Friday, 31 December 2010

Bird News Friday 31st December

A redhead Smew was at Lough Island Reavy near Castlewellan.....





........along with 3 Goosanders (a pair and a new fem./imm. bird). 6 Goldenye and 23 Tufted Duck were also present. (A. Crory)



Above: Not quite as bad as the recent Slav Grebe shots


The drake Ferruginous Duck was at Craigavon Lakes, a Mealy Redpoll was also present (D. Charles) Also on the lake was the returning male Pochard x Ferrugunious hybrid and in the trees 50 Lesser Redpoll and 20 Siskin

10 Waxwings were at Mayo Drive Ballycastle today (per G.Campbell)

A Red Kite was seen near the racecourse on the Ballydugan Rd. at Downpatrick (H. Thurgate)

Murlough NNR Reserve Newcastle today had 800 Common Scoter (does anyone else think thats an estimate?) 100 Great Crested Grebe, 1 male Long-tailed Duck, 10 Red Throated Diver, 8 Scaup, 250 Sanderling, 100 Knot and 50 Dunlin. (K.Bennett)

At Reedy Flat the finch flock now had at least 4 Brambling! (they were sitting in the one bush and therefore easy to count!) 50 Tree Sparrow and 20 Reed Bunting were the best of the rest. 20 Greylags and 60 Whoopers were on the shore.
At nearby Ardmore Point 45 Whoopers and 6 Greylag were inthe fields and 60 Lapwing and 120 Wigeon on the shore. Another 20 Whoopers were near Oxford Island.
A Merlin was near Ballyronan and 506 Whoopers were at the Creagh Toomebridge. OK OK a flock of 6 were in a single field and there was a big herd in another field and i was doing 70mph being chased by the Police.

Finally i went to Portmore, i don't know why i go to Portmore, i don't know why anyone goes to Portmore but i seen some Tree Sparrows. Whoopee do, nice birds though.

A juv. Whooper Swan was at a private pond between Seaforde and Loughinisland (P. Crory and J. Coburn)

Finally at the Whistledown Hotel in Warrenpoint today Dave and Orcilla had a fantastic lunch and the Guiness was frankly much better than any bloody seagull or Redshank. Can't argue with that.
15+ Goosanders were on the River Maine at the footbridge between Randalstown Forest and Shanes Castle. Another Goosander and 7 Gadwall were west of Cranfield Point.

30 Slavonian Grebes were between Ballykelly and the Roe Estuary, Lough Foyle. A female Merlin and a Peregrine were at Ballykelly. 4 Yellowhammer were nearby at Broighter Rd. Another Peregrine was at Myroe.
The adult Ring-billed Gull was still at East Strand car park, Portrush
On the Antrim side of Belfast Lough 1,178 Scaup (yeah really who counted that on New Years Eve!) and a male Long Tailed Duck were off Loughshore Park. The intermedius type Lesser Black Backed Gull was still at Whitehouse Lagoon (may have to go and investigate this as i have no idea how you can tell this from a Baltic Gull!)


Thanks again to Allen Gillespie for these superb shots of Fieldfares taken recently - a great way to end the year!!








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2010......a Review

The year started off well with much jollity and comradeship all around, everything was peaceful in the fair and free land of the North. Birders greeted each other with hugs and kisses, cups of tea and slices of cake were ubiquitous.....but it was not to last long.....


......then came the great schism, when the evil, banal, arrogant, nerdy, Grand Fromage became jealous of we two young upstarts and began to make up false accusations in the hope of maintaining his boring stranglehold. The Grand Vizier, too scared to showcase his photographs, became embroiled in the dastardly plot and flailed wildly about the place not knowing what to do (alas there was no change there). Thus began the eternal conflict when we would dish out a daily kicking to the opposition.

There were casualties everywhere. Myself and Derek managed to fight off waves and waves of committee members, their bodies were strewn across the battlefield, bloated and festering in the midday sun. It was an horrific sight, one that I will probably never forget. Despite all the odds we prevailed, forcing our once allies to wallow in their own squalid pit of boredom and unprofessionalism, which was quite easy as they never do any birding in the fair land of the North.



Above: Sighting of the year? Part of the flock of 73 Slender-billed Curlews at Tyrella Beach in July.


The gods smiled favourably on our actions and as an act of universal thanks turned the McGarry Brothers into three Little Egrets, which was a great diservice to Egrets everywhere so they became the 3 Eejits, doomed forevermore to be laughed at and pitied in equal measure.

Finally, the last great battle took place, our fifth columnists were waiting and the pressure was piled on .....and lo in the final days of the year someone got even Sadder and Lonelier as their Fatbirder rankings went into a free-fall. Every trap we set he fell for it, it really was too easy. Well, to be honest it was nothing to do with us, being obnoxious to almost everybody you have and haven't met does wear thin after a while. Who knows what will become of the Birder-Formerly-Known-As-Stringy-Now-Regarded-As-Just-Another-Crank? Does anybody care? No, people do not care much for one-trick ponies. Yea, so it was thus. Verily. All bow down before this picture of a chicken. Amen.

Merry Xmas / New Year

Ok, sorry about that. We forgot all about Christmas. We were so cheap that we even stole Geoff Campbell's card. Here's our 'Happy New Year' card

The photo of the Magpie one of the best photos of the year was sent by Ian Dickey. It is most likely another stuffed bird but for now we are giving Ian and Geoff the benefit of the doubt, but we will be watching them even closer next year! Thanks Ian and Geoff.

Back to the Future? 31st December


Here's a free picture of a Stonechat. It's a recession after all.

Haha!!! I'm back, I bet you thought I'd gone away. In a sense I had, I was across the border delivering hampers and wads of cash to our fifth columnists in Sad and Lonely circles. Credit where credit's due it wouldn't have been possible without our key sleeper agents within the inner circle to destroy his Fatbirder ranking. After all, it was one of his prize ego-stroking posessions.

On this day...or should it be on this date? This has sparked a ferocious debate within our growing horde. It should be...

...on this day in history

(this statement allows for the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calender and allows for other calendars including and approximated dates in pre-history. Have any of the nobirds team ever had an education? It seems not)

Tally-ho! On this day in history.....

  • 1229 – James I of Aragon the Conqueror enters Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma, Spain) thus consummating the Christian reconquest of the island of Majorca.
  • 1759 – Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness.
  • 1951 – The Marshall Plan expires after distributing more than $13.3 billion USD in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.
  • 1991 – All official Soviet Union institutions have ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union is officially dissolved.
Happy birthday to Bob Shaw.

Alternatively, in Northern Ireland recorded history on this date/ day doesn't start until:

  • A drake Goosander was shot on the River Lagan (1870)
  • A Hawfinch was at Hillsborough (1899)
  • A Goosander was at Acton Lake (1956)
  • 3 Pink-footed Geese were at the Comber Estuary (1966)
  • 9 Long-tailed Duck were on Lough Neagh (1967)
  • A Marsh Harrier was at Oxford Island (1976)
  • A drake Lesser Scaup was at Oxford Island (1996)

In case anybody but Gullface hasn't noticed I don't include the gull records - they're all rubbish, I've dumped them all.

'Cry baby cry, make your mother sigh, you're old enough to know better, cry baby cry'

That's It! No More Moths!

No more moths, no more birds, no more nibirding blog, no more competitors, no more cheesy ducks, no more outlaw duck, no more spot the bird, no more chamber of horrors, no more Friday treat, no more gulls (oh yeah!), no more USA vs NI, no more Garbage from America, no more Portavogie Pat the Psychic Cephalapod, no more Pterible Tales, no more chickens, no more gulls (yes!!), no more Reasons to Hate Gulls (boo), no more gulls (ooooh fantastic!). No more Harry. No more Barry. No more Larry
Haven't you heard? it's the end of the world!?!? I'm not going to go on about it....there's no point. There's no gulls left after tomorrow that's all that matters. A hard pill to swallow Derek but why do you still cling on? Give up, you have one last chance left to come over to the world of moths. You still have time to bask in the glory of Hummingbird Hawkmoths





'Who paid for all the farls? - Derek did!' that's what them gulls have been saying to you all along, you just never listened. You never listened Derek. Farls, that's all you ever meant to them. Farls.

Three Wise Men

I know its a a bit late which is entirely typical of this rubbish we call a blog. These three wise men were photographed at 11pm on Christmas Eve at Aviemore as they were leaving to climb the mountain and search for Ptarmigan (an all white grouse)
They hatched this clever plan after their third gallon of mulled wine coming to the theory that because you can't see Ptarmigan in the snow during the day because they are superbly camouflaged that in winter they must be nocturnal and come out at night. They haven't been since but when we rang Mountain Rescue they said "We are not rescueing those 3 anymore. Pat and Jack normally have to go up with mince pies and brandy and order them back down"
(thanks to Pat Baines who really buys into this Mad Friday thing, i wonder why!)

Raity Alert 2 Black Ducks Ward Park, Bangor!

I knew it was only a matter of time before a picture of the Bangor Black Duck came out and when this photo arrived this morning, i feinted! There are now 2 Black Ducks! Wonderful news and i am sure breakfast plates all over the North are being cleared as people rev up their cars and head to Bangor.
Top twitcher Pat Baines takes up the story" When i heard there was a Black Duck at Bangor it was very exciting news as my Black Cat Jack has never caught one of these beautiful raritys. So we have staked the place out and this morning lo and behold 2 Black Ducks. Jack sprung into action and i a currently have one in the oven and one in the freezer. And a tick for Jack, what a family Xmas this has been"
Her long suffering husband Chris says "Pat shouldn't be allowed out with a camera but to be fair the Black Duck was very tasty and Pat cooks mean Roasted Vegatables. Jacks UK and Ireland List (the only list that counts) now stands at 532 just ahead of Cat Johns."

Special thanks to Pat for photo and to Pat and Chris for their support.

On Borrowed Time

We paid for his tickets, put him up in a nice apartment, bought him all the optical equipment and gave him a living allowance. Yet Ross Towers seems to be intent in trying to give us the slip - all we want is a few decent yank photos.



Here's the latest image he's sent us 'hot off the press' - nice try but you would have to change the file name from 'Sept09'. Think you're smart? well we can tell by the background geology that this picture was taken in Scotland. You are on borrowed time Towers. Final warning. Lucky for you the world is going to end in a few hours.

Spot the Bird (Part 130)



Answer to Part 129: Green-winged Teal

Spot the Bird Special

You would've had to have been quick to get this spot the bird - thanks to Derek polley for this mad photo.



Thursday, 30 December 2010

Last Mad Friday of the Year and probably ever, ever


Just a reminder to all our fans out there in La La Land that its Mad Friday Tomorrow. Its going to be that mad that i am not going to post anything at all! So to keep you going until Saturday here is a picture from my Holidays. Its a Lanner Falcon.

ps there is no truth in tne rumour that Mrs Dumpling from Portavogie came and collected her naughty Snow Goose this morning from Greyabbey. Seemingly it was annoyed that Timmy Turkey who she was in love with mysteroiusly vanished on Christmas Eve.

pps the picture isn't actually a Lanner its a Long Legged Buzzard

Bird News Thursday 30th December

Thanks to Keith Bennett for these sightings from the Ards Peninsula today:

Greyabbey: this morning 4 Pink-footed Geese and 1 Greenland White-front with greylags on field between Greyabbey and Mount Stewart. No sign of any snow goose this morning. 1 Little Egret at Ann's point.

Kircubbin: Little Egret at marsh by Maxol

Portaferry: 1 Sandwich Tern at marina

Ballyquintin: 7 Woodcock

Cloughey: 1 Little Egret at beach pool

Kirkistown: 500 Golden Plover.

Millin bay: 4 Yellowhammer and a Stock Dove on fields just S of bay

Greyabbey bay: 7 Slavonian Grebe.

A white Chaffinch and 2 Blackcaps were still in a private garden in Hillsborough
 
A Twite was at Ballyhornan village - 1 Skylark was at Killard, a Sandwich Tern was at Mill 
Quarter Bay.
A Stonechat was near Kilclief.
 
10 Waxwings were along the Shore Road in Belfast. An adult Intermedius Lesser Black Backed Gull was at Whitehouse Lagoon (why isn't this news at top of page?)
10 Yellowhammers were on private farmland at Ardilea, Dundrum Inner Bay North.

8 Goldeneye and 6 Little Grebe were south of the Downshire Bridge and 4 Goldeneye and 2 Little Grebe were on the north side.

69 Brent Geese were at the mouth of the Glen River, Newcastle.

In Fermanagh at least 10 Scandanavian Herring Gulls were at Enniskillen Dump. Two hybrid gulls probably Glaucous x Herring were also present. A North Eastern Jackdaw was present as well.

A Great Northern Diver was off the mouth of Larne Lough (Ronald Surgenor)



A Little Egret was also present but we can't tell if it was Harry, Larry or Barry



It was a bit misty out today


I give up


In Co. Donegal 2 1st winter Iceland Gulls were at Killybegs. 2 Adult Scandanavian Herring Gulls and a Great Northern Diver were also seen.

140 Barnacle Geese were at Kilcar.
At Mountcharles there were 3 Slavonian Grebes and 24 Long-tailed Duck. Donegal Bay is a fantastic place for Divers, 39 Great Northerns were counted around the bay.

A Black-throated Diver was at Rossknowlagh and 1800 Common Scoter were at Mervagh.

Thanks to Nigel Snell again from these shots - check out Nigel's websites before the world ends tomorrow night:
www.nigel-snellphotography.com
www.flickr/photos/nigelsnell/






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It's all going pear-shaped!!

Well, that's just my waistline, too much cider and turkey and beer and ham and chocolate and gin. Did I mention vodka? Don't really like the stuff but why not? Another bottle of wine anybody? Hmm, must be time for more turkey - spritzer anyone? Aaah, that's more like it, must be time for some Baileys. Hey! Champagne - you're very kind! Oooh look a couple of tins of draught Guinness, may as well. Oooooh!.....oh, it's a 12 pack of tennents and 2 crates of Harp.....no chance, I'll leave that to the brother in-law, he's bound to mop it up. Did somebody mention more turkey and Chardonnay? And dessert....mmmm, a maderian petrel cake, flamb├ęd? Surely not?! Hold on a minute, Christmas Day was a 6 days ago, where's that gin...and the turkey, I'm hungry?

Oh aye, this was meant to be about moths! Puss Moth Cerura vinula, aye that's the one isn't it. That there fella that's flying about in May to late-July. You know the one I'm on about - the larvae feed on
willows Salix spp.


 
Has somebody nicked my gin? I can't find it anywhere! You've nicked it haven't you?

Spot the Bird (Part 129)



Answer to Part 128: Wren

Two Turtle Doves

Ok....nearly 2 Turtle Doves but at least Allen Gillespie is making an effort!! Looks like Allen is in the running to pick up the grand prize. I am still suspicious though - nobody else has sent in anything for this competition and we are usually inundated with entries. I think he's been nobbling the competition.


Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Tunisia Trip Report

TUNISIA 19th - 26th December 2010

Derek Charles and Dennis Weir.

Why Tunisia is the obvious question?? We have Mr Thomas Cook to thank for that! He offered us a half board deal flying out of Belfast for £124. We couldn't really look over that. The hire car from AVIS was more expensive than that. We stayed in the Hotel Janene in Sousse and used this as a base. We went to the south of the Country and stayed a night in Douz, Gabes and Matmata.
Our flight was delayed 5 hours due to snow in Ireland and the hire car office was closed so we had to pick it up next morning via a Taxi from the hotel.

General
In short Tunisia is a complete dump, litterly a dump. Everywhere we went rubbish was strewn everywhere and plastic bags are in every field, hedge, ditch etc, even when we where well into the desert. Its an absolute shame and disgrace. There appears to be no goverment control of waste collection or even a dump where people can take their rubbish. Its just thrown outside their doors.
The land is under extreme pressure as well. There are miles and miles and miles of Olive Groves again even into the Desert. Overgrazing also appears to be a problem. Drainage of water from wetland sites is also endemic and many sites we visited where dry. Huge areas of the country are complete wastelands and you can go for 50 miles and the ONLY birds that you see are Sparrows and Stralings. Indicator species like Birds of Prey, insects and mammals are virtually non-existant.
On the plus side when you do run into pockets of birds there are some great species to see. The people are very friendly, we never ever felt under any threat even in the far south and close to the Libyan Border. We didn't realy get any hassle from beggers or people trying to sell us trinkets. The Police and Army were also very polite and friendly and despite being stopped at least 20 times we never had any problems at all and no attempt was made to extort money.
Food was ok and better than most African countrys and most decent hotels had a bar. The slow manner and pace which Tunisians do everything can be a bit frustrating at times. Girls and women when encountered which wasn't that often would not look or smile at you and would be a lot less friendly than the men.
Only really bad point was the Customs people trying to "steal" my binoculars as we entered the country. They were in a bag so were not obvious but basically they tried to steal them off me. Dennis and i held our ground and eventually they gave them back but it was a bit scary. They said binoculars were banned! They are not and are gear were always in full show when stopped by Army and Police and there was no problem. We even birded close to an Army base in the Desert and ended up giving a soldier a lift! They were curious but no problem at all with Binoculars, Scopes or Cameras.
The other thing to watch out for is the driving. Basicaly ignore road signs and the only rule is to drive as fast as you can and overtake as quickly as you can even if there is on-coming traffic. If i had of beed driving i would have adopted a defensive stratedgy but Dennis was driving and he adopted a might as well join them stratedgy! This made for an exciting ride if you are not of a nervous disposition. However he got us back to the airport safely but how he managed it in that chaos i will never know. Also pedestrians appear entitled to walk across and along the road just whenever they feel like it.

Information.
There is not that much recent information on birds and sites in Tunisia but Dave Allen and Andrea Corso gave us much invaluable information and Dave also helped out via phone while we were in the Countyr. Our thanks goes to them both

Itinery

DAY 1
Hergla Lagoon and north to Hammamet. Also visited Monastir Saltpans

DAY 2
Drive to Douz and birded on way. Also Shidma Ponds and Desert area.

DAY 3
Birded from Douz into the Desert at Ksaar Ghilane. Also from Ksar Ghilane to Matmata

DAY 4
Toujane Hills and then done a recce to Libyan border. Birded around Zaris and spent night in Gabes

DAY 5
Saltpans at SFAX and visited El Jem Roman Collesium

DAY 6
Hergla Lagoon and north to the Mountains around Zaghaoun

DAY 7
Morning around the Monastir Saltpans.

Species of interest

Shelduck: Between 5000 and 10000 were on Hergla Lagoon

Marbled Teal: Approx 2000 on Shidma (or chidma) Pond. This is a small area of water and what makes this area attractive is not immediately obvious!

Ferruginous Duck: Male and 2 Female on a small dam near Zaghaoun. We found this completely by chance.

Red Breasted Merganser: 3 at Zaris Port. We have included this as they do not appear to be common in this area.

White Headed Duck: 105 at the dam at Zaghaoun. This is the only place we encounted this species and Ferruginous Duck (and Pochard!)

Barbary Partridge: Just seen twice both times around Zaghaoun. 4 birds in total. Both times it was on small hills, with small bush's on stony ground.

Black Necked Grebe: Seen on most areas of open water. At least 2000 were on Hergla Lagoon throuhout and around 500 were at the Tyna Saltpans at Sfax.

Scopolis Shearwater: Just one seen from hotal balcony. Virtually no seawatching was undertaken!

Cattle Egret: Around 500 were on what was supposed to be a rubbish tip at Eudfida north of Sousse

Great White Egret: At least 15 at Tyna Saltpans, Sfax

White Stork: 8 birds near Eufida

Spoonbill: Seen at most wetland sites, around 60 were at the Saltpans, Tyna Sfax.

Flamingo: Large numbers at all wetland sites.

Marsh Harrier: 7 individuals seen including one deep in the desert which was an unusual site!

Long Legged Buzzard: 6 birds seen all in the south. Two different juveniles showed in the desert areas close to Douz.

Black Winged Kite: One seen hovering close to the Motorway near Eufida. A bonus bird as they are normally only encountered in more Northern Areas.

Lanner: 3 different adults seen all south of Gabes. Two different birds were found sitting on pylons and allowed close views.

Crane: Common around Hergla Lake and surrounding areas. Perhaps around 1000 seem to be wintering.

Stone Curlew: Just one bird seen on farmland south of Sfax.

Dotteral: 3 different groups of between 8 and 30 birds deep in the Desert south of Douz. This came as a shock! They must over-winter in the desert

Wood Sandpiper: Just one on a sewage pool at Hergla

Spotted Redshank: At least 15 at Tyna Saltpans

Marsh Sandpiper: Again surpriseinly common at most wetland sites. At least 60 at Tyna Saltpans Sfax, with most being fairly tame.

Grey Phalarope: Major surprise was one at Tyna Saltpans, Sfax. We also had 2 other distant Phalaropes on Sfax Saltpans nearby but we couldn't access this site. It is felt these were also likely Grey Phalaropes.

Slender Billed Gull: The common gull of the region seen at all coastal locations. At least 2000 were in a roost at Zaris Harbour

Aoudouins Gull: Just 3 single adults, 2 near Sousse and an adult at Monastair Saltpans.

Caspian Gull: Two 1st winters near Hergla.

Great Black Headed Gull: A 1st winter on a sandbank south of Zaris.

Baltic Gull: One possible adult at the gull roost at Zaris. However it was not ringed.

Gull Billed Tern: One at Monastair Saltpans.

Caspian Tern: Common at all coastal locations. Around 45 birds seen in and around Zaris

Whiskered Tern: 5 juveniles at Tyna Saltpans, Sfax.

Laughing Dove: Abundant

Little Owl: Around 15 birds including one individual in the desert.

Pallid Swift: 3 birds near Sfax.

Lesser Short Toead Lark: Common in desert areas.

Desert Lark: About 10 birds around Matmata.

Bar Tailed Dert Lark: 2 singles near Bir Soltane on the "pipeline" road south of Douz.

The pipeline road is 32 KM east from Matmata on the road to Douz. The pipeline road runs due south into the desert

Calandra Lark: 3 birds were on fields aroun Lake Hergla

Thick Billed Lark: 8 birds around the Bieber Camp on the pipeline road. The Bieber Camp is a collection of concrete homes on the right hand side about 5km from the junction on the Matmat - Douz road.

Temmincks Lark: About 20 birds around the Bieber Camp

Hoopoe Lark: Fairly common in the desert areas.

Crag Martin: Around 60 birds on the dam near Zaghaoun

Pied Wagtail: 2 different males seen

Redstart: One female near the junction of the pipeline road on the Douz - Matmata road

Mouissiers Redstart: Fairly common in all habitats

Mgahreb Wheatear: Common in desert areas.

Black Wheatear: Common in most suitable habitat ie rocky-hilly areas.

Desert Wheatear: Common in desert areas (funny enough!)

Red Rumped Wheatear: Just 2 birds on the pipeline road

Scrub Warbler: At least 5 birds seen in the desert

Tristams Warbler: One male seen near Bieber Camp. A couple of other skulking immatures were suspected!

Reed Warbler: A couple of individuals were heard and seen in a reedbed between Douz and Gidma

African Blue Tit: Just one seen at El Jem

Grey Shrike: Very common in all habitats. Max day count was 58

Brown Necked Raven: We encountered these regularly in desert areas, normally pairs but we had up to 11 in one flock.

Rock Sparrow: Common around Matmat and Toujane

Desert Sparrow: At leat 4 were easily found at the well known site at Ksar Kilane on the piepline road.

Trumpeter Finch: Fairly Common in desert areas.

House Bunting: Fairly common in south of country especially around Matmata and Toujene.

Corn Bunting: Just one bird which surprised us

We ended up with 141 species which was a reasonable total considering we never visited the North of the Country. If anyone wants any more detail on the sites visited or species seen contact derek.charles@hotmail.com

Thanks again to Dave Allen and Andrea Corso who made things a lot easier for us.

Bird News Wednesday 29th December

The white phase Snow Goose was south of Ann's Pt, Strangford Lough. In fields opposite Spring Lane (the southern boundary of Mountstewart National Trust. A Greenland White-fronted Goose and 4 Pink-footed Geese were also among the Greylag flock there.



Gen mega or not...it's a Snow Goose!!

8 Slavonian Grebe were at Big Stone Bay, Greyabbey. A Black-throated Diver and a Slavonian Grebe were off Kircubbin.
At Kirkistown 700 Golden Plover and 170 Lapwing were present.
3 Scandanavian Herring Gulls were at Portavogie and the Hybrid Adult Ring Billed Gull x Common Gull was still at Millisle.

Wawings included 2 at Whitewell Road and 6 off the Westlink, both Belfast

Back to Strangford Lough a Little Egret (maybe Larry or Barry) was at the Floodgates and 250 Pintail at the Maltings.

In Belfast Lough 2 Gadwall were at Kinnegar Pool and on the Shore there 30 Knot, 20 Dunlin and 50 Bar Tailed Godwits were present. At the nearby Reserve 200 Teal and 60 Wigeon were braving the icy conditions.

Dargan Bay held 300 Scaup and an adult Scandanavian Herring Gull.

The 1W Ring-billed Gull was still at Whitehouse Lagoon in Belfast

10 Brambling, 8 Siskin, a male Blackcap, 4 Lesser Redpoll, 20 Goldfinch. 6 Chaffinch and 6 Greenfinch were in a garden in Carrickfergus

18 Tree Sparrow were in a garden in Castlerock

8 Twite were at the old sewage outlet at Luke's Point, Ballyholme Bay in Bangor
.




Above: Worst photo to ever appear on any website. It's definitely a Slavonian Grebe Derek, any more lip and you're not getting your memory card back!

6 Yellowhammer were on private farmland at Ardilea, Dundrum Inner Bay North.



Barry the Little Egret was at Dundrum Inner Bay South - no sign of Harry or Larry.



Thanks to Nigel Snell for these photos of a Grey Heron in the mist at Ballo Wetland, Bangor. A Sparrowhawk was also seen:

www.nigel-snellphotography.com
www.flickr/photos/nigelsnell/








Email sightings to: nisightings@googlemail.com

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Advertisement Feature

Impending Apocalypse!!

The end is nigh so before the heart of the universe flatlines catch a gobful of this Striped Twin Spot Carpet
Flies from mid-May to mid-June and again from late July to early September, larvae feed on bedstraws Galium spp.......but you'll never get the chance seeing as it's the end of the world soon.




........it  could well be the last moth you ever see.


So that's it, we've only a couple of days to go before things go belly up and the end of eternity begins, it was nice knowing you all - I bet you regret buying those 30,000 loaves of stale bread for your mega-assault on Killybegs Derek? It's now or never, load up the van - you've got less than 48 hours of gull-watching left Charlesy-boy you may as well stuff the boot full of wheaten bread, soda bread, potato bread and veda (all indigenous Ulster breads) and go for it. It'll do you no good though - Douglas Adams got it wrong, there'll be no gulls there. All there'll be waiting for you Derek is a note saying 'So long and thanks for all the farls'.

Nutt's Corner Xmas

Hmmm, this is the oddest Spaniel we've ever seen.




Remember a dog is not just for christmas.....neither is a sheepdog.

Spot the Bird (Part 128)



Answer to Part 127: Red Kite

Return of the man who never came back!

Ian Dickey. Redwing pretending to be a Waxwing!

I am back from Tunisia and the blog is in crisis (again) Moths, chickens more chickens and more moths! I thought we were meant to quit after a 1000 posts but Andrew has told me a mystery benefactor has promised us a £1,000,000 each if we continue onto 2000 posts. So i have reluctently agreed but there will be strict rules imposed. No more sex gallery, moths, chickens or pictures of Redwings. If any of these rules are broken i am off, from now on its bird news only and Tunisian Trip Reports. Tune in later for both!

Thanks to Ian Dickey for a Redwing cracker we knew he couldn't resist yet another stuffed bird photo before the end of the year. The rumour id he stole this one from the Ulster Museum.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Bird News Tuesday 28th December

A White Phase Snow Goose (of unknown origin) was at Annes Point today near Greyabbey. Grid reference J570680
Also in the area were 4 Pink-footed Geese and 1 Greenland White-fronts. 18 Slavonian Grebe and 4 Black-Throated Diver at nearby Greyabbey Bay.

At St. John's Pt. there were 2 Raven, a Common Buzzard and 42 Golden Plover. Between there and Rossglass there were 8 Fieldfare, a Common Buzzard and 8 Teal.

Well done to Leonard Charles for re-finding the Spotted Redshank at Newcastle Rock Pool this afternoon.

At Donnybrewer 3 Bullfinch, 5 Long Tailed Tit and 40 Chaffinch at least proved something survived the weather.
At Ballykelly a flock of 300 Dunlin was attacked by a female Merlin who separated one from the rest and the chase began! I don't know who won!
Best at Myroe was a single Red Throated Diver.
2 Argantatus Herring Gulls were at Corbally Dam, Portrush

3 Twite and a Skylark at Sandy Bay Larne. A male and female Brambling and a Yellowhammer where at Curran Point Larne Lough

10 Brambling,2 Waxwing, and a Siskin were in a garden at Prospect Road in Carrickfergus.
A first winter Ring Billed Gull and an adult Meditterean Gull were seen at Whitehouse Lagoon in Belfast.
A Blackcap and a nearly pure white Chaffinch were in a garden in Hillsborough.
4 Brambling were in a garden in Ballyholme.
Another Brambling was in a garden this time in Coleraine

100 Siskin were at Antrim Marina (feeding on Alder) 50 Linnet and 50 Goldfinch were in gardens in and around the Parkhall Road in Antrim.
A Little Egret,2 Stonechat,1 Bar-tailed Godwit,6 Brent, 50 Dunlin, and Turnstone were at Killard Point,the large flock of Woodcock that gathered there over the last few weeks have disappeared.
60 Skylark were along Springwell Road in Groomsport and 30 Siskin just off the ring road at Balloo in Bangor


Thanks to Allen Gillespie for these spooky shots of a Hooded Crow, even spookier when you know they were taken in a graveyard.



A number of photographs have been added to our 'Red Hot Gallery' page (click on the page link here). In particular look out for the work of nearly everybody - there's over 100 photos in there so far, accept no imitations or half-hearted, slow off the mark, run of the mill attempts by competitors websites!!

Ballykinler Beach had 258 Sanderling and 2000 Common Scoter, 4 Great Crested Grebes, 12 Red-breasted Merganser and a Red-throated Diver were offshore. 180 Golden Plover and 10 Fieldfare were at Tyrella.


Above: a free picture of a Red-breasted Merganser...to annoy that guy whose name sounds like a dairy product, the one who has an obsession with crawling around other people in the hope of improving his prestige.....as 'the big cheese' ...and failing. Merry Xmas Stinko!!


Ardilea had a Greenshank, 48 Lapwing and 6 Black-tailed Godwits. 14 Black-tailed Godwits were at Keel Pt. and 8 Little Grebe and a Red-breasted Merganser were at the Downshire Bridge.

In Co. Donegal an adult Iceland Gull was at Greencastle, a returning bird. Oh no! It's started!!!

2 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Red-throated Diver and 12 Great Northern Diver were off Moville.

Make sure to check out Mark Killops Flickr page or you might get something nasty in the post:
http://www.flickr.com/people/natmak/



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Oh No! He's back!!

Damn it, we thought the scurvy had got him but he's back. These could well be the last chicken photos you see on this blog. They are also more voyeur chicken photos, taken at a secret location in Co. Donegal. I've slipped in the rubbish common gull shot to put Derek off the scent- he's so fixated it's the only thing he'll notice.