A Step Back into Winter

Wednesday, March 22nd 2017

On arrival at work the snow was about 3 inches deep, but even then it had started to thaw, with massive clumps of snow falling from the conifers as we walked the Green Route to ensure there were no wind felled trees from yesterday.

Even with the cold wintery weather we still had the moth trap out, and the time setting it up yesterday evening was not wasted. The haul from the trap is very much dictated by wind, wet and temperature so it was not surprising that we only had 8 moths: We actually felt the numbers were high considering the conditions; Common Quaker, Hebrew Character and this lovely Shoulder Stripe

Tracks of rabbits, pheasants and a fox showed clearly in the snow as we walked around the reserve

The snow was fairly sparse under the conifers, but it was like rain under the canopy as the thaw picked up.

The Wetland looked cold and uninviting but held a vision of mystic; 

The route above Risedale Beck was dusted with snow giving a fresh look.

The site was not totally devoid of Spring, with female Larch flowers, also know as Larch Roses,

...and the blossom of Blackthorn

On leaving the reserve this evening rain had been falling for most of the afternoon and was still falling, we had recorded 32mm since midnight.

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Many Helping Hands

Tuesday, March 21st 2017

We are very fortunate here at Foxglove to have brilliant, dedicated and friendly volunteers helping us to keep the reserve loved, looked after and flourishing! Volunteers complete a whole range of tasks at Foxglove, including practical tasks, office work, data entry, species identification and monitoring, equipment maintenance, assisting with school groups and stock checking. Their hard work is critical to the success of Foxglove and we are very grateful – we could not do all we do without the help of volunteers.

Today’s volunteer team was our regular Tuesday practical volunteers. Tasks tackled today included filling bird feeders, re-seating posts by our car park,

cleaning and tidying in the Field Centre, giving some of our trail marker posts a layer of wood preservative and repainting their stripes,

getting a tank of tadpoles set up in the classroom (yes – we already have tadpoles!),  

feeding the Exmoor ponies (on loan from the Yorkshire Exmoor Pony Trust),  

cutting and moving logs,  

clearing a fallen tree, pruning branches that give squirrels access to our one of our anti-squirrel-design feeding stations and continuing the tidy up of this season’s coppice block.

Another busy day – thank you team! Do get in touch if you fancy joining us – we’re a friendly bunch, there’s lots of things you could get involved with and practical volunteering at Foxglove is much cheaper than the gym!

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Equal Night

Monday, March 20th 2017

The word equinox is Latin for "equal night". The Spring Equinox is the official first day of spring, and today certainly felt like it with temperatures reaching a balmy 13 degrees centigrade; toads a-mating...

Primroses, ....

...Gorse and various other flowers starting to show, birds are busy looking for nest sites, and generally the air feels more Spring-like.

On the Spring Equinox, the Earth hits the turning point in its orbit where neither the North or the South poles are tilted towards the sun. As a result, the Sun spends a roughly equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on the Earth, so night and day are about the same length.



On the weekend we had 19 young people from the 1st Wensleydale (Leyburn) Beavers (and a few Cubs) to help us with some conservation tasks on the reserve. Luckily we had plenty to do with the continued clear up from the past few weeks of activity.

We were also graced with the presence of Clive the bear, from Hunton and Arrathorne Community Primary School. Here taking a well-earned rest from the work.

We made pine cone bird feeders…

….identified various trees,….

…as well as getting close and personal with them during our ‘Meet a Tree’ game

A special ‘thank you’ to Stuart who came in to assist us with this event.


 

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Same Time, Same Place

Sunday, March 19th 2017

This time last year the blog recorded the willow in blossom along the fence near the access gate.  The sun was bright and the sky was blue.  This year it is in blossom again, but without the blue sky.

Willow catkins

We always assume Coltsfoot is an early spring flower, but we often  hunt for it in vein, but it has been found in bloom down by the Bullet Catcher pond.  Other places to look for this dandelion like flower is the back garden and on the islands in Risedale Beck.

Coltsfoot

Lesser Celandine open with the sun and close when it is dull.  First seen on the island in the Voley Pond this year, but first photographs have been taken near the wetland hide.

Lesser Celandine

Primroses are now showing their flowers along Risedale Beck, on the bank from the wetland and through the Hazel Avenue.

Primrose

Now that the spring (vernal)) equinox is nearly here, 10.28 on 20th March 2017, our days are getting longer, so allowing more time to be out and about with cameras, taking photographs for the Foxglove 2018 calendar.

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Out and About with a Camera

Saturday, March 18th 2017

Early mornings at Foxgove can be very quiet, with hardly a sound to be heard and not much out of the ordinary to photograph.  Sometimes it is special and a camera is needed.

This caught my eye - whoops going the wrong way?

Whoops going the wrong way?

I tried very hard to find some cloud whales or mice or bears, to no avail so had to be satisfied with the view down the lake showing the clouds bubbling up.

The lake

Continuing on my walk I realised that I was not alone but was sharing the boardwalk with a feathered friend, Mrs Mallard.

Mallard on the boardwalk

Toads were also using the paths as they continue to return to their spawning ponds.

Comon Toad

Checking along the Hazel Avenue, following deer slots in the mud, my young pup stopped and looked, so I too stopped and looked.  A Roe Deer moved slowly from the path into the undergrowth, but photo taken in the hopes I would achieve something.  I did, a splodge of white if you look hard enough!

Undergrowth with Roe Deer

We walked on and he stopped and then turned to look at us, with nothing other than a stem of grass in the way.  It is clear to see that he only has one antler having dropped the other.   

Roe Deer Buck

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