Monday, July 6, 2015

Irish Details - The First Day

While we were in Ireland, I took advantage of the camera on my phone and posted pictures every day to Facebook.  I hit a lot of the high points there, so I thought it would be fun to get into some of the details I didn't post through other forms of social media.

These are all from the first full day of hiking, east of Ballycastle.

This is a Northern Wheatear in breeding plumage.  Interestingly enough, I've seen one of these before - waaaaaaay out of range in a hotel parking lot off of Interstate 81 in PA in winter.  An Irish meadow is much more their natural habitat.

We were walking through plenty of farm fields this day.  The multiple ways and means designed to cross the fences had us smiling.  This is a simpler one, just a cross piece placed on two small posts.  I was never able to get good photographs, but these fields were full of Skylarks, small sparrow-ish birds that flutter 30-40 feet above the ground, singing for mates.  A unique and charming behavior.  

We met these two dogs on the trail.  Yes, there's two, note the ear tip sticking out from behind the rock.  The hiding dog was definitely passive, while the one you can see was actually a wee bit aggressive.  I think he felt he was protecting his buddy, but yeeesh!

Ireland has a lot of birds that have analogues in the New World.  Here's the Grey Heron, which is obviously quite similar to our Great Blue Heron.

And this is a Blackbird, which is not related to American blackbirds at all, but is actually a type of what we would call a robin!  Striking bird, for one that is working only with black and yellow for colors.

One thing we learned very quickly was that, whatever the weather was at the moment, it was unlikely to stay that way for long.  By the end of the day, our nice sunny adventure had turned into low clouds and spitting rain.  But it did make for a moody shot of Ballycastle harbour!

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