Sunday, 31 October 2010


Woooooooooh! How scary is this photo?! Just be glad I didn't go with my original idea of putting as many pictures of dead things as possible together on one page. I know some of you like to eat while looking at this page so I'll spare you the gruesome images (although they might pop up elsewhere!) Thanks again to Ian Dickey for this spine-chilling image woooooooooooooo!

Bird News Sunday 31st October

In Co. Down 22 Twite were at Tyrella and another flock of 8 at Ballykinler. Also at Ballykinler there were 120 Sanderling (until they were chased off by a Peregrine), offshore there were 1400 Common Scoter, 5 Great Northern Diver, 5 Red-throated Diver, 8 Red-breasted Merganser and 7 Great Crested Grebe.
At Newcastle 45 Pale-bellied Brent were on the shore below hte Slieve Donard Hotel and 5 Red-throated Diver and 3 Great Northern Diver were offshore

At Ballyreagh Strangford Lough the Black Brant was still present as well as a Dark Bellied Brent
2 Sandwhich Tern were at Cloghy Beach (K.Bennett)

A Great Skua was present for its second day at Macedon Point Belfast Lough.

A female Merlin was at Killard Point along with a Kestrel (Anna Mckee and Jason Starbuck)

In Co. Londonderry 550 (at least 50 of them juveniles) Whooper Swan, 300 Curlew, 100+ Skylark, 1 Merlin, 1 Buzzard,1 Red-throated Diver, 10 Great Crested Grebe, with 2 possible Slavonian Grebes (no scope with me), 3 Red-breated Merganser, 30 Mallard, 50 Golden Plover, 6 Tree Sparrow, 3 Yellowhammer + loads of other finches Goldfinch Chafinc, House Sparrow, Reed Bunting etc at Myroe Levels. 19 Crossbill at Loughermore forest with a dozen Raven floating around (Rick Hoy)

Late this afternoon i was at Myroe (with a scope!) and had 27 Slavonian Grebe, 59 Red Throated Diver and 14 Great Northern Diver. 180 Golden Plovers and 2 Brent Geese were on the lawn fields.
At Longfield another Slavonian Grebe, 3 Red Throated Diver and 80 Golden Plover were present.

In Co. Tyrone a Kingfisher and 98 Whooper Swan were at Sion Mills (Brian Hegarty)

In Donegal 500+ Greenland White Fronted Geese were at Big Isle Letterkenny. At Inch 1000+ Whooper Swan, 5 Pink Footed Geese and 2 Canada Geese of unknown origin were present. A large flock of Golden Plovers maybe 2000 plus 2 Ruff were present.
Off Buncrana 2 Common Scoter and a Red Throated Diver were in the Bay.
At Malin Head a bash of the bush's produced 1 Treecreeper, 1 Siskin and a Chiffchaff. The Borealis Eider was still off-shore and 400+ Baarnacle Geese were near the headland.
2 Little Egret were at Malin village.

In Wexford Irelands first American Hen Harrier was present at Tacumshin.

Late News from Yesterday: A Short-eared Owl was reported from Ballymacormick Pt., Co. Down. On the Co. Antrim side of Belfast Lough 2 Long-tailed Duck and a Whooper Swan were at Kilroot Power Station, Carrickfergus.

Thanks again to Nigel Snell for this shot of Eiders in flight:

.......and to round the day off nicely here's the latest on Leonard Charles' 5 day trip to Australia (and New Caledonia) - 56 new Australian species of bird for Leonard (and 2 in New Caledonia). Highlights include Satin Bowerbird, Regent Bowerbird, Little Eagle and Plum-headed Finch.

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Spot the Bird (Part 71)

A bit out of season for this one but not impossible to identify!

Answer to Part 70: Pintail

Pterible Tales 7

Hart's Tongue Fern Phyllitis scolopendrium

For more info see here:

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Bird News Saturday 30th October

In Co. Londonderry there were 35 Crossbill at Binevenagh as well as 2 Kestrel,1 Sparrowhawk and 2 Stonechat. At Springwell at least 10 Crossbill and 1 Kestrel (Rick Hoy). A Barn Owl was reported from Tobermore (David Morrow)

In Co. Down 715 Golden Plover and 100 Sanderling were at Ballykinler, a Kestrel was also present along with a Red-throated Diver and 500 Common Scoter offshore.

At Ballyveagh Strangford Lough one of the Black Brant and an adult bird resembling a Grey Bellied Brent were present. Is it a Grey Bellied, i don't know for sure but looks like one!
6 Little Egrets were also present
At Newtownards Sailing Club a single Slavonian Grebe was well off-shore.
A single Sandwhich Tern looks set to over winter once again at Cloghy Beach.
A Short Eared Owl was watched in flight near Ballywalter.

At the RSPB Reserve in Belfast 500 Golden Plover and 300 Teal were the highlights.

Check out this amazing photo of a Snipe by Ronan McLaughlin, visit Ronan's Flickr page here:

Worth looking at as Ronan provides a good write-up on the pics - especially the rares, one of the top Flickr pages, there's an mountain of stunning pics in there, if you don't visit it you're an idiot.

Break out the port and stilton cheese - it's time to celebrate! We have over Ten Thousand hits in two months and over 800 friends on Facebook. What must our competitors think? Thanks to everybody who contributes, group effort! Some people are noticeable by their absence but you can check them out at the niba website.

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Moths on the Wing - 30th October

Here's a couple of moths which we've shown you before so no point flogging a dead horse, we'll be extra nice to you today and give you two!

Black Rustic Aporophyha nigra
Found in the south and east of Northern Ireland, flight period late August to mid-November, larvae feed on Heathers and Clovers

Pink-barred Sallow Xanthia togata
This moth is widespread throughout Northern Ireland, flight period from early August to early November, larvae feed on Willow catkins in Britain but have not been found in here yet

Spot the Bird (Part 70)

Another one from Ferran Lopez - check out

Answer to Part 69: Snow Bunting

Friday, 29 October 2010

Bird News Friday 29th October

As well as a Waxwing invasion there could well be a Crossbill invasion underway and if there is surely a Scottish or Parrot (or both) will be lurking among them. Parrot has been seen before in Northern Ireland but the record was never submitted.
Sixty Crossbill were at Springwell Forest this morning. (Richard Hoy)
A Woodcock and a Short Eared Owl has also seen by Richard at same location. It could be a good year for Shorties as well.

Late News is of 130 Whooper Swan at Kilclief Bay, Strangford Narrows last Sunday (A. Upton)

Carrying on the ringing theme of the last few days here's a Long-tailed Tit by Craig Nash:

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Competition Time Again

OK you lot have asked for it! The Competitions are just too easy with EVERYONE getting the last one correct. It was of course the Indian House Crow which was sitting on the Chimney Pot seconds before i took the picture. We had 5782 correct entrys so we will pull the winner out of a hat as soon as we can find a hat big enough.

So onto this one and its a little bit harder. You have to name these gulls. The pictures were taken at Killybegs. Orcilla Hadrick is barred from entering. We have a great prize this time, 3 weeks on a Killybegs Trawler as it fishes off Iceland in December. You will have your own bunk and as much fish as you can eat.

All Seals and Seaweed.

Thanks to Roy Atkins for this picture from British Columbia, brightened up my day anyway!

Friday Treat Fallow Deer Painting

Check this fabulous painting of a Fallow Deer by Dick Ianey.

Fooled you all i presume, this is not a painting but a photograph by Ian Dickey. It is absolutely stunning and my favourite wildlife photograph of the year! Thanks Ian

Now we are talking

I have had my fill of Red Flanked Bluetails, Zinos Petrels and Sharp Tailed Sandpipers this autumn and im glad the clocks are changeing because that can only mean one thing Seagull Season. So we will kick it off with 3 superb photos of the Portrush Ring Billed Gull by Geoff Campbell. Check Geoffs photos at
Expect plenty more of this over the winter!

Chough Tries to walk while in mid-air

Ian Dickey has sent us this wonderful photo and explained that this Chough was trying to walk while flying, silly boy or girl. Ian took this photo at a top secret Chough location somewhere in Ulster but he is not allowed to tell me where! OK he told me but i am not allowed to tell you lot!
Thanks to Ian!

Friday Halloween Madness

Its mad everyday on this Blog but i am going to up the madness by 50% today and give you both barrells! Pictures of everything waders, crows, bears and gulls and whatever else i can find in the cupboard.
We will start with 4 cracking pictures from Ronan McLoughlin. Im sure you all know that its a juvenile White Rumped Sandpiper taken in Waterford last week. White Rumps are an autumn Vagrant to Northern Ireland with 33 previous records although none so far this autumn, although there is time yet! Dundrum Bay perhaps? We don't know how it gets it name (told you its gonna get mad!)
Check Ronans photos at

Spot the Bird (Part 69)

Another one from Ferran Lopez - check out

Answer to Part 68: Black-headed Gull

Moths on the Wing - 29th October

Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthe

Flies from late August to early November, larvae feed on Willow, Hawthorn and Blackthorn

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Hadricks on Tour (Part Ten Million)

Dave and Orcilla are cleaning up on the menu stakes adding yet more to their trip list of bar and cafes in the north of England.

Westerly winds, lowlights Great Spotted Woodpecker and Chiff-chaff. We went fossil hunting, found trilobite and quartz but nogordinium. Roughed it again with picnic - steak and stilton pasties were fantastic.

Bird News Thursday 28th October

At the Floodgates, Newtownards today 2 adult Black Brant, 2 adult Dark Bellied Brent were present. There was also a bird of similar appearance to what a Grey Bellied Brent is meant to look like and two other possible Brant hybrids. Confusing or what!?
The usual flock of Pintail, about 300 birds, and 6 Little Egrets were also present.
At Castle Islandhill 300+ Wigeon and 50+ Shoveler were in the channel

In Co. Armagh 2 Brambling, a male and female, were at Milford Cutting, in a mixed flock of Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch. 6 Bullfinch were also seen (Bob Shaw)

In Co. Antrim 2 Long-tailed Duck were seen at Sandy Bay, Larne Lough before flying into the lough (N. Warnock)

Thanks again to Allen Gillespie for sharing more shots from arecent trip to Texel, The Netherlands: Spoonbills!

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Pseudo Duck

Late news just in, hot on the heels of the Outlaw Duck scandal (and not forgetting Trackerbar Duck!) - Pseudo Duck, thanks to Ed O'Hara for keeping his eye on the ball and monitoring events as they unfold. More shocking revelations must surely be round the corner.

Pseudo duck at Oxford Island. After Canvassing several birders the feed back was clear, it's identity was ePoch arduously difficult but the Red eyes and sloping Head over ruled the bill. An errant Pochard.


Thanks to Stephen Longster for sending us this photo, taken by Karen Philip earlier this year, of Greylag Geese nesting in an Osprey platform. Greylag versus Osprey who won? By all accounts it was the Greylags - got a nasty peck on them

Moths on the Wing - 28th October

The Chestnut Conistra vaccinii
Another one that's more common in the south and east of Northern Ireland - late September to mid-May is the time to look for this species, it occurs right through the winter, coming out during periods of mild weather. The larvae feed on Oak, Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Birch.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Bird News Wednesday 27th October

In Co. Londonderry 125 Fieldfare were near Ballynahone Bog and 8 Long-tailed Tit were at Ballymaguigan near the shore of Lough Neagh.

A male Brambling was at Tobermore.

Otherwise its Little Egrets and Brent Geese all the way!

Whooper Swan seem to be turning up everywhere - there was a flock of 7 birds in fields north of the M2 near junction 5 Co. Antrim. Any day now you could wake up to them in your front garden (or window box even!)

In Co. Down 3 Whooper Swan were at Strand Lough, Killough, and 2 Fieldfare were at the Brickworks (Tim Murphy). Lucky Tim is off to Germany tomorrow and should clean up on the woodpeckers and owls - we'll keep you updated.

Thanks again to Allen Gillespie for more of his stunning photographs - this time Avocets in Texel, Netherlands, earlier this year:

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Another Mega for the Hadricks.

Dave and Orcilla's British and Irish Cafe list is going through the roof. Today they ticked off Siggy's at Whitby. The indomnible duo had Sea Bass with Fennel, Sautee Potatoes and Minted Peas. They washed it down with a cheeky Chablis. Its no wonder these two are virtually untouchable, our hats are off to them. On the bird side they thought they were back in Northern Irelan with just Snow Bunting, Yellowhammer and Swallow to show for their 5 minutes in the field.

On top of all that they scored this fantastic tick with The Three Cranes (to celebrate they had 8 pints)

Cape Clear Flycatcher.

In hand photos of the Cape Clear Flycatcher showing characteristics of Collared Flycatcher.

One Legged Med Gull

This second winter Med Gull has been present at Portrush Co.Antrim for a week (apart from when i went!) It only has one leg but is surviveing ok scroungeing scraps of the local boy and girl racers. Thanks to Geoff Campbell for these brilliant images.

Update on Dave and Orcilla that due to Technical problems (too much cider i think) they cannot send any photos of their epic trip until their return. However they will send us more of their sightings by text. They are going to a Posh Hotel today so it could be a classic!

American Warblers defiant towards ringers!

In recent years American Warblers have been fighting back against the Ringers. When caught they flip over and give the V sign with their outer tail feathers. This can be seen clearly in these two pictures kindly sent in by Richard Hoy. Ive no idea what they are (help Richard!) but they are feisty little boys!
(We have had over 120 emails guessing the identity of the cheeky boys and 99% got them right proving NI Birders are among the best at identifying American Warblers by their bums! They are Black and White Warbler and Common Yellowtroat)

Halloween is coming!

Indeed it is and what would you do if this fella knocked on your door and said trick or treat! I know what i would do, feint!
Luckily the chances of that happening is slim but if you go on my friends Roy Atkins tours to British Columbia you can be sure you will see plenty of these magnificent creatures hopefully inside the minibus! Im such a coward!
In case your thinking Roy only does Mammals you would be wrong, its a Birdwatching Tour. Just to prove it Roy has sent some lovely seagull pics which im sure you will all love!

NI Baikal Teal Controversy

He's at it again! Here's another world exclusive picture of Outlaw Duck at his work. We have been contacted by the FBI who have told us not to tell anybody but it's too late now. The presence of Outlaw Duck at this Northern Ireland mega in January 2006 casts serious doubts on the validity of the Baikal Teal (some people have claimed that the Baikal was actually photoshop-ed into the image!) - only the decision on the previous Baikal record (1967! or was it 1973.....or 1937 or 1976, we get confused it's been that long) can clinch it although we'll all have kicked the bucket by then. Where will Outlaw Duck turn up next?! The plot thickens.

Moths on the Wing - 27th October

Feathered Thorn Colotois pennaria

On the wing from mid-September to late November, more common in the south of Northern Ireland, the larvae of this species feed on Birch, Willow, Oak, Hazel, Hawthorn, Poplar and Blackthorn.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

UK Update

Sorry for late news but Dave and Orcilla have been out of mobile range most of the day as the Restaurant is partly underground.
But they have had a cracking day, firstly they drove through Wetwang in the pouring rain (again i am not joking) on their way to the Guy Fawkes Inn in York (again not joking!).
They scored big time with Stilton and Brocolli Soup followed by Lame Duck a la Orange and finished it off with Gooseberry Fools for Dessert. All for £15 for a couple. Im not sure if i believe them but they have promised photographs!
Its great to see these 2 great listers doing their stuff over there!
No words on any birds but come on lets face it with a great deal and menu like that who cares?

Bird News 26th October

In Co. Antrim a Snow Bunting was at Ballintoy (Patrick Barton)
Waxwings continue to arrive with 25 at Portrush. (again i was there on Sunday and missed them, im a Waxwing jinx!)

In Co. Down the Blackstaff River (Dundrum Inner Bay North) had a Kingfisher, 3 Little Egret, 3 Greenshank, 120 Lapwing, 46 Black-tailed Godwit, 115 Teal and 2 Raven. The south bay had 7 Little Egret and 41 Black-tailed Godwit.
7 Little Egret were also at Carlingford Lough.
2 Pink Footed Geese remain at the Qouile Pondage

Here's another pic from the Copeland Islands in September by Rik Hoy - there's no shortage of these wee fellas (unless it gets cold again this winter!)

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