Speaker for 16th January 2018

Vice President Des Moore greets Rev. Patrick Barton, with club committee members Malcolm Hinds (L) and Graham Kane (R)

Coleraine Probus and the Flora and Fauna of Rathlin

Coleraine Probus were pleased to welcome the Rev. Patrick Barton, when he came along the club to take the members on an illustrated journey to discover the “Flora and Fauna of Rathlin". Patrick began his talk at Ballintoy where he is Rector of Ballintoy and Dunseverick Parish Churches. He is also Priest in charge of St. Thomas’s Church on Rathlin where he conducts a service once a month.

Boarding the Rathlin Express ferry at Ballycastle harbour, it takes 35 minutes to reach Rathlin harbour. From there Patrick took us on a journey of exploration from the West cliff lighthouse and RSPB Sea Bird Centre to the noisy seals and rock pools of Mill Bay, all illustrated with fascinating photographs.

Rathlin is an important site for Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Shag, Gannets, Fulmer, Great Skewer (a predatory bird), Oyster Catcher, Great Black Backed Gull (the bad boy of the gull fraternity) and the most common bird of prey the Buzzard. The only wooded area on the island is located adjacent to St. Thomas’s Church and is the home to butterflies, moths and Pipistrelle bats. Other birds are House Martins, Ravens, Purple Sandpiper, Redshank, Chuff, Stonechaff and Windchaff. An effort to re-establish the Corncrake is in progress.

Rathlin is also famous for its blue eyed Golden Hare (a common hare with a genetic twist). Patrick did have sight of a White Tailed Sea Eagle with a green wing tag which traced it to Co Kerry. He has an extensive knowledge of Rathlin and is an excellent ambassador for the island.

His presentation would certainly encourage club members and friends to visit the island, but he would recommend that you take a camera, a field guide of birds, binoculars, telescope, tripod and possibly a tent!