Bird photography in July at Carlingford Lough

In our last post, we shared our walk around the coastal town of Carlingford. However, the main purpose of our visit was to do some bird photography in July at Carlingford lough. The shoreline of the lough near to Carlingford village is designated as both a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive and an EU Special Protection Area that safeguards and maintains the habitats of migratory birds. It is part of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas and listed under the Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance. 

For me this puts Carlingford on a par with my beloved Manawatu Estuary back home in New Zealand.  

Our first visit to Carlingford was in late July. It was too early for the birds that over-winter in large numbers on the lough and our intent was to just acquaint ourselves with the layout of the area and take some photos. We timed our visit on the rising tide to get some idea of the birds' movement from their feeding grounds to their high-tide resting areas.
We were very excited to see so many birds present in summer, curlews and whimbrels to name a few. 

this is an image of a redshank in flight in July
Bird photography in July at Carlingford lough - A Redshank

this is an image of a curlew in flight at Carlingford, Ireland
My first decent image of a Curlew, the first of many I hope.

this is an image of a flock of ruddy turnstones coming down to land on the rocks on Carlingford lough
A Squadron of Ruddy Turnstones buzzed around us as the tide came in. 

flock of redshanks landing on the rocks at Carlingford lough
It was the same for the Redshanks

a flock of ruddy turnstones in flight at Carlingford lough
Although we were exposed on our rocky outcrop the Ruddy Turnstones came very close to us on a number of occasions. Up close they were hard to focus on any one bird and keep focus locked on.

As the tide slowly invaded over our spot we withdrew to the high tide zone.
Please note that I am not a stranger to tidal zones and had chosen our spot out on the rocks carefully. I had our withdrawal carefully planned knowing that we would not be cut-off from the shore. We also left our spot for the safety of the shore with plenty of time to spare.
The sea is not to be taken lightly, it has no feeling whether you live or die out there.

The good people of Carlingford had chosen a wonderful spot to erect some lovely chairs to rest on while watching the wildlife fly by.
Princess Rosie made herself comfy while I served her coffee and biscuits.

Princess Rosie waiting for her coffee and snacks

wading birds in July at Carlingford Lough settling down to rest at high tide
As the tide rose the birds started to really bunch up.

Bird photography in July at Carlingford lough can be tough when using a telephoto lens. The conditions on the day were hot out on the rocks and the demon heat haze (heat shimmer) certainly made its presence felt. A cloudier day with lower temperatures would have been much better for taking the photos. But it's summer in Ireland and who doesn't want a warm sunny day in July?

With the tide in, we left Carlingford to the birds and made for home feeling very positive about the potential over the coming months of winter.