Musings and photos of wild and everyday life

Posts tagged “Liffey

River Liffey. Part 2 Anna’s Journey

Dingy in sail race LiffeyCommon Tern flying with fish Dublin Harbour nr Pigeon House Dublin

Black_headed Gull hovering Liffey docks

      Anna’s   Journey

Green Bouy No 14 in Dublin Harbour nr Pigeon HouseBlack Guillemot & crab Liffey Quays

Halpenny Bridge & Central Bank Dublin

Liffey Source Pool

Snow covered Kippure from frozen Blessington Lakes

Gorse & Liffey at Coronation Plantation

Liffey tumbling through rocks at Coronation Plantation

Rainbow Blessington LakesLittle Grebe on partly frozen Liffey at boat clubs Dublin


Roots Blessington LakesLiffey at Leixlip from air

K Club Hotel & Liffey Straffan Kildare

Stream entering frozen Blessington Lake

Whooper Swan group flying over Blessington Lakes


4s race Metro Regatta Blessington Lakes

Liffey Weir Lucan

Peregrine flying & calling

Customs House & Spire from Liffey

Liffey Cruise Boat & Jeanie Johnston

Liffey Quays Dublin

Ferry coming into Dublin Port; Bailey Lighthouse & Howth in back
Liffey Mouth & Howth from South Wall
Don't go for the destination
Dockland and SpeedboatXmas Lights Liffey Quays DublinGo for the Journey


River Liffey. Part 1 Freshwater

Best known as Dublin’s river and for its tidal sectionKippure from Liffey Head Bridge and port area, the river Liffey rises in county Wicklow and tumbles down gathering tributaries before calming and spreading out into Blessington Lakes.  it then crosses into Kildare and meanders around before ending up for only a small part of its journey, in Dublin.

Raven Silhouette over LiffeyIts source lies in the heathery bog land near Kippure mountain in a small dark peaty pool.

Expansive and fresh, this is the land of Ravens.  Their far-carrying ‘croak’ and unusual tail shape are distinctive.

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Click Beetle at Liffey side.

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In fact the area often looks pretty deserted of wildlife at first glance.  However patience will usually be rewarded and there is also plenty of insect and smaller  life in the water and bog nearby if the beauty of the landscape doesn’t grab you.

Grouse and other ‘game’ birds used to be reasonably common amongst the heather but I haven’t seen any up there in a long time.

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Coronation Plantation & Liffey.

Gathering pace, the Liffey’s rocky descent continues through the Coronation Plantation, now looking more like a river.
Grey Wagtail F flying Liffey Ballysmutton
Merlin can sometimes be seen here while Grey Wagtails often flit from rock to rock.

Dipper with food LiffeyDippers like fast water with plenty of insects and bugs and this section of the Liffey is nearly ideal.

Dippers nest at a number of locations along the river, each pair keeping a lenght of river for their territory.  Sand Martins also nest here where the river bank is suitable.

Sand Martin flying LiffeyDescending further in a wide meandering circle around Dublin, the volume of water increases and the flow becomes a bit calmer.  It flows through Blessington Lakes where Great Crested Grebes and a variety of Duck can be seen including Goldeneye.  Past the Poolaphuca dam and power station the river enters Kildare.  Getting nearer  to Dublin, Herons become more common.Heron on Lock Liffey Lucan

Reaching Dublin the water is non-tidal up beyond the Strawberry Beds.  Birds such as Swans, Cormorants  and Little Grebes come to the fore. 3 Swans on Liffey Dublin

 

Cormorant Flying over Liffey………………

Serenity is now fast disappearing as the Liffey Little Grebe & young Liffey
Liffey running through Dublin Centre from airencounters the buzz of the city.


Frrrr…eezing – Review of 2010 – December

DecemberHeavy Snow & Icicles

If the weather isn’t the warmest now, last December was making records for long and deep cold spells.  Heavy snow and ice continued from November causing havoc in a country not used to or prepared for, such conditions.

Many found themselves without the use of their cars – either abandoned on the road or stuck like ours in the driveway.  Even after digging out the car, negotiating the local road was tricky and it was thereafter left each evening  at the front of the driveway where the snow was kept to a reasonable level.  Actually the snow was only the top layer.  Most of the surface was very hard ice.

Icicle 'Excalibur' Blessington

Small drips from gutters had turned into icicles while any heavier drips made for formidable weapons.  One of ours was named ‘Excaliber’.

Heavy Snow on bird bath

Obviously conditions were very rough for wildlife and particularly birds.  Nuts in bird feeders were icy, bird baths were stacked up with snow and wild food was rare.

In Dublin, Stepen’s Green pond was completely frozen with birds skating, unwittingly on the surface.

Birds walk on water Stephen's GreenThe Phoenix Park looked fabulous on a walk from Islandbridge via the Park to Chapelizod and back by the Liffey.

We were first rewarded for being out in the freezing cold by the sight of a pair of Otters playing about in the Liffey.

Following that, deer were ambling across the road in the Park.

Fallow Deer stags crossing road in snow. Phoenix Park, Dublin

We were a little surprised to see as much wildlife as we did but they were probably as surprised by the weather as we were.

Fallow Deer stags in woods snow.  Phoenix Park

The liffey was partly frozen and birds did their best to survive.

Heron resting on Liffey in snow & ice near Chapelizod, Dublin

Wigeon drake with snow coat on LiffeyCormorant on Liffey near Island BridgeLittle Grebe on partly frozen LiffeyRedwing on Liffey in snowWalking onto frozen Blessington Lake
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Skulking in the reeds, we also got some fleeting views of a Water Rail.

Blessington lakes looked stunning over Christmas.  Risking a very cold wetting, we walked out over the lake for quite a distance before sense took over.

Trees were heavy with snow and blue skies brought out the brilliant white of the snow.

Blackbird in snowy tree Blessington LakesOverhead, Whooper Swans flew out over the lake looking for the water.

Whooper Swan group flying over Blessington Lakes

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Ice Crystals on frozen Blessington Lake
Ice Crystals on frozen Blessington Lake

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The cold spell was harsh and pretty inconvenient but it was seriously beautiful.


Baltimore and Cork Area – Review of 2010 – October

October

Enjoyed Magners New Lansdowne Rd Stadium - Leinster Vs Munster, Magners LeagueLeague Rugby at the new Lansdowne Rd. – Leinster Vs Munster – proper rugby!

The stadium seating is very steep so that you are really looking down on the players, especially if youy are in row zzz!  Actually some of the roof supports get in the way a bit up there but its still pretty good and has a much better atmosphere than Croker.

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Grey Seal on Liffey Walk Bridge, Dublin ,

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In Dublin, a Grey Seal had taken to lying on the water-calming floats of the walk bridge over the Liffey.

Many passer-bys were confronted by wildlife without having to go anywhere!

He (or she) seemed to be quite happy and non-chalent lying on the rounded floats – I don’t know how he (or she) stayed above water!

Spider, Tetragnatha extensa (Male), cocooning prey in web in back garden.

Incidentally, how come the floats are still broken?  How come they broke so soon on what was supposed to be a great piece of engineering?  And why aren’t the builders / designers fixing them for free?

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In the garden, spiders were busy.  This one on its web between thistles, was cocooning its prey.

This is a reasobable sized spider – a Tetragnatha extensa, I suspect – but compare its size with the tiny spider with an even tinier fly, in between the ‘bristles’ atop the nearby thistle head!

Spider, Xysticus cristatus, Female, with prey on Thistle head back gardenThere really does seem to be a place for everybody!

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Castlehaven Bay area from Reen Pier
Castlehaven Bay area from Reen Pier

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Near the end of October we took a short trip to Cork centred on Baltimore.

Rosscarbery Bay & Little Island Strand, Owenahinchy, Co. Cork
Rosscarbery Bay & Little Island Strand, Owenahinchy, Co. Cork

This is a beautiful part of Ireland that rewards visitors with a wide range of scenery, from wild coasts to long sandy beaches, calm bays and fast mountain streams.

Oystercatcher amongst mussels near Baltimore Cork.

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We didn’t see anythig special in the bird line – perhaps the scenery was too good!  But there were plenty of the usual suspects such as Oystercatvhers – shown here amongst the mussels – and Black-tailed Godwits.

Black_tailed Godwit resting, Kinsale Harbour, Commoge.

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Seafari rib. Baltimore Harbour, Cork.

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We had intended to get over to Cape Clear but never did!  Will have to go back soon.

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Instead we took a sea tour in a rib which was great. Apart from being enjoyable in its own right as a sort of offshore Disney ride, the scenery was completely different from offshore and there was lots of wildlife to see.

.Common Dolphin jumping, off Cape Cllear Island and Baltimore coast

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The skipper expected to see Whales at this time of year but apparently they hadn’t come inshore as much yet that year.

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We did see Seals, Gannets and quite a few Dolphin schools – don’t know what they were learning but they seemed to be enjoying it!

Black-headed Gull living dangerously, Dirk Bay, Co.Cork
Every day do one thing that frightens you … like this Gull!

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The region is well worth a visit or two.  Apart from the birds, animals and flora that you just have to see, the terrain (and sea) is wild like it’s meant to be with sharp rugged cliffs and strong breaking waves.

Fishing boat leaving Sherkin Island and Baltimore Harbour mouth at Sunset from Beacon
Fishing boat leaving Sherkin Island and Baltimore Harbour mouth at Sunset

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Best of all after a tiring day exploring you can enjoy good food spectacular sunsets and maybe a glass of wine.


Granada, Alhambra Caterpillar Nests – Review of 2010 – Jan

As I still haven’t got used to 2011 and am new to blogs, I start with a review of 2010.

January

Pretty cold in Ireland so spent New Year in Granada, Spain.  Lovely city with great buildings, athmosphere and views.  Wildlife-wise it wasn’t the greatest trip but you couldn’t miss the sound of the numerous Sparrows preparing to roost in the trees in the city’s squares.

Pine Processionary Caterpillar Larval Nest

Outside the city we found a few Larval Nests of Pine Processionary Caterpillars.

Like millions of others we had to visit the Alhambra.  It has great views of the city and surrounding countryside but  is not easily forgettable in its own right.

Eventually cold Dublin had to be faced but it can look pretty good in the snow …