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 is taken at Castle Espie a WWT reserve here in Northern Ireland. It sit’s on the shore of Strangford lough, which is a sea lough on the east side of the country close to the town of Comber. The reserve was the site of the old Castle Espie brick and pottery factory. This photograph was take from the Lime Kiln Observatory which is built on top of the old lime kiln’s.
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.
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.
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…
So at a loose end I grabbed the camera gear and headed for the coast. a lovely spring morning and sunshine. Here in Ireland a day of sun here in spring time is rare, well one without rain. The winds along the Newcastle to Ardglass coast was strong and still cold. Not much wild life around it was a day just to get some air. When I got around to the Strangford Lough side of the coast the wind was a light breeze. So parked up I went for a walk. Sat on some rocks and watched the world drift by. Then a Spaniel dog appeared chasing a ball down the sand. Grabbed the ball and ran back from where he came from. With great excitement he reappears chasing down the ball. Thought I would move and get some photos. I saw a lady throwing the ball , I loved the action and excitement here. So the first photograph captures this moment.
It was time to move a little further along the coast, again not much wildlife around. So enjoyed the sunshine and chilled out. Then a Red shank arrived, prodding its bill into the mud in search of food.
I like the reflections has it entered small pools left by the tide receding, this next shot is a little play on the reflection.
I chopped in on the reflection and turned it 180 degrees so it looks like its feeding.
The next is common here in this part of Ireland, the Great Black backed Gull. They are the UK and Ireland’s largest gulls, around the size for a goose.
They have a wing span around 1.7 metres and masters in flight. With the sun dropping lower in the sky and a chill returning in the wind I started for home. A few mile down the road and I spotted some seals basking on the rocks. Yes it was park up time and with camera and tripod I found a spot close to them but far enough away so I wouldn’t disturb them. We have two types of seals in Ireland . The common seal and the grey seal. Here’s a link for anyone who wishes to find out more about them. Seals in Ireland.
This is the Common Seal.
And a couple of Grey Seals. Please note its not the colour that gives them there name.
A Gray enjoying the evening sun.
Here we have Brent Geese feeding along the shallows.
A dispute about who own’s this section of the dinner plate. With the sun low and even with a coat, scarf and gloves the cold was seeping into my body I packed up the gear and headed for home. I had been out on the coast for over eight hours, when not photographing I love to sit with a scope and watch the interaction in wildlife. think we humans could learn from them.
I’ve not posted for a couple of weeks due to a slight injury. I’m back driving but still limited in my walking. So with the sun shining and being house bound for a while I grabbed the camera and went along the coast for a short drive. Not many shots but still a beautiful day with bright sunshine and a cold wind. A couple of shots were taken taken from leaning on the open door for support and the rest seated in the car.
This first is of the common Buzzard with a crow heading his way to chase him off.
this was shot from the car park at Cloughy rocks. These rocks become small islands when the tide is out and today there was a lot of seals around. These two where on the closest one. We have two type of seals common here in Ireland. These are Grey seals pictured and the other the Common or Harbour seal.
This little Robin sat posing in the sun a few feet from where I was parked, he kept returning so here he is. They have a great voice and if you whistle back you will soon have a duet going.
This last one is looking across the bay to Killard Point Nature reserve. Killard point
From here the coast turns into the sun so following it around to the village of Clough. I turned north and the road home.