Every month and season offers something special but for me, May in Donegal is extra special. Placed as it is on the tail end of spring and on the cusp of summer, the month of May seems to capture the best of those two seasons.
The hedgerows are bursting with flowers, the vibrant yellow of gorse in full bloom can be seen all over the hills, and the blackthorn is in full bud just waiting blossom. Fields and bankings are covered with primroses, daisies, buttercups, mayflowers, and many other tiny flowers. Bees are buzzing, gathering pollen from these flowers. Indeed they are so busy, they scarcely notice a camera getting up close to them.
In the fields too new life is all around. Sheep, cows, horses and goats are nuturing their young in the warmth of the May sunshine. And as we drove around last Sunday, I spotted a duck with just one little duckling following her along a little stream in the Bluestack Mountains. It was frustrating that I didn't get to photograph them but just seeing them was special. I am currently waiting to see cygnets and given the amount of swans we have in Donegal, I am hopeful of being able to photograph them at sometime this month.
A juvenile herring gull in Killybegs harbour
Perched up on a banking the other day, taking shots of buttercups and daisies, a scent hit me that I had not smelled for years. Wild garlic. I followed my nose until I found the source of the scent and there under some overgrowth I spotted the delicate little flowers of the garlic plant. I'd love to have pulled some but I am against taking things from their place, maybe another reason I love photography: I can 'take' what I see without ever doing any damage ... take only memories (and photos!), leave only footprints.
In May a couple of years ago, driving towards Donegal Town from Rossnowlagh I saw a field full of Shetland ponies, so of course had to pull over and climb up the path to their field to photograph them. Once there I was delighted to see a tiny foal. It really was the cutest thing, almost like a toy rather than an actual animal. They were a very curious bunch of ponies and came dashing over to the fence to me to pet.
One of the prettiest young animals I have ever seen is a little Spanish donkey. Not, I know, something one would expect to see in Donegal but a couple in Letterkenny owned it and were happy to allow me to photograph it. He was all long legs and huge, gentle dark eyes. And the fur on his long ears was the softest imaginable. I would happily have taken him home with me!
I was lucky enough to see a pair of goat kids and even more lucky to get this shot of them where they almost posed for the shot. They were in a field at the foot of Sliabh Liag (Slieve League), the highest seacliffs in Europe. They weren't a bit bashful and happily ambled about in front of me giving me lots of time to photograph them.
Of course it's not all sunshine and blue skies in May but the rainfall is softer than earlier in the year so it never seems so bad. I took this photo of apple blossom which is currently in bloom and I rather like the effect of the tiny drops of rain on the petals.
So, there we are, a glimpse of the month of May in Donegal.
This blog is an extra element of our main website, WeLoveDonegal.com, the aim being to to add bits and pieces that may or may not be on our website but may nonetheless be of interest to our readers. The blog also gives us the chance to elaborate on items on our website in more depth.
Other posts will take you with us on our trips around Donegal, a sort of 'virtual' tour of our county if you will. These posts will be accompanied by photographs to bring the whole thing to life for our readers.
Occasionally we will also add 'Behind the Headlines' posts, posts where we have looked further into something Donegal related which you may have read about in various media. These will usually be accompanied by our photos of the people or places involved in order that our readers can get a more personal feel for a news story.
So, today (Monday, 17th of May 2010) we start this blog so call back often to check what's new.