Well, I’ve just been in Northern Ireland for a couple of weeks with work doing lough surveys and the weather in the UK has been very hot and sunny – although we still managed some rain in Ireland.
The work out there was part of a big 152 lough survey we are doing for the NI Environment and Heritage Service (EHS). it involves going to a sample of loughs and carrying out plant surveys on submerged, emergent and marginal species using a survey protocol. Tom and Ben are in charge and doing a great job.
Each day consists of driving to a site, unpacking gear, getting the gear to the site (by rucksack if necessary), doing 1-4 100m section surveys which cover the aquatic and marginal plant species. In the hot weather we also needed plenty of suncream, water and insect repellant! The horse flies are the worst but the reeds are covered in aphids which stick to you as you battle through.
I saw some aquatic plants I’ve never seen before like flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus) and water soldier (Stratiotes aloides). Also we saw lots of pondweeds (Potamogeton sp.) which are tricky to identify. On the marginal surveys (the wet areas around the edge of the lough) we found many sedges (Carex sp.) and loads of wild flowers.
There are many rare species around the Upper Lough Erne lough system and we found many of them including marsh pea (Lathyrus palustris) and the rare sedges Carex elongata and C. pseudocyperus.
Unfortunatley I didn’t take my camera so no photos of this trip.