Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Irish Details - the Third Day, Part 1

We were really looking forward to the third day, when we made the transition from Ballycastle to Bushmills.  Only (!) eight miles of hiking to get there.

What I did not realize was that the hike started out with 2-3 miles of uphill walking.  It was a relatively gentle slope, but still.  I needed a break!

This day was primarily walking on back country roads, and it wasn't long before we ran into a large group of Rooks.  These are large-ish black birds that have a very medieval look to them, to my eye.  Like they're totally prepared to go after your eyeballs if you sit still too long :)

Right about this time it also hit me that perhaps these birds are the source of the word "rookery," as we saw the birds were grouping around their nests.

Ireland is also the land of extensive and well-kept hedges.  We followed this road, until we reached a farmstead, turned in, and walked out along a fence line into a patch of woods known as Clare Wood.  Something we noticed throughout our time in Ireland is that land is held differently, at least in that many open fields could be accessed by walkers with no problem, despite it being technically private land.

Clare Wood had an entirely different feel than any other habitat we were in this trip.  Deeply quiet, green above and below, just very Druidy feeling, lol.  This was obviously a pine plantation, though, as the trees were in rows.  We heard an interesting bird song as we entered.  At first I thought it was some kind of owl, but eventually realized it was a Eurasian Collared-Dove singing.  We also heard a Cuckoo.  American cuckoos have really wild songs, but this one sounded like the namesake clock.  Finally, it all makes sense :)

This shot shows the view over the countryside, across the Moyle Sea, and to the western end of Rathlin Island - where we were Puffin gazing just yesterday!

Some sights along the way down to Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge:

An interesting butterfly that remains unidentified.  (Sorry, I only had the energy to figure out birds!)

A bin of what I assume are seed potatoes, waiting to be planted in the nearby field.

And a guard donkey, busily letting everyone know we're close by.  What was our destination today, you wonder?  We were heading to Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, and then to the village of Ballintoy for dinner and to wait for our ride to Bushmills.  I think I'll save that for the next post, though!

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