RSPB invite you to Rathlin

DISCOVER your wild side on Rathlin, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) says.

It would seem that summer is here now and where better to discover your wild side than in some of the most beautiful places in Northern Ireland. The RSPB is holding events at its key reserves. If you love getting away from it all and seeing loads of nature is certainly worth considering.

“There can be no question that summer is one of the best times to see the most beautiful bits of Northern Ireland,” said Stephanie Sim, RSPB, “and this summer we have organised events at Portmore Lough and Rathlin Island reserves. If you fancy yourself a bit of a land lubber then Portmore would be a place for you. Otherwise, Rathlin Island is great at this time of year for the adorable clown-faced puffin and of course the wonderful bird spectacle.”

* Portmore Lough, Aghalee, 10 June 2012, 1 – 6 pm. The event in Portmore is a Family Fun day with loads of outdoor activities like guided walks and pond dipping. Children will explore the fields and discover the insect life that includes a myriad of butterflies, dragon and damselflies, and of course the stunning birdlife such as the endangered lapwing. You’ll also have a chance to see the beautiful Konik ponies that help us look after the reserve. The event is free.

* Rathlin Island Rambles, 7 and 12 July. Charge: £3 non-member, £2 member. Located in the island’s Lower End, the site offers some great views to Scotland, to nearby County Antrim, and to the lush centre of Rathlin.

When you arrive off the ferry from Ballycastle you will make your way from the Church Bay and Harbour area to Mill Bay, where you will hopefully see some seals. You will also hear about life on Rathlin, both for the one hundred (or so) current residents, and for islanders of times long since past.

Then enjoy a walk through pasture and towards spectacular cliffs, all while watching out for birds such as Buzzard, Skylark, Shag, Eider and Common Gull. As you look out towards Rue Point, check the lazy beds for Irish Hare and look out for plants like Harebell, Lady’s Bedstraw, Bogbean, Tormentil and Milkwort. If you’re not confident in identification, then don’t worry - the walk leaders will help you to identify these and other fauna and flora too!

Bring a packed lunch as we will find a suitable location to picnic, chat and answer any questions you have about the RSPB’s work and its conservation role here on Rathlin.

For more information on both activities, go to www.rspb.org.uk/events or call the RSPB on 02890419547.