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.
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