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.
So the first skiff of snow covered the ground when I woke up this morning. Sitting looking out at it with a hot cup of coffee in my hand it was where will I go to today. With the sun breaking through I headed for Dundrum inner bay. A quick look at the tide tables lot me know the tide would be out. With the mud flats clear you never know what will be about. This morning was going to be about landscape shots and some close ups. I love walking the shore and looking for any interesting subjects, the feel of the sea breeze on my face. I reality it was a biting wind that chilled you and the sun that looked great lying low in the sky but gave no warmth.
Dundrum bay with the Mourne mountains in the background.
The stone embankment on the left is the remains of an old railway line which is now a short walking trail running along the shore of the bay. A place I have walked many times over the years.
One of the stone and brick bridges that the railway run over.
Spotted this shell on a rock and loved the contrast in the white against the green on the rock. the shell was about the size of my thumb nail. I shot this with a Sigma 105 mm macro lens.
I sat down on the stone embankment to just watch the bay with the sound of the birds on the flats and a buzzard calling somewhere behind me. I spotted not one but three White Egrets feeding in the river that run across the flats when the tide is out.
This were still a fair distant away and has I watched one flew off. While looking else where I discovered another one had gone. Scanning the area I soon spotted it, there around 50 feet away feeding. Right in front of me, these birds will usually flee not come closer to humans. So very slowly I put a mono pod on my camera and was rewarded with some of my best Little Egret shots to date.
Leaving the flats and climbing up onto the trail I got this shot.
A Trush feeding on the trail which is grass cover most of the way.
From here I drove into the Dromara Hills which lay north of the Mourne mountains. I was hoping to get a few more bird shots but it was not to be. Where it was cold on the shore it was freezing here in the hills. the winds stronger and a storm front making its way in. I took a few images from a view point called the Windy Gap which believe me was living up to its name today. These are all looking into the Mourne mountains. Most taken at 150 mm using the car door has a tripod.
this last one taken on a 24 mm lens.
So thank you again for joining me here in the north of Ireland. Take care.
The map link above should take you to the area where most of the photographs in this post were shot. I was using a Nikon D750 with a Sigma 150 – 600 zoom. Some post processing and chopping before posting.
First up we have a couple of Mallards ( Anas platyrhynchos ) enjoying the low winter sun.
Teal (Anas crecca ) Male and female. Love the marking of the male Teal, from the striped head to colourful rear.
The next set of photos were shot about a mile along the coast. This wader is common around the coast in Northern Ireland
Redshank ( Tringa totanus )
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus ) playing tug-o-war with the sea weed.
Common Gull ( Larus canus )
Taking a guess at this one, I think its a Herring Gull in flight.
This smaller gull is a Black Headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus ) in it’s winter plumage.
Again I think this is a Herring Gull delivering it’s bodily waste on those below.
These next couple of photograph’s are off our largest wader here in the Uk & Ireland.
Curlew ( Numenius arquata)
That was my Saturday, photographing the birds along this stretch of coast. There are more to photograph has well as the seals but that’s another day. Next time I’ll pack a flask of coffee and a warmer coat so I can walk more of the coastline.
When out working around the garden I like to keep the camera handy, A couple of swan’s landed on the lough at the gardens edge. Walking down I got stood still till they got use me and managed to get a couple of shots before leaving them to their feeding. This shot was taken through some reeds which I did knowing they would be out of focus. I like the effect of them framing the swan.