A walk on the Lough shore

The morning began with mist and fog but the forecast was for sunshine, so I headed off to Oxford Island on Lough Neagh where I was to meet up with some members of my local wildlife group.

4 N

Underfoot the ground was very wet but being properly outdoors for the first time in weeks was a joy. In all there were seven of us and we easily maintained two metres distance between each other.

Some miles away we could hear the pop-pop of guns firing off; wildfowlers! As a result there weren’t too many bird species to be spotted. Even so, the fresh air and the sunshine obviously saw everyone in good spirits. With very little wind and the calm waters of the lough, the visual environment was one to capture and store in my mind.

A small group of Mute Swans were feeding just off shore and as I chatted to a colleague, what we believed to be an Egret flew passed us, unfortunately it disappeared behind some trees before either of us could get our binoculars or cameras out! Isn’t that always the way! Suffice to say that a Great White Egret was spotted later and identified by others not so far away.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/great-white-egret/

3 mute swans feeding N

1 mute swans and mallard feeding NW

Before we left this part of the shore I spotted some wild swimmers; they seemed very happy to be in the water as there was lots of bubbly chatter!

5 what's this N

6 wild swimmers N

Surely the water was bitterly cold! However, I did read recently that regular cold water swimming is a very healthy activity! Anyone for a cold shower? Brrr! 🙂

49 thoughts on “A walk on the Lough shore

  1. Wonderful mist and shore photos. Sounds like a top-class outing for nature lovers. 🙂
    I’ll stick to the photo watching. No cold dips for me. (Although, I enjoy hot-cold baths, sauna and cold tub alternatingly, the icy cold sea water is way too cold, I tried …).

    1. This is inland water, a huge lough in the middle of NI, still very cold though. I think they are only in the water for 10-15 minutes!

    2. Maybe one day I’ll get to visit – then I can enjoy the walks you describe first hand! Thanks for sharing Ashley!

      1. Clive, I think you’d enjoy it! There is a cafe there but it hasn’t been opened since the pandemic began. The C-19 virus is damaging so much of our lives. Stay safe!

    1. Haha Josie! When I was told about it I imagined them swimming out to a pontoon of some sort then having a wild party! But no! The chatter was all very calm.

  2. Oh, Dear Ashley, I just love this post! The way you tell about the adventures, the beautiful photos, and the wildlife, I am very envious that you are surrounded by such spectacular nature.

    Thank you.

    Joanna

  3. Hello Ashley,
    thank you for this wonderful walk, I don’t know your country, but it remains a big dream for me …
    You are not far, I must go to Ireland!
    my husband was there, because his brother is an oyster farmer and he had oyster beds;)
    When I lived in the Arcachon Bay, like you I took walks to observe birds with a member of the LPO (League for the protection of birds).
    I loved the guided observations, it’s super interesting, you learn to see nature and its movements.
    My fondest memory was a flight of swans which passed a few meters from us.
    the sound of the flight is hypnotic, I will never forget it!
    thank you Ashley, I’m already looking forward to the next walk
    Corinne

    1. Dear Corinne thank you for dropping by. I am happy that you accompany me here this evening. I must come to France again, I’ve only been once, to visit some friends near Laval. It was a very long drive!
      No matter where you are you can still follow the birds, their free spirits carry us away to different worlds.
      I imagine Arcachon Bay is wonderful. Maybe when this awful virus is beaten we will visit your wonderful country 😘
      Now, where shall I go next?

      1. I love Laval and its region, I have a few family over there. My mother is from Normandie and my father from Bassin d’Arcachon, I am lucky both of them were born near the sea ( and I was born in New Caledonia …)
        i promise one day I’ll go in Irland.
        I love your folklore, your beautiful landscapes of course, your music and your history.
        I specially appreciate a small film, maybe you know it ?
        “The horse coming from the sea”…
        have a very good evening Ashley and we wait for the next walk 😉

      1. I will visit you again, I really like your thoughts and your beautiful pictures of your stunning country 🙂 greetings from Italy/Austria (I live near the borders) 🙂

  4. Such beautiful pictures of a peaceful Autumn day near the water ! Just the vision of all that sky and the ripples on the lake make me feel calmer. Thank you for sharing your walk with us !

    1. I am happy to have you accompany me here. Thank you for your lovely comments. PS the Ludovic Janvier book arrived and I’m bathing in its light. Thank you for writing about it 😘 I shall keep you posted.

    1. Dear Sandra, I am also happy to have your company here 😘. No need for sunscreen though 😂 and pleasant easy walking. Thank you for dropping in.

    1. I’m sure there must be wildlife groups near you. Perhaps that is something you could write about in the future. I look forward to you taking all of us on one of your walks there! 😊

    1. Dear Barbara, it is indeed a lovely area. If only the weather would be more settled. We are expecting more wind and rain this weekend. Thank you for your comment. A hug😘

      1. No rush, Ash-tree! Just let it flow out of you, whenever you’re ready…no sooner. Don’t force it…it will appear, before you know it! Stay healthy!

  5. Such lovely light in those photos and lucky you glimpsing the Great Egret, I’ve only ever seen Little Egrets, we had quite a lot of them gather for a while on our local water a couple of years ago. I recently read a book called At the Pond, a collection of short stories by various women, some well-known, who love to wild swim on Hampstead Heath, the stories were incredibly life affirming but I think I will leave the cold swimming to them having read the graphic descriptions, brrr!

    1. Dear Helen, thank you for your thoughts here. I’d not seen the Great Egret before and it was such a fleeting glimpse; thankfully there were others there to confirm the sighting. Like you, I think I’ll give the wild swimming a miss just now. Maybe in the summer? 🏊‍♂️

    1. Thank you for your comment. We were lucky that day but now we are back in severe restrictions until at least the middle/end of January. We have all lost so much in 2020.

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