After doing a week of different habitats per day we got a day off to do whatever we wanted! I am lucky enough to have some friends on my course who love horse riding too, and were up for a riding trip in Dingle! It was so absolutely amazing getting back in the saddle again after nearly four years, and the day couldn’t have been better! Riding a lovely cob called Bob I set off with Julia, Rose and Amaya for an hour of riding in beautiful Irish landscape! Amaia and I were not as advanced as the other two girls and also with less money, and so we did the hour one whilst they did a two hour ride with a bit more advanced stuff after we had returned to the stables. Our hour though was enough as I was feeling the ache in my bum creeping upon me, and I was quite happy not to kill myself entirely for the evening (when we went out for a night out in Dingle)! The most thrilling part of the ride must have been when we were in full gallop up a slope! Such an adrenalin kick I actually teared up (maybe it was the strong wind created by the speed were were going at). Bob really took care of me and made my first ride again an amazing experience! Haha. thank you Bob for the ride!
Later on that evening the whole field ecology gang (both students and lecturers) went for a night out in Dingle! Not really in the greatest mood to drink I didn’t enjoy the evening as much as my drunk friends did! I did get to see a boy tap dancing to Irish music and another band singing an irish song about Dingle, which was cool! The buss ride home was funny too! British people really can drink a lot haha! Roudy and singing the unofficial song of UEA, they made the ride home incredibly amusing! Not long before the bus had set off back home they started chanting the song for a game where basically people get shouted out and have to go to the back of the bus and sit on the previous persons lap. I was literally hiding behind the seat cause I didn’t want to! Haha, boring Ellie..
The following week was project time after getting into groups of three and deciding on a habitat of interest and a hypothesis that we wanted to test! My group of Steph, Emily and myself decided to go for woods as it had made such an impression on all of us, and opted for a project on the effects of deer grazing on the plant biodiversity! Quadrats in hand, we documented the percentage cover of all plant species in different areas of the Oak Woodland, as well as counting nibble signs from deer. On one of the days we saw a red squirrel and got quite exited! After 3 days of sampling data, and 170 quadrats later, we had enough data to analyse and create a poster on! The poster was showed at Sammy’s Pub on one of the last days and marked by the organizers. Our results weren’t great, and I doubt they will be significant, but as one of my ever first independant projects I am pretty pleased with the outcome! Our method was really good and planned, and the collection went effective and organized. The results show a vague trend of the more grazing the lower the biodiversity, so at least it’s better than absolute nonsense. Perhaps with more data we could have got a better set of results!
Red squirrel taken by Steph!