West life

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday, 3 July 2012 07:24

This is the last of the Ireland posts. We left Connemara and headed to Kerry and straight to the Dingle peninsula to a whale watching boat trip. We didn't see any whales that day, as it was too choppy to see that far, but I did get some great gen from Britta Wilkens, who is the wildlife adviser on the boat. If anyone is ever in that part of the world, you should go out on this boat, it was great! The above photo was taken from the furthest west I have ever been in my life. We saw Grey Seals and plenty of sea birds but it was great hearing about cetaceans and Basking Sharks.

That evening, thanks to Britta's gen, we headed up to Conor Pass to look for Great Butterwort. We pulled over to let a car past on a very narrow stretch of road and looked up to see Great Butterwort growing right by the road! Spotted from the car, that's how big the flowers are!
The following morning the sea was calmer and I thought I might have a chance at Minke Whale, so we headed up to the cliffs tops where Britta told us that a man called Nick Massett might be watching. Within minutes of our arrival, Nick appeared for an hour or so and just as he had to leave he got onto a Minke distant. I struggled to relocate it but then suddenly it appeared. Then another! Two Minke Whales. A long overdue lifer for me and my first whale on my British Isles list! If you look very, very closely in the photo below, you might just be able to make out a wall. The whales were so far away they were only just visible through my scope!
We walked down the road a little way where St Patrick's Cabbage was growing in profusion. I clambered up to get some photos and on the way up, I spotted a Kerry Slug.
Niall found one other too by the road and he also spotted this as being different to the St Patrick's Cabbage, it's the closely related Tufted Saxifrage.
We didn't have much time in Killarney National Park on our last day but we did see the Strawberry-trees.

And Irish Spurge.
I had a great time in Ireland, a big thank you to Niall and his family and all the people we met who helped us out being Liam Jones, Britta Wilkens and Nick Massett. Thanks also to Mark Telfer and Don Hodgers for their help too.

2 Response to "West life"

Lucy Says:

Try as I might, I can't see your whales. It's good to imagine though. I like the spotty slugs.

Mel Lloyd Says:

Spotted slug is a great spot :-) I've long wanted to see the strawberry trees in Ireland - I recall studying the Lusitanian flora. Excellent macro of the spurge. M

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