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.
Portmore lough is in County Antrim here in the north of Ireland. It is one of the RSPB nature reserve’s I like to visit Portmore a few times a year. Spring time brings in the Common Tern to the nesting rafts on the lough and so on a hot sunny spring day ( note these are not words we use a lot in Ireland ) I arrive at the reserve. With only a few cars parked up it meant the hide by the lough would be quiet. The walk to the hide showed butterflies and damselflies were out, but a breeze blowing made closeups difficult.
Blue Damselfly. Getting a shot of this was hard work, even this one could have been sharper.
Yep it’s a red Damselfly. These seemed to land on the ground which helped with the wind, but hard on the knees.
Black-veined white butterfly. This one is a little battered, it was the only shot I got plus a workout. Then it was into the bird hide or bird blind depending when you are from. Two women were there and after a short update on what was seen I set up the camera. There are three nesting rafts and has well as Common Tern’s there was Blacked Gulls nesting.
A Common Tern bring in lunch. I sat and watched the coming and goings around the rafts for an hour. I find by spending time studying these birds, patterns arise. This helps to get photographs, so lets meet the Common Tern and Black Headed gull.
This photograph shows the Common Tern ( left) and the Black Headed Gull.
This gull is a young immature Black headed gull. On the way back to the car park I stopped close to the feeders and shot this Sparrow.
I believe this is a House sparrow. So it was back to the car and pack my gear away and the 40 minute drive home.
Okay so I thought I’d go up to Portmore Lough in County Antrim. It is a RSPB reserve. ( RSPB ) Spent time in the hide on the lough shore, talking to some of the people who help in the running and up keep of the reserve. Below are a few of the photographs.
Frist up is a Great Tit ( Parus major ) at one of the feeding stations , these are right beside the walkways and a great place to see and photograph birds up close.
Whooper Swans (Cygnus columbianus) in flight, There where around 60 – 100 of these swans on the lough but all at the far side well out of camera range. Most of these birds migrant here from there breeding grounds in Russia.
I salute you, a male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) on a floating platoon grooming.
The Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) in its duller winter Plumage. Sometimes a hard bird to follow has it dives for fish and resurfaces else where.
House sparrow (Passer domesticus) These little birds are a gardener’s friend has they feed on unwelcome insects. Also one of the most successful birds has it is found in nearly every country in the world.
So will leave you with this little fellow.Who just had to be the first in the queue.