Day 17 Wagtails In The Woods
Apologies in advance for the long blog and numerous photos in this firts section but I wanted to show as much as Tollymore Forest as I could but don't worry, the last 2 days are very short ;)
We awoke early and headed back towards the County Down coast around 7am.On the way I saw my first ever Irish Hare :) Unfortunately on a very bendy road with nowhere to stop so a fleeting glimpse will have to keep me going til next time.
Our destination was the Tollymore Forest Park just outside Newcastle.It covers just over 600 hectares and has the stunning Shimna River flowing through the trees and gorges.
The beginning of the river trail(1 of 4 and the shortest)
Almost immediately through the clear water I saw this Brown Trout, it's shadow giving it away.
The Shimna river had numerous bridges and stepping stones to cross.All set in the stunning forest.
The most spectacular location along the river though had to be the amazing Hermitage.Built in 1770 as a memorial to a friend who died that year.
Red Squirrels are also found in the forest(just not by us lol) along with various birds we saw such as Robins, Hooded Crows, Mistle Thrushes, Chaffinches and more than one family of Grey Wagtails.We spent nearly an hour with the various Wagtail families along the river with the Adults constantly flying back and forth with food.
Photographing the Wagtails.
For the Game Of Thrones fans, Tollymore Forest was used as the Haunted Forest where the white walkers were first seen in the tv series.
I didn't find anything that frightening but I did find something that may unsettle a few people, a wonderful nest of Spiderlings on a stone wall.
Even though we spent a good 4 hours here, it was nowhere near long enough.If you find yourself in County Down then go check this amazing place out :)
Day 18 Last Day In Ireland
As it was our final day in Northern Ireland, Majella spent the majority of it with her family and so the only "wild" thing I got to do was meet her sister's new Husky Hybrid Puppy, Luna(short for Lunatic) ;).
I was welcomed with the usual hyper run, slide across the wood floor and peed all over lol
Told you it was a very short day 18 ;)
Day 19 Back To Scotland(and the rabbits)
We left Newry, drove back up to Larne and caught the ferry back to Cairnryan.We were upgraded to Club Lounge so I could relax seawatching through the window while enjoying the comforts of free drinks and biscuits :)
Leaving Northern Ireland.
I saw hundreds of Guillemots, around 30 Gannets, 2 Fulmars and lots of Gulls but once again the highlights were watching the 80+ Manx Shearwaters seen during the crossing, gliding and banking over the waves.
The main flock of Gulls seen were following this fishing boat.
We alighted the ferry in Scotland and had the 2hr drive East to Gretna for our overnight stay.After getting into our room I had a look out the window and found that there was a Swallows nest in the corner of the building with at least 4 chicks almost ready to fledge.
From the room window I also watched a Song Thrush, Pied Wagtail, a pair of Oystercatchers and 7 Rabbits.This Mother was out with triplets :)
Nature is everywhere and we are all much better off with it in our lives.
Finally up to date with the #30DaysWild blog again :) Tomorrow we drive across Northumberland ready for our visit to much smaller islands on Wednesday, The Farnes.
Check back to see if I can get any photos of Puffins with fish in their bills to help out the RSPB survey.