Rustic Bunting - Bangor

On the 22nd December 2021, David Miller found a Rustic Bunting in his garden in Bangor, Co Down. This was a second for NI with one previous record from Rathlin on the 19th - 25th October 1997. 

Despite been in a private garden, David went out of his way to facilitate the many birders who visited and it was one of the most twitched birds ever in NI. The bird was believed to be a first winter and was last reported on the 31st December 2021 so unfortunately it did not make it in 2022.

Special thanks go to David for both finding the bird but also facilitating everyone.

 Rustic Bunting, Clifford Sharpe:

Rustic Bunting, Nigel Moore:

Rare Bird Records 2021

The following records for 2021 have been or are under assessment. If you have any details on these sightings (particualrly those shown as 'Not Proven'), or notice any ommissions or corrections, please let us know:

SpeciesLocation \ CountyDate Observer(s)Overall Verdict
Red-necked GrebeBelfast Lough01-Jan-21Stuart McKeeAccepted
Sinensis CormorantBelfast Waterworks16-Jan-21Stuart McKee \ Tom EnnisAccepted
Caspian GullClea Lake, Co Armagh21-Jan-21Brian McCloskeyAccepted
Kumliens GullClea Lake, Co Armagh07-Feb-21Brian McCloskeyAccepted
Ross's GullKillough18-Feb-21Chris MurphyAccepted
American WigeonGlynn07/03/2021 - 30/3/21Cameron MooreAccepted
Lesser ScaupPortmore Lough19-Mar-21Wilton FarrellyAccepted
Lesser WhitethroatGarden, Coleraine24-Mar-21AnonAccepted
Russian White-fronted GooseEcos Centre11-Apr-21Jeff LarkinAccepted
Lesser ScaupLough Erne Resort14-Apr-21Brad RobsonAccepted
Little Ringed PloverPaddys Dubh, Lough Beg13-Apr-21David SteeleAccepted
Lesser ScaupPortmore Lough11-Jun-21Garry Armstrong Accepted
Bonapartes GullLough Beg26-Jun-21David SteeleAccepted
Montagu's HarrierAntrim HillsJuly 2021Michael LathamAccepted
Bonaparte's GullKinnegar Shore, Belfast29-Aug-21Stuart McKee  Accepted
DotterelSwatragh26-Aug-21Clive MellonAccepted
Little Ringed PloverLady Bay, Lough Neagh \ Portmore04-Sep-21Garry ArmstrongAccepted
Long-billed Dowitcher (Ad)Lough Beg20-Sep-21David SteeleAccepted
Buff-breasted Sandpiper x 2Myroe16-Sep-21Stuart McKee \ Hal McCulloughAccepted
Little Ringed PloverMyroe17-Sep-21Jeff LarkinAccepted
DotterelLomond Rd, Limavady29-Sep-21Stuart McKee \ Garry ArmstrongAccepted
Lesser YellowlegsLough Beg4th OctoberDavid SteeleAccepted
Long-billed Dowitcher Portmore Lough5th - 6th OctoberMartin DeehanAccepted
Buff-breasted SandpiperLough Beg9th -10th OctoberDavid SteeleAccepted
Long-billed DowitcherBann Estuary10th - 22nd OctoberJohn ClarkeAccepted
Long-billed Dowitcher (Juv)Lough Beg4th -29th OctoberDavid SteeleAccepted
Lesser WhitethroatBangor- 31st DecemberSean WensleyAccepted
Bonaparte's GullBallycarry \ Larne24th - 25th DecemberGarry Armstrong \ Oscar Campbell \ Neal WarnockAccepted
Rustic BuntingCarnalea, Bangor22nd - 31st DecemberDavid MillerAccepted
Black-bellied DipperDownhill Forest06-Mar-21Theo CampbellNot Proven
Bonapartes GullBallyfrench, Co Down30-Mar-21Billy MiskellyNot Proven
Red-necked GrebeKircubbin03-Apr-21Garry ArmstrongNot Proven
Blue-headed WagtailRSPB WoW08-May-21Garry Armstrong, Bob Watts, Tom EnnisNot Proven
HobbyGlenariff06-Jul-21David SteeleNot Proven
Lesser WhitethroatLigoneil Dams, Co Antrim16-Jul-21Dermot Hughes et alNot Proven
HobbyCarrickfergus23-Jul-21George StewartNot Proven
Great ShearwaterRinagree Point, PortstewartJohn ClarkeNot Proven
Bairds SandpiperMyroe12-Sep-21Garry ArmstrongNot Proven
Buff-breasted SandpiperBallykelly10th OctoberGarry ArmstrongNot Proven
Tundra Bean GooseBallykelly17th OctoberStuart McKee \ Hal McCulloughNot Proven
Glossy IbisLagan Valley Hospital9th DecemberGarry WilkinsonNot Proven
Lesser ScaupArdmore, Lough Neagh12th - 15th DecemberGarry Armstrong  \ Bob WattsNot Proven

Black-browed Albatross - A species new to Northern Ireland

On the 9th September 2020, Ollie Padget, whilst seawatching at Copeland Bird Observatory, picked up a Black-browed Albatross flying south at 18:25. The bird was observed for four minutes and seen by a fellow birder.

No photographs of the bird were obtained but a detailed note \ description was made that evening and subsequently submitted for assessment.

At least one Black-browed Albatross had been recorded in the summer of 2020 in Britain and it ranged widely so is possibly the same bird.


Bufflehead - A species new to Northern Ireland

On Saturday 5th December 2020, Tony Donaldson found a drake Bufflehead at the Quoile Pondage, Co Down. 

The identification of the bird was straightforward and was clearly a male. It was seen well throughout December but was always at a distance. It was last seen on the 9th January 2021. Whilst a drake, it should be noted that many GB records that have been accepted are also drakes.

Bufflehead breeds in Canada east to western Qubec, Alaska and south to Washington and Montana.

At the time that the bird was seen there were three accepted records for Ireland (a female, The Gearagh, Cork, 18th January to 8th March 1998, a first-year male, Lough Atedaun, Clare, 6th January to 4th March 2007 and an adult female, Ballinacarriga Lake, Cork, 26th November to 15th December 2018). Another Bufflehead (a female or immature), was also seen in Cork during the autumn \ winter of 2020\21.

Drake Bufflehead, Quoile, Tony Donaldson:

Rare Bird Records 2020

 The following records of birds seen in 2020 have been accepted:

Water PipitBallyfrench, PortavogieFrom 2019Richard WeylAccepted
Water PipitCushendunFrom 2019Ivan QuailAccepted
Great White EgretLough BegFrom 2019David Steele et alAccepted
Lesser YellowlegsLough Beg28th JanuaryDavid SteeleAccepted
HawfichDunadry13th Februaryper Mark SmythAccepted
Pied CrowBallycastle10th AprilGeoff CampbellCategory D1
HawfinchKillyleagh29th AprilPaul MegagheyAccepted
Long-billed DowitcherRSPB WoW23rd MayDaniel NewtonAccepted
Common RosefinchRathlin Island26th MayRic Else \ Hazel WatsonAccepted
HawfinchArds Peninsula30th MayToby EdwardsAccepted
Spotted SandpiperCastle Espie, Co Down7th AugustMark WigglesworthAccepted
Red-backed ShrikeMillisle, Co Down3rd SeptemberMarty McClenaghan \ Ronnie SnoddyAccepted
Buff-breasted SandpiperMyroe, Co Londonderry6th SeptemberMervyn GuthrieAccepted
Black-browed AlbatrossCopeland, Co Down9th SeptemberOllie PadgetAccepted
Lesser YellowlegsBann Estuary13th-15th SeptemberRichard DonagheyAccepted
Long-billed DowitcherLough Beg21st - 28th SeptemberDavid SteeleAccepted
Buff-breasted SandpiperBallykelly27th - 29th SeptemberGarry Armstrong  Accepted
American Golden PloverBallykelly \ Myroe, Co Londonderry27th - 30th SeptemberGarry Armstrong  Accepted
Buff-breasted SandpiperMyroe2nd OctoberGarry ArmstrongAccepted
Cattle EgretStrabane2nd OctoberBrian Hegarty \ Michael SavageAccepted
American Golden PloversMyroe \ Ballykellyto 2nd NovemberVariousAccepted
African Sacred IbisCullyhanna-December 2020Joe DevlinCategory E
Great White EgretCastle Espie, Co Down17th October to 1st NovemberMaurice Turley et alAccepted
Long-billed DowitcherLough Beg26th OctoberDavid SteeleAccepted
American Golden PloverPortstewart27th October to 1st NovemberJohn ClarkeAccepted
Cattle EgretCastle Espie, Co Down27th October to 31st OctoberCastle EspieAccepted
Cattle EgretBann Estuary \ Myroe28th October - 7th NovemberAnnette ElkinAccepted
Great White EgretLough Neagh \ Portmore5th NovemberClive Mellon et alAccepted
Great White EgretDerryleckagh Bog near Newry \ Dromantine \ Pontyzpass5th NovemberAndrew CroryAccepted
Great White EgretBoa Island \ Lower Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh25th NovemberFionnbar CrossAccepted
Great White EgretBallycarry3rd NovemberDavid GalbraithAccepted
Black BrantMyroe  29th NovemberTheo CampbellAccepted
BuffleheadQuoile, Co Down5th DecemberTony DonaldsonAccepted
Glossy IbisWhtehead, Co Antrim8th DecemberWarren  McConnaughieAccepted
Great White EgretLower Lough Erne10th DecemberBrad RobsonAccepted
American WigeonGlynn, Co Antrim15th DecemberCameron MooreAccepted

Rare Bird Records 2020

The following records for 2020 are under assessment. If you have any details on these sightings or notice any ommissions or corrections, please let us know:

Water PipitBallyquinton Point, Co Down1st JanuaryRichard Weyl
Yellow-legged GullCarrickfergus4th JanuaryGarry Armstrong \ Ed O'Hara
Lesser ScaupPortmore Lough9th JanuaryJoe Devlin \ Clifford Sharp
tristis ChiffchaffArmoy23rd JanuaryClive Mellon
Mealy RedpollRathlin Island29th MarchRic Else \ Hazel Watson
Grey-bellied BrentKillough26th AprilChris Murphy
HobbyLower Lough Erne19th MayBrad Robson
Lesser WhitethroatKillogh21st MayChris Murphy
Glossy IbisKinnegar, Co Down31st MayKevin Kirkham-Brown
Spotted SandpiperBartons Bay, Lough Neagh4th JulyKevin Kirkham-Brown
Ruddy ShelduckDundrum Bay, Co Down11th JulyDan Baillie
Semi-palmated SandpiperMyroe, Co Londonderry23rd AugustGarry Armstrong \ Ed O'Hara
GoshawkLisburn15th SeptemberAnon
American Golden PloverMullagh, Lough Beg1st OctoberDavid Steele
HawfinchScarva2nd OctoberStephen Drake
Temmincks StintBlackstaff River, Dundrum7th-8th OctoberDan Bailie
Lesser WhitethroatRunkerry Wood8th-11th OctoberDennis Weir \ Stuart McKee
White-rumped SandpiperBallykelly18th OctoberStuart McKee \ Garry Armstrong
Siberian ChiffchaffOxford Island23rd OctoberEd O'Hara
American WigeonCastle Espie, Co Down30th OctoberBirdguides
Great White EgretLough Beg8th NovemberDavid Steele
Red-necked GrebeGas Works, Strangford Lough13th NovemberDave Weir
Siberian ChiffchaffJordanstown22nd NovemberPaul McCullough
Surf ScoterMurlough, Newcastle3rd DecemberChris Murphy
American WigeonDrumgay Lough, Co Fermanagh31st DecemberBrad Robson