Archives for posts with tag: islands

I’m not sure if there is a bigger contrast between these photos from East Cork and Shanghai, but both have their charms.

Just click on any of these photos to enlarge.

Here is the scene that met me a few days ago as I was preparing to go to work. I jumped out of bed and ran down the road to take a few snaps before the ever changing weather stole the view from me.

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Another photo, this time by Garryvoe beach. the island in the distance as a mother coaxed her child to keep pace with the rest of the family.

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And this one I took yesterday, with my boys.

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Three different days, three completely different weather conditions. That’s Ireland for you.

Last Sunday, we went on a boat trip in West Cork. We were hoping to come up close and personal with a large pod of fin whales, but, despite excellent weather on the day, they were nowhere to be seen.  Photos of these magnificent creatures will have to wait for another day.

The trip was remarkably uneventful. Not only did we not see fin whales, but we also failed to spot any sunfish, dolphins or minke whales either. Even the skipper couldn’t hide his frustration on the day, as the previous few days had been marvellous for spotting marine creatures. 

We did manage to see seals, but this time of the year they’re not likely to go too far as the females are heavily pregnant. And no, we didn’t see any newborn seal pups either, in case you’re asking.

The upside is that I managed to take some nice photos. The coastline around Castletownshend is gloriously photogenic, even if its marine inhabitants were in hiding.

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The Stags

The Stags

Seal Rocks

Seal Rocks

We travelled once again to the Saltee Islands today, where we saw a variety of seabirds all nesting and preparing their chicks for the summer. I took this short video of the trip and I might add some photos from Claudia later. She has taken some beautiful shots today.

As for my video, well, it’s short and it has some close-up footage of a seal at the end if you manage to stay the pace. (Sorry for the wind though – will try better next time).

We’re just back from a journey to the Saltee Islands in Co. Wexford. The islands are home to some of Ireland’s largest sea-bird colonies. Many of the birds on the island are relatively rare on the mainland.

After a mad morning dash through south Wexford, we took the boat from Kilmore Quay at 11.00. A small group of day trippers accompanied us on our journey. We travelled there on a powerful motor boat, transferring to a dingy in order to reach the shore.

There are some very bizarre statues and monuments on the main island, built by “Prince Michael the First”, the first owner of the place. There is even a stone ceremonial throne behind the family home. The Saltee Islands have their own flag and coat of arms, but perhaps rumours of a secession from the Irish Republic are premature.

The Great Saltee is home to large colonies of gannets, razorbills, guillemots and kittiwakes. Puffins, coromorants, shags, fulmars, choughs, herring gulls and black-backed gulls were also commonplace around the island. The largest colony of gannets is at the far western end of the island and, incredibly, you can walk right up beside these large birds. They appear unperturbed by humans, despite the fact that they are all looking after chicks of various different ages and sizes. Not so the black backed gulls. Come close to a nest and you will be swooped on by an anxious parent until you leave the immediate area.

The seas were dotted with seabirds of all shapes and sizes and every now and again large seals could be seen diving in the numerous inlets. Why the seals appear here in such numbers, I have no idea.

We spent a lot of time walking along the southern coastline, taking in the sights and sounds. July is a great time to go as most birds are still nesting and chicks are in their abundance.

Our trip lasted from 11.00 am until 4.00 pm. The five hours go by very quickly. For birders and non-birders alike it’s a great place to go for a day trip.

Photos by Claudia Wagner

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