Saturday, July 6, 2013

Ireland 2013 - Co. Clare, 29 June to 5 July

Our second week in Ireland was spent in Co. Clare in the west. Based at Kilkee I was in a good location to investigate prime sea-birding spots such as The Bridges of Ross, Loop Head and the cliffs of Moher. Obviously the time of year was completely wrong to see any of the great passage seabirds these first two sites are famous for, but the breeding colonies were marvelous, and it was nice to visit locations I've only read about on other blogs (Loop Head Bird Observatory, Birdwatch Ireland).

The cliffs of Moher have the largest mainland breeding colony of Atlantic Puffins in Ireland, and one of the more easily accessible colonies anywhere. Not the easiest bird to photograph however!

Black Guillemot are one of the hardest Auks to see in the west curiously enough. There were small numbers near Doolin harbour, well away from the main seabird colonies.
Thousand of Kittiwake at every breeding site.
Lots of Manx Shearwaters, though also very hard to photograph from a pitching boat.

Northern Fulmar. Great birds...
A few Northern Gannets were always passing by every headland

Rock Pipit.
Meadow Pipit.
Chough. Small numbers at Loop Head and The Bridges of Ross.
Common Bottlenose Dolphin. We saw these on several occasions, particularly on the Shannon estuary, this was in Doolin Harbour.

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