A Trip to Wexford

Whitefronts on Beet

After recently finishing a painting of pintail I felt the urge to study them in detail.There is probably no better place in Ireland to see them than Tacumshin lake in County Wexford.I arrived late Thursday evening and set up my hide.I was surprised at the low level of the water and the lack of wildfowl.

Tacumshin lake is a shallow brackish lough that once was part of the sea .Water levels are still regulated by the locals farmers I believe.

After a cold night spent in my car I trudged down to my hide ladden with cameras, seat, flask of tea and much clothes at 5.30am. The frosted reeds made a quiet approach impossible and immediately a redshank and curlew sounded the alarm.The cover of darkness helped settle their nerves.I sat in the hide and waited for dawn.I love being in a hide early in the morning, I was excited as I could hear a raft of wigeon pass by, it was still too dark to make out anything apart from black shapes.The early morning sounds were beautiful, the whistles of wigeon and teal, the greylag ganders arguing, melodious sounds of the curlew , lapwing and redshank.

The sunrise was fantastic. I was glad that I had my 5mm neoprene waders on as my feet were in water, it was coooold! As the morning grew later I realised that the ducks were too wary to come near my hide.Pintail were to be seen waaay out the lake and looked quite happy out there!I got some nice shots of a black headed gull dining on a frog.That was the highlight of the morning photowise. My observation of  the previous evening on the lack of birds was confirmed as I could not see the usual large rafts of wigeon and shoveler. I could not see any godwits at all. Nevertheless it was a very enjoyable morning.

I drove up to the Wexford Wildlife reserve later on in the afternoon to photograph the Greenland White Fronted geese.The  geese are attracted to the reserve by crops of beet and grasses. This reserve  attracts 30% of the Greenland population. Late evening light made for some nice snaps . I also got some snaps of teal in the home pond from one of the hides.I had to laugh when I thought of all the trouble I had gone to that morning to get photos of ducks and here they were outside the reserve front door! I waited till dusk and enjoyed the skeins of geese flying over my head out to their roosting spots on the estuary sands.I would recommend a visit to the reserve to anyone, bring the kids and get them excited about wildlife!

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