Rathlin Island Walking Tours
with Paul Quinn
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April 2009

Two Easter Week trips to Rathlin. The first group of the year consists largely of teenagers. The weather is poor when we meet up at Ballycastle - constant rain and a brisk wind. This plays havoc with the activity that I have arranged which requires the use of pen and paper. Seals are scarce, common gulls less so. We do lunch in the passenger shelter at the harbour and then the skies turn to blue. A trip to the Seabird Centre yields fulmar, a solitary kittiwake, shag, raven, greater black backed gull and gannets offshore. Unfortunately, we fail to see the three puffins that were present earlier in the day.

 

A few days later and I'm back again. The weather is better but the crossing from Ballycastle is fresher than I had expected. Spring sights are all around, most conspicuously flowering blackthorn, gorse, primrose and lesser celandine.Seals are sunning themselves at Mill Bay and we see curlew, ringed plover and oystercatcher (about 40 of the latter).

 

Another new house is being built and there are plantings of new saplings... here's hoping they catch! The group don't see any hares and that's unfortunate, because I see five later on when I'm on my own including one golden hare.

 

A friend shows me some Alkanet Bugloss, which is a new plant for me. As I return to the harbour I see the shiny steelwork which has been erected in preparation for the new ferry, expected this Summer coming.

© 2008 Paul Quinn. All Rights Reserved. Additional title photography © Andy McInroy