Musings and photos of wild and everyday life

Where to Watch / Walk – Bray Head

Railway line Bray HeadMany people know Bray head as the bit that sticks up beside Bray town in Wicklow.  Those of my age or older will remember the cable car that used to bring people up to a viewing spot on the head.

Access is easy by bus, DART, or car and it is only about 12 miles from Dublin.

If you can wrench yourself from the throngs of people along the sea walk and from the ice creams, slot machines and aquarium, there is a really lovely walk around the sea side of Bray head overlooking the railway line.

The Bray head walk is good any time of the year but looks particulrly well in Summer when the head is a mass of yellow gorse flowers.  Great views out to sea and along the coast are amongst the rewards.

Although it is not a place to get away from people, there are a good variety of birds that can be sen here.  These include most of our Gull species and Rock Pipits like the one below.

Rock Pipit on Gorse bush Bray Head

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Rock Pipits tend to stay around rocky coasts and headlands unlike their cousins the Meadow Pipits that unsurprisingly favour meadows.

They have thin beaks showing they are tuned to insect eating unlike the larks with which they can sometimes be confused, which have thicker beaks better suited to eating seeds.

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It is possible to get good views of a few nesting species without leaving the path.  This Fulmar was happily nesting on an old concrete structure very close to the path.
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Fulmar Bray Head

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Related to Albatrosses, with similar ‘tube’ noses, Fulmars look a little like Gulls but hold their wings very stiff when flying.

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Even easier to see are Cormorants nesting on a rocky outcrop.  There is a chance that you may smell the colony before you see them!

The nests are twigs and seaweed piled up into a mound on the bare rock, with a slight hollow to keep the eggs in.  It is great to see these birds that look to be very close to dinasours in their look and shape.

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In fact they do not have the waterproof oil that ‘modern’ birds use to keep their feathers in flying condition.  That is why Cormorants are often seen near motionless, with their wings outstretched – living washing lines.

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The walk continues on to Greystones to the south and takes about an hour or so, depending on how often you stop to gaze and admire.

If too tired when you get there, the DART can be taken back to bray or all the way to Dublin.

Greystones from Bray Head

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One response

  1. Lovely photos Cliff. I love this walk – I live in Greystones so have walked it a few times now.
    It is amazing though how many people have their head down whilst walking it, or are deep in conversation. They totally miss all the Tree Sparrows in the hedges, the Kestrel hovering at the side of the cliff, the Stonechats & Wheatears – so many birds to photograph – I can never do the walk in an hour 🙂

    April 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm

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