Rathlin Island Walking Tours
with Paul Quinn
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May 2008

Today there are visitors from the US. We are together all day and do a lot of walking. Up at the West the puffins have arrived along with the other species. The Viewpoint is busy and looking pretty good. It will be having an official opening ceremony later in the season. On Kebble there is a fine showing of Early Purple Orchids and I show the party the botanical star attraction. Pyramidal Bugle. Very rare (only in one other location in Ireland?), I like it because it is such a letdown. One field guide describes it soberly as a modest flowerer. That is spot on! If it was a bird it would be a Leach’s Storm Petrel. A distant fuzzy blip. Luckily though, I can see the plant every year without fail and at little effort. So there are only limited similarities between plant and petrel. It’s a good game, you should try it sometime… matching your favourite species.

 

Around 8.45pm is the best time right now to see the (cuter) Rathlin attraction, the golden hare, and I manage to do this. There are less hares in the group than in last month’s sighting and they are not half so jumpy.

 

In mid month I am back to volunteer with the RSPB at the Seabird Centre. I have been volunteering for a number of years, mostly on Rathlin. It is really good and I am able to meet old friends and make new ones too. Then there is another spell of volunteering at the end of the month. The birds are all around now and I see loads of buzzard and some peregrine as well.
© 2008 Paul Quinn. All Rights Reserved. Additional title photography © Andy McInroy