My volunteering diary 1 July 2021

My volunteering diary 1 July 2021

Bumblebee (c) Monica Abaurrea 

Being a volunteer with Ulster Wildlife is a big adventure: you never know what’s going to happen, and you have to be ready for everything. Join the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) volunteers' weekly adventures, narrated by an ESC from the Natures Reserve team.

Wood carving workshop

This last week I’ve been very lucky; a space became available in the wood carving workshop at Bog Meadows Nature Reserve. The workshop was delivered by Steve and we learnt how to use some tools and improve our woodworking skills during two days. I never expected I would be able to make a flower like this out of wood! 

Wood carving workshop. Bog Meadows

Wood carving workshop. Bog Meadows

Informative guided walk

Aidan Crean, a local bird expert and licensed bird ringer, gave us an informative guided walk around Bog Meadows. I will remember that morning as one of my favourites since I came here. The passion with which he spoke about the reserve and the role he has played over the last years made me realise how lucky we are and how responsible we have to be to preserve such a place. 

One of the things that I have discovered since I got here is my passion for birds. We were lucky enough to see how Aidan ringed some of them as part of the Constant Effort Site at Bog Meadows, including a blue tit, two sedge warblers, a black bird and a goldfinch. Each bird has a story and this is a small step to finding out more about each of these wonderful species. 

Feystown botanical monitoring

Feystown is our smallest nature reserve and it is of special importance as it is home to one of the rarest flowers of Northern Ireland: the wood cranesbill. Last Friday we visited Feystown to undertake a botanical survey, recording various indicator species in two-by-two squares. The collection of this kind of data and the comparison with other years gives us information on the status and trends of key species, and helps inform the future management of the reserve. 

Feystown Botanical Monitoring

Feystown Botanical Monitoring 

Noticing wildlife

Butterflies, moths and bumblebees this week! In the Bog Meadows moth trap, we spotted a green carpet moth and a burnished brass moth. I also spotted my first Speckled wood butterfly

I have been practising my bumblebee ID, but the one below is very difficult to tell apart; it could be a buff-tailed bumblebee or a white-tailed bumblebee – workers are nearly identical. 

About the programme

The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) scheme offers young volunteers from European countries the opportunity to work with Ulster Wildlife for 12 months, with placements within our Nature Reserves, Living Landscapes and Fundraising and Communications teams.