(23) Blog Posts Made in April 2009

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Catterick Training Area Conservation Group

Thursday, April 30th 2009

After the last two days of rain we were treated to a glorious sunny day.

The only moth in our trap was a Clouded Drab.

Speckled Wood butterflies were seen fluttering in the April sunshine.

Members of the Catterick Training Area Conservation Group

Members of the Catterick Training Area Conservation Group came to Foxglove Covert today to see the new wet meadow area. They were the first group to go into the new hide. The last time that the group visited the site was 6 months ago when the wet meadow was in the early stages of planning.

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Refilling the mink rafts

Wednesday, April 29th 2009

Val and Tony got stuck in at Foxglove Covert today! They mixed clay, sand and water to refill the mink rafts. This will make it easier to identify any new prints from passing mammals.

Val and Tony refilling the mink rafts

A lot of work was carried out by our team of volunteers in spite of the rain. Wood chippings were moved with the track barrow to top our paths, the area next to the new board walk was cleared and blackthorn prunings were burned.

Students from the Dales School re-surfaced one of the footpaths with wood chippings.

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Bluebells and Primroses

Tuesday, April 28th 2009

The Bluebells and Primroses are out in force along the beck and even the rain didn't detract from their woodland beauty.

Bluebells and Primroses

The woodland walk smelled of damp earth and fallen leaves and the sound of the dripping rain meant that it was a typical spring day!

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Knayton Nature Club

Monday, April 27th 2009

Knayton Nature Club visited us today. They watched the bird ringers ring a Great Spotted Woodpecker, found out about the bees and had a nature walk around the Discovery Trail. They then spent the afternoon finding fish, water boatmen, tadpoles and mayfly nymphs in the dipping ponds.

Knayton Nature Club

Susan came to volunteer and spent the morning pruning Silver Birch from the area before the wet meadows.

The bird ringing today was the first of the year for the Constant Effort Site (CES) scheme run by the British Trust for Ornithology. The programme has been part of the ringing agenda on the reserve for 17 years and many of the other CES sites around the country will be ringing birds this same weekend. The ringers processed Treecreeper, Willow Warbler, Mistle Thrush, Bullfinch and Siskin and other birds of more common species. After the poor breeding seasons of the past two years the numbers of adult birds were found to be significantly down.

Bird Cherry and Ladies Smock are in flower and Bogbean, with its starry pink and white petals.

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Streamer moth

Sunday, April 26th 2009

This is the Streamer moth. One was caught in the moth trap on Tuesday night but flew away before we could take a photograph. However, another one appeared on Friday morning on the sign outside the field centre. It is a new species to the reserve.

Streamer moth

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The new hide

Thursday, April 23rd 2009

Here you can see the new hide as it stands awaiting its roof. The colour of the cedar will fade to a beautiful silver grey over the coming year and will blend into the landscape. We are all looking forward to the completion sometime later this week.

The new hide

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A busy two days at Foxglove

Thursday, April 23rd 2009

It has been a busy two days here at Foxglove. Yesterday we had seven volunteers who were clearing up dead wood along the side of the new boardwalk and also wood chipping the new paths which are linking in with the wet meadows area. The Dales School brought 10 students who joined in with this work and finished one of our paths for us.

Early Thorn moth

Today the moth trap gave us 26 moths of five different species. The most notable were one Early Thorn (pictured above) and 1 Streamer which was a new record for the reserve.

After we finished the moth ID Elizabeth and Ray stayed for the rest of the day to help with more chipping on the middle moor field. The newly planted hedgelines were being fitted with rabbit proof fences which should be finished by tomorrow.

The cattle were fed the last of the bales of hay provided free by Mrs Gillian Porter-Farrow.

The new hide on the wet meadows has come on leaps and bounds over the last week. The pre-fabricated panels were brought yesterday and put up in one day. Now the roof has gone on. Hopefully by this time next week we should be able to view the Lapwings et al from the finished product!

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Thoralby Womens Institute

Tuesday, April 21st 2009

Here you can see members of Thoralby Womens Institute testing out the new wet meadow walkway. They had a guided tour of the whole reserve in the sunshine. We thank them for their interest and support.

Thoralby Womens Institute

Another warm sunny day with lots of butterflies including Red Admiral.

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Signs of Spring

Monday, April 20th 2009

It's been a glorious sunny day today with plenty of visitors. We had several people on a Signs of Spring walk this afternoon and we saw the first Early Purple Orchid in flower with its distinctive, spotted leaves. Also in flower are the first Bluebells which are joining the spectacular display of Primroses and Wood Anemones along the banks of the beck. There are large glossy clumps of Wild Arum leaves and the first signs of Wild Garlic are coming into flower. Ladies Smock are starting to open their flowers in the middle of the reserve together with Marsh Marigolds.

Early Purple Orchid

Large Cup fungus sprouting their saucer-shaped fruiting bodies can be found along one of the moorland trail paths. These grow on dead wood and sawdust and so are in their typical habitat beside our newly woodchipped tracks.

Clive came to help and spent the morning taking wood chippings to top one of our moor trails. Increasing numbers of Peacock and Orange Tip butterflies were in evidence.

There were 8 bird ringers in and species ringed included Willow Warbler, Siskin, Reed Bunting, Nuthatch, Goldfinch, Blackcap and Treecreeper. A pair of Tufted Duck was on the lake and in the early evening sunshine the first Lapwing nest containing 3 eggs was found on the wetland and Snipe were drumming noisily. A very pleasant ending to a beautiful spring day.

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Thank you Debbie, Sue and Ray

Saturday, April 18th 2009

A big thank you to Debbie, Sue and Ray who all gave up their time today to plant a hedge that will screen the new boardwalk on the wet meadow.

Debbie, Sue and Ray

The team from Dinsdale Moorland Services continued to work on the new hide that will overlook the wet meadow. At the end of the day the boardwalk to the hide was almost complete as was the viewing platform that overlooks Risedale Beck. The hide stilts and base are now in place and it is hoped that it will be completed by next Friday.

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Hide construction

Friday, April 17th 2009

The construction of the hide by Dinsdale Moorland Services on the wet meadow is well underway. The boardwalk and viewing platform are also taking shape.

Construction of the hide

The old hedgelines across the middle moor are now planted up and work on the fence to protect them is nearly finished too.
3 Wheatears were spotted on the middle moor today, this is a new species to the reserve. Swallows were also seen on the moor for the first time this year.

Sticklebacks, Toad spawn, Toadpoles and Water Beetles were found by a group who were pond-dipping in the scrapes today.

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Moth trapping results

Thursday, April 16th 2009

4 species of moth trapped last night were Common Quaker, Hebrew Character, Early Thorn and Early Tooth-striped.

Work has continued on both the wet meadow boardwalk and hedgeline fences today.

The bunds on the wet meadow are greening up nicely and even have a smattering of Violets.

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Activity at Foxglove

Wednesday, April 15th 2009

There was a lot of activity at Foxglove today. 5 volunteers worked on improving the footpaths with brash and woodchippings. Here you can see Val and Bethany testing out one of the newly 'chipped' paths.

Val and Bethany on the newly chipped path

Staff from Lowther Forestry began to fence the two old hedge lines that cross the middle section of the moor. The fences will protect the new hedges from the cattle.

Adam and Carl finished pollarding the net rides in time for the CES (Constant Effort Site) bird ringing season.

Staff from Dinsdale Moorland Services also began to construct the boardwalk that will lead to the new wet meadow hide.

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Roe Deer and new visitors

Tuesday, April 14th 2009

This photo of a Roe Deer was taken today by Elizabeth and shows the antlers clearly in velvet.

Roe Deer

Tom, Paul, Dick, Sue and Ray were busy from early this morning ringing birds. Many species were ringed including Wren, Siskin and Brambling.

The sunny weather combined with the excellent article in the Sunday Telegraph attracted many new visitors today. We hope that they enjoyed their visit and will be inspired to come back again and again!

The Golden Saxifrage and Wood Sorrel that continue to flower along the discovery trail have now been joined by Germander Speedwell. Wood Anemone were spotted on the Moor! The recently cleared island in the lake has several clusters of Celandine too which add a nice splash of colour.

Thank you to Elizabeth (and Tolly) for helping out today.

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Easter trail at Foxglove

Monday, April 13th 2009

Lots of children came to explore and discover at Foxglove Covert today. They had fun searching along the Easter trail in the sunshine for eggs and bunnies. Thank you to Elizabeth who spent a lot of time both designing and organising the trail which was a great success.

The warm weather was also enjoyed by the Peacock and Orange Tip butterflies who were out in force.

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Water vole sighting

Sunday, April 12th 2009

A warm, sunny day today. Lots of visitors.

Blackcap were seen along Risedale Beck this morning. Redshank, Oystercatcher and Sparrowhawk were seen above the wet meadows.

Lake and hide

A good sighting too of a water vole enjoying the late Spring sunshine in the stream near the head of the lake.

The lawns were given their first cut of the year.

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Pretty Risedale Beck

Saturday, April 11th 2009

It was a grey, drizzly but warm day at Foxglove.

The walk along Risedale Beck is looking particularly pretty as the blackthorn is in full flower now. The banks are covered in primroses and violets. The wood sorrel flowers were hanging down in the damp. The pink-flushed flowers of wood anemone are in flower as well and they too were bent over in the damp weather. The new green leaves of wild garlic are beginning to carpet the floor of the woodland and here and there the leaves of arum are making large clumps.

Risedale Beck

2 smooth newt were seen near the heathland ponds. This is the first sighting of newts this year.

6 Lapwing were seen displaying, soaring and wheeling above the wet meadows. Their plaintive cry echoed across the moorland.

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Good bird sightings

Friday, April 10th 2009

Despite the cold, grey weather that we have had today we had lots of visitors and some good bird sightings.

Willow Warblers were heard this morning, arriving to breed after spending the winter in Africa. They will be with us all summer. Redshank were seen early this morning on the wet meadows area. This is another first for the reserve.

Cattle feeding on fresh hay

It was a little too windy for the moth trapping. The most notable of our catch was a Pine Beauty.

The cattle were fed some fresh hay on the moorland.

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All weather volunteers

Wednesday, April 8th 2009

Lots of work was completed at Foxglove today. We had 10 volunteers who worked at finishing paths, laying a dead hedge and clearing gorse. Here you can see Hilary and new volunteer Trevor beside the beginnings of the dead hedge. We experienced all kinds of weather conditions starting out sunny and brisk, but by lunchtime our volunteer picnic was inundated with hailstones and by late afternoon we had reverted to gorgeous sunshine again.

Hilary and new volunteer Trevor

Towards the end of the day we moved onto the moor to clear gorse from the moorland trail.

6 snipe were seen on the wet meadows.

The back garden feeding station was visited by Long-tailed Tit, Greenfinch and Reed Bunting and other varieties of our feathered friends.

The blackthorn is now is flower along the beck.

The Sunday Telegraph article has given us such publicity that we had lots of additional visitors taking advantage of the sunny weather.

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Foxglove in The Sunday Telegraph

Monday, April 6th 2009

Over 40 visitors were in today and several ringers. The very decent article on Foxglove published this morning in The Sunday Telegraph had an immediate effect, with at least two families who read the piece over breakfast coming in to satisfy their curiosity.

The ringers processed almost 120 birds, with Lesser Redpoll again being the most numerous species caught. Chiffchaff, Siskin and Reed Bunting were also netted but still no Willow Warblers. Almost certainly they will appear during the coming week.

Many of the recently planted hardwoods are coming into leaf and the odd Peacock butterfly is making an appearance.

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First Orange Tip butterflies of the year

Sunday, April 5th 2009

Yesterday the hedgelines to be restored on the middle moor were marked out by a contractor. We were advised that the work will start on 14 April the same day that work starts on the new hide.

Orange Tip butterflies were seen on the reserve for the first time this year by Kevin.

Pruning of the CES net rides continued and as the leaves began to form many of the path edges were trimmed back to improve the access. The progressive transformation of the reserve into summer plumage was apparent everywhere!

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7 moth species caught

Friday, April 3rd 2009

The moth trapping this morning was very successful. We caught 7 different species, including 1 Oak Beauty (below) which has not been recorded on the reserve before.

Oak Beauty moth

On the wet meadows area we saw 4 Oystercatchers which is another first for the reserve.

Wood Sorrel is in flower now, the white flowers shining through the pale green leaves carpeting the floor of the woodland.

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Early cowslip

Wednesday, April 1st 2009

10 volunteers were here today. We tidied away all the felled logs from the front of the hide and finished the bark path up to the wet meadows. The last of the gorse and hawthorn was burnt on the wet meadows area. It was glorious up there this afternoon, with curlew calling and the sun shining down, reflecting off the water.

Early cowslip

The net rides continue to be pollarded. This is ongoing for the next two weeks.

A grey wagtail was seen late afternoon flying from the vole ponds over towards the moorland.

The early cowslip is in flower in the back garden.

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