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.
This weeks photograph comes from Castle Espie on the shore for Strangford lough County down. It is part of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust . Link below. After doing the wildfowl area it was into the Secret Swamp were my grandson informed me it’s where the swamp monsters live. So with a few near misses we make it through pass the wishing tree and into the woodland play ground. Along death defying log walks and through pipe tunnels into the safety of the walled fort, only the brave make it. I don’t think I would have made on my own….
This weeks black & white image was taken on the shore of Strangford Lough in County Down in Northern Ireland. The photograph shows a Black Headed gull drinking from a small river that flows into the lough. The gull is in its summer plumage where the head is a dark brown to black colour with a white ring around part of the eye.
Camera: Nikon D7200
Lens: Sigma 150 – 600 mm telephoto lens
metadata: f 7.1 at 1/800 sec: ISO 250
edited in Lightroom and finished in Nik Silver efex pro 2
Here we are in March 2020 and I’m writing the first blog post of the year. It’s been a busy couple of years here in my world. Had and have some plans for the site for the start of the year but I’m a little behind, now we have the Coronavirus ( COIID-19) spreading across the world. With every aspect of life effected some of my projects might have to be sidelined for awhile depending on travel restrictions.
So I have been out a few times with the camera around the coast here in Northern Ireland, so below are some for the birds wintering here.
Hello my friends, well the rain stopped and the sun make a weak showing. So nipped down to the County down coast which is a half hour drive from home. The tide was out and there where plenty on bird life around. but it was to far out on the mudflats for photography. Would have waited for the incoming tide to push them back to the shore but the light drops here around 3.30pm (2.45pm when I got there) and will be dark an hour later.
There were just a few Redshank’s close to the shore, feeding on whatever lives under this liquid mud. So without boring you I’ll post a few photos of these small waders.
Grabbed a few shots of Rooks flying from the tree behind me.
The next shots were me just playing around with a redshank photo in B&W.
I hope you enjoyed this quick trip to the coast with me.
Before I go I want to wish you all Season’s Greeting, and THANK YOU all for your support over the year.
Great Black-backed gull. First winter plumage. These gulls are the largest gull we get in the UK and Ireland. At a height of 64-78 cm and a wingspan of 150 – 165 cm. These gulls are as large has most geese.
This shot was taken on the shore of Strangford lough, County Down, Northern Ireland.
This weeks photograph was taken while taking photo’s of a Little Egret. On a bridge a photographer was photographing the same bird from a different spot. So my shot this week is of the lesser spotted photographer.
Dear photographer, if you happen to read this please contact me, would love to see your shots of the little Egret.
So I’ve been a little quiet on the blog, I’ve been busy moving to my new place to live. So for the first in a month I had a few hours to spare and it being a beautiful autumn day here I took a drive to the County Down coast. A few gentle walks and just parking up in other spots, it was an easy day. Chatted to a couple of other photographers and those just out for a stroll. So a few photos from today, Think the title might give a clue…