Amongst the greatest wildlife spectacles to be found around the coastlines of Britain and Ireland are our breeding seabird colony’s, and combining two island locations just 40 miles or so apart but accessible from Ireland and Wales respectively, this trip looks to cover as many species and settings as possible. Our Irish island hosts a fantastic Gannet colony along with multiple auk species, Kittiwakes and Choughs, all very accessible and with specially arranged early morning and late evening crossings scheduled we will be able to work in the very best light: we’ve once again added an additional day here this year from our early trips here to really make the most of this opportunity. Back in Wales we will be staying on one of the UK’s premier islands for Puffins, again allowing us the opportunity to photograph in the optimum lighting conditions: evening lighting here is amongst the best for photographing these enigmatic birds anywhere in the UK. We’ll also have the opportunity to experience the night time visit of the elusive Manx Shearwater.
PLEASE NOTE: At this stage these dates are provisional only as some aspects of accommodation cannot be 100% confirmed until the autumn. We will let you know straight away once they are confirmed.
Itinerary Open +Close -
Day 1: The ferry leaves from Fishguard, Wales to Rosslare, Ireland and the duration is around four hours. We will make our way to Kilmore Quay where we will check into our B&B accommodation and enjoy an evening in a local restaurant.
Days 2/3: We will leave early for Great Saltee Island by pre-arranged boat with a local fisherman, taking our food and refreshments for the day with us. We will not be returning until the evening light has gone so be prepared for a full day out when the weather may change. Packed refreshments will be available for you to order the night before. Please note that the landing on the island is a wet landing: we will transfer from our fishing boat to a smaller craft (Zodiac) and then need to exit this into the shallow waters – bare foot, Wellingtons or waterproof sandals (best option) are the options available for you, and they can be left on the shore to switch to your more conventional light walking boots. Great Saltee is one of the premier locations for photographing seabirds and we will get the chance to photograph Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and an excellent Gannet colony.
Day 4: We are again scheduled for an early start for Great Saltee Island for a full mornings photography building on the previous two days, but we will be departing during the afternoon to return to the B&B, collect our bags and head to Rosslare for the evening ferry. We’ll eat on board and are due to arrive in Fishguard late in the evening which we are then booked in a local hotel.
Days 5 – 7: The early mornings continue as we head straight to Marloes (about an hours drive) to catch the passenger boat out to our next Island. This island will be our base for the next two nights in the accommodation hostel in the centre of the island, and we’ll have the best opportunity to photograph early and late light puffins, the magnificent bluebell display on the island and a night time visit of Manx Shearwaters too. You’ll be free to leave the island on the boat of your choice on the last day – this will be between 10.00 am and 15.00 hours so the choice is yours dependent on the weather.
What to bring:
You will need to bring a passport or photo identification with you for the ferry connection and we would also suggest you bring some euros too; you won’t need a lot of euros as all your meals are included in the price of the trip. We will have B&B accommodation in Ireland so all facilities will be provided, but please note my comments on the length of stay on Saltee Island, the wet landing and the potentially changeable weather. It’s almost always windy too.
On Skomer we will be in hostel accommodation and you will need to bring a duvet cover/under sheet and pillow case or a sleeping bag (your choice) – whatever you take though you will have to get on and off the boat and the steps are quite steep so think practically too.
In terms of camera kit you’ll need a tripod, the longest lens you have (500mm + convertor would be my recommendation/choice) and then some supplementary lenses for other opportunities such as a 24-70mm for landscapes, I would suggest a macro lens of some sort and then maybe an intermediate zoom (70-200 or 100-400) so that you don’t miss anything in terms of opportunity. A tripod is essential in my view but I know this is a personal thing so it’s your choice. Again remember though that you’ll have to get your gear onto Skomer (but the reserve volunteers are generally great at helping on the island end of things).
We have spent the past twenty years visiting seabird colonies in the UK and Europe and these two islands are without doubt two of the best that we have been too. There is nothing better than having an island to yourself and just spending quality time with these beautiful birds.
What our customers say
“I loved every minute of it … even hanging around in the rain on Skomer! Great company, fabulous birds and some of the best wildlife photographers as guides and mentors – what more could I possibly have wanted?”
“The opportunities for bird photography were exceptional at two superb locations.”
“Exceeded our expectations in all aspects.”
“It exceeded all my expectations. Ellie and Danny worked hard to make sure we had the best experience possible even in horrible weather conditions. The restaurant in Ireland was super. The holiday increased my photographic knowledge and experience.”
“(The guides) gave advice when required, and opened my eyes to new opportunities.”