Ah, Sheskin

It had been 3 or 4 years since the last time I had wandered all the way up to Sheskin in north Mayo. So the other day, having an appointment in Béal an Mhuirthead later on, I decided to spend some hours up there.

Sheskin forms part of the complex locked between Crossmolina, Béal an Mhuirthead, Belderg and Ballycastle. At around 500 km2, it is the largest area of Ireland without a single through road. Hugely planted with coniferous forest by Coillte, nevertheless the area has its attraction. Dubbed Ireland’s “Big Sky Country”, because of the vast bogs, whoever coined the term had clearly never stood inside one of these enormous plantations.

Red Grouse

Red Grouse

It rained a  soft rain on me throughout my 4 hour walk. But then, that’s normal. I was delighted to come across two Red Grouse, a load of Red Deer tracks, what might have been an Owl (I can’t confirm because it flew away from me through the trees and I have little to go on, other than its size), so much Frog spawn that it protrudes well above the water line in many places and two wonderful Grey Wagtail doing their thing over one of the many little rivers that flow through the place.

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

The Grey Wagtail, with its splendid bright yellow breast and underparts, sits on a rock or wire above the stream, or indeed on a rock in it. It feeds on insects and, when on the rock, sort of jumps up at the insect from below. Strange for a bird really.

I took these images from the UK’s RSPB website.

Anyway, thrilled with my Grey Wagtails, I got back into my car and, day dreaming, drove her off the narrow track into the ditch. It took me 40 minutes to get her out and I arrived for my appointment just a tad dirty.


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