Saltee Islands, a place where birds rule


Our Camera Club had an outing to Great Saltee island for bird photography. Before the trip I did a research as I always do, which helps me not miss anything important and regret it afterwards. There is a website with beautiful photographs where you can learn more about the owners of the Islands. I don’t know if anybody ever met them when visiting Great Saltee, but I am sure they are wonderful and hospitable people. They have a shelter behind their home: a kitchen packed with bottled water and basic utensils for those who might get stuck on the island because of the weather, and two beds upstairs. We used the shelter while waiting for the boat to pick us up: the rain shortened our visit by two hours…

If you plan this trip you might find useful the Trip Advisor comments and Captain Declan Bates’ telephone number to arrange the boat and ask your questions:  353-53 9129684, mobile: 353-87 529 736. The boat leaves from Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford. Late May – mid June would be the best time for the trip.

I found this 1837 report about the Saltees; was surprised to learn that the islands were populated in the past. There  even used to be a church on Great Saltee, but now the island is a home to thousands of sea birds. I have never been so close to any bird except may be some ducks, and this closeness to the beautiful, gracious creatures filled me with sense of awe and reverence.

Some of the  birds are nesting on the side of the path. Great Saltee is a busy place, sometimes about a hundred people are wandering around the island all the day, and having a nest on the side of the path sounds like a strange choice. But it is their island, their nesting ground, and they can do as they like. We are their guests and we are the ones who have to respect their rules.  Earlier this week I had two conversations and one argument about the same subject: tourists/ immigrants/ temporary residents and their behavior in a foreign country. Here is my opinion: 1. If people are rude, stupid, arrogant, selfish, irresponsible, annoying while abroad, you bet they are the same at home. 2. Before judging the locals and their ways remember that you can leave when you please but they will have to stay and keep that country going as did their ancestors. You are not the one to teach them how to, and you would only benefit if you learn something from them 3. They might don’t like you. You can sometimes complain if you are not happy, it is OK, but don’t be a fool, don’t do it on Facebook or any social media! And never over-generalize and call a whole nation names.

So, this is what I was thinking about as I watched a colony of Gannets as they go about their routine. 200 species of birds have been recorded on Saltees, most of them migratory. Many species are nesting there, and I took pictures of some.

I have got many nice shots, so I though I could make two posts instead of one. I leave the Gannets for my Tuesday post.

I will start with the Razorbills, the first birds I saw as we walked towards the cliffs. The smaller, brownish birds in the pictures are Common guillemots.





Puffins. My dreams fulfilled! I was dreaming to see a puffin since I was a child. When I saw my first puffin from the boat my heart skipped a beat. Neat little fellas with comical faces and clumsy manner of flying mate for life and dig a burrow where they return every year to raise a chick. They feel more comfortable in the water; flying isn’t their forte. Probably it is why they take as much fish as they can hold.






A Fulmar photobombing:)





Puffin’s  home.







To be continued.

Photography tip of the day: Taking pictures of birds be patient, focus on the eye, use the fastest shutter speed you can ( you might want to increase ISO) or use “Sport” setting.

inesemjphotographyHave a great weekend!



    1. Thank you so much! I will post another one from last year first, and then the new one. Very little people saw them – I only started blogging last spring.

  1. Reblogged this on inesemjphotography and commented:

    I have been to Saltee Island again. I though I would re-blog my two old posts before I share some new photographs with you. Never too many puffins for me 🙂 Hope you enjoy the trip!

  2. Your puffin is so cute as well, and I love the pictures of the flying puffins. They are so funny when they try to land 😀 The Razorbills is a very weird bird ! It’s like they have no eyes.

    1. Flying puffins are so funny 🙂 Razorbills’ eyes are very small and disappear on the dark head. I have never seen any of these birds before.

      I have checked out your links, so many puffins, you are so lucky! Great images and great memories.

  3. Having traveled the world and lived in foreign countries while in the military, I completely agree with your take on visiting foreign lands. The puffin photos are first rate! Again, I think your work is magazine worthy. 🙂

  4. The puffin is the provincial bird of Newfoundland, Canada where I was born. I have always loved their quirky beauty (if not their pungent smell.) Well done!

    1. Thank you for stopping by! I have never seen a puffin before. Reading your comment it came into my mind that I could have become a different person if I grew up seeing this beautiful bird.

  5. Very inspiring blog! Your pictures are great, you definitely make your readers willing to go there! Can’t wait for the next post.

    1. Sheri – your talent of making people feel special is the most precious talent one can possess. Thank you for your friendship and kindness!

  6. Hi Inese. I started a new blog, My Life in One-Liners, and am inspired by the puffins. Did you by any chance get a shot of a puffin with the pink flowers? I would love to use one of your puffin photos to illustrate a post. With your permission, and I would use whatever credits/links you want. Let me know.

    I recently had a photo session with puffins in Oregon.
    It was a super experience but I found it nearly impossible
    to get a good shot. The puffins were friendly and didn’t
    seem to mind me at all. They were so serious !!!
    And comical, I found them very amusing.
    —Also found your fox photo to be of interest.
    I live in southern Florida in a concrete world
    but we do have small, wild red foxes.
    Sometimes early in the morning
    one can see them doing some kind
    of strange jumping dance.
    Beautiful beyond words.

    1. Thank you for stopping by! The puffins are so funny even that they have these serious faces:) Tell me more about Oregon! Where did you see the puffins? My daughter is about to go there for vacation.
      You are so right, the world is so beautiful, no words to express!

  8. Those where some astonishing pictures, that was some cool looking bird. It almost seems like you making them, I don´t know how, but they seem to pose for the camera.

    Great post with one exception, getting stuck in the island? They better have a lot of food stored away if I got stuck in an island. I get hungry to tackle anxiety. And if they run out of food, well…there are birds running around as reserve.

    1. Thank you for stopping by! I didn’t check but I think there is some dry food like noodles. The water is essential. One can fast a day or two, it is all right, and you can bring some food with you and leave it in the shelter just in case:) Normally the weather doesn’t change suddenly. Captain Bates cancels the trips when he feels it is getting dangerous. His father was in this business before. Plenty of knowledge.

      We spent three hours taking pictures, two of them in the rain… I agree that the puffins are posing:) I was gradually getting quite close to them, inch by inch, on my belly:) They were watching me, they have seen many photographers and know what we are after. The birds there have no fear. Check my new blog tomorrow.:)

      1. I will check the new blog.

        Is there anything like a championship about taking photographs of all kinds of birds in the U.S. The most birds and different kind of birds you photo you win? Or was that just a comedy movie I saw and has no basis in reality. If it´s the second one, I think it was quite original the idea by the writers.

        Three hours taking pictures with typhoons on you… sure paid off. And what a great job you have, traveling through beautiful places, capturing the nature, doing what you love. You are lucky, I know hard work is put in to it like everything. But being able to work and earn a living on what you love, very few people can say that.

        1. It is not like that:) I am not making living taking THESE pictures. I travel just for fun of it. You can see that I have very neglected photo gallery here, because the purpose of this blog is not to show how good I am at photography, but to show how good is the world, the birds and animals, the people and the places:)

          1. Then you´re having a ball and I´m quite happy that you travel, since I can´t, I see the beauty of mother earth through your travels….. So in a way I´m a virtual traveler 🙂

            1. Thank you so much for saying that. I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to see amazing places without any great expenses, and to share what I see. Hope you find more amazing things on this blog, because you know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder:)

  9. The island sounds rich in history. Very interesting place. I love bird photography. Love your photos. Beautiful birds. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Hattie! I have got about 700 pictures altogether, and it was hard to chose these 15 for the blog. I think I will post more puffin pictures after a while, but Tuesday I will post pictures of Gannets, another beautiful bird.

  10. Oh, your shots are lovely, and the island just sounds so perfect for a retreat. 🙂

    I agree with you – visitors should not impose upon the locals how the latter should live their lives. If they don’t like the place, leave and let the residents live in peace.

    1. I agree with you Imelda, I am living in a foreign country myself, and it is as good country as any other. The argument I mentioned in my post started here in WordPress. I read a blog of a girl who lives and studies in a foreign country. This blog was very negative and foolish, and I commented exactly as you say: you have two options – either live with it or pack your bags. The girl quickly edited the end of the post and replied in very harsh manner, and also her friends. I have idea why they had bad experiences in that country: because of their own intolerance and selfishness.

    1. Thank you Linda! More pictures are following:) It was a trip of a lifetime! I have got about 700 good pictures. Never had such a hard time chosing what to post:)

    1. Thank you for stopping by! I have seen them only in the books before. I was mesmerised, couldn’t take my eyes off them. Next week I will post the pictures of Gannets.

    1. Thank you for stopping by! Most of the birds stay there only during early summer, but any time of the year you can catch a surprise visitor, some rare bird, and also the seals. Grateful for the owners who keep this place protected.

  11. I truly enjoyed the rinde, dear Inese… 😉
    Beautiful landscapes and birds in motion.
    Thank you very much for sharing.
    Happy weekend and best wishes to you,
    Aquileana 🙂

Comments are closed.