Monday, 31 January 2011

Bird News Monday 31st January

Oh dear - not much to report today.

Either Barry, Harry or Larry the Little Egret was at Dundrum Inner Bay South today, I couldn't tell which one because he had his back to me.

22 Waxwing were on the Westlink at Roden Street Belfast.
An adult Yellow Legged Gull was at Whitehouse Lagoon, also Belfast

Seeing as it's seemingly dull as ditchwater out there here's some equally dull pics of red kites again.


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Global Warming: Law of Unintended Consequences.

On Galapagos, it took milleniae 
to change the bills of the various Fringillidae 
but a one degree celsius change   
has left the bill of this Anas Crecca quite strange
and a possible hole in Darwin's rate of phylogeny

Thanks to Ed O'Hara for the above

More Arctic Redpoll pictures!

Many thanks to Tristan Reid for more pictcures of Coues Arctic Redpoll which he seen and photographed on Sunday in Durham. I think we can safely say that we are beginning to dislike Tristan rather a lot! He has promised us some seagull pictures for tomorrow. I bet they will be awful and just gulls like Black Headed and Herring Gull. Check Tristans blog here:

Many thanks to Tristan

Bar Tailed Godwits

Unlike Black Tailed Godwits you never see that many pictures of Bar Tailed Godwits. The reason is pretty simple. Bar Tailed Godwits feed exclusively on mudflats principly on the tide line and then roost in the most inaccesible place they can find! Hence you never really get that close to them!
But luckily Ian Dickey was in the right place at the right time yesterday and secured this blogs first ever picture of a Bar Tailed Godwit! Ian charges us £10 per picture but this week we are pleased to cough up. We are hoping that he will get us a picture of a Slender Billed Curlew next although that wouldn't be a first for the blog!
Thanks to Ian for the photo!

Spot the Bird (Part 161)

Answer to Part 160: Myrtle Warbler

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Bird News Sunday 30th January

A Curlew Sandpiper was at Tide Bank, Newtonards (C. Bell)

Here's a Tree Sparrow from our mysterious masked contributor

2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were at an undisclosed site at Downpatrick

The Snow Goose was still near Portmore Lough with Greylags and Whoopers (W.Veale et al)
The 1stw male Ring Necked Duck was back at L.Cowey (K.Bennett)

2 male and 4 female / immature Goosanders were at Cushendun
127 Red Throated Divers flew into Belfast Lough past Whitehead this morning. This event has been recorded almost annually in recent years and begs the question wherte do they come from and why!
12 Red Throated Diver were also off Newcastle

2 Blackcap were at Islanmagee and a female Blackcap and a Brambling were playing hide and sek in a garden off the Lisburn Road in Belfast

2 Water Rail were at Oxford Island

Thanks to Andrew Poots for these photos of Tree Sparrows and Brambling in his garden.

2 Red Kites were at Ballylough outside Castlewellan (A. Crory and N. Snell) 6 Yellowhammer were at Ardilea.

A couple of the aforementioned Yellowhammers

The 5 Goosanders were still at Loughislandreavy, 2 Red Kites and a Common Buzzard were also present (D. and O. Hadrick) Rumours that this pair twitched a coffee shop in Castlewellan remain unconfimed

Another Red Kite was at Clough

A Red Kite was at Farranfad and another near Ballydugan c.1.00pm. 15 Whooper Swan were Magheralagan (W. McNamara)

2 Red Kites were at Ballydugan c.3pm (Nigel Snell)

Another Red Kite was at Moneyslane (C and T Murphy and K. Bennett). In fact there's been so many that we'll have to rename this day Red Kite Day and celebrate with some pics.

But before the pics some more bird news!

The adult Ring Billed Gull and 35 Whooper Swans were still at Portrush
A Red Throated Diver was off Magilligan. At the Myroe Levels, 600 Brent Geese, 80 Greylag and 400 Whooper Swans were on the Turf Lawn Fields.
A Peregrine was at the cliffs at Binnevenagh and finally 100 Linnet, 2 female Brambling and an adult Ring Billed Gull were at Donnybrewer. (Tom Jones)

Chris and Tim Murphy and sidekick Keith Bennet done a bird race today and had an amazing 114 species (which is more than i have seen all year!) Highlights included
350 Common Scoter, L Egret Murlough
6 Yellowhammer, 2 Stock Dove Ardilea
30 Twite, Tyrella
2 Sandwhich Tern, 2 Purple Sandpiper Portavogie
4 Slavonian Grebe Strangford Lough
They have proved that 120 a day is possible with a bit of luck!

Actually, those shots are rubbish - here's some decent ones from Nigel Snell. Have a look at Nigel's websites or we'll raise interest rates, fuel duty and VAT (you think we don't have the power to do that - just try us!).

For more info about RSPB Northern Irelands Red Kite project visit here:

....and just in case you were wondering Leonard Charles has seen 90 species this year so far (one more than Derek) - it's definitely going to be a record year.


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Biohazard Alert

 'Good grief, this room is such a mess, I think it needs a good tidy up'

 'I wonder what's in that box?'

 'Oh no!!! It can't be......!'

 'It's a box full of NIBA reports!!!'

 'I feel all dizzy'

 'The whole room is spinning.......'

Spot the Bird (Part 160)

Answer to Part 159: Reed Bunting

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Bird News Saturday 29th January

A Red-necked Grebe was at Greyabbey Bay South along with 8 Slavonian Grebes (K. Bennett)

The Snow Goose from Anns Point has relocated to Lady Bay, Lough Neagh near Portmore Lough.

2 Ferruginous Duck hybrids were at Craigavon Lakes - one looks awfully like a Ferrug so probably explains the reports of a bird from there. Th returning male hybrid was present and this is an obvious hybrid. The other bird closely resembles an adult female but it is almost Pochard size and head shape is also more Pochard like. Plumage pretty good for Ferruginous.
2 sinensis cormorants were also present. (D. Charles and W. Veale)

Here's a shot of a Siskin by one of our many anonymous contributors

A Bewicks Swan the first recorded this winter was at Cullyhanna with Whooper Swan flock. 2 Pink Footed Geese were at Ross Lough Crossmaglen (J. Devlin)

First winter Ring Billed Gull at Whitehouse Lagoon and a first winter Iceland Gull at the RSPB Reserve. Peregrine Falcon alse at reserve. (K.Bennett)

A male and female Brambling were at Reedy Flat, Co. Armagh

20 Waxwing were on the Raveenhill Road, Belfast
12 Yellowhammer at Magherafelt

5 Goosander (drake and 4 females) were still at Loughislandreavy near Castlewellan

Yes, it's 'dodgy goosander shot of the week' time

At Dundrum Inner Bay Larry the Lonely Egret was at the South Bay along with 3 Greenshank. At the north bay Larry's former friend Barry the Egret was present along with a Greenshank, a Snipe, 95 Lapwing and 12 Black-tailed Godwit.

Here's a completely complimentary rubbish pic

A Red Kite flew over towards Downpatrick and 6 Yellowhammer were on farmland nearby.


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Sunny Sunny Newcastle

Yes, sunny Newcastle, newly discovered birding Mecca. Take a stroll down the promenade! Eat an ice-cream! Buy some chips! Treat yourself to a new pair of shoes! Bump into my mate leonard and he'll ask where you're from and when your birthday is! Stay away from the man who smells of solvents! Have a walk down the beach to see the radioactive fish that wash up with 4 heads and no fins because of Sellafield! Watch natural processes in action as longshore drift takes all the crud from Newcastle further along the coast to the local nature reserve!
Sunny, sunny Newcastle....where it rains a lot. Newcastle is now nearly twice as good thanks to the discovery of breeding Sociable Plovers. Don't believe me?....well, have a look for yourself - I caught this one pecking at my nuts.

Spot the Bird (Part 159)

Answer to Part 158: Reed Warbler

Friday, 28 January 2011

Bird News Friday 28th January

It's all quiet out there at the moment........spookily quiet......AHA!!

A Bittern has been found dead at Lough Beg

16 Waxwings are currently around the Kings Bridge/Queens PE centre area of the river Lagan in Belfast. also 4 Black Guillemots behind Central train station, again on the river, displaying outside their usual nesting sites beside the Lagan Watersports Centre (Ronald Surgenor)

24 Red Throated Divers were in Belfast Lough.

Late News from yesterday: a Barn Owl was at Lissize, near Rathfriland, yesterday evening (P. Crory)

The American Coot is still at Belmullet! Go and see if you can get a better photpgraph than me although i doubt if that is possible!
2 Velvet Scoter were off Mervagh, Donegal

Here's a picture of a Moorhen by Stuart Broadley - hard to beat a Moorhen. Enough said


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X Factor

We have had some great photos today (Pats egg was my favourite) but the photos below are just fabulous. No comment needed apart from they were taken off the Antrim Coast last weekend. They are absolute crackers and more of Geoffs photos can be seen here:

Special thanks to Geoff Campbell, amazing shots of wonderful creatures, give everyone a boost on a Friday morning!

Friday Treat

It is mad friday but i have this little cracker up my sleeve as a treat for you all to enjoy. Ian Dickey photographed it recently and tells me its a Sooty Shearwater but i am not so sure. I am fairly certain its a White Billed Diver or a Ferruginous Duck and we are going to send it to our experts in Alaska for confirmation. Whatever it is its a fantastic photograph and many thanks to Ian for sending us it.
Our Alaska experts have confirmed its the first Western Palaerctic record of Flying Penquin. Nice one Ian!

Azorean Gull

I don't really post enough gull photos on this blog but ive been sent a biggy and i have to put it on! Its an Azorean or Atlantis Yellow Legged Gull and it was sent to me by an addicted budding gull guru who shall remain nameless.
Suffice to say he has had to get a job with the Ormo Bakery to help fund this addiction. He is so excited since finding this MEGA gull he hasn't been able to eat, sleep and even his monthly copy of the BEANO lies in the hall unopened. Who would have thought it?
The only info that he will give us regarding the location of the Atlantis Yellow Legged Gull is that it was taken while the gull was standing on a rooftop and he was standing on the road. A further clue was that the sky was grey. It also prefers soda bread to veda bread so all the clues are there for anyone who wants to twitch it

Many thanks to _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ for the photo
But isn't a Yellow Legged Gull meant to have yellow legs?

Ring Billed Gulls 3 photos!)

Pat Baines is a loyal follower of our blog and after reading the article below the other day, she got Mr Baines to rev up the Motorcycle and Sidecar and they tootled on down to Newcastle to view the local Ring Billed Gull population.
Pat drew many admiring glances from the local druggies as she looks very fetching in her Sheepskin Fur Coat and Googles and Chris cuts quite a dash in his leather bomber jacket and swarovskis.

They had a great morning feeding the gulls with some veda bread they stole from the local supermarket on the way down (we don't condone stealing or fur coats on this blog kids!) and luckily Pat was able to photograph three of the Ring Billed Gulls. The first winter which is pictured above and the dead one and the egg pictured below.
Pat and Chris could be the new Dave and Orcilla Gull Gurus if they keep this up!

Many thanks to Pat and Chris for the photos!

New Competition

We have had to scrap the last competition because most of the entrys contained swear words and words like sad and lonely so we have had to abandon it, which is a pity because the answers really made Andrew and myself laugh out loud. But we do that everyday anyway!

So the new competition is a real toughy. How does the bird pictured below get its name? The only rule is you are not to use google to help you.
Pwizes include a weeks holiday to Cairo in Eqypt, free gas mask for said trip and 50 million Eqyption drackmas. Entries close on Sunday night so get the thinking caps on

Many thanks to Ian Dickey for this photograph. Ian is barred from entering as i have told him what it is. He thought it was a Cormorant. A good guess but wrong bird family.