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 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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 😉

  4. 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!

  5. These shots of the shoreline, the green and blue, the elements–I just love this. I feel my own eyes next to your camera and can breathe in the sea air. Amazing, my friend. 🙂 xxxx

  6. I would love to visit and photograph there! What an incredible experience. Your pictures are wonderful – especially the close-up shot of the puffin’s head. 🙂

    1. Thank you! That one let me come very close, less than 10 feet. Brave little stinker 🙂 I was talking to him, asking to take off for me, but he wouldn’t. This year I haven’t got any pictures of flying puffins.

  7. A boy I know visited the Puffin colongy at Saltee when he was on holiday. He was aged 10 at the time, and I’ve never seen anyone so enthused talking about birds (apart from David Attenborough, of course!). He was wheeling his arms around and jumping up-and-down as if he was going to take flight with excitement. Normally, he’s quite a calm boy.
    They really are fabulous birds, so who can blame a 10-year-old for such joy at having had the chance to see them?

    1. He was a brave boy. I have never seen children on the island. Landing could be dangerous, and the birds are very distracting with all those high cliffs under your feet.

      1. He’s a very adventurous boy, whose parents don’t wrap him in cotton wool. I think that there are far too many restrictive rules in the UK that end up stifling a child’s development. If they’d banned me from climbing trees and playing with conkers in my childhood, I’d have gone mad … “bonkers”, I mean, as that rhymes with conkers 🙂

        1. Absolutely agree with you, and I believe that it is only a trend that will go away after ten-twenty years, like everything else goes away. The next generation of children might be forced to climb the trees because 🙂

          1. Yes, and grow the food they eat, or have to forage for it, then prepare it and cook it (even light a fire out of sticks), instead of getting ready-made meals out of the freezer and bunging them in the microwave.

  8. Certainly they have extraordinary faces. I’d love to see one with my eyes, so many thanks for share them in such a beautiful way, Inese. : )

  9. PUFFINS! PUFFINS! PUFFINS! Ahh – I can never get enough of those truly beautiful birds!!! I could kiss and hug them all day long, but of course, they wouldn´t want me to 😉 And you managed to make the most wonderful shots of them, Inese! Thank you sooo much for sharing them! Do you mind if I take copies?? I´m still working on my puffin painting and I think they might help me to get the feathers right. Hope to finish it soon, that´s why I´m going to cut back a little here on wordpress…. Have a very lovely and happy week ahead! xxxxxxxxxxxxx

    1. Thank you so much, Sarah! I will post three more blogs about the trip. They won’t be exactly about puffins, but I will sneak in their pictures anyway, because I just cannot stop sharing their lovely faces 🙂 Of course you can use any of the pictures, and you can check out the links I posted. May be some old pictures will suit better for your purposes. Thank you again for loving the puffins! 🙂

      1. Awesome!! 🙂 I´m already looking so much forward to it! And will definitely follow the links to your earlier posts about puffins! If puffins could talk they would have absolute power over me 😉 Maybe over everyone – those cute faces! There can´t be anyone in the whole universe who can be able to resist them! 🙂 Too cute to be true 😉

    1. Reckless I would say 🙂 I have never got a telephoto, and don’t use tripods outdoors. And of course the images are more or less cropped. Thank you for stopping by and for loving the puffins!

  10. Oh my lord, this is a lovely post. A sea journey I am taking with you this time where I can smell the waves crashing on the rocks. and tiptoe up to these dazzling birds. Thank you once again for your magic, pictures, idea and words. I have clicked like but there seems to be a prob with wordpress. The minute I shut the page the like has gone. Does this every so often. AHHHH

    1. Thank you for loving the puffins 🙂 Sometimes my ‘likes’ disappear if I comment before I “like”. Oh WordPress…
      I will post three more stories from my trip, just to use the opportunity to share puffins 😉

        1. Ah, that’s ok, I am not counting the ‘likes’, and don’t fall ill if someone misses a post :). Grateful for any reader, I know the meaning of the word ‘busy’. You are a star, you always make me happy with your comments xx

      1. What a beautiful thing to say about the puffins and that being paradise. You know that is what you capture in these shots actually. I wanted to come live there too! Someone else was saying they had the same trouble with wordpress yesterday. Must have been a glitch. x

  11. What an adventuresome lady you are! I enjoyed all your photos especially the very last chubby Puffin perched on the cliff. Makes me wonder, though, if the birds would’ve stayed still for me — I’m not at all as pretty as you.

  12. “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.” I loved this line! Very precious, indeed.

    The Puffins have such colorful, adorable faces. Thank you for the gifts of your words and photographs! 🚣 🐥 ❤

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment! The color of the water on the south side of the island is breathtaking.
      I have never tried to describe a beauty of a puffin – there is no words. ❤

  13. an interesting island. thank you for not showing the briers and brambles- the puffins are precious, the landscape is lovely, and the sea views vibrant, so we don’t need anything ruining the fun. 🙂

    1. Thank you for stopping by! Aren’t they cute. Just wanted to share with everyone, life is so sad at times, people need something good to hear.

  14. There’s nothing quite like a day trip to a beautiful island….I have my annual favorite, too.

    It’s all been said about the cuteness of the Puffin…..I wonder if its name also evokes cuteness: puffin-muffin-puffball-buffo….all of which bring a smile. 🙂

        1. I just looked it up. It is quite far from the main land. Northeast is beautiful. All your country is beautiful, still many unspoiled places and national reserves. And wildlife everywhere, not like here. I have to drive 20 miles to see a lizard, if I am lucky 🙂

          1. Nobody lives on Star Island but there is a huge hotel that used to be an elegant luxury escape for wealthy people in the past. Now It’s a conference center. I usually go in early autumn when there are very few people there. The porch of the grand hotel has about twenty rocking chairs where you can sit and take in the beautiful view and fresh air. Sometimes when we arrive, if there’s a strong breeze, all the empty rocking chairs are rocking at once!

            1. Oh, I imagine the rocking chairs…
              Great you can stay there a couple of days. Something to look forward. My island doesn’t even have a toilet, let alone a hotel, but it is why the birds love it.

  15. Superb photos of the Puffins! It’s so sweet knowing you got close to take their shots, instead of a telephoto lens. They have honored you, by letting you!

  16. You said the magic word when you mentioned the puffins – those darling little creatures have to be most everyone’s favorite!!

    1. Aren’t they 🙂 Three more Saturdays with Puffins and other sea birds – hope it won’t be too much, but I cannot stop posting their pictures 🙂

  17. Dear Inese — thank you for another magical adventure. The views of the water and landscape are so beautiful. I even enjoyed looking at the fishing gear. But the puffins… I don’t think any bird could be more adorable. Thank you for this lovely treat. Mega hugs!

    1. Teagan – you will see puffins another three Saturdays in a row 🙂 The world has been a crazy place lately, and to maintain my sanity I have to look at something pure and sweet, like a puffin. Many hugs!!!

      1. That’s a perfect strategy Inese! For months now I’ve only been watching and reading things that had some kind of “feel good factor” for me. Puffins definitely have that! 🙂

  18. What a gorgeous island, and the puffins are wonderful. Your photos of them are fabulous, even without a telephoto lens. You really are a great photographer, Inese. I’m not surprised you keep going back to such a beautiful island – and I hope you make it there in time for the sunrise next year as I’m already looking forward to that post!

    1. Thank you so much, Millie! It was a big adventure, and another three posts will follow 🙂 Going there once a year is a tradition, and the island looks different every time I go.

  19. The island is a beautiful and idyllic place, Inese! I love the Puffins with all of my heart and so happy not easy to get to, hopefully never bothered by birds or animals of prey. . . They sure do look like they trust you, dear. ❤

  20. What a beautiful adventure! You did a great job of getting close-ups of the puffins without telephoto lens. They really seemed to be posing for you. You are a brave climber too. I will look forward to most posts.

      1. Ugh. That happens to me. What I like about your photos is your perspective. You show us unique places. And instead of taking pics of birds you brought us into their world. It is a pleasure to visit your blog. Have a good day.

    1. Thank you so much, Bob! Lucky I am. If I went a week before, there were some fifty puffins, they say. Well, hope for more luck next year.

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