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Day trip to the Saltees

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(Padraig Barry)

Fermoy Camera Club had one of its largest attendances to date at an Outing at our recent trip to the Saltee island. In total there was thirty-four members from the club on the island. The island which is located approximately two miles off the coast, from the small fishing port of Kilmore Quay in Co. Wexford, is home to large colonies of seabirds. Access onto the island is not for the faint hearted as having travelled to the island by boat you must then transfer to a rib to complete the journey to a tiny spit of sand at the base of a cliff. Once safely on dry ground it is up steps to the clifftop where the majesty of the island opens up in front of you.

It is then a good walk across the island to a rugged cliff face which is home to so many species of birds. These rugged cliffs are unnavigable by humans and therefore offer an ideal nesting ground to many species of birds including Guillemots, Razorbills, Herring gulls, Shags and Gannets.

The club was blessed with a beautiful day with blazing sunshine and little wind. While these conditions were ideally suited to the photographers it did mean the Puffins were not as easily seen. There were however enough around for each of us to capture in our photos.

(karen Fleming)

In stark contrast the Gannet colony was like a carpet of embroidered white lace laid gently over an outcropping headland. Thousands of nesting pairs were crowded together like holidaymakers on a Spanish beach. The cacophony of noise was an assault to the ears while the smell was truly an assault to the senses! These birds with their wide wingspans and subtle colouring make for gorgeous images.

For some of the club members it was their first visit to the island while others have been in the past. Each and every one was once again in awe of the beauty and wildness of nature at its best on the island. Due to the difficulty in accessing the island it is really only photographers and bird watchers who tend to travel out there which is advantageous to the birds as it is their home which we are truly privileged to visit.

(Padraig Barry0

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