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Bird photo trip in July

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Old Wednesday 29th June 2016, 21:06   #1
ulfg
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Bird photo trip in July

I am going to Ireland for some days (13-19 July) this summer. Among my activities, I want to photograph seabirds (especially Puffins + Choughs) and Roseate Terns. Until now, I’ve felt that the Cliffs of Moher would be a good place for seabirds, and the coast around Skerries + a boat trip around Rockabill would be good for the terns. Now, I’ve started to doubt this, thinking that the distance to the seabirds could be be too far at Cliffs of Moher. So there may be better options...?

Is there a photographing birder here that can give me some advice – am I thinking right, or are there better spots? Can for instance, Loop Head be better? And what would be my best chances of getting into photo distance of Roseate Terns?

Kind regards,
Ulf
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Old Wednesday 29th June 2016, 21:36   #2
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At the cliffs of Moher last week I found good good for photographing the smaller birds ie the chough and wheatears showing well, did't get to the skerries but i believe that would be a good choice for closeup of the auks etcs
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Old Thursday 30th June 2016, 05:07   #3
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Thank you! So, my impression is that the auks and other seabirds (fulmars, shags etc) were on a too far distance at the Cliffs of Moher?
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Old Sunday 3rd July 2016, 13:00   #4
Allen S. Moore
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Thank you! So, my impression is that the auks and other seabirds (fulmars, shags etc) were on a too far distance at the Cliffs of Moher?
When I was birding at the Cliffs of Moher in October 2014 a warden told me where the puffins breed not far from the visitors centre. He said that they are on a grass topped ridge which protruded below the cliff top, but with the long camera lenses which people have these days I would guess that a photo is possible.

Have a great trip.
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Old Sunday 3rd July 2016, 15:36   #5
paul Robinson
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Howth Head near Skerries is good for guillomot, razorbill and kittiwake though it might be just a little late in the summer for large numbers. Walk along the cliff path south of the pier. Regular boats go from Howth harbour round Ireland's Eye, a small island just off Howth. You should see small numbers of puffins on the sea at the far side of the island. You can also land on the island for a short time by arrangement with the boat.
Skerries should be good for terns, especially if they come to roost in the early evening.
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Old Tuesday 5th July 2016, 19:35   #6
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Thank you, Allen and Paul!

I have rescheduled my trip a little bit. I've decided to skip Cliffs of Moher. For the Puffins I will try to go to Great Saltee Island instead, or take Ireland's Eye as a second choice.

So my first days will be in the South, where I also hope to get Chough somewhere along the coast between Waterford and Cork - the two birdguidebooks I have describe several possible spots there.

Hopefully this will also give me some possibilities to take some snaps of Roseate Terns flying between the sea and Lady's Island Lake. I believe that they will be too far away for photos in the lake itself...?

And - perhaps somebody knows about reliable spots for Chough along the Southern coastline?
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Old Tuesday 5th July 2016, 21:06   #7
Allen S. Moore
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Thank you, Allen and Paul!

And - perhaps somebody knows about reliable spots for Chough along the Southern coastline?
In the last Irish chough census known to me (2002/3) there were about 500 breeding pairs divided almost equally between Counties Cork and Kerry (as well as others elsewhere round Ireland, but none on the eastern coast), so there is plenty of scope to find them, especially around those SW peninsulas, I should guess. Not far south of Cork city is the Old Head of Kinsale, which I have read is a good place for choughs. You may also see them between there and Kinsale itself. I did last year, anyway.
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Old Saturday 9th July 2016, 05:14   #8
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Thank you, Allen. That seems promising. This will be a good trip!
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Old Saturday 9th July 2016, 18:06   #9
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Hi
You should see chough on great saltee. If you are getting the boat tour round the island (a lovely trip in itself) and not landing they will be some distance away. You should get great shots of gannet from the boat - they dive in right around you. Other places with small numbers of chough (2-4 maybe) are Hook Head along the coastal path between slade harbour and the lighthouse and Baginbun Head. A good spot for roseate tern in the early evening is on the rocks just north of the wind turbines at Carnsore point.
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Old Sunday 10th July 2016, 14:18   #10
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Thank you, Paul! I hope the weather will allow the Great Saltee trip - otherwise I'll have to go on a mainland trip along the coastline westwards. And I will definitely try for the Roseate Terns at Carnsore Pt!
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Old Thursday 28th July 2016, 08:58   #11
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I have been back from Ireland for more than a week now, and I must say I had a really good birding week there! I had bright sunshine on my day trip to Gt Saltee Island – a day that produced most of the seabirds I had hoped for – including great views of Puffins and Choughs.

Then Birdforum member paul Robinson showed the famous Irish hospitality and took me out for more than a day’s birding in the South-East. We spent several hours watching the terns (Common, Arctic and Roseate) fly between the breeding colonies and the fishing area; we also got some seawatching with Manx Shearwaters (a little distant, but still better than the general Swedish conditions), although those days were quite misty, with limited sight over the sea.

Finally, I went with a boat ride around Rockabill Island (that is North of Dublin) with the largest colony of Roseate Terns. I got some really good views of them there, too.

So, a big Thank You to the people at BirdForum, for the assistance that made this week so good. And special thanks to paul Robinson, who had to put up with my Roseate Tern obsession. Thanks to you and your guidance, I am slightly cured from it now!

And... there will be photos on my Flickr page within a few days.
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