Today is a rest day from cycling, but still cycled 25km just so the legs didn’t forget how to turn the pedals. Had planned to visit Inisbofin, but we had a team meeting in the morning and decided to chill out in Clifden instead.
We made a leisurely trip out to Mannin Bay, a few kilometers south-west of Clifden so I could show Bella the Coral Strands. These are small extraordinarily white beaches backing onto a beautiful turquoise bay. The colour is due to the strand being comprised of coral, rather than the usual quartz, and gives rise to a beautiful exotic strand. The grains of the ‘sand’ are far larger than usual, interspersed with clumps of white coral. A closer look along the tide-line reveals a bewildering array of seashells, of all different types. Conical towershells, periwinkles, colourful banded top shells, winkles, cockles etc giving a glimpse of the bewildering marine diversity of Mannin Bay, and giving the area a South-Pacific feel to it. The brown-orange seaweed strewn rocks introduced another range of colour-tones to the strand. We spend a wonderful couple of hours just enjoying the exotic surroundings.
I ventured across the road and found wonderful species-rich grasslands. Devil’s-bit Scabious and Knapweed abound in these grasslands, giving them a blue and red hue. Although the day was blustery, the knapweed was alive with bees and hoverflies. I found plenty of beautifully fresh Common Carder Bees feeding on the knapweed, but nothing more unusual. I secretly wished I might stumble upon the Great Yellow Bumblebee, but that was unrealistic; it possibly occurs here, but wouldn’t be found without a bit more effort. Wall, Meadow Brown, Small Copper and Peacock butterflies were crammed into one small sheltered patch of the grassland – I can only but imagine that this area must be alive with insects on a warmer, calmer day.
Bella enjoyed the Coral Strand – I was glad to have shown it to her. In the afternoon made a short trip to north west of Clifden, to Claddaghduff and on to Cleggan. Claddaghduff is Corncrake country – about 25 calling males recorded this year in Connemara so numbers are up a bit from last year, which is good news. Finished up for the evening at Moyard, where we stayed with Ger O’Donnell and his wife Alva. Had a great evening catching up with the gossip.