My volunteering diary 8 April 2021

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.
Hello! How is everything going? How fast time goes by! It's been two weeks since the previous blog and it’s time to update what I've been doing this past week. 

Peatlands Park

We started the week by helping a different team! We went to a place I never visited before- Peatlands Park- and I recommend it. That was my first experience with rhododendron, an invasive spice from Asia. This kind of work usually has to stop during bird breeding season, but we asked Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) to allow us to continue 2m on each side of the paths since birds do not usually nest near busy paths. 

What an invasive species, it was everywhere! We had to cut it close to the ground and treat the stump with pesticide to control them. It’s always nice to work with CANN team! 

Peatlands park

Inishargy Bog

On Tuesday we were in Inishargy Bog doing scrub control with Ronald (Nature Reserves Officer) and two trainees, Ricky and Shannon. In this bog you can find trees such as birch, willow and gorse- they impact the water table removing water from the bog. That doesn’t allow species that require high water levels to survive! 

After work we went to Portavogie harbour, where I had the chance to see atlantic grey seals from very close. For people that are from here, it might be common, but not for spanish people like me! It was also the perfect occasion to practice my birdwatching skills with the seagulls. There were plenty of herring and great black-backed gulls

Portavogie harbour (c) Ronald Surgenor

Portavogie harbour (c) Ronald Surgenor

Bog Meadows Nature Reserve

Wednesday was Bog Meadows time! A few weeks ago I was with Luisa and Eduardo (the other ESC volunteers, and my housemates) clearing a zone for a mini woodland trail and Wednesday was time to create the path with the chipping that we made. I really like the result of our work! 

Bog Meadows

Milford Cutting Nature Reserve

And last but not least, Milford time! I haven’t been to this Nature Reserve for so long. We cut the grass of the picnic area and checked the woodland paths. But surprise! As soon as we went a bit into the woodland we started to see a lot of wood anemone flowers. From one day to the other the ground was covered with flowers! 

That day, Mark, one of our trainees showed me a nice curious fungus! It´s called scarlet elfcup and it has a very bright red colour.  

Happy days and happy week in the nature reserves team!  

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.