Hi everyone! My name is Aine, I am 21 years old, and I am a new student on a 16-week placement with the Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership. I am currently studying Environmental Management at Queen’s University Belfast and have a fond interest in nature and wildlife conservation, so this placement opportunity was right up my street! I applied here with the hopes of expanding my knowledge and experience on fauna and flora, and with only three weeks in, I have learned so much already.
There are currently six new placement students, and we have travelled to different sites learning valuable new information and developing key skills in areas such as Plant Identification with Bob Davidson, Dragonfly and Damselfly training with Robert Thompson, Woodland and Habitat Training with Dermot Hughes, Bumblebee Identification with Geoff Newell and First Aid / Rescue Emergency Care Training.
We carried out our first survey with the RSPB at Portmore Lough assessing the Irish Damselfly population in the Montiaghs Moss area. The Irish Damselfly (Coenagrion lunulatum) is thought to be a vulnerable and declining species. However, it is still considered to be an under-recorded species with lesser known information about it, compared to similar species such as the Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella) and Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum).
We also shadowed the previous students on their Bumblebee transects where they carry out bee surveys once a month to assess population numbers at Oxford Island, as we will be taking over this survey in the coming weeks. This is to identify the 6 different common bumblebee species including the Common Carder Bumblebee (Bombus pascuorum), the Buff Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), the Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum), the Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum), the White Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum) and the Red Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius)./p