Rathlin Island Walking Tours
with Paul Quinn
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March 2009

I wake to the sound of the eider in the bay going "Oaah". That doesn't do these ducks justice, but if you've heard it you'll know what I mean. The weather is bright and cold with the wind noticeable and therefore normal.


The commom gulls are all about and calling noisily, reminding me of my school days when, at 1.30pm we would all be back in class and the gulls would descend to the playground to eat our lunchtime scraps. There are at least 100 birds in various locations. Curlew are on the shore by Mill Bay and shelduck are conspicuous too. If you want to know what my list of least favourite birds looks like, you might find cormorant included. Today, though, the single bird that I see redeems itself temporarily by being in breeding plumage.


It is great to see March hares. Not too much frenzied activity though. They are dotted here and there in groups of three or four or individually. There are probably a number of golden hares on Rathlin. In the course of a morning I see three such animals. Or maybe I saw one very athletic hare in three distinct locations!


At Ally some oystercatcher are sitting at the top of a slope with their backs to me. They look a bit like puffins. Down at the Rue Light choppy seas are surging over the rock. Just yards from the Light, I am startled by a rabbit scuttling away. It is fit and healthy but surely there a better places for a rabbit to haunt rather than amongst rock pools and spray?


There is only one other passenger for the ferry and as I wait to board I see preparations and excavations for a recycling point, a passenger shelter and a new walkway and pontoon for the catamaran which is expected later in the year.

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