Displaying items by tag: wildlife

The razorbill is a native seabird to Ireland and to Scotland which is where this image is from, over on Mull just up the coast from my home county of Antrim right in the north east corner of Ireland.

Related to the puffin, the razorbill can often be seen nesting and breeding in colonies that include puffins, as well as fulmars along the Atlantic coasts of Ireland and Scotland.

Unlike the puffin, the razorbill is usually only seen as a plain black and white bird, with its distinctive line running from the bill back to its brown-iris eyes as seen in the image above.

But, when it opens its bill there is a flash of bright, almost golden yellow on the bird's palate.

This pair are engaging in mating behaviour but the bright yellow can also be useful for chicks being fed and razorbills often quarrel with each other with bills wide open in what is known as bill-gaping.

Each pair will only have one egg and both male and female feed the chick for approximately three weeks.

At around twenty days old the chicks follow the male into the ocean, leaping from the cliff and are fed by him until old enough to become self-sufficient.

Like fulmars, razorbills can live to forty years or more.

Published in Photo Tours
Tuesday, 31 May 2022 22:08

Guillemots Gathered in their Masses

A recent visit to the coast brought me to a seabird sanctuary where I photographed many types of wild birds including puffins, razorbills, fulmars and guillemots.

This image, and the others below, made me think of the famous Black Sabbath song War Pigs with its lyrics changed to "Guillemots gathered in their masses, just like witches at black masses..."

Guillemots breed on land between May and September in Ireland, laying eggs directly on to rock - no grassy ledge or built nest.

Recent weeks have seen me photographing nightlife rather than wildlife at many concerts in Dublin and Belfast, including Whitesnake, Queen and Bryan Adams.

Don't forget that Panoramic Ireland's photo tours are running every day, in Dublin and around the coast. Join me to photograph seabirds, landscapes and streetscapes.

Guillemots Gathered in their Masses
Guillemots Gathered in their Masses
Published in Photo Tours

The fulmar Fulmarus glacialis is not a native bird to Ireland, although it is now resident here all year round having first been recorded on the island in 1911.

It is similar in size to a seagull but is a member of the tubenose family or procellariids, more commonly known as petrels.

It spends much time gliding, as it was when I photographed it here, using little energy to ascend and descend then flying low over the surface of the ocean - a common trait of petrels. Indeed the fulmar is related to albatrosses.

Each year the fulmar will return to the same ledge on the same cliff and will often mate for life. It lives for over 40 years and is a pelagic feeder of any type of fish.

The upper feathers are grey with brown feathers often visible, though most guides fail to mention these they are very evident in the image above. Undersides are white and the fulmar has a distinctive blue portion of the nose.

The fulmar is one of Ireland's fascinating seabirds, fantastic when seen in flight.

Published in Guide
Wednesday, 24 February 2021 23:29

The Irish Honeybee, Apis mellifera mellifera

The Irish honeybee Apis mellifera mellifera is Ireland's only native honeybee, it's a bee with a dark abdomen and is also known as the European dark bee.

Seen here in late February, just before the end of winter meteorologically-speaking or at the start of Irish spring, this honeybee has been extraordinarily busy collecting nectar and pollen on a bright afternoon just before stormy weather hits.

This week saw an amazing amount of precipitation, particularly over the southwest of Ireland, Munster, where Cork and Clonmel saw extensive flooding. This part of Ireland has already seen above average rainfall for February and recent days have only added to the totals.

Published in Guide

One of the few yellow ladybirds to be found in Ireland is the 14-spot ladybird Propylea quattuordecimpunctata which, like most ladybirds, feasts on the gardener's enemy - aphids.

Here, seen walking around looking for dinner this charming ladybird is sure to make anyone growing fruit and vegetables happy.

Also known as ladybugs in North America, the Irish name for ladybirds is Bóín Dé which translates as 'God's little cow' - quite a pleasant name for this little beetle.


Published in Guide

We might be restricted right now from moving too far from home but if you have a garden, balcony or window box then and some flowers then the chances are you have bees visiting.

Here the white-tailed bumblebee Bombus lucorum sits on rosemary flowers on a sunny day. I wrote about bumblebees back in February in regards to the traditional start of Irish Spring, Saint Brigid's Day.

Keep an eye out for more bee images to come here on Panoramic Ireland.

Published in Guide
Wednesday, 05 February 2020 20:34

Otter of the River Suir

An interesting sight that you often won't see in Ireland, the elusive Eurasian otter has been on the IUCN Red List for some time, classified as Near Threatened and a species in decline, Lutra lutra is one of the finest animals to see in nature.

Here as I was travelling along Ireland's River Suir in County Tipperary, I saw this busy otter swimming, diving and fishing on the fast flowing river.

It was an impressive hour, the otter would work its way upstream, then dive under water to re-emerge usually with a fish.

Here it is seen with what looks like a decent sized trout. This is a big creature, male otters can reach 1.3m nose to tail and they look impressive when you see them cutting through the water's surface.

This is undoubtedly one of the finest animals to see, along with Ireland's other elusive mammal the pine marten.

Published in Guide
Friday, 22 March 2019 19:50

Dunes of Dublin Bay - Biosphere

Dublin Bay is a UNESCO Biosphere - a protected area designated important for wildlife.

Since 1981 the beach and dunes, pictured here, at Bull Island in Dublin Bay have been a Biosphere, in 2015 the whole bay was brought into that designation including the Baily Lighthouse on Howth Head.

Published in Guide
Sunday, 29 July 2018 18:11

Greylag Geese on the Green Irish Shore

The greylag goose Anser anser is not a common sight in Ireland yet in some of the wetlands around the country it is possible to see these majestic birds like here with several young enjoying a dinner of grass.

Published in Guide
Saturday, 02 June 2018 10:11

The Irish Donkey

No journey through the west of Ireland can be complete without seeing one of the most characterful sights of the Irish countryside, the Irish Donkey.

Here on a recent photo tour by Panoramic Ireland, we sought out horses and donkeys.

It was a hot day and in a field of energetic donkeys this one stood, resting momentarily with sunshine and shadow.

During the 19th century and for much of the last century donkeys played a vital role in rural life, doing most of the heavy work on farms before mechanisation particularly on those farms where horses were too large for the small fields or expensive to keep.

Now there are few working donkeys in Ireland but there are many neglected Irish donkeys, as a result the Irish Donkey Sanctuary looks for suitable places all over Ireland to rehouse these long-eared friendly creatures.

And thankfully so, the Irish donkey is an essential component of rural life.

So keep an eye out for the long ears sticking up over a stone wall or the loud braying sounding throughout the countryside.

Why not join me on a photography tour in the west of Ireland?

Published in Photo Tours
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