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other two on the island while indicating to Atlantic traffic that they are entering or exiting the North Channel. Take care descending the steep steps to the observation platform. Te RSPB volunteers are most helpful and will supply you with binoculars if needed. Tere are five birds in particular that return every year to breed on and around the stacks and cliffs near the West Lighthouse. A good food source, safety in numbers and inaccessible nesting sites are the main reasons for birds choosing this part of Rathlin. Tree of the birds are of the auk species; puffins, guillemots and razorbills. Te other two are from the gull and petrel families represented by kittiwakes and fulmars. On any given day you may also see shags, ravens, buzzards, rock pipits and perhaps a peregrine falcon. Small groups of gannets from Ailsa Craig are frequently

Steep steps to the RSPB observation platform

but are still run and maintained by the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIS). A red, rather than white light is shone here, the only one in Ireland. It distinguishes it from the

Three’s a crowd! 44

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