Showing posts with label birds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label birds. Show all posts

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Walking with Birds. Eating Fish all the Way

Walking with Birds. Eating Fish all the Way
Proud mother watches her baby, walk, feed, swim and run.

A six kilometre walk in temperatures of about 30 degrees is not everybody’s idea of fun but we had the most enjoyable and informative walk this Saturday afternoon through the Reserve Ornithologique du Teich on the shores of the Bassin d’Arcachon.

Here you get close to the wild birds, via some twenty observation huts and four Observation Points. Not all birds performed! Why should they? You’d probably have to live here and buy an annual pass to get the best of it. But we did have two memorable highlights.

Indeed, our very first stop was in the stork nesting area and there were quite a few of them at home. For someone from a country without storks, this was an incredible experience. And we would have one more.

From a hide, about midway through the walk, we saw, what I think is,  a Black Winged Stilt lying on a small bank in the water. When she rose, she’ll revealed three little chicks and just one egg there. The mother and father kept an eye on the little ones as they swam and walked in the shallow water near the shore. Amazing.

The morning started with a visit to the market in Arcachon, much enlarged with many extra stalls out in the open air. Fish was the order of the day here. We ordered mussels and the man threw in a big bunch of parsley and we also bought a stuffed crap from the same stall.

That €2.50 worth of mussels, cooked with the parsley and accompanied by some “Farm” bread, provided us with a tasty lunch in the hot sun. After that, we headed off to the Bird Reserve.

On the way home, we realised (horror of horrors!) that we had no starter sorted out. No bother! Called into one of the seven oyster ports in Gujan-Mestras and walked up to one of the cabins. Sat down in the sun and had a look at the menu. Didn't go beyond #1: six oysters, bread, a glass of white or pink (as he said), lemon and shallot vinaigre. We had a #1 each, at nine euro apiece. Starter sorted! And no washing up.

Now for the crab and a bottle of white Graves. The whites from the Graves area are really good. We haven’t drawn a dud yet and have enjoyed the following: L’Emigre 2011 biologique (€6.70), Vimont 2012 (7.30), Haut Reys 2012 (6.40), and Castre 2011 (15.30). These are usually a blend of Sauvignon, Semillon and Muscadelle (minor contribution usually), though I think one of the four is 100% Semillon. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Gourmet grub at Olde Glen and Black Pig back on track

Gourmet grub at Olde Glen and the Black Pig back on track.
Goldfinch comes for food on Donegal Day 6

Finished off another terrific day in Donegal with a superb meal in the Olde Glen Bar, where the proprietor Cormac Walsh has Cork connections. Started off with an excellent local (Carrigart) Smoked Salmon served with horse radish, crème fraiche and crispy capers. Our other starter was the Smoked Duck Salad served with a beetroot carpaccio, somewhat drier than the Ummera product but enjoyable nonetheless.

Picked my mains off the specials board: Pan-fried Turbot with crab butter and champ. Excellent, right down to the humble champ! CL choose from the regular list and absolutely enjoyed her Herb Crusted fillet of Cod with a butter bean and chorizo ragout. Both the beans and the chorizo added to the delicious cod.

Happy out and even happier as we polished off the dessert, both going for the Tunisian Orange Cake, a favourite in these quarters! Wine, by the way, was also a winner. It was the Walnut Block Collectible Sauvignon Blanc 2012 from Marlborough (New Zealand). 
After a lazy start, overdue, we headed for Fintown and itsnarrow gauge railway, the only piece of railway infrastructure that remains of the 220 miles of narrow gauge railway that operated in Donegal in the early 20th century.

Now Traenach na Gaeltachta Lair operate a single carriage diesel engined railcar over a three and a quarter mile picturesque stretch along the shores of Lough Finn and under the shadow of three large hills, the highest of which is Achla (598m).

View on the train trip
The reopening was in June 1995 and the locals quickly christened the loco the “Black Pig”. The proper name is Railcar 18 and it is an original railcar of the County Donegal Railway which entered service in 1940. Much more info on the website above.

Headed back then towards the coast and the sun came out through the clouds. Sun or no sun the turf was being saved on the bogs between Dungloe and Gweedore. On the previous day’s trip, we had skipped Horn Head and that was to be rectified today.

Turned off in Dunfanaghy and headed up the narrow road to the head which gives great views, to the right towards Rosguill and to the left towards the islands including Tory. Hard to hold the camera in the wind up there.
Tory Island
Somewhat easier to do so during that lazy morning as we watched the birds come to feed outside the cottage half-door. There was a “stranger” there this morning, with a beautiful Goldfinch joining his green cousins. Not too sure he was welcomed though!
Goldfinch (left)
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