Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Bird News Tuesday 30th November

30 Waxwings Fitzwilliam Street, Stranmillis Belfast (K.Bennett)

Almost like a case of deja vu - the drake Goosander was still at Lough Island Reavy

3 Little Egrets, 3 Greenshank and 275 Dunlin were at Dndrum Inner Bay South.

183 Whooper Swan were in fields just east of Comber.

Republic of Ireland News:
A white phase Gyrfalcon was seen at Ardtermon Castle, Raghly, Co. Sligo (presumably the bird from last year - and seen down to 10 metres) (Don Cotton)

Check out this great photo of a Dunnock by Mark Killops! Check out Mark's Flickr site here:

Thanks again to Nigel Snell for this picture of a Redshank!

Here's some more from Pete Wylie, taken near Buckna

Email sightings to: nisightings@googlemail.com

Visit us at Facebook here
Or follow us on Twitter here

For everything else Surfbirds and Fatbirder

ANOTHER letter from Dave and Orcilla

Photograph courtesy of Orcilla Hadrick. She tells us its an adult Kumliens Gull but she could be telling us anything as NO-ONE actually knows what a Kumliens Gull looks like or comes from. We thanks her never the less, she really does educate us.
Yet another email from Dave and Orcilla. We think Orcilla is putting too much sugar in his tea. All the same we thank them both for their incoherant ramble!

We take this text from Gullibles Travels. (also made in to a film "The Gullibles")

A warning to all who listen to the fantasy ramblings of the CHARLES.

We have had that dream.

We have been to the hills and mountains.

We have been to the valleys and land fills.

We hear the cry of the GULLibles.

What did you see? They cry.

Guano and Botulism

D and O


This picture doesn't need any smart or stupid comments but what the hell we might as well try!
This stuffed Peregrine is the property of Ian Dickey who has tried to fool us once again into thinking its a real one! Ian who is part time photographer and part time taxidermist hasn't fooled us and Ian was telling me that he recently had his prized possession a stuffed Black Duck stolen from his car recently in Bangor! Anybody who see's it please return it to Ian as he really miss's it.
Thanks as usual to Ian for the photo. What a bird.

Chamber of Horrors: Lunchtime

Da  - ' Right who wants the legs?'.

Luckily the remains were retrieved and sold for a hefty sum to Chez Veale Evening Bistro - 'Hoodie Pecked Coney' is one of the specialties on their new menu! More gastronomic delights coming soon!

Thanks to Ed O'Hara

Spot the Bird (Part 98)

Answer to Part 97: Yellow-legged Gull

Stand off at the Ok Pool

' I am not moving for any Calidris'

Thanks to Ed O'Hara for this shot of a Western Reef Heron

Monday, 29 November 2010

Bird News Monday 29th November

In Co. Down the drake Ferruginous Duck was still at Corbet Lough, 40 Whooper Swan, 19 Snipe, 10 Little Grebe and 4 Fieldfare were also present as well as loads of Tufties, Pochard and Mallard.

Not that far away the drake Goosander was still at Lough Island Reavy along with 2 Great Crested Grebe and 2 Goldeneye. 2 Red Kite were just south of Moneyslane (Leonard Charles et al)

4 Snipe dropped into the field at the back of the pub in Loughinisland this evening (W. McNamara)

At Dundrum Inner Bay South there were 2 Little Egret, a Snipe and a Greenshank
A Islands Park, Newcastle, there were 3 Siskin and 12 Goldfinch (D. Bailie)

A Peregrine Falcon was at Sion Mills, Co. Tyrone (Brian Hegarty)

On the North Coast 2 Twite and the adult Ring Billed Gull were at Portrush,

Around Belfast a drake Goldeneye drake was on the lagan behind Central Station, a pair of Little Grebe at Albert Bridge and 7 Black Guillemot around Queens Bridge and weir area (Ronald Surgenor)

Thanks to Nigel Snell for this picture of a Greenshank taken yesterday at Strangford Lough.

And here's one sent by Pete Wylie - a Whooper Swan taken the other day at Corbet Lough

Foreign News Correspondent Corner: Tim Murphy's gone all twitchy again and ticked the Green Heron in Cornwall today! Where will he turn up next??

Email sightings to: nisightings@googlemail.com

Visit us at Facebook here
Or follow us on Twitter here

For everything else Surfbirds and Fatbirder

Black Duck Photos

Sorry we have lied once again, we really are truly sorry. We have no pics of the Black Duck hey we haven't even seen it yet. But we do have a couple of rarity ducks photos taken at the weekend. The first is the rather splendid drake Ferruginous Duck at Corbet Lake and the second is the Green Winged Teal taken at the RSPB Reserve before it froze over!

The Green Winged Teal is the bird on the far right, note the vertical rather than horizontal white stripe!

London 2012 Olympics

Everyone in Northern Ireland knows that our best chance of a Gold Medal at the 2012 Olympics is the long jumper Sammy the Oystercatcher. Here is a pic of him in training at the weekend. We talked to his trainer Ian Dickey. Ian says that Sammys only concern is an injury from an attack by his arch enemy Peter Peregrine and the fact that the IOC may allow Emus and Ostrichs into the competition. Otherwise he is a shoe in.
Thanks to Ian Dickey for the photo.

Spot the Bird (Part 97)

Answer to Part 96: American Golden Plover

Spot the American Duck

Answer: They all are, this picture was taken by Ross Towers in Pittsburgh, whilst we appreciate his sense of humour he better shape up fast and send us a picture of a duck we don't get over here! That was the whole idea of paying for his flights the states in the first place - methinks we've been conned! (makes a change)

Reasons to Hate Gulls (Part 3)

When you see photos like this you gotta wonder about why people such as Derek are so interested in them - maybe this picture sheds some light on his personality?

Reason Number 3: They're murderers!

Thanks to Ronald Surgenor for this gruesome photo!!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Bird News Sunday 28th November

A Black Duck has been reported from Ward Park, Bangor (unknown origin)

60 Waxwing were on Annadale Embankment, Stranmillis this afternoon. (Dave Allen)

In Co. Down 126 Greylag Geese, 292 Teal, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Little Egret were at Ann's Pt., Strangford Lough. At Greyabbey Bay North there were 9 Bar-tailed Godwit, 41 Ringed Plover and a Greenshank.

At Ballyreagh also Strangford Lough 1000 Knot, 2 Grey Plover,100 Golden Plover and a Little Egret were seen (K.Bennett)

A Slavonian Grebe was at Greyabbey Bay South (Keith Bennett) and a further 7 were between Herring Bay and Greyabbey. Another Slavonian was near Horse Island.
A Black Throated Diver was near Herring Bay along with 100 Tree Sparrow.

2 Brambling and a Carrion Crow were at Whitehead.

4 Red Breasted Merganser were in Carrickfergus Harbour.1000 Large Gulls were off Macedon Point as well as a large flock of Scaup at Dargan Bay. 20 Wigeon, 10 Teal and a male Shovelor were also at dargan. (Pete Wylie)

Off the harbour at Newcastle there was still 1 Black-throated Diver, 41 Common Scoter (all 1st winter / female) were also present.
The drake Goosander was still present at Lough Island Reavy

Spare a thought for this poor Jay who was reduced to eating some seeds while some lucky Hooded Crows tucked into a rabbit carcass nearby. Thanks to Ed O'Hara for the picture.

Here's some pics of Bald Eagles from Nigel Snell, taken in Wyoming, to make you jealous:

Email sightings to: nisightings@googlemail.com

Visit us at Facebook here
Or follow us on Twitter here

For everything else Surfbirds and Fatbirder

Spot the Bird (Part 96)

Answer to Part 95: Wilson's Phalarope

Cat O'Wagtails

"OK  Hoopoe, we'll see who chickens first"

Thanks to Ed 0'Hara for this one!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Bird News Saturday

In Co. Down, the Ferruginous Duck was still at Corbet Lough, 3 Whooper Swan were also present.
A wing-tagged Red Kite was just south of Moneyslane and a drake Goosander was at Lough Island Reavy. At Dundrum Inner Bay 9 Snipe and 2 Little Egret were at the south bay and 1 Little Egret at the North.
At Craigavon North Lake 2 Meally Redpoll were with 10 Lesser Redpoll. (true fact Meally Redpoll is one bird that you can tick in NI and not in the Republic!) The male Ferruginous x Pochard has returned for another winter. 20 Gadwall were present.

5 Velvet Scoter and a Slavonian Grebe were of Macedon Point Belfast Lough Co.Antrim
At Oxford Island 60 Whoopers were in surrounding fields.

At Bartins Bay Lough Neagh 2 Scaup were in the diving duck flock.

At Portmore Lough, Co. Antrim, the finch flock didn't contain any surprises ie Brambling but 30 Tree Sparrows were present.
450 Whoopers and 40 Golden Plover were nearby.
400 Whoopers and 60 Greylag were at Aghagallon

The Green Winged Teal was at the RSPB Reserve in Belfast.

1000 Golden Plover were at Kirkistown. (K.Bennett)

In Co. Armagh 16 Tree Sparrows, 4 Yellowhammers and 150+ Goldfinches were at Richhill (Andrew Poots)

In Co. Londonderry 3 Snow Bunting and a Peregrine were at Ballykelly, Lough Foyle (T. Nelson)

2 Pink-footed Geese and a redhead Goosander were at Lough Beg (D. Steele)

Here's a record shot of last nights Barn Owl at Belfast Harbour Estate RSPB by Ronald Surgenor. Check out Ronald's Flickr site:

Email sightings to: nisightings@googlemail.com

Visit us at Facebook here
Or follow us on Twitter here

For everything else Surfbirds and Fatbirder

Reasons to Hate Gulls (Part 2)

He's been up to his old tricks again - the gulling season has officially started, for Derek anyway (as if you hadn't guessed by his proclamation yesterday)

Reason Number 2: Gulls have terrible fashion sense

Spot the Bird (Part 95)

Answer to Part 94: Ring-necked Duck

Your card's marked C.H.A.R.L.E.S!

We recieved this message from a mysterious P. O'Nuthatch representing the mysterious CIDERBOSS gang:

CIDERBOSS (Campaign to Ignore Doting Egotist's Really Boring Old Seagulls Stories) has announced details of it's secret guerilla habitat managment war to increase the Northern Ireland bird list without the addition of split gull species. All of the below species are firsts for Northern Ireland and seen in at a secret suburban location in Lisburn, Co. Antrim - we will respond with cider-fuelled violence to anybody who says otherwise (pokes in the ribs, wedgies, Chinese burns etc.). We would categorically like to state that these birds were not seen in the Gambia a couple of years ago - we'll see how that bloke from CHARLES (Continuity Herring And Ross's Larid Eulogising Society) feels the next time he tries to string a plastic bag lookalike into a tick (a cider bottle over the head will soon sort that out)

 African Jacana

 Blue-breasted Roller

Giant Kingfisher

Friday, 26 November 2010

Bird News Friday 26th November

A Barn Owl was watched hunting over the RSPB Reserve this evening. (Ronald Surgenor)

2 Brambling were at Lough Shark, Co. Armagh / Down (Joe Devlin) Another was at Castlecaldwell Fermanagh. One was also noted at Kilywoolaghan Lough Neagh

At Larne Lough 7 Pinkfooted Geese and 3 Twite were seen.

An adult Yellow-legged Gull was at Whitehouse Lagoon, Co. Antrim (Derek Charles) (it's started!) What was probably the same bird was seen later at Dargan Bay. 150 Goldeneye were in the bay.

The drake Green-winged Teal is still at Belfast Harbour Estate RSPB (Ronald Surgenor)
Also 2 Sparrow hawks, 1 Kestrel, 150 Golden Plover, 15 Shovelor, 40 Wigeon and a Peregrine!

In Co. Tyrone 24 Woodcock and 6 Jack Snipe were at Brougher Mountain, near Fintona (Peter Crory)

Late News: 6 Woodcock were flushed at Seaforde Estate on Tuesday (John Trainor)

More Late news: An unusual sighting, a Woodcock was pictured feeding in a garden at Westway Grove, Belfast on the 15th November. Thanks to Charles Morrison for the sighting and this great picture

Email sightings to: nisightings@googlemail.com

Visit us at Facebook here
Or follow us on Twitter here

For everything else Surfbirds and Fatbirder

Mad Friday Now Over!


Well not quite, thanks to Andy Patterson for this one!

I Have a Dream

Special thanks to Pat Lonergan of the photograph of the Franklins Gulls and to Martin Luther King for help with the speech. Didn't think i would ever get those 2 in the one sentence on the blog!

Pat Lonergan

I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American Gulls dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of gull watching:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all gulls are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of the Foyle, the sons of former gull watchers and the sons of former duck watchers will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Tyrone, a state sweltering with the heat of chaffinches, sweltering with the heat of Jac kdaws, will be transformed into an oasis of Franklins and Laughing Gulls.
I have a dream that my fellow gull watchers will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by their gull books but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Enniskillen, with its vicious Duck watchers, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "Ring Necked" and "Smew" -- one day right there in Fermanagh little gull boys and gull girls will be able to join hands with little duck boys and duck girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall have a dump, and every hill and mountain shall be made into landfill, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Kumliens Gull shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to Culmore with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of Gull Watchers. With this faith, we will be able to gull together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to dumps together, to stand up for gulls together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of the Gull Watchers will be able to sing with new meaning:
My Culmore 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Dump where my fathers drive, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every landfill, let freedom ring!
And if Culmore is to be a great dump again, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of Cullybackey.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of the Mournes.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of the Sperrins.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Slemish.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of Rostrevor.
But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Black Mountain.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Binevenagh.
Let freedom ring from every hill and rabbit warren of Millisle.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow Gull Watching, when we let it gull from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, gull men and duck men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Peter Grant spiritual:
Gull at last! Gull at last!
Thank God Almighty, we can Gull at last!

Black Kite

This isn't a Black Kite, its a Red Kite beautifully photographed in the evening sun. Either that or Tristan can't work his camera! Tristan has promised us more Red Kite pictures if we behave ourselves so i think we will have to make do with this one! But you can check for more stunning Red Kite pics on his Website http://www.binocularface.co.uk/ They are fantastic. Thanks Tristan.

In the Spotlight

I suppose you were thinking this piece would be about Andrew and myself being interviewed about the birding issues of the day. No way we are Highlighting yet another brilliant piece of photography by Ian Dickey although we are at a loss as to why he called it "In the Spotlight!!!"
Thanks Ian.

Bald Eagle

Continueing our North American theme here is the daddy of them all. The BALD EAGLE. He isn't actually bald, thats white feathering on his head but White Headed Eagle just doesn't as good for the flagship bird of the USA!
Our thanks to Roy Atkins from Speyside Wildlife for this stunner.

Imagine finding one of these at the Bann Estuary, its possible!


Have a look at this boyo and think have i ever seen one of these in my garden? If you have you obviously don't live in Northern Ireland. If you live in Northern Ireland and have seen one of these all i can say is boo.. hoo.hoo!
This is a Brown Thrasher and has never been officially recorded in Ireland before but you never know. This great photograph was taken by Richard Hoy in Canada. We don't know who owns the hand! Thanks Richard.

Bird Conference

Tristan Reid is well known for his work on Geese, Dragonflys, Gulls indeed anything which can't really be identified. But we knew it wouldn't be long before he delved into the murky world of Chickens and Guineafowl, he just couldn't help himself. By good chance he stumbled upon the "Annual Chicken and Guineafowl Conference" last weekend which was taking place in Scotland. Here is a picture of the 3 main speakers at the conference. This years theme was "Should we start peace talks with Mr Fox?"
More about the conference can be found on Tristans website http://www.binocularface.co.uk/
Thanks Tristan.

We Eat Humble Pie and best Heron Photo Ever

A couple more classics from Team Hadrick on their recent epic trip to the UK to tick as many eateries as possible. Dave and Orcilla are on top of their game, Gurus if you must call them that. They are also a wizz with a camera as can be seen by the stunning photo of the Heron below. Thanks guys Birding World here you come!

Spot the Bird (Part 94)

Answer to Part 93: Kumlien's Gull

Bar-tailed Godwit!

Here's some more superb shots from Allen Gillespie - I believe the word is 'stunning', par for the course really - we haven't seen a bad photo from Allen yet (it seems they don't exist). How does he take photographs like that?! Forget Robins on Christmas cards - stick a picture of a Bar-tailed Godwit on one to really brighten up somebodys Christmas (well, it would certainly work for me) Thanks again Allen.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Bird News Thursday 25th November.

25 Waxwings were at the back of Castlecourt shopping centre, Belfast City Centre, this morning (Allen Gillespie)

30 Bramblings were at Islandnabracky near Martinstown, Co. Antrim

Another 16 Bramblings were near Cargan

28 Waxwings were in flight over Monkstown shops.

A single Jack Snipe was at Springwell forest.

The drake Green-winged Teal was seen again at Belfast Harbour Estate RSPB

Here's a picture of a Little Grebe by Dave Hadrick

Email sightings to: nisightings@googlemail.com

Visit us at Facebook here
Or follow us on Twitter here

For everything else Surfbirds and Fatbirder

Warning about Friday!

Tommorrow is going to be mad on this blog. We are going to feature "Chickens" (yes Andrew doesn't know about this) "I have a dream" in the style of Martin Luther King. "In the Spotlight"
"Bald Eagle" no not a picture of me! "Purps" "Flying your Kite" and we are going to eat "Humble Pie" so tune in Sad and Lonely you might be surprised!
Its going to be a one off mad day!
In the meantime here is something to keep you going. A Fieldfare by Ian Dickey. Its a cracker!

Sorry Again!

We have been found out again, this time by sharp eyed Alan Tilmouth, check his mail to us below. The shame of it all, its a lot to take and we may have to wrap up the blog and back to the Bodhran. Being really bad birders was good while it lasted.

The image (above) purporting to be of three Northern Ireland birders is clearly a fake. I have seen the original location of this image on the back of a CD entitled Irish Folk Songs Vol7 in Dublin airport, the tripod is clearly photoshopped in place of the fiddle the gentleman on the left was holding in the original. shame on you!
Alan Tilmouth