Seabank in Dundalk Bay, part 1

We had originally encountered Seabank in Dundalk Bay in early autumn 2022. Rosemary and I had just visited the small viking township of Annagassan for the first time and we decided to take the coastal route home.

The tide was almost full as we drove along the coastal road home and we could see hundreds of wading birds being forced closer up the beach alongside the road by the incoming tide.
Seabank obviously held heaps of potential for us and we made plans to return in the third quarter of winter when there would be the maximum number of over-wintering migratory waders present both in numbers and species. It was decided we would return early February and so it proved to be the case.

We arrived at Seabank early on a cold mid winter's morning and we could see large numbers of waders, mainly Black-tailed Godwits and Light-bellied Brent Geese and once again being forced closer up the beach by a rising tide.

However, the light was not good for bird photography so we made our way down to the shoreline and waited for the light to improve.

The view over Dundalk Bay from Seabank at sunrise
We could see hundreds of birds while we waited patiently for the light to improve.

The worst mistake one can make in a situation like this would be to try and get close to the birds and scare them.
The tide was moving the birds closer to us and the light was improving by the minute. All we had to do was sit tight, let the tide bring the birds closer to us and hope that no dog walkers came along the beach.
Wading birds at high tide at Seabank in Dundalk Bay
The light was getting brighter and I crawled back up the beach in order to get a better picture of the landscape. Then I crawled back down to rejoin Rosemary.

As the tide rose and the light improved, mobs of Black-tailed Godwits started trading up and down the beach. The situation was getting exciting and we started suffering from itchy shutter finger syndrome.
The godwits flying over Dundalk bay at sunriseW
Most of the Godwits were heading north, up the beach, so we headed off after them hoping to catch up with them.

By the time we did catch up with the Godwits the rocky exposed beach had given way to gorgeous coloured grasses and the light was beautiful and soft. These conditions make it ideal for coastal wildlife photography.
The salt marsh at Seabank in Dundalk Bay is a great place to find ducks at high tide
This view is looking north from Seabank to the little town of Blackrock in County Louth

On our way up the beach we saw a mob of Godwits fly past us and land just out of sight behind some grass. So I got down on my tummy and crawled forward across the stones using the grass for cover hoping for a shot.
As I was closing in, another small bunch of birds dropped in to join the main group who were already squeezed up tight on the beach. I raised myself onto my knees as high as I could above the grass and caught these Godwits joining their mates.
I could not get high enough to totally clear the grasses but hey, them's the breaks. Still, I was pleased with my action shots of these birds coming into land.

Vacant beachfront real estate was getting rarer and it wasn't long before the birds were forced to abandon their temporary roost. 

After their departure things started to calm down along the beach so leaving Rosemary to keep an eye out, I trudged back down the beach to pick up the car and drive it back to where left Rosemary where we intended to spend some time just taking in the scenery and have a bite to eat.

But before I left, I encouraged Rosemary to put on her ghillie suit as we were seeing some Green Teal landing in the grasses in front of us looking for a mid morning meal. You never know, perhaps one will swim close enough for Rosemary to get a image or two.
Rosemary wearing her green ghillie suit waiting for birds
Rosemary was to keep a vigilant eye out for fast approaching Teal while I fetched the car and some goodies to eat.

Rosemary standing in her camo gear
I returned to find Rosemary on her feet staring intently out to sea, I knew something must be affoot.

It wasn't long before I cottoned onto what she was staring at. Thousands of birds gathered into a massive flock filled the sky out across Dundalk bay.
There were thousands and thousands of wading birds across Dundalk bay
From Seabank in Dundalk bay we could see thousands of birds filling the sky. I wish I had a wider lens with me so I could include more of them in my picture.

If you wish to see a larger image in order to more fully appreciate just how many birds there are in the picture click on the link below.

Those birds were heading our way and it was looking like things were going to get exciting again … and that also proved to be the case.
We will wrap this post up with some video Rosemary took on her cell phone first thing in the morning to give you a sense of the place. Just listen to the noise of the birds in that first video. Isn’t it just awesome!