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. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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 🙂

  4. 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! 🙂

  5. 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.

  6. 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. ❤

  7. 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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