Tag Archives: Ross Beach

Wild New Year 3rd January

Every new year we have a sort of family tradition to go to the beach. Ross Beach on the north-west coast of County Mayo is one of our favourites. It was a bit dull and damp. Wind and rain were forecast for later in the day and as you can see from the photograph below, the sea was already displaying some impressive waves.

Waves

I took some photographs of some of the sea birdlife as I continue with my 12 days of Christmas wild things. The oystercatchers seemed undisturbed by the wave crashing behind them.

Oystercatchers

There were also some delicate sanderling. You wonder how such small, beautiful birds can withstand the Atlantic storms, but these are obviously tough little things. They are winter visitors to Ireland and most are of Siberian origin.

Sanderling

And finally some Brent geese (light or pale-bellied). I love seeing these winter visitors from high-Arctic Canada. They were drinking some fresh water that was coming over the sand from a small stream.

Brent geese, Brent geese
Branta bernicla hrota

A lovely, exhilarating day.

blue

This week’s Lens Artist weekly challenge theme is “blue”.

Blue brings to my mind two things. The sky and the sea. The combination of blue sky and sea is magical.

Firstly Newport beach from our trip to Wales earlier in the summer.

Newport Beach, Wales

Then closer to home, Ross beach, and below Beltra beach, County Mayo.

Ross beach, Co  Mayo, Ireland

Ross beach, Co Mayo, Ireland

Beltra beach, Co Mayo

Beltra beach, Co Mayo, Ireland

 

Ross Beach

Ross Beach is one of our favoutite beaches at any time of year. With Easter falling early this year, we have had opportunity to take a few day trips. Heading to the beach is always a bit of an adventure. This time we were surprised to find that the storms over the winter have shifted sand away from the beach. This has resulted in the loss of some dunes, but also the exposure of a more pebbles and stones in one area.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ross beach,  Country Mayo 

There was time for some beach-combing and even castle building.

The horses and their riders were also enjoying the freedom of a long beach. Like us, the horses had a paddle,  they did not seem to notice that the water was FREEZING!

 

Ross Beach in Mid Winter

Beaches are special places, even in the winter! Of course in the summer there is the extra magic of being able to get into the water. However, at this time of year you can be blessed by that particular light you only seem to get along the coast. Since our last visit in the summer, the few winter storms we have had, have shifted the sands from one part of the beach to the other.


No matter what the season children will always have fun at the beach. It may be just having the freedom to run around, or they may find a piece of seaweed that transforms into a magical sea creature.

As an added bonus we saw Brent geese, oyster catchers, curlew, bar-tailed godwit, rock pipits, dunlin, ringed and grey plovers, though not close enough to get a good photo!

Ross Beach

Flatfish and Sea Potatoes

A couple of days before New Year we headed for Ross Beach on the North West Mayo coast. This is one of our favourite beaches, particularly during the summer. But this was a frosty morning and there was actually frost on the sand, not something I’d seen before.

Ross beach

Ross beach

The tide was going out and had left some interesting things behind it. There was no sign of injury to this flatfish so I am not sure what resulted in its demise. Irish waters have 22 species of flatfish though there are 600 species worldwide.

Flatfish

Flatfish

These sea potato remains (known as a ‘test’), are a common find on this beach but there were probably about twenty. Recent storms may have been a cause. Alive, these little creatures are usually buried up to 15cm deep in sand or muddy sediments. They are also covered with yellow/brown spines. Sea potatoes are related to sea urchins.

Sea Potato

Sea Potato (Echinocardium cordatum)

Sea Potatoes

Sea Potatoes

There was also a lot of kelp washed up, which again is something that is found after the sea bottom has been disturbed by big waves. Despite the blue sky, the wind was cold so we were all glad to get back to the car.

Ross Beach

Ross Beach