Earlier this month, I drove my mother-in-law from Hebden Bridge to her original home town in County Tipperary.
Eight of us went in total, in two cars, catching the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. The trip involved visits to some favourite old haunts, two family reunions, a memorial mass (I waited in the car), large amounts of alcohol, and some legendary home-made soda bread. A good time was had by one and all.
I spent much of the return ferry journey out on deck looking for seabirds. I was delighted to see a number of black guillemots (last seen in Shetland in 1985), and some unidentified terns. But the biggest thrill of the crossing was being accompanied all the way by shearwaters (Manx, from what I could tell). I was travelling light for the trip, so didn’t have my proper camera with me, but I managed to capture a short video on my iPhone of a pair of the shearwaters (although it needs to be viewed full-screen to see them). Such astonishing, aptly named birds, banking back and forth on rigid wings, practically skimming the surface of the sea as they flew between the waves in search of food. This was only my second ever sighting of shearwaters, but they’re already a firm favourite.