Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Cinclus cinclus hibernicus, Draperstown, Northern Ireland

I love this place, Northern Ireland is a beautiful country. There was a vast improvement in the weather today. Following yesterdays storm, today was a beautiful, peaceful day with bright blue skies and warm sunshine.

It was a glorious dawn over Lough Beg and when I went to the car I could hear whooper swans calling right outside my guest house. I walked down to the lough and there they were, about 70 of them, with flocks of wigeon and pintail, and curlew calling in the distance. I'm right by a part of the lough which is called Paddy's Dub, and the above photograph is looking towards the Mullagh, where I saw a pair of ring-necked ducks last year.

But this is what I really wanted to see today. A pair of Irish dippers C.c. hibernicus on a river just outside of Draperstown. This means that I have now seen all three races of British dipper in just four days! Better still, as you can see in the above photo they were displaying, something I don't think I've ever seen before. How you differentiate Irish dippers from the race we get in England, other than by geography, is something I'm not sure about.

I'm over here in Northern Ireland doing habitat surveys, specifically NVC's, and assessing peat quality. You can just make out the blue edges of my quadrat, whilst the pole is used for getting a rough measurement of peat depth. The dark bottom half of the pole is the depth at this quadrat. Most of the white spikey plants you can see are last years dead bog asphodel.

Sphagnum capillifolium and Hypnum jutlandicum.

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