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!
I love your posts and your amazing photos!
Thank you Luisa 🙂
An appropriately titled post, Inese. The birds are magnificent, as is the blue, white and pink carpet of flowers. Fabulous photos all round and those of the gannets in flight are stunning.
Thank you Millie. I sat comfortable on a rock and the gannets just flew over my head 🙂
we are visiting western Ireland in the autumn near Connemara, looking forward to it – found a place overlooking the sea and it has a piano, will make my son happy i hope
I have been in Connemara in October – wasn’t too bad but the wind in Clifden almost blew us off the cliff. Just mind yourself. You will love Connemara.
thank you, looking forward to it, little worried about the crossing heard it can be rough
Keep your eyes on the horizon. You will be fine.
Amazing! I’ve never heard about this place before. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thank you! Come visit 🙂
Inese – these are absolutely gorgeous pictures! The birds are so sharp – you feel like you could almost touch them!
Thank you so much! The birds flew right over my head.
Reblogged this on Janet’s thread.
Thank you so much!
Your carpets of blue and white are so very, very stunning, Friend. The Petal definition–just wow! And I love the capture of the process of movement with Gannets. Fluid elegance. xxxxx
Thank you so much! xxxxxx
Beautiful pictures, as always!!
Thank you! xx
Such gorgeous photos on a sunny day, Inese. All the colors are especially vibrant. It looks like a great visit.
Thank you so much! It was a great sunny day, perfect for taking picture of birds in flight.
Nice timing/framing on those bird shots. It’s an impressive set.
Thank you! It is easy enough since they land and take off right over my head 🙂
Superb bird photos.
Thank you so much 🙂
Thanks for letting us visit such an amazing place with your lovely photos. What are the white flowers?
Thank you! The white flowers are Sea Campions. Three colors were domineering – white of the campions, blue of the bluebells and terracotta of the sheep sorrel.
Reblogged this on Praying for Eyebrowz and commented:
Absolutely amazing photos from one of the best photography bloggers. See more at inesemjphotography.com.
Those photos of birds in flight are beyond spectacular! Wow!
Those gannet photographs are extraordinary!
Thank you so much, Bruce. This kind of photographs is quite easy to take.
hehehe had you not wanted us in advance, I would have thought one of those gulls was either very angry or very hungry;)
Gabe, never mess up with the black backs if you meet one 🙂 They do attack and can hurt. Some of them are huge, and they are bloodthirsty predators. The only black-backs nest on the island I dare to come close to is right beside the gannet colony. Apparently the gulls have learned to respect those who are bigger than them 🙂
Ah your beloved puffins out in force xxxxxxxxx
Didn’t get to see them this time, only four young ones. They are in the sea most of the day until mid of June. xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Love those puffins in particular! These are magical shots.
Thank you! Love them, too cute 🙂
A nice tour of the Island and it’s birds! Thanks
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