As I said in my previous post, to get to the Gannet place we have to first cross the Black-backed gull land. Great Black-backed gull is the largest of the gulls, and is described as a “merciless tyrant”. They can be fierce and aggressive at their nests, but I have no intention to bother them, and I know there are no chicks that early in the year. The gulls are perched on the rocks and become agitated as I get closer. Apparently they don’t understand the message I am sending them with my body language. One of them is trying to attack me. I keep walking and pretend I don’t hear, so he finally leaves me alone and returns to his rock. I turn around and take a picture 🙂 Then I hurry away.
Just before the Cat Cliff comes into sight, I see another Black-backed gull with a tiny crab in its bill.
Finally I reach the Cat Cliff. This place always makes me emotional and fills me with reverence for the mystery of life. Beautiful big birds are so vulnerable here keeping the eggs warm, protecting the young.
While climbing down the cliff, I have to pass by a clan of European Shags whose matriarch is an ill-tempered bird that starts hissing way before I come close. This year her young and very shy son finally has his own family. Now there are three nests altogether. I didn’t want to bother the hissing mama and the shy lad, and took a few pictures of the third Shag with two chicks and a Razorbill in background. Shag looks similar to Cormorant, but they are two different birds, easily distinguished from each other: Shag is smaller and has emerald green eyes and green sheen on the feathers. Also the European Shag’s tail has 12 feathers and the Great Cormorant’s 14 feathers. European Shag chicks hatch over a two day interval – it is why one chick looks much bigger than the other.
These two Gannets are familiar to me. Their nests are perched at the very edge of the cliff so I always have to pass by them.
I make myself comfortable on a big flat rock, and when the Gannets take off and land I feel like on Maho beach 😉
This is not a fight, but an act of affection 🙂
A perfect bird.
Watching gannet landings, I forget about time.
I would sit on that rock and admire the gannets until dark, but it is time to start moving as the boat is back in an hour.
I safely pass the Black-backs territory and stop at the highest point to enjoy the beautiful view. You can see the Little Saltee in background.
I walk through the carpets of blue and white.
And of course, Sea Pink.
Oystercatcher’s loud, panicked voice calls me back from my daydreams.
I take one last glance around. This is the Makestone, the largest islet at the southern side of the Great Saltee.
Little Saltee looks close when zoomed out. In fact, the channel between the islands is about a mile wide and 30 f deep.
At this time of the year, puffins spend most of their time at sea. I have only seen four puffins during this trip. They will return later, after we leave the island. I am glad they are safe here.
An Crosan – The Razorbill – will take us back to Kilmore Quay. Two seals bathing in shallow waters are not afraid of Cap’n Declan and his dinghy.
Thank you for visiting, exploring and discovering all things beautiful. Hope you put Saltee Islands in your itinerary for next June.
Have a wonderful week!
Perfect birds and perfect shots – every single one of them! Thank you Inese! 🙂 xxxxxxxxxxx
Thank you Sarah. I wouldn’t miss this trip, never 🙂 xxxx
Inese, what wonderful images! I especially like those of the gannets landing….excellent
Thank you! It is a pleasure to watch them.
Your classic absolute best, Inese
Thank you Derrick! Wouldn’t miss this trip. It is a highlight of the whole year.
Beautiful, Inese 🙂
Birds flying and a song: I believe I can fly 😀
Mo-hugs and kisses ❤
Thank you Monica! xxxx
The photographs make it feel like being there.
Thanks! You guys have to come over next year to see the puffins. It is only a boat from Fishguard to Rosslare, and another hour or even less to Kilmore Quay.
That sounds good. I did the trip from Fishguard as a kid on the ‘fast’ ferry. A catamaran I think.
Great shots of the birds in flight! I certainly wouldn’t want to be attacked by one of those black-backed gulls, they look huge and very fierce 🙂
Oh they have attacked me more than once. Felt their wings on my hair 🙂 There is one, with the wing span no less than 5.5 feet.
Reblogged this on John Cowgill's Literature Site.
Thanks for your tour of these beautiful birds and scenery, Inese.
Thank you so much!
Such fantastic pictures Inese.
xxx Massive Hugs xxx
Thank you David. This is a trip I look forward a whole year. Wouldn’t miss it, never.
Many hugs! xxxxxx
Such a beautiful places, I really love your pictures of the birds there!
Thank you so much! Love these birds, and always happy to see the old buddies alive. Thankfully they live very long.
I was going to add that your “European shags” look a lot like our cormorants… then I looked it up and indeed they are a type of cormorant. Wonder how they ever got a name like that!!!
Yes, they are of the same family, but look quite different. The most striking difference is the Shag’s green eyes.
What… no blue footed boobies? Just kidding! As always, wonderful photography and “travelogue” on a lovely part of planet earth. Thank you for the pleasant moments and sighs!
Oh I would love to see the Blue Footed Boobies. Our Gannets are actually green-footed. At least the stripes on their webbed feet are green 🙂
Golly you get such beautiful shots – animals must really love you.
Thank you! Had to take my body to the island no matter what. Love them birds.
Stunning. Just stunning. Thank you so much for sharing this!
How marvelous! Love those black feet. 😊
Thank you! They are amazing birds, excellent divers.
Amazing pictures! Incredibly beautiful there!
Thank you! The island is beautiful, and there are thousands of different birds.
wow – indeed –
“Islands are metaphors of the heart, no matter what poet says otherwise.”
So beautifully said! Thank you Mihran!
The Black-backed gull has the gaze of a bird with an attitude, nice to end with puffins. Gotta love puffins. Lots and lots of splendid photos. Thanks for sharing. (P.S. I am always impressed with people who the name for all floral and fauna.)
Thank you so much! I am going to the island once a year, and every trip is different 🙂 Never get bored. As to the names, it is old ( and already fading) knowledge 🙂
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