It's been a busy week. I've got all of my sites selected for my thesis research, but it's been a lot of walking. About 45 miles. With a 30-40 lb. pack. Which I can look forward to repeating every week for the next 4 weeks or so. Great exercise, though, and beautiful things to see. (To be completely honest, I've loved this week.) I included photos from 2 of the sites.. One is called The Devil's Glen - it's in a valley (so of course you have to hike up the mountain, then down into the valley, and back out....) with a river and a big ol' waterfall, that echoes all throughout the valley. It makes an interesting noise, and especially if you were passing that way by night I imagine it lives up to it's name. It poured for a few days here this week, so when I headed out to the site the water was in full force. Really cool. The other site is out at Bray Head, so it's right on the ocean. There's the best trail along the cliffs overlooking the sea and the train below, then it heads up the mountain to a big cross at the summit that you can see for miles around. And since I can only work in th field on days when the bugs think it's nice enough to be outside, the weather should be pretty beautiful, too. Wishing this was your office yet?
Some of our class have started into their thesis research this last week - myself included. But because my project requires weather that's not too windy or too rainy to actually have insects present to observe, and Thursday the weather was a bit wet, I spent the day newting with my friends Eilis and Kelly. We spent the morning battling through fields of gorse (a very prickly shrub) to find small ponds and see if there were newts in them. After we found a few ponds, Eilis and Kelly checked them for newts while I braved the gorse in search of more ponds - which is no small feat. The vegetation is tall enough that you can't really see over it, and it all looks the same no matter which way you turn, and there and no paths but lots of rocks and divets. Easy to get lost. So I had to find the ponds, then find Eilis and Kelly again, then refind the ponds....a bit tricky, but we managed. And we actually found newts! There is only 1 species of newt in Ireland - the Lissotriton vulgaris - and there aren't very many of them, so actually finding some was kind of a big deal. That afternoon we headed to another pond next to the canal, and the luck of the Irish continued - more newts! And this time a male, which are really cool looking during mating season (now). Quite a fun day.