• How nature-based solutions in Northern Ireland and beyond play a critical role in addressing climate change

    Guest blog by Jonathan Bell, RSPB NI Head of Land and Sea Policy

    The recent publication of the UK Committee on Climate Change report on land use change and climate change is very timely given the recent resumption of the Northern Ireland Assembly and its promise to step up efforts to tackling climate change.

    The draft ‘New Decade New Approach’ deal states: “The Executive will introduce legislation and targets for reducing…

    • 21 Jan 2020
  • Infrequent flyers: Learn about the more unusual birds to be spotted during Big Garden Birdwatch

    Guest blog by RSPB NI Head of Species Anne-Marie McDevitt

    While house sparrows were perched in top spot in the Big Garden Birdwatch in Northern Ireland in 2019, here we take a look at other less usual visitors that you might be lucky enough to see in your garden during the Birdwatch at the end of January – among them redpolls, goldcrests, siskins, bramblings, fieldfares, redwings, waxwings and sparrowhawks.

    So what…

    • 18 Dec 2019
  • Northern exposure: So many wonderful winter spectacles to savour across Northern Ireland

    With flocks of godwits and wintering wildfowl at Belfast WOW, fulmars returning to the cliff stacks on Rathlin, yellowhammers feeding on wild bird cover and red kites roosting in Co Down, there are plenty of winter spectacles to marvel at across Northern Ireland at this time of year.

    Up on Rathlin Island, the last few grey seal pups are graduating from the island’s rocky beaches and winter is beginning to take its grip…

    • 22 Nov 2019
  • A Kiwi’s season in the Antrim Hills, in the company of curlews

    Guest blog by Katie Gibb, RSPB NI’s Conservation Officer for the Antrim Plateau

    I have always considered myself a waterfowl biologist. Duck was my first word (it is, of course, a family joke that my parents misheard me!)
    My obsession for them guided me towards a career in ornithology. My master’s thesis was centred around them, and at two different universities I have managed to get the title of ‘resident duck nut…

    • 7 Nov 2019
  • Can you help us clean up an important site for birds outside Belfast?

    RSPB and consumer product company SC Johnson have teamed up to take action on the serious issue of marine plastics. Through a programme of community clean-ups across the UK, we are planning to conduct a series of volunteer days during 2019 and 2020.

    RSPB NI, with the support of the local community group - Friends of Whitehouse Lagoon - is organising the first of the Northern Ireland events at the Whitehouse Lagoon Newtownabbey…

    • 25 Oct 2019
  • Geese lightning: Tracing the journey of the brent geese flocking to Strangford Lough and Lough Foyle

    Guest blog by Matthew Tickner, RSPB Northern Ireland ecologist

    One of the sounds that enlivens autumn in Northern Ireland is the noisy communing of brent geese on the coasts. Their calls, playing out around our sea loughs at present, are unlike those of other geese, but are rather difficult to describe: perhaps guttural, perhaps braying or ‘cronking’, possibly trembling, or sometimes described as sounding like a mob of…

    • 22 Oct 2019
  • It’s time to demand urgent action for nature in Northern Ireland

    Guest blog by Emily Hunter, RSPB NI Nature Protection Policy Officer

    The Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has launched a consultation on an Environment Strategy for Northern Ireland – this will be Northern Ireland’s first long-term strategy to help protect the environment and restore nature.

    With our environment in crisis, it’s clearly needed. The UN has warned that we…

    • 15 Oct 2019
  • A symphony of birdsong - why autumn is Fermanagh's standout season

    Guest blog by Brad Robson, RSPB NI Site Manager (West)

    Autumn is my favourite time of the year. If there was any heat in the summer, it has now gone. As the greens fade to warm orange, light yellows and rustic brown, the cooler air carries the sounds of nature across the lough.

    This is the time for birds to be on the wing travelling across the expanse of land and sea to winter destinations, mild climates and abundant…

    • 29 Sep 2019
  • Habitat works at Portmore Lough working a treat for wetland species

    Guest blog by Laura Smith, Portmore Lough Warden

    Anyone who has popped along to our Portmore Lough reserve will have noticed a few positive changes since last year.

    Last autumn, we carried out work to expand and enhance our open water and wet grassland habitats at the reserve. We wanted to create more breeding and foraging habitat for our key wetland bird species, as well as to improve the viewing experience for our visitors…

    • 19 Aug 2019
  • Bats entertainment - join us for a bat walk!

    Guest blog by Hilda Doherty, Visitor Experience Officer at Belfast's Window on Wildlife

    At the RSPB we’re mostly known for our work with birds, but we often host bat walks too and are helped out on many occasions by our friends in the NI Bat Group.
    It’s easy to see why people are fascinated by bats. Their unique wing structure along with their light weight enables them to go to places that other land-based mammals…

    • 15 Aug 2019
  • Toasting a breeding success story for corncrakes off NI's north coast

    Guest blog by RSPB Rathlin Island Warden Liam McFaul

    Rathlin is Northern Ireland’s only inhabited offshore island and while the population of us living there is quite small, the number of corncrakes is worryingly low – with just one male bird heard calling over the last few years.
    So it’s fantastic now for us to be able to confirm that there are two pairs of corncrakes on the island.
    A male has been heard…

    • 19 Jul 2019
  • Celebrate summer by exploring RSPB NI reserves

    For many of us, June signals the start of the summer.
    You may have plans made and holidays booked, but hopefully you'll have time to visit our reserves over the summer months.
    A great way to take in our reserves is to sign up for one of our events. On Saturday past we hosted a Summer Walk at our Belfast Window on Wildlife (WOW) reserve, and the next WOW event takes place on Saturday 6 July, when we’re hosting our Terrific…

    • 31 May 2019
  • Why our magnificent marsh fritillary butterflies are one of Northern Ireland’s key species

    Guest blog by Katy Bell, RSPB NI'S Pettigoe Project Officer (CABB)

    The marsh fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia) is one of three fritillary species we get in Northern Ireland. It is much smaller than the other fritillaries, the dark-green and silver-washed, and is much less common. This species has declined rapidly across Europe and is classed as vulnerable. It is a Northern Ireland Priority Species and is protected under…

    • 24 May 2019
  • The ‘Hills’ are alive: Why the call of the curlew is so captivating and crucial to protect

    Guest blog by Neal Warnock, RSPB NI Conservation Advisor

    This Sunday is World Curlew Day. For many of us, the thrilling bubbling call of this wonderful wader is something we never hear at all; or it’s something that our parents’ generation might speak about hearing in years gone by.
    In Northern Ireland, we’ve lost more than 80% of the population since 1987, with Fermanagh and the Antrim Hills the last remaining…

    • 18 Apr 2019
  • Let Nature Sing: Listen to the seabird symphony at our Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre

    Guest blog by Hazel Watson and Ric Else, RSPB NI visitor experience staff at the Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre

    You might expect Rathlin Island to be a peaceful and quiet place, but out at the western end of the island - where thousands upon thousands of seabirds crowd on to the cliffs - it is anything but!
    You’ll find the approach to the cliffs is generally quite serene, with meadow pipits peeping as they flit past…

    • 17 Apr 2019
  • Sparrows still soaring in NI as coal tits fly into the Big Garden Birdwatch 2019 top 10

    Guest blog by Claire Barnett, RSPB NI Conservation Team Leader

    So the results are in and we can now say that house sparrows are still perched at number one as the most-spotted birds in Big Garden Birdwatch 2019 - both in Northern Ireland and across the UK.

    Thanks to you, we had more than 7.5 million birds (including 1.2 million house sparrows) counted throughout the weekend at the end of January, with almost half a million…

    • 20 Mar 2019
  • International Women's Day - Shining a light on the women of RSPB NI

    Guest blog by Roisin Kearney, Conservation Officer at RSPB NI

    This International Women’s Day, I thought it would be good to shine the spotlight on some of the brilliant women who work for RSPB NI. Our work to help save nature in Northern Ireland wouldn’t be possible without the wonderful women who contribute so much.
    As you may or may not know, the RSPB was originally founded by a group of pioneering women…

    • 7 Mar 2019
  • Arctic terns and their great journeys in search of sunshine

    Guest blog by Monika Wojcieszek, RSPB NI Tern Conservation Officer

    Bird migration is one of the greatest spectacles of nature.
    Each year, millions of birds across the planet embark on a journey looking for food, breeding grounds or milder climate.
    Arctic terns have the longest known migration in the animal kingdom. This small, gracious bird, weighing about 100g, travels on average an astonishing 71,000 kilometres a year…

    • 15 Feb 2019
  • Lots to love about life as a volunteer at Belfast's Window on Wildlife

    Guest blog by Belfast WOW volunteer Derek Polley

    There are many things to love about being a volunteer at a reserve: introducing children to the wonders of nature, recruiting members, observing and counting birds, helping out with maintenance and drinking tea. Recently at Belfast’s Window on Wildlife (WOW) we have had a further delight when we spotted colour ringed black-tailed godwits and were able to record the details…

    • 15 Jan 2019
  • RSPB NI Director Joanne on starlings, citizen science and the Big Garden Birdwatch

    Guest blog by Joanne Sherwood - Director, RSPB NI

    For me, Big Garden Birdwatch means fun, family time and good-humoured competition.
    It also means contributing to an important citizen science project to understand what is happening to our garden birds.
    When the weekend comes along at the end of each January, I take part in the Birdwatch along with my husband and my son (pictured, below).
    We get out the binoculars and the…

    • 10 Dec 2018
  • Robins, Christmas and the countdown to Big Garden Birdwatch!

    Guest blog by Robin Brown, Portmore Lough volunteer

    It’s just over a year since our volunteer Robin Brown received the President's Award at the RSPB AGM in London.
    At that stage, Robin had dedicated 5,000 hours as a volunteer co-ordinator at our Portmore Lough reserve in County Antrim, so it was a fitting recognition for his outstanding contribution to our work. Robin received the award from RSPB President Miranda…

    • 14 Nov 2018
  • The wonder of wintering wildfowl at Portmore Lough

    Guest blog by Laura Smith, RSPB Portmore Lough Warden

    Autumn is well and truly underway at Portmore Lough nature reserve.
    The leaves on the trees have turned various shades of golden brown before falling and lining the boardwalk.
    On the lough, the whooper swans noisily herald their arrival from Iceland. Along with flocks of greylag geese, they will spend the winter grazing on the fields around the reserve, returning to…

    • 17 Oct 2018
  • Welcoming our autumn migrants to Belfast WOW

    Guest blog by Ian Enlander, RSPB NI volunteer

    Autumn is synonymous with migration - a time of change both in our weather but also in our birdlife. As Belfast Window on Wildlife’s breeding terns fly off in search of another summer, a great range of water birds, especially ducks and waders, believe it is worth flying here to escape the harsh winter conditions that engulf their breeding grounds.

    Think of the WOW reserve…

    • 20 Sep 2018
  • Why we need a new farming policy for Northern Ireland

    Guest blog by Phil Carson, RSPB NI Policy Officer (Sustainable Farming)

    Northern Ireland and farming are intrinsically linked.

    Representing 70% of land use, agriculture has had a monumental impact on the identity of the countryside and the people here. It directly employs 5.7% of the population and contributes more than £2 billion to the economy every year. It plays a fundamental role in binding rural communities together…

    • 15 Aug 2018
  • Happy International Bog Day!

    To mark International Bog Day (July 22), we hear from our three RSPB NI Co-operation Across Borders for Biodiversity (CABB) project officers.
    CABB is a five-year European-funded conservation project that spans Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland and will improve habitats for birds, butterflies and other species, restore blanket bog and help produce drinking water at a lower cost.

    Katy Bell - RSPB NI…

    • 20 Jul 2018