Saltee Island: off to see the Puffins

Kilmore Quay

It is the time of the year when I go to see the Puffins. I have written four blogs about Saltee Islands, and I don’t want to repeat myself writing about the birds and their biology again. If you love sea birds, you might be interested in reading the following links to my previous posts:

In the opening picture, you see the Kilmore Quay port. The red boat is our trusted An Crosán, or Razorbill in Gaelic.

I have a half an hour before the boarding to walk around and take some pictures of the fishing gear.

fishing gear fishing gear

The weather is mild and the sea is smooth. With the back wind, we make the trip in 15 minutes.

Saltee trip

A group of photographers are waiting for the boat to pick them up – they came to the island before the sunrise. It is what I am going to do next year.

Great Saltee

We walk up the steps, pass the owners house, walk to the throne and turn left. It is where I always start my walk to the Gannet cliff and back. This time I decided to explore some other parts of the island too. Later I will share with you what came out of that idea.

Great Saltee

My first Puffins this year! These birds are too young to start a family, so they are hanging out with their neighbours.


When I see Puffins, there is no force in the whole Universe that could stop me from taking pictures! I don’t own a telephoto lens, so I have to get as close as I can to the birds. For that, I sit down and slowly slide to the cliff edge, inch by inch.


saltee 1 070 saltee 1 099_1

This face is one of the funniest and sweetest faces on Earth. A grey eye looks at me knowingly and intelligently. ‘A human with a camera, another one? Want me to stay still do you?


The water changes color as the sun pops out of the clouds, all the shades of cobalt blue, turquoise  and aquamarine twinkling like precious stones.

Great Saltee

We are slowly moving along the cliff edge in the direction of the Gannet nesting site, taking photographs on the way. I like this cove and always take a picture. The cliff drops down to the ocean almost vertically.

saltee islands

Another puffin, another picture. We keep to the path away from the cliff edge and begin our climb to the highest point of the island.


On the left from the path, all is green and looks like lush grass. It is not. Most of the island is covered with ferns that can grow up to the height of 4.5 f. Between the ferns, there grow briars and brambles of all sorts. I will tell you more about that part of the island later.

Great Saltee

From here, the path climbs through the ferns up the hill almost vertically. A tiny rabbit, not bigger than my fist, springs from under my feet.

The real view from the summit is much more beautiful than any photograph I have ever seen.

Great Saltee

We turn around and resume our hike to the Gannet Cliff. The sight of thousands of nesting birds and the sound of their voices is one of the Nature’s  most magnificent  spectacles. My heart is beating in anticipation as I walk closer to the cliff edge where we start our descent down to the Gannet colony.

More to follow. Thank you for loving the Puffins! 😉

inese_mj_photography Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. I love Puffins!! They are such a fun bird to look upon! Thank you for coming by The Reader and the Book as your ‘like’ drew me here. Thanks. I plan to dilly-dally around your gallery too!

  2. While I think I would love to visit the Saltee Island for photography alone (what a treasure chest of animal life, landscapes, macro, etc…) that is there for the patient photographer 🙂 However, I think the most enjoyable part of such an adventure would be the boat ride out to the island ~ the bobbing, sounds of waves and smell of the sea has always had the ability to entrance me…and your opening photos on the boat do just that, I’ve started this morning at peace 🙂 Thank you Inese another Puffin adventure, incredible photos and a look at this oasis of yours 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! Two more posts to follow 🙂 The boat ride is short, but full of excitement and anticipation of wonderful adventures ahead. When the sea is stormy, we watch the horizon and half-joke about our poor chances of survival if the boat gets capsized. If the sea is smooth, like it was this time, we just stand quietly and enjoy the ride. There is another boat that does the tours around the islands, but I know that it is very difficult to take pictures of birds from a boat, so I never tried this tour. I prefer to stay on the island for a few hours.

    1. Jean, wait until next June when the puffins feed their young. We went a bit too late, the first decade of June is the best time to go if the spring is warm. Have to speak with the captain first. I will give more info in my last blog.

  3. I adore puffins! I must get myself organised and visit. I was talking to my mother about puffins the other day and there you go! She loves them too. Many thanks for taking us to visit them!

  4. Absolutely stunning photos, Inese. What a beautiful place the Saltee Islands are, breathtaking views and incredible birds. I love puffins, and your photos do a great job of displaying their unique beauty.

  5. What a beautiful bird – so precise and perfect. Everything about that day looks wonderful, Inese, from the birds to the color of the sea. I wish I could hear the birds too. Thanks for taking me along! (My husband calls the doves that visit his feeder Puffins. I showed him the photos, so now he knows!). 😀

    1. Thank you so much Diana! 🙂 This is the day I look forward to the whole year.
      Glad you love the puffins. I too think that they are perfect – most of their life they spend in the water, looking as gorgeous as they look on the land. Doves are lovely too, of course 😉

  6. What a brave woman you are! I appreciated all your photographs particularly the keep going pudgy Puffin roosted on the cliff.They are absolutely charming and entertaining looking! You took astonishing pictures of them! Magnificent post and dazzling photographs!

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