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SATURDAY AUGUST 8th 2015                                        ARKLOW PONDS NATURE PONDS, CO WICKLOW

 

Leader: David Nash

Plants and Insects
The Ponds appear to be highly eutrophic which can be largely attributed to the presence of a substantial number of duck and geese which are fed by members of the public. A large portion of the surface of the ponds were covered by the water fern Azolla filiculoides which floats and is not attached to any substrate. This fern is native to tropical and sub-tropical America. In the open the colour is red but in shaded areas only a slight pink colouration could be detected. Lemna trisulca, a duckweed, which is found in enriched water was also quite plentiful. Because of the state of the water it was decided not to sample the underwater aquatic plants but some Myriophollum, Potamogeton natans, a fine-leaved Potamogeton (?P. pectinatus) and Mare's-tail Hippuris vulgaris were seen. The main plant growing in the margins of the ponds was Phragmites australis (Common Reed) with smaller amounts of Schoenoplectus triqueter (Triangular Club-rush) and Sparganium erectum (Branched Bur-reed). Salix cinerea ssp. cinerea and Alnus glutinosa were trees present and there were also some exotic species of the Quercus and Alnus genera.

Herbaceous plants included Geranium molle (both white and pink forms side by side of this Crane's-bill), Malva sylvestris and Erodium cicutarium (Common Stork's-bill) were found on grassy  area and bank near the entrance.

The day was quite breezy so insect activity was quite low but we did see the Emperor dragonfly and a small number of butterflies (species: Meadow Brown, Small Copper, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue and Small White). One Gorse Shieldbug and one Green Shieldbug, and sweeping yielded a considerable number of grasshoppers (mainly) nymphs and 7-spot Ladybird larva and nymph.

Lunch time was spent in the remnants of a sand dune and the following were seen Daucus carota, Galium verum, Hypocharis radicata, Lotus corniculatus, Reseda luteola, Ononis repens, Scorzoneroides (Leontodon) autumnalis, Viola tricolor ssp. curtisii, Trifolium arvense (Hare's-foot Clover) Rosa spinosissima (Burnet Rose), Reseda luteola and Conium maculatum (Hemlock). The "plant of the day" was Equisetum x moorei (Moore's Horsetail. the hybrid between E. hyemale and E. ramosissima) which is found along the east coast of south Wicklow and Wexford. It occurs in the absence of evidence of E. ramosissima having ever been in Ireland and its other parent being very scarce. Botanists have long speculated on its origins and one suggestion is that it was accidently introduced and has spread vegetatively along the coast.

The one 'wild' mammal observed was Hedgehog which obliging paused on the edge of the path to allow us pass by.

David Nash.

Arklow Ponds 

Arklow Ponds                         Azolla filiculoides

Schoenoplectus triqueter             Hippuris vulgaris                         Sparganium erectum

            Small Tortoiseshell                                                  Small Copper

         Rosa spinosissima                       Daucus carota                  Tripleurospermum maritimum

            Chasing Insects                                 Lycopus europaeus

Reseda luteola                         Trifolium arvense


 

Rumex crispus                 Hedgehog            

Photographs © C Shier, N Lennon, D Lyle, D Hardiman

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 Photographs: © P Lenihan