Saltee Islands – the colours of May

Kilmore Quay

This time I visited Great Saltee island in May, a month earlier than I usually do.  Kilmore Quay marina is busy as always, and Razorbill, the boat we will travel on, is moored at her usual place near the slipway.

I have a couple of minutes to take a few pictures. Love the name of this fishing boat 🙂 Once again I remember my good intention to purchase myself an inflatable float vest… Next time for sure!

Kilmore quay

The sea is smooth, and our 5 km trip lasts only 15 minutes.

“All people young and old, are welcome to come, see and enjoy the islands, and leave them as they found them for the unborn generations to come see and enjoy.”    Michael the First

Great Saltee

Michael the First, then farmer’s son Michael Neale, bought the islands in 1943.

“It was never my intention to make a profit from these islands.  Day visitors are welcome to come and enjoy at no cost.  Bird watchers will always remain welcome.”  Michael the First

From the bird’s view Obelisk is in the shape of the Maltese Cross. Each side of the Obelisk has inscriptions, and on the front, under the image of the Prince, it reads:

“Nothing is impossible to the man who can, will, then do. / This is the only law of success. This monument was erected by Prince Michael the First as a symbol to all children that be hard work, perseverance, their dreams and ambitions  may also be realised”.

Saltee Islands

The Chair, or the Throne, is dedicated to his mother.

” This chair is erected in memory of my mother to whom I made a vow when I was ten years old that one day I would own the Saltee Islands and become the First Prince of the Saltees. Henceforth, my heirs and successors can only proclaim themselves Prince of these Islands by sitting in this chair fully garbed in the robes and crown of the Islands and take the Oath of Succession”. Michael the First

Saltee Islands

The Islands have a long history and they used to be inhabited and farmed. There is a rumor that the Islands were accidentally made by the Devil himself while he was being chased by St Patrick. The evil creature took two handfuls of rocks from the Comeragh Mountains between Lemybrian and Kilmacthomas,  and then dropped them on the run in the Celtic Sea.  St Patrick built a causeway, just a mile from Kilmore Quay, to connect the islands to the mainland. It is dangerous to swim around the St Patrick’s causeway because of the very strong riptides. When the tide is in, the causeway is almost completely submerged. Don’t try to walk in the shallow water – the current is very strong and will sweep you off your feet.

But let’s get to the point. I am here to see the puffins 🙂

Saltee Islands

puffin

puffin

This trip was different, and I only saw four puffins. Every year they return to the same place.

I took off across the island to see the Gannets. The island looks beautiful in May. Bluebells and Sea Campions painted it in blue and white.

Saltee Islands

Saltee Islands

I saw two Eurasian Rock Pipit couples in exactly the same place as the year before.

Saltee Islands

Rock Pipit

I also saw unusually many Cinnabar butterflies, all over the place. On a closer inspection, they were all dead! This one was being consumed by a spider…

The path turned to the edge of the cliff. This is a young Lesser Black-backed gull.

Gracious Guillemots don’t mind posing for a picture.

Guillemot

Saltee Islands

I am approaching the highest point of the island. An almost vertical climb will take me to the land of Great Black-backed gulls. More pictures next week.

Thank you for your company! You are the best.

Saltee Islands

Here you can find some of my previous post about Saltee Islands.

2014, 2015, 2016

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful week!

75 comments

    1. Thank you! I too love puffins. I came to the island in May, which was a bit too early. June would be perfect as they have their young in June and bring them food often.

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  1. I remember last year’s post and the weather wasn’t as nice. Beautiful photos, Inese. I love the birds and the flowers and, of course, the views of the sea. How lovely that the island are open to visitors. Michael the First sounds like an imaginative and visionary person.

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    1. Thank you Diana! It was a lovely quiet trip. The islands look beautiful in May – now I know that 🙂
      Michael the First did a great job preserving the birds. It is so very nice that the family allow visitors.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Derrick. I was only able to go there in May, and the puffins are rather seen in June when they feed their young. I have never been to Saltee in May before, and loved to find the island covered with Bluebells and Sea Campions 🙂

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      1. My favourites. Growing up in Dartmouth, Devon we had herring gulls living on the River Dart, yet over in Brixham lived the anti-social Black backs. When the mackerel arrived on the Dart, the Black bags were kings.

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        1. Anti-social! I couldn’t put it better myself. In my next blog I write a few words about the black-backs. I have already had conflicts with them before 🙂 But they are magnificent birds.

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    1. David, I have no idea what happened to the moths. They looked intact, and brand new. As they emerge from their cocoons in mid May, I suggest that something happened to them before they took their first flight.
      Many Hugs!!! xxxxxx

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  2. Thanks for those puffins and pipits and the bluebells on a quaint island. They are the new heirs and heiresses of the kingdom. One question: how does one know they are the same birds year after year?

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    1. Thank you so much for your visit! To answer your question – these birds can live up to 30 years, and if a couple digs a burrow or makes a nest, they come back every year as long as they live. I can recognise some birds and always go looking for them. This year I didn’t see my favorite puffin as I went to Saltees in May, a month too early.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Resa, I hope everything is well with the Puffins. I went to Saltees in May which is a bit too early. The puffins have no babies yet.
      We have a mural festival in August, and I will link my posts to your blog as I consider it the Headquarters of all the street art 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much! 🙂 This was a solo trip – there was no one to take a picture of me. But you are right, I have never sat on the throne… I don’t know why. Probably because I was too busy watching the puffins 😉 Did you know they live up to 30 years? I think of them as little people. They are not always as brightly colored as these pictures. It is only for the breeding season. Juveniles are very dark.

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    1. Thank you so much, Teagan! It was a slow, quiet trip with no adventures. Puffins make me happy, and they are truly creatures of fantasy as you say. I think of them as little people from Irish mythology. Many hugs.

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