Antrim Hills 17 March 2024

Trip report by Roger Woodward

Photos by William Smiton and Brenda Campbell

Weather: Mild (100  – 120); Cloudy , a few light rain showers; Wind: West f3; Visibility: moderate

Trip Leader: Roger Woodward

RSPB Antrim Local Group at Ballynure

We assembled at Ballynure, and firstly went to look at the river. A pair of dippers were around, but rather elusive: their under the bridge nesting area had evidently been disturbed. A pair of grey wagtails were also present, but again, hard to see. Two mallard were swimming vigorously against the current. Rather strangely, two woodpigeons were sitting in the river.

In the trees around we saw blue tit, wren and blackbird. Rooks were busy nest building, and there were a few jackdaws.

On the Glenhead road there were fieldfares, and a good number of meadow pipits. Two herons flew over. A skylark was heard singing. Flocks of starling were moving among the trees. Chaffinch and house sparrows were in the trees. Over the hills we could see five buzzards circling. In the distance were a couple of kestrels and some ravens. Magpies and hooded crows active in the fields. There were mistle thrushes in a trees.

Meadow pipit by William Smiton

We doubled back to go to Shillanavogy. Many meadow pipits were doing their display flights. Again there were buzzards and ravens. A few fieldfares were present. In a disturbed field, with careful viewing, we could see several lapwings and curlews. In a pond were coot and mallard.

Buzzard by William Smiton

We went to Cappanagh where a strange sighting was of some bats  flying in and out of the trees. A kestrel was perched on a post. There were blackbirds, mistle thrushes and chaffinches. At the stop we put up two red grouse. Finally, we had a distant view of a male hen harrier flying into trees.

Bird List (25 Species)

  • Dipper
  • Grey wagtail
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Skylark
  • Grey Heron
  • Robin
  • House sparrow
  • Blue tit
  • Wren
  • Blackbird
  • Mistle Thrush
  • Fieldfare
  • Mallard
  • Coot
  • Lapwing
  • Curlew
  • Rook
  • Jackdaw
  • Hooded Crow
  • Raven
  • Kestrel
  • Buzzard
  • Hen Harrier
  • Red Grouse
  • Woodpigeon