic' terns, 15 Wigeons and a Whimbrel. (Ric and Hazel)

Seawatching at Ramore Head had an adult Sabines, 10 Arctic Terns, 2 Arctic Skuas, 7 Bonxies, 8 Storm Petrels, 6 Leaches Petrels, 30 Manx , and two Great Northern Divers (Stuart McKee, Gerard McGeeban and Shirley Dunlop)

At Myroe, the two Buff-breasted Sandpipers were still present (Tom Ennis, Carol Gillespie and Ray Bennett)

Further seawatching from Ramore Today at Ramore Head, 0700 - 1100  had 1 Pomarine Skua , 4 Sooty Shearwaters, 12 Leach's Petrels, 2 Arctic Skuas, 1 Bonxie, 26 Wigeon, 8 Common Scoters, 9 Arctic Terns and 8 Brent Geese. Between 1730 - 1930 there were 9 Leach's Petrels, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Bonxie , 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver and 100 + Manx Shearwaters. A number of Brent Geese were seen arriving from  the North West this afternoon at Portballintrae - approximately 200 in four flocks (Colin Guy)

The Red-necked Grebe, 4 Ruff and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit were at Lough Beg today, (Gareth Bareham and Matthew Tickner). The adult Med Gull was at Portrush East Strand. 10 Leach's Petrel and 4 Bonxie were at Ramore this evening. (Matthew Tickner)

An Arctic or Pomarine Skua was seen distantly on Lower Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh this evening (Brad Robson)

Thanks to Noeni Bryars for this pic of a Ruff (one of 8 today) at RSPB WoW: