We are taking part in a long term temperature study of the River Ayr catchment. To assist a PhD student in their research, we agreed to install temperature data loggers in carefully chosen locations across the catchment. These data loggers will be active for 20 years recording water temperatures remotely. We will need to visit them every 6 months to download the data but that seems like a small sacrifice to gain such a valuable data.
Gordon and Gillian managed to install most of the loggers over the last few weeks but I think we were all a bit reluctant to make the trek out almost to Glenmuirshaw on the Glenmuir. This is a 10+ km hike and the thought of doing this twice annually isn’t that appealing but it wasn’t as bad as feared. There is a rough track out to Glenmuirshaw that a 4×4 could manage easily but we don’t have one of them. As it had been dry for weeks, I decided today was the best opportunity we may have to get there in a vehicle and along with Douglas, our work experience school pupil, I headed into the great unknown. In all the time I’ve been with the Trust, I’ve never ventured this far up the Glenmuir before. We had an old electrofishing site that was last fished in 2006 so I intended to find and fish that at the same time making the task even more valuable.
We didn’t manage all the way to Glenmuirshaw before the track deteriorated to the point that I decided to stop. We were far enough out to place the logger at the predetermined location, but not close to the electrofishing site. Undeterred, we decided to fish a new site very close to the data loggers location so that it can be repeated easily when downloading the temperatures. Armed with sledge hammer, electrofishing equipment and the other necessary materials we quickly found the spot and installed the logger. It will start recording temperatures every 15 minutes at midnight tonight.
We then electrofished a site about 100m downstream. This was Douglas’ first introduction to electrofishing and he later told me he was surprised how many fish were in the site. I was too but for different reasons, I was disappointed by the results. I would have expected much better. I still need to enter the results into the database but I don’t think they will compare very well considering this is an important spawning area in the catchment. It will be interesting to return next year to compare results. Habitat was good. I expect things could be improved by trees to offer shade and this may be one of the main outcomes after the data logger has been operational for a few years, especially if we see a trend of increasing water temperatures as a result of climate change as we expect to happen.