(23) Blog Posts Made in September 2009

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Merveille du Jour

Wednesday, September 30th 2009

Other areas are a patchwork of Betony, Hedge Woundwort, Marsh Valerian and the airy flowers of the many grasses. They have an abundance of butterflies, hoverflies, bees, spiders and beetles that either feed on the nectar or each other!

Merveille du Jour moth

This stunning moth from last nights catch is a Merveille du Jour and although it has been recorded at Foxglove Covert before it hasn't been seen in recent years. This moth which flies in September and October is both a resident and common species. It comes to light and feeds on ivy flowers and overripe berries. The larval foodplant is oak. Other species trapped last night include the Chestnut, Pink-barred Sallow, Spruce Carpet and the beautiful yellow Canary-shouldered Thorn.

The phone line was down today and consequently we were unable to read or send any emails. BT are aware of the fault. Please be patient and if you need to contact us in the meantime you can call us on the site mobile: 07754 270980.

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Volunteers felling trees

Tuesday, September 29th 2009

It has been another busy day today. The sun was warm and there was no wind at all. Just the sort of day for our volunteers to be felling trees and doing some heavy work!

Volunteers working in the sun

They were taking young silver birch out along the access road. This will open up some views and make glades along the road. This is then good for insects and birds. Here you can see John, Andrew and Raymond almost disappearing underneath all the brash. It was taken to the stone pile to await burning or chipping.

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Pale Tussock moth caterpillar

Sunday, September 27th 2009

This Pale Tussock moth caterpillar was found by Paul today whilst out on a net round! It had almost made its way into one of the bird bags!

Pale Tussock moth caterpillar

Pale Tussock moth caterpillar

The weather was perfect for a ringing day being quite still and often overcast. Birders visiting the reserve sometimes fail to spot the 'little brown jobs' but today produced quite a variety showing just what is around if time is taken to look carefully. No less than 296 birds ( 212 of them unringed) of 21 species were caught and processed by quite a novice team. Of these 84 were first year Lesser Redpolls so it seems they have had quite a successful breeding season.

Blackcap and Chiffchaff were still passing through and some of the young Bullfinches appeared as if just out of the nest with no adult plumage whatsoever. This year alone 194 new Bullfinches have been ringed on the reserve.

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Eco-Club and glorious weather

Saturday, September 26th 2009

Today we had the Eco-Club meeting and the weather was glorious. Elizabeth led 11 children and their parents across the moor and through the plantation. They were learning about tracks and signs and found pine cones which had been eaten by squirrels, spiders and their nests and various other beasties. Raymond came along to help and had a good time too.

Eco-club

This beautiful web was seen on our walk through the middle of the reserve.

Spider's web

This afternoon Northallerton Beaver Scouts came for an autumn walk and mini-beast hunt. They found shield bugs, caterpillars and plenty of spiders.

Also today Phil came with two youth offenders and worked on weeding out the silver birch up near the plantation.

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Ashkam Bryan College students

Friday, September 25th 2009

The students from Ashkam Bryan College were here for their weekly visit. Tim, their tutor, kept them working non-stop. Here you can see, (from right to left), Joshua, Oliver, Lewis, Joshua and Ashley getting stuck into cutting up silver birch for the bonfire at the top of the heathland.

Ashkam Bryan College students

They made a huge difference whilst they were here and everybody worked very hard. Our thanks to all concerned.

Andrew took 2 students with him to fill up all the bird feeders ready for the weekend.

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De-lousing the cattle

Wednesday, September 23rd 2009

The cattle had their de-lousing treatment today. Keith, our friendly local farmer comes every 3 months to check them and treat them for lice and worms.

The cattle

They were all waiting in the middle field and we thought they would go into the pen without much ado.
Unfortunately not! Half an hour later we were still running around the field after McGregor and Fraser, who refused to go in the pen.

McGregor and Fraser

We tempted them in with a bucket of food and some judicious running!

Here's Keith relaxing when it was all over.

Keith with the cattle

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Bonfire baked potatoes

Tuesday, September 22nd 2009

As you can see today was a good day to come and be a volunteer. We had a huge clear-up in the plantation and a very big bonfire. Stan, Andrew, Val and Hilary were braving the heat to put the brash on the top. Sophie's lunchtime baked potatoes nearly got lost in the ashes. They were found at last- blackened and burned! Inside was beautifully cooked so she still had a hot lunch!

Volunteers by the bonfire

In other work done today the thistles were pulled from areas where they are taking over and new bridges were installed at stragetic places on the wet meadows to enable maintenance to take place.

The new edition of Undergrowth has now been printed and will be winging its' way to you if you are a Friend of Foxglove. The events programme till the end of the year has been included.

The rest of the Painted Lady butterflies hatched this morning.

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Mute Swan family

Sunday, September 20th 2009

The ringers spent part of the day at a local site with this family of Mute Swans. The cob already had a ring but the pen and the juveniles were rounded up and the large M rings duly applied. This was a new experience for everyone.

Mute swans

The juveniles were surprisingly placid but the adult male was not at all impressed!

Ringers with mute swans

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Painted Lady pupa

Saturday, September 19th 2009

The Eco Club Painted Lady pupa hatched out this morning. One had hatched out by 10.00am and by lunch time another four had turned into beautiful colourful butterflies. Here you can see one of the fresh adults preparing to fly for the first time.

Painted Lady pupa

Painted lady butterfly

More 'babies' were discovered in a gorse bush up on the moor, this big wolf or nursery web spider (from the family Pisauridae) was busy weaving her web tent around hundreds of spiderlings! On this photo (taken by Elizabeth) you can even see the silk threads behind the adult spider.

Big wolf or nursery web spider

Here are Elizabeth and Emma measuring a moorland pond to help with a grant application.

Elizabeth and Emma measuring a moorland pond

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Askham Bryan students meet the cattle

Friday, September 18th 2009

9 students from Askham Bryan college started their new term here today. They will be coming to Foxglove with their tutor Tim one day each week as part of their countryside diploma. They did some heathland work this afternoon, but this picture is from first thing this morning when we took them to the moorland to be introduced to the cattle. Only McDuff got to be in the picture!

Askham Bryan students meet the cattle

Latest news on the ringing data is that a male Chaffinch caught this year during the CES period and processed by Lesley was ringed as a second year bird in 1999 (hatched in 1998) making it 11 years old. This has to be our oldest passerine to date!

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Learn about our wonderful fungi

Wednesday, September 16th 2009

The damp weather is bringing a rash of fungi into fruit. This Shaggy Ink Cap is just at the entrance to the reserve. As it matures the gills turn black and liquify.

Anyone interested in learning more about our wonderful fungi can come on our Fungal Foray on 3rd. October. See the events list for details.

Shaggy Ink Cap

In other news today we did a guided walk for the Women in Middleham group. Andrew told them all about our latest Water Vole release.

The moth trapping was quite successful last night. The damp weather had brought 69 moths in and we had 16 species, including Frosted Orange, Red-green Carpet and Pink-barred Sallow.

Andrew and Raymond did some of the last strimming and mowing of the year. One last cut and the paths should stay fine till the spring.

While entering some of the ringing data today three individual birds really stood out. A six year old male Blue Tit which had been caught at Foxglove 12 times, a male Willow Warbler first caught as an adult nine years ago making it at least 10 years old which has returned to Foxglove every year during the interim, and a female Blackbird which is nine years old caught at Foxglove only five times.

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Hips and haws

Tuesday, September 15th 2009

It was a very busy volunteer day today. The autumn weather was beautiful, the hips and haws were shining out in the sun.

Hips and haws

The volunteers were once again working on the heathland and had a big bonfire. The gorse, birch and willow are succumbing to the combined effects of all the lopping and pruning. Hurrah!

The moth trap was set last thing, but the night may be too chilly for them!

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Fraser and MacDuff posing

Monday, September 14th 2009

It's a while since the cattle appeared on the blog, but this morning only Fraser and MacDuff posed for pictures. They were enjoying an early morning feed in the damp drizzle.

Fraser and MacDuff

This beautiful fungus has been appearing on the woodchip of the middle path to the moor all through the year whenever the weather has turned damp. It was there in its dozens this morning.

Coprinus lagopus

It is Coprinus lagopus and it is thanks to Caroline for the identification. She remembered an article in which it was described. This fungus is particular to newly laid woodchip beds such as our paths. It is very delicate and appears abundantly first thing in the morning. By the middle of the day, however, it is usually shriveling up.

Cladonia humilis

This is Cladonia humilis and it can be seen not far from the field centre on one of the stones at the side of the access road. It is a delicate looking grey-green lichen and has little cup shaped fruiting bodies at the moment.

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Willow Warbler recoveries map

Sunday, September 13th 2009

map of the Willow Warbler recoveriesHere, courtesy of one of the Reserve Managers, is a map of the Willow Warbler recoveries reported from Foxglove over the past few years. The red lines indicate birds ringed at Foxglove that have been caught elsewhere during their migration and the green lines are birds ringed by other ringers that have subsequently been retrapped at Foxglove.

This is just an early attempt at what we see as an ideal opportunity to make more of the bird ringing information we accrue. We are working on how to make the map larger in order to view the information more easily - watch this space for further editions!

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Foxglove’s moth night!

Sunday, September 13th 2009

Although the reserve was closed yesterday during the day it quickly became a hive of activity after 6pm. It was Foxglove's moth night! Eight intrepid moth-ers came to set up the traps in various habitats and then settled down for the night in the field centre. At 6am we were out on the reserve turning off the generators and closing up the traps. Then after a welcome cup of tea and breakfast we set off to view the catch and record the moths. You can see Charlie Fletcher, the Yorkshire recorder for this area identifing our catch assisted by a couple of young enthusiasts.

Foxglove's moth night

After a cold night the haul was about as expected with 41 species altogether. The most common moth was Small Wainscot with 38 individuals, followed by 21 Pink-barred Sallow. It was all over by mid morning and we went our separate ways. Here's to next year everyone!

This caterpillar was found during the morning climbing on the field centre! It will pupate before the winter and spend the cold weather underground. In the spring it will emerge as a Poplar Hawkmoth. This is one of the most common hawkmoths we see at Foxglove.

Poplar Hawkmoth caterpillar

In Other news today the bird ringers were in at 6.30am. This picture shows almost two dozen Lesser Redpolls awaiting collection from a mist net. The species is a regular visitor to the reserve although quite difficult to see at times and more are trapped and ringed than are seen!

Lesser Redpolls in the mist net

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The reserve in the sunshine

Thursday, September 10th 2009

Another gloriously sunny day here at the reserve. The hide was shimmering in the heat and the joggers had slowed to a walk when this photo was taken this afternoon.

The lake and hide

Work today has been filling up the feeders ready for the weekend and cutting back some large trees which were overhanging the access road.

Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were fluttering on the Hemp Agrimony and the Fleabane.

The vole pond was sparkling and the Reedmace has started to shed its' fluffy seed which floats on the slightest breath of wind.

The vole pond

Many of you may know Danielle who takes many of our beautiful photographs. She has a picture of a Common Blue butterfly taken at Foxglove in a competition. Here is a link if you would like to vote for her.

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9 moth species

Wednesday, September 9th 2009

There were 9 species in the moth trap this morning, including Brimstone, Autumnal Rustic and this Frosted Orange. This moth is a common resident whose caterpillar feeds on thistles, burdock and foxgloves.

Frosted Orange moth

Andrew and Raymond continued clearing up on the heathland and burned off all the vegetation from yesterday.

This picture is of the Phragmites flowers against the blue sky in the scrapes. The weather has been glorious - a beautiful late summer day.

Phragmites flowers

Speckled Wood and Red Admiral butterflies are still in evidence as are lots of Peacock butterfly caterpillars.

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The start of the autumn season

Tuesday, September 8th 2009

The autumn season started officially today with the first bonfire on the heathland. Our volunteers were out in force clearing birch, brambles and gorse from the heathland adjacent to the access road and bonfiring them off. There'll be many more fires between now and the spring!

Bonfire on the heathland

The Dales school were back with us after the summer break. Their students also helped out on the heathland with the clear-up.

Dinsdales continued their work on the new paths, the top car park being out of action whilst they are working up there.

The Painted Lady caterillars which the Eco-club are following are pupating. We will be moving their chrysalis' into a net enclosure so we can watch their progress toward becoming adult butterflies.

Puffball

This Puffball was seen on the wet meadows. It was very fresh and although it is not a spectacular colour, the intricate detail of the patterning is superb.

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Tree Pipit

Sunday, September 6th 2009

The overcast weather hasn't stopped the bird ringers from trapping and recording at Foxglove today; surprisingly a Tree Pipit was caught for the first time since 2004. This little bird is a summer migrant that feeds on small insects and its preferred habitat is open woodland. It used to breed at Foxglove but in common with some other species its numbers have declined and it is now much less common nationally.

Tree Pipit

Over 200 birds were processed including Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, a few remaining Willow and Garden Warblers, 22 new Bullfinches and a mix of other woodland birds including two new Nuthatches. Three Reed Bunting, 13 Chiffchaff and six Blackcap were also among the totals. It was a busy day!

Please note that due to circumstances beyond our control, next Saturday 12th September the reserve will be closed to everyone during the day. It will be open again from 6pm that evening and therefore our Moth Night will be able to go ahead as planned.

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Friends and volunteers barbeque

Saturday, September 5th 2009

Today was Foxglove's Friends and Volunteers Barbeque. We were celebrating the end of summer and looking forward to the winter season.

Foxglove cake

70 people turned up to sample the delights of Namik and Damon's wonderful cooking. We were lucky with the weather which looked like rain but ended up cool, windy - but dry.

Namik and Damon preparing the feast!

Namik and Damon

Here are just some of the people enjoying their afternoon.

Foxglove friends and volunteers

Thank you to everyone who attended and to everyone behind the scenes who helped to make the event run so smoothly.

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Dinsdales and the new path

Thursday, September 3rd 2009

Dinsdales have been working hard on our new paths today. John (pictured here) from Dinsdales was raking and whacking the stone on the path through the plantation.

John from Dinsdales

Andrew and Raymond filled all the feeders and hoppers so the birds won't go hungry during this damp weather. They checked the reserve paths to make sure they are OK and also the woodland walk to see if there was any maintenance needed.

Ann, one of our volunteers found Enchanter's Nightshade in flower in net ride 2. This is a very delicate white flower with hanging seed pods. Brambles are black and shining all through the wilder areas and there are still patches of Betony bringing touches of colour to the autumn scene. The colours continue with Tormentil still in flower everywhere and the Phragmites in the scrapes, which is the most rich burgundy colour in flower.

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Canary-shouldered Thorns moth

Thursday, September 3rd 2009

Yesterday the moth trap yielded only 38 moths of seven species. We had lots of Small Wainscot and 2 Canary-shouldered Thorns (pictured). This beautiful moth flies from July until September and is a common moth which sees the winter through as an egg on its food plant, which could be Downy or Silver Birch, Alder or Elm.

Canary-shouldered Thorns moth

Another find today was this Robin's Pincushion which is a gall on a piece of rose stem along the access road to the reserve. The plant makes this growth in response to damage from a tiny wasp called Diploepsis rosea which lays eggs within the stem or leaf. The gall could be sheltering as many as 60 grubs, which overwinter inside and emerge in the spring as adult wasps.

Robin's Pincushion

Up on the raised fen the Grass of Parnassus is in full flower. This intricate flower stands about 30cm high and has the most beautiful markings. Definately worth a closer look.

Grass of Parnassus flower

Dinsdales Moorland Services continued working on the path to the new hide and started to top it with stone. The top car park is out of action because of the volume of stone which has been delivered.

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Dinsdale Moorland Services Ltd

Tuesday, September 1st 2009

Staff from Dinsdale Moorland Services Ltd are back at Foxglove! This time they are re-surfacing the path from the discovery trail to the new wetland hide. The new path will be a stone one like the discovery trail.

Dinsdale Moorland Services Ltd

Volunteers were busy today painting the inside of the new workshop, pruning along trails, pulling thistles from the wetland and mowing the field centre lawns.

A quick reminder to everyone that the Friends and Volunteers end of summer BBQ will be on Saturday at Foxglove from 3pm till 6pm. The cost is only £3 per person and there will be a bar available. If you would like to join us (the more the merrier and families welcome), please let us know ASAP and please help us by paying beforehand. We look forward to seeing you there!

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