My last post was about the walk out to Rue lighthouse. This is the photographs of the wildlife I took while out on the trail. I hopefully will give them the right I.D, so I hope you enjoy the photos.
So the first photos show the Eider duck.
Next up is three photos of a Curlew ( NUMENIUS ARQUATA)
The first bird to be photographed has I move away from the coast is a Stonechat (male) sitting on a wire fencing.
The Coot is up next, this is a very common bird here in Ireland found on all types of water ways.
The next bird I post on my last blog post has a Golden eye, after looking closer I think it’s a female Tufted Duck
I’m now off road and walking up towards the clipp top trail when I hear the call of a Buzzard (BUTEO BUTEO)
Just before the cliff top trail a flock of Curlew’s flew pass.
The next batch of photographs were taken from the ruin cottages down by the coast near Rue lighthouse
The walk back to Church Bay was by road, and it along the first mile this photo’s were taken.
I have just got back to walking along the coast, a small sandy beach nests in the rocky coast line. I blimb down a take a seat on a sandy bank at it’s edge. It’s from here I get some of the small waders feeding here.
These are the last birds I photographed before entering the village. Again I’ll leave you with this photo of the Kelp house .
It’s been a couple of weeks since my walk on Rathlin, the weather was grey and heavy rain has I left home. It rained for most of the 80 mile trip to Ballycastle to catch the 8.30am ferry across to the island. But half a hour before the ferry was due to leave the sky cleared and a beautiful morning took it’s place. The 35 minute crossing was a little choppy with a strong breeze roughing the water. The sun was now reflecting bright from the white houses that line Church Bay has we came into the harbour.
It was time to remove my coat and enjoy the warmth of the morning sun, get a hat on to protect my naked head from the sun and wind.
A short walk and I’m leaving the main Church Quarter on the flat single track road that ends and gives way to the hills ahead.
The remains of the build on the right in the above photo is the Kelp house. It dominates the view for the next quarter mile. Before I get there I stop to get a few more photos. The beauty that surrounds you here make for a slow hike and a lot of photo opportunities. The colours turning to warm autumn tones, the sounds of the water kissing the shore fills a soul with contented peace.
Heading into the old building you get a feel of it’s size, the work that went into building the stone walls. The closeness of the sea and the views back towards the village.
I was going to show you the wildlife I photographed on this walk but it would make for a long blog post. so I’ll add a few and put the rest into another post.
So on with the walk, shortly after leaving the Kelp house the hills start. from the ferry to where I go off road to follow the Roonivoolin Trail is around 1.75 mile. This trail takes you across fram land and its livestock, so if you have a fear off cattle or sheep it’s probably not for you. The path starts along the side of a small lough where I spotted a coots and golden-eyes on the water.
The path is muddy and slippery underfoot has I follow the trail markers on the gentle climb towards the sea cliffs watched over by hardy hill sheep.
Another five mintues and you climb over a rickety stile and onto the cliff top walk. the path is a worn trail between a wire fence and a long drop. Watch your step, wet grass is slippery and I don’t fly like the gulls or crows that hug the cliffs.
The clouds are closing in and it looks like rain but with the company of a few woolly sheep leading the way I set off.
The walk is safe if you stick to the path beside the fence, and take time out to look at the views. I was sorry I didn’t bring a flask of coffee to enjoy my breaks as I sat on a rock with nothing but the sounds of nature, no man make sounds reached me here. Bar the sounds this one made, but that was only my body trying to get air into it…
The next set of photos are some of the splendid views across the island in all directions.
Has you can see from the heavy cloud cover it was looking like heavy rain coming in. Luckly it stayed on the mainland where there were heavy downpours, we remained dry on the island.
Where the crows sat is the point where you turn away from the cliffs and start a downhill walk back towards the road. Below to the right is my destination, the smugglers cottages and Ushet port.
Dropping downhill I had one more incounter with the wolly guardians of Rue. Just checking this human was leaving…
With another rickity stile to climb over and a final down hill walk I exit unto the road. Swinging right it was down hill to the cottage ruins. This is where i go into stealth mode. Around Ushet port seals come into here, so it’s keep the ruins beween them and me. There is a break in the rear wall of the cottage closest to them,once inside it’s off with the camera bag and set up with a 150 -600 lens. Using the building for cover i get some shots of the seals. Here a shot below, see how I’m greeted.
Right it’s time to make my way back to Church Bay, this time its a road walk. There are very few cars on Rathlin so its safe on the roads here.
The last few photos were taken on the walk back to the ferry. The rest of the wild life photos will be in another blog post. If you have lasted this long well done on coming with me on this walk, your are always welcome.
Back to Church bay and a visit to a chippie van, across to the beach and enjoyed the best chips/fries ever. On into the village and got a coffee to go, up to a little park area beside the church and sat enjoying my coffee. I still had a hour to kill before the ferry, I spotted the 3pm ferry getting ready so checked if I could change booking and was onboard in minutes. I sat on the upper outboard deck tucked in out of the wind, packed the camera away( I avoid the saltwater spray) and sat relaxing looking up at the cliffs I’d walked earlier in the day.
I’m going to leave you with two B & W photos I took on my walk back to Church Bay. Again thank you for joining me today.
Rathlin island sits about six miles off the north coast of Northern Ireland and around 11 miles from Scotland. In the spring/summer months sea birds in there hundreds converge here for the breeding season.
The Island is a dog leg shape around 8 mile long and around 1 mile wide, there are three lighthouses at the three points. The south lighthouse is closest to the N.Ireland shore, the East lighthouse looks out towards Scotland and it here that Robert the Bruce hid in a cave close to the lighthouse during the First War of Scottish Independence against England. He fought successfully during his reign to regain Scotland’s place as an independent kingdom and is now revered in Scotland as a national hero.
Its’ at the other end off the island the main centre for sea birds lies at the West lighthouse. It’s a reserve run by the RSPB and a bus runs from Church Bay out to the centre. The first thing is the noise from Thousands of sea birds fill the air and the other can be the smell that can fill the air if the wind blows in the wrong direction. But the sight you will never forget.
The above photo is from abhainncruises.com and is a view of the west lighthouse. It’s different from the normal due to the light being at the bottom, you can see it here in this image situated in front /bottom of the main building.
The next images will be from the main viewing platform which is on the left of this image.
This is all from Rathlin at this time. Planning a walk around part of the Island soon.
thank you all for viewing, take care
Before I go I’d like to say hello to Evelyn and her mum who chatted to me on the ferry back to Ballycastle. Thank you for taking time to look at some off my images and enjoy your life at university.
First I hope you are all keeping well and safe where ever you are in the world. Here in the north of Ireland we are back in a four week lockdown but we can still go out to exercise. So when the weather allows I pack the camera and head for the coast. I’m lucky that I have some great mud flats where the sea birds and wading birds feed within a 30 – 40 minutes drive. So the following photographs have been taken over the last few weeks along the County Down coast. Most of them have been shot with a Nikon D750 camera fitted with the Sigma 150 – 600 mm telephoto lens, some handheld and others using a tripod fitted with a gimble head. The following link is a great site for bird information here in Ireland and the UK. https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/curlew/
The above is the Curlew ( Numenius arquata) taking off , great fun to watch has they sprint up to take off speed.
Here we see the Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) it’s a very distinctive bird with it’s bold black and white plumage, orange beak and legs but most of all that blood red eye.
Next the Brent goose ( Branta bernicla) This small goose is similar in size to a mallard duck. Can be hard to get good photographs with the eye showing because of the dark coloured neck and head. With the setting sun behind me it was just right this evening. They are always in a flock and the on singled out here is seen drinking.
The Snipe(Gallinago gallinago) this is a bird that is getting rare to see here, it’s numbers have declined over the years. When I was a kid at school ( a long time ago) these where common and seen over most marshes daily. I was surprised to see two of them together. The Brent geese disturbed them and these one flew closer to me and nested down into the seaweed.
The Redshank (Tringa totanus) gets it’s name from it’s most distinctive features, their bright orange-red legs. I find these are one of our most common birds along this part of the coast. They can be found in large flocks or today just a few feeding on the incoming tide.
The next photographs where taken from my van when I saw this Kestrel just for the road side. I pulled over and shot a few frames before it moved off.
Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) these are a small falcon and are often seen as here along the road sides hovering looking for small prey.
The colour is a little weak in these photographs of the Kestrel with the bright sky behind them but since they were part of the coast outings I included them.
Thank you for visiting and I’ll leave you with a image of Portaferry across Strangford lough.
Had a few days break from work and was happy the sun decided to shine those few days. So I spent one of them at a few spots along the County Down coast. The tide was out and I was not counting on much wildlife on the mudflats. But the day left me with some grand photographs. So todays image is one of a Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) fishing in a fresh water stream that runs out through the mudflats.
So it turned out a enjoyable day and may you all enjoy your day.
Camera: Nikon D750 with a Sigma 150-600 mm lens
Data: f/6.3 @ 1/2000 sec: ISO 360, focal length 600 mm
This week we’re off to the coast and a small black and white bird called a Pied wagtail (Motacilla alba) is the subject. They are a common bird here in Ireland and the UK and can be seen all year round. They can be found almost any where, from coast to city centres. When standing they frantically wag their tail up and down or dashing across the ground in search of food.
Going for gunpowder, another photograph from Castle Espie. On the way through the woods we passed the old gunpowder store. nothing would do but a look insider. Not sure if he found any and there was nothing on the evening news. So all good.
I normally post one photograph each week on B & W Wednesday but this week I am posting another from Castle Espie. A view across Strangford lough to Scrabo Tower. I meant to post this with another view across Strangford lough I posted a few weeks back.
Another photograph from a trip to Castle Espie with my grandson Conor. This was taken where they have raised ponds planted out to suit different wildlife. Along the edges there are signage with drawings and the names of what lives in the ponds. So this is me getting a lesson on the newt tadpole that can be found in this pond.