• 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
  • My mission to conquer Mont Blanc for RSPB NI!

    Guest blog by Scott Mairs, who is fundraising for RSPB NI

    Scott, who hails from County Antrim and who turns 19 this month, is setting off on the Tour Du Mont Blanc - one of the most popular long-distance walks in Europe – in June. He has chosen RSPB NI as his nominated charity.

    It was a rainy evening last October when myself and three friends Jordan, Callum and Harry discussed going somewhere new, exciting and…

    • 10 May 2018
  • Getting ready to roam around Rathlin on an unforgettable boat trip!

    Guest blog by Linda Thompson


    Last May myself and some friends headed off to Ballycastle up on the County Antrim coast for the start of a fabulous boat trip around Rathlin Island visiting the seabird colonies.

    The trip was organised by RSPB NI on board a privately-chartered boat (Miss B Haven) with skipper Damien McFaul and led by Liam McFaul, the Rathlin Island RSPB warden. 

    The weather couldn’t have been better for the…

    • 9 May 2018
  • Working together for nature’s recovery

    A year from today, the UK will cease to be a member of the EU. Across the UK we are facing a potential ‘cliff edge’ in terms of environmental governance – the means by which we ensure our environmental legislation is properly enforced – and the clock is ticking. Nowhere is this more the case than in Northern Ireland, where we already suffer from weaker governance and currently have no Executive at Stormont…

    • 29 Mar 2018
  • Celebrating the story of Irish lady's-tresses orchids

    Guest blog by RSPB NI Conservation Advisor Gareth Bareham


    Irish lady’s-tresses (Spiranthes romanzoffiana) is one of the rarest members of the orchid family in Europe, occurring only at scattered locations on the western seaboards of Ireland and Scotland and one site in England. 

    Actually one of a very small number of North American ‘amphi-atlantic’ species that found its way across the Atlantic it is considered an…

    • 17 Mar 2018
  • Step into spring with RSPB NI walks all over Northern Ireland


    They say that March heralds the start of spring, so why not put a spring in your step and join us on one of our RSPB NI guided walks and take in the stunning nature that’s on your doorstep?
    Starting way out west in County Fermanagh, we are hosting Spring Nature Detectives at Castle Archdale on Saturday 10 March (10am to 12pm).
    Sign up to discover signs of spring, identify early flowering plants and buds on trees…

    • 28 Feb 2018
  • Sunrise surveys in search of the yellowhammer

    Guest blog by RSPB NI farmland survey volunteer Alan Bates

    I’m no expert on identifying birds, but I do like watching them in their natural environment.

    I got an email from RSPB NI back in March of last year to help out with surveys on a local farm.

    They were trying to establish where breeding territories exist for six priority species (skylarks, linnets, tree sparrows, yellowhammers, lapwings and reed buntings…

    • 31 Jan 2018
  • Nature Matters – who we are and the importance of protecting the environment in Northern Ireland after Brexit

    Blog hosted by RSPB NI for and on behalf of Nature Matters NI -  Follow @NatureMattersNI on Twitter to keep up to date with the campaign.

    Credit: Joe Comish, National Trust.

    It is still unclear what impact Brexit will have on Northern Ireland's environment. The European Union provides us with strong environmental legislation for nature, agriculture and our marine areas and there’s a risk that this could be lost after…

    • 10 Jan 2018
  • Making Brexit work for the environment in Northern Ireland

    Guest blog: Christopher McAteer, RSPB NI Campaigning Communications Officer – Nature Protection for Nature Matters NI.

    Nature Matters NI, a new campaign from a coalition of environmental groups in Northern Ireland, was created earlier this year to assess and respond to the impact that Brexit will have on the environment. In this guest blog, RSPB campaigner and Nature Matters NI member Christopher McAteer considers…

    • 1 Dec 2017
  • Farmers Provide Christmas Banquet for Farmland Birds

    Winter is a harsh time for wildlife. As the days shorten and temperatures drop, birds and other animals can find it hard to find a reliable source of food in the countryside.

    In particular, seed-eating species like yellowhammers, tree sparrows, linnets and reed buntings are finding it increasingly difficult to find sufficient quantities of seed which they need to survive.

     

    There have been widespread declines in…

    • 22 Nov 2017
  • Secretive Greenland white-fronted geese flocking to Fermanagh

    Guest blog by Amy Burns, Fermanagh Reserves Warden


    Greenland white-fronted geese are a winter visitor to Northern Ireland, migrating from their breeding grounds in Western Greenland.

    Arriving at the end of October after travelling 1,900 miles, they will remain here until April. The island of Ireland holds more than half of the world’s wintering population of these birds. The largest flocks can be seen on the Wexford…

    • 23 Oct 2017
  • Seamus Heaney gets his place in interactive school poetry programme


    Secondary school students are being given a unique opportunity to get out into the landscape that inspired poet Seamus Heaney in an innovative new education programme.

    The “My Place within the Landscape” programme has just been launched and features field trips to selected natural heritage sites and activities within the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy. 

    Students will participate in a session at HomePlace…

    • 5 Oct 2017
  • Farmer’s view: A sustainable agricultural system brings huge benefits

    Guest blog on behalf of Nature Matters NI


    My name is Jack Kelly and I'm a nature-friendly farmer from County Down. There are a lot of farmlands in Northern Ireland tended to by farmers such as myself, transforming the land into a breadbasket that the entire country can benefit from. But if we want to continue to reap the benefits, it's important that we look after nature by farming in environmentally-friendly ways. …

    • 28 Sep 2017
  • Moving Swiftly Onwards

    Guest blog by Catriona Grant, RSPB NI fundraising assistant.

    I’m a fundraising assistant for RSPB NI and for the past few months my first thought in the morning and my last thought at night has been work and it doesn’t stop at weekends either, or bank holidays, every day, morning and night my thoughts turn to work.

    Now, you may think that sounds like a nightmare! But not in this case, you see RSPB are currently…

    • 31 Aug 2017
  • Red kites on the up in County Down

    GUEST BLOG by Alan Ferguson, Red Kite Project Officer at RSPB NI

     



    Next year will mark 10 years since the ground-breaking reintroduction of red kites in Northern Ireland.

    In 2008, RSPB NI, the Golden Eagle Trust and the Welsh Kite Trust began the ambitious project to bring these magnificent birds back to Northern Ireland.
    This year has been a hugely successful one for our red kites, with a record number of chicks being…

    • 25 Jul 2017
  • Brexit: the environmental implications on the island of Ireland

    Guest blog by Sairah Tariq, Campaign Communications Officer, RSPB NI.

    It has been a year since the UK voted to leave the European Union and still we don’t know what the consequences of Brexit will be. There is lots of political uncertainty; Theresa May has a reduced majority, there’s a possibility the government will change within the two year negotiating period and Sinn Fein and the DUP have still not come to a power…

    • 23 Jun 2017
  • Antrim farmer helps give curlews a home

    Like many farmers, Sam Bonnar is a man of few words.

    But ask him about the birds that make their homes on his land in the beautiful Antrim Hills and he lights up, the passion he has for wildlife clear to see.

    Sam (60) farms in the Glenwherry area, grazing cattle and sheep. These uplands are one of the last remaining strongholds for threatened breeding wader species like curlews and lapwings on the island of Ireland…

    • 26 Apr 2017
  • Hello from Rathlin!

    Hello!

    We’re Ric and Hazel, the new Visitor Experience Officers at the Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre.

    We’ve been on the island for a few weeks now and the time has passed more quickly than the whirring of a puffin’s wings! Coming from the flat, fertile mosses of West Lancashire, Rathlin’s rugged cliffs and heath-clad hills are a dramatic and beautiful change of scenery for us.

    Setting…

    • 25 Apr 2017
  • Big Wild Sleepout is back!

    There aren’t many ways to get closer to nature than by spending a night sleeping under the stars. There’s something pretty magical about being snuggled up in a sleeping bag in the pitch-black with just the night-time noises for company.

    Here at RSPB NI HQ, excitement is building for a wild night out like no other! Our most popular family event of the year, Big Wild Sleepout, will take place on Saturday 22…

    • 19 Apr 2017
  • A tern for the better at Portmore Lough!

    Guest blog by Laura Smith, RSPB Portmore Lough warden

    Portmore Lough, a hidden haven for nature near Aghalee in County Antrim, is home to a thriving colony of common terns.

    These amazing birds, nicknamed ‘sea swallows’ due to their long tails, migrate all the way from Africa each spring to breed at the reserve. Despite their name, numbers of these birds are falling and they are now amber-listed (of medium conservation…

    • 28 Mar 2017
  • Rathlin calling!

    Guest blog by Bronac Gallagher 

    When I look back to my all-too-short time living on Rathlin Island as an RSPB volunteer, it’s with very fond and happy memories. Rathlin is a unique and idyllic getaway brimming with an abundance of nature, breathtaking views, unpredictable weather and friendly islanders!

    I’m 32 years old, hail from Newry, live in Belfast and have a passion for animals and nature. I graduated in…

    • 6 Mar 2017