Northern Ireland is currently part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population.
Northern Ireland consists of the six counties in the north east of the island of Ireland. These counties are no longer administrative units, but are still convenient recording areas (except in the case of Lough Neagh, where five of the county boundaries meet at various points in the largest inland body of water in the British Isles – it covers 153 square miles).
Northern Ireland was covered by an ice sheet for most of the last ice age and on numerous previous occasions, the legacy of which can be seen in the extensive coverage of drumlins in Counties Fermanagh, Armagh, Antrim and particularly Down. The centrepiece of Northern Ireland's geography is Lough Neagh, at 151 square miles (391 km2) the largest freshwater lake both on the island of Ireland and in the British Isles. A second extensive lake system is centred on Lower and Upper Lough Erne in Fermanagh. The largest island of Northern Ireland is Rathlin, off the north Antrim coast. Strangford Lough is the largest inlet in the British Isles, covering 58 square miles.
For a small area it has diverse habitat. The coastline encompasses four major estuaries (Lough Foyle, Belfast Lough, Strangford Lough and Carlingford Lough). The Lower and Upper River Bann, River Foyle and River Blackwater form extensive fertile lowlands, with excellent arable land also found in North and East Down, although much of the hill country is marginal and suitable largely for animal husbandry. The Mourne Mountains in south county Down have the highest ground with Slieve Donard at 2,796 feet, and over a dozen peaks over 2,000 feet. A lot of county Antrim is an elevated basalt plateau between 1,000 and 1,200 feet. Fermanagh in the southwest is the Lakeland of Northern Ireland with Upper and Lower Lough Erne, and numerous small lakes dotted across the landscape. Tyrone and Londonderry have the rather bleak high ground of the Sperrin Mountains. Yet it is possible to drive nearly anywhere from the capital Belfast in several hours.
See each county page for top birding locations…
2 Brooklyn Ave, Bangor, Co Down, BT20 5RB
028 9145 5763
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 343
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By Killian Mullarney, Lars Svensson, Dan Zetterstrom & Peter Grant Collins (1999)
ISBN: 0002197286Buy this book from NHBS.com
Birds in Ireland
Clive D Hutchinson (1989) T & A D Poyser
ISBN: 0856610526Buy this book from NHBS.com
Birds of the Grey Wind
Edward Allworthy Armstrong (1940) Oxford University Press
Checklist of Birds of Britain and Ireland
by A G Knox (Editor); Dave Showler (Illustrator) Paperback 6th revised edition (19 March, 1992) Brit. Ornithologists' Union
ISBN: 0907446159Buy this book from NHBS.com
Collins Top Birding Spots in Britain and Ireland
by David Tipling Paperback - 320 pages (9 May, 1996) Collins
ISBN: 000220035XBuy this book from NHBS.com
The Complete Guide to Ireland's Birds
Eric Dempsey, Michael Cleary (1993) Gill & Macmillan
The Crossley ID Guide: Britain & Ireland
Series: Crossley ID Guide 3 | Richard Crossley and Dominic Couzens | 304 Pages | 310 Plates with Colour Photos | 250 Colour Distribution Maps | Princeton University Press | Paperback | Oct 2013
See Fatbirder Review
ISBN: 9780691151946Buy this book from NHBS.com
Watching Birds in Ireland
Clive D Hutchinson (1986) Country House
Where to Watch Birds in Ireland
by Paul Milne & Clive Hutchinson - Paperback - 336 pages (2nd Edition 2010) Christopher Helm £18.99
ISBN: 9781408105214Buy this book from NHBS.com
Irish Tourist Board
53 Castle Walk Street, Belfast - Phone (028)9032 7888
Northern Ireland Tourist Board
Belfast Welcome Centre, 35 Donegall Place - Phone (028) 9024 6609 firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.discovernorthernireland.com for the many regional tourist offices, details can be obtained here
Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens
Northern Ireland BT9 5AB. Phone (028) 9038 3000. Fax (028) 9038 3003
Forums & Mailing Lists
Report sightings to: Email email@example.com, Text: 07973 403 146 or 07870 863 782 or Twitter: @nibirds See localbird pics at: www.nibirdpics.blogspot.co.uk
Guides & Tour Operators
Local birders willing to show foreign visiting birders around their country - if you are prepared to return the favour to visitors to your country…
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2008 [05 May] - Mark Hows
Arriving in a dull and dreary Dublin at 6am, at least we avoided the rush hour and made good progress north, a quick food stop in Newry…
NIRBC Northern Ireland Rare Birds Committee
Northern Ireland Rare Birds Committee - Maintaining the NI Bird List
Northern Ireland Birdwatchers Association
Contact George Gordon, 2 Brooklyn Avenue, Bangor, Co Down, Northern Ireland BT20 5RB Phone (028) 9145 5763. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org - Runs Flightline Birdline updated daily (028) 9046 7408 to hear the latest news or to leave a message. Flightline is not a premium line (calls are only charged at local rates); and is a service provided by Northern Ireland Birdwatchers Association. It can also be sent via e-mail.
Northern Ireland Ornithologists Club
The Northern Ireland Ornithologists' Club was formed in 1965. its purpose then, as now, was to focus the interests of active and enthusiastic birders. The club's activities are arranged by a committee, elected at the Annual General Meeting held each January. These activities are mainly fortnightly meetings, which take the form of illustrated talks by club members or guest speakers, held between October and April, and a series of Field Trips. The club tries to have at least two of the speakers from outside Northern Ireland. Each year the club also organises a major exhibition of colour transparencies taken by Northern Ireland bird photographers.
Royal Society for Protection of Birds
Northern Ireland is home to all sorts of wonderful wildlife, from lolloping Irish hares to soaring red kites, not to mention stunning scenery as far as the eye can see. With RSPB NI reserves dotted across the country, it’s never been easier to get close to nature right on your doorstep.
Wildfowl and Wetland Trust
Centre at Castle Espie in Strangford Lough. 78 Ballydrain Road, Comber, Co Down. Phone (028) 9187 4146 or (028) 9187 2517
Margaret Adamson - Birding For Pleasure
Birds, Nature, Photography in UK and other countries I have visited - I have taken up bird watching later in life however I became very enthusiastic from the beginning and was greatly encouraged by other bird watchers. For the past 5 years I have led a bird group in my town and have become a guest speaker on cruise ships talking about Birds around the world…
Birdwatching in Northern Ireland
EVERY VISITOR becomes a birdwatcher in Northern Ireland. The presence of a huge variety of bird species, in large numbers, in such a small area, soon becomes delightfully apparent. This is why ornithologists from all over the world are flocking here in greater numbers than ever…