(22) Blog Posts Made in October 2009

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Feed the Birds event

Friday, October 30th 2009

Several families came to take part in our 'Feed the Birds' event at Foxglove today. Here you can see some of our younger supporters mixing up their special recipes! Some of the adults seemed to be having just as much fun!

Families at the Feed the Birds event

The tasty treats were taken away for the garden birds at home and others were put in the trees around the field centre. Below you can see some of the delights that await the Foxglove birds!

Feed the Birds event at Foxglove

On a more serious note the last winter (2008/9) was one of the harshest we’ve had for many years, forcing many more birds into our gardens and putting out food in the garden can be a real life saver for our feathered friends.

Many thanks to Paul, Sue, Elizabeth, Raymond and Andrew for all their help today and to all the children who took part.

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MacDuff on the blog

Wednesday, October 28th 2009

As MacDuff missed out on yesterday's blog, here he is in the mist this morning.

MacDuff in the mist

He was watching the volunteers burning Gorse on the middle moor. The cattle are always curious and love to stand close to the fire as demonstrated by McGregor below!

McGregor by the bonfire

Plenty of wildlife has been spotted whilst working on the moor. Today Megan noticed a 7-Spot Ladybird and a beautiful spider's web. Here is Colin rescuing a Toad that was too close to the bonfire! Several Fieldfares and Snipe have also been seen up on the moor this week.

Colin rescuing a toad

Meanwhile, back at base the team from Balfour Beatty were busy re-surfacing the area around the new workshop.

The Balfour Beatty team

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Foxglove’s four highlanders

Tuesday, October 27th 2009

Phil and two of his volunteers helped to fix the electric fence on the moor today. The Gorse and grasses were cut away from the entire length of the wire which was broken in one place and had to be fixed. The cattle were unimpressed with the whole affair.

The expression 'Butter wouldn't melt' springs to mind!

Foxglove cattle

All four highlanders were very relaxed and content and so busy chewing the cud that they didn't even stir at the sight of Phil carrying a bucket and an empty feed sack across the moor!

The cattle

Here you can see Hector above and to the left McGregor (the trouble maker) is preening himself whilst Fraser looks on. McDuff was close by too.
 

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Scots Pine

Sunday, October 25th 2009

Today has been a contrast of Autumn weather.

Scots Pine

After a morning of damp drizzle, then an afternoon of heavy rain, the skies cleared in time for this late afternoon shot of the sun throwing the Scots Pine into sharp relief.

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Carillion Enterprises volunteers

Saturday, October 24th 2009

Today we have had a volunteer workday with staff from Carillion Enterprises. Kevin brought 11 people over to Foxglove who wanted to give their time helping with our work. After a guided walk around the reserve and a damp start this morning, they soon were taking off their coats as the bonfire grew higher and higher !

Staff from Carillion Enterprises

They cleared an area of plantation which had been a mess since last winter when 4 very large trees had blown down. Numerous log piles later and with a lot of hard work the area has been cleared ready for the new growth next spring.

As you can see by this photo the bonfire was sending flames skywards very quickly !

High bonfire flames

Thank you to Kevin for organising this visit. We look forward to your next one.

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Tiny toad

Friday, October 23rd 2009

This tiny Toad was found fast asleep on the white sheet underneath the moth trap this morning!

Tiny toad

The damp and mild weather last night meant a good 'catch' and amongst the species of moth trapped were Feathered Thorn, December Moth, Red-green Carpet, Yellow-line Quaker and Red-line Quaker.

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Defence Estates volunteers

Thursday, October 22nd 2009

Today we have had volunteers from the Geo-spatial team at Defence Estates. They came for a team building work day and have done themselves proud with the amount of work they undertook.

Geo-spatial team at Defence Estates

Along with Andrew, Raymond, Sophie and myself they have cleared gorse, birch and brambles from a small meadow along the discovery trail. This meadow now looks three times the size!

Although the weather forecast was very poor, the rain held off for most of the day, and without a breath of wind to disturb the air everyone was soon taking their coats off as they were getting rather warm! After a lunch of chicken curry and some home-baked rock buns from Sophie they were back out for the rest of the afternoon.

The end of the day was enlivened by finding sheep in the wet meadows again and 5 'volunteers' went to round them up. Thanks a lot to everyone who came today. We hope to see you back again, whether working or not!!

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Finishing the boardwalk

Wednesday, October 21st 2009

Another volunteer day has come and gone. After a dry, sunny start the weather changed to cold and rainy! Never mind, whilst all the volunteers were here we got a whole load of work done on the hay meadow. The students from the Dales School joined in with the clear-up.

Raymond walking in the boardwalk

Here's Raymond finishing off a stretch of boardwalk prior to it getting painted with wood preservative.

Stan and Andrew also worked on the boardwalk and are clearly proud of what they achieved!

Stan and Andrew after working on the boardwalk

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First Redwings of the season

Monday, October 19th 2009

The first two Redwings of the season were caught and ringed at Foxglove today.

Redwing

Other species included Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Willow Tit, Reed Bunting, Goldcrest and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Over 200 birds were caught in total.

Among the birds retrapped today were a 7 year old female Blue Tit first ringed in 2002 and an eight year old female Chaffinch first ringed in 2001. The Blue Tit had been caught 18 times at Foxglove and the Chaffinch only six times! Quite amazing as neither weighs more than 20 grams!

The Redwing in the picture is a first year bird hatched only a few months ago.

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Foxglove trip to the RSPB reserve at Saltholme

Sunday, October 18th 2009

Foxglove trip to the RSPB reserve at SaltholmeSome of the Friends and Volunteers of Foxglove enjoyed a trip to the RSPB reserve at Saltholme today.

The weather was kind and numerous species of birds were spotted. Some group members were lucky enough to see a Marsh Harrier being mobbed by a Peregrine above the new visitor centre only a few minutes after arriving!

Around in the reedbeds and pools many water birds were seen including, Greater and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Black-tailed Godwit, Gadwall, Wigeon, Shoveler and Pintail.

Observing the birdsFlocks of geese were seen overhead and a highlight was discovering two Barnacle Geese amongst hundreds of Canada Geese in a field of cattle.

Greenfinch and Goldfinch were on the feeders by one of the hides and Stonechats and Reed Bunting were posing alongside the paths.

To end the day, a visit was paid to Seal Sands at Teesmouth National Nature Reserve. Although the tide was in many Common Seals were seen in Greatham Creek and amongst the birds spotted were Kingfisher and Red-breasted Merganser.

Trip to the RSPB reserve at Saltholme

Many thanks to Ray for organising the trip, Tony, John and Dick for sharing their telescopes and to Elizabeth for holding the fort at Foxglove! At least 48 species were recorded which is very respectable for this time of the year.

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Students from Ashkam Bryan

Saturday, October 17th 2009

Tim and the students from Ashkam Bryan were here today. They finished off the task at the little hay meadow by continuing with the weeding of the birch seedlings.

Students from Ashkam Bryan

They also finished building a boardwalk which will be invaluable during the wet and muddy winter season.

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Moth trapping success

Thursday, October 15th 2009

After a warm day yesterday and a warm, damp night last night the moth trapping was better than it has been of late. We had 96 moths of 14 species. One of the stars of the morning was this Feathered Thorn, which is on the wing from September to early December, and is quite common throughout Britain.

Feathered Thorn moth

We also had 2 of these December Moths. This moth sees the winter through as an egg attached to the bark of a twig or trunk. It will hatch out and be a caterpillar around about April to June.

December Moths

Work today has been finishing off the felling which was started yesterday behind the scrapes. Elizabeth, Colin, Raymond and Andrew all helped to clear up the brash which Sophie and I were creating!

Just at the end of the afternoon we got a call to say that 8 sheep had got into the wet meadows area! The farmer came with his dog to get them and they were duly herded out to rejoin their flock. He has also managed to get the lonely sheep which was trapped at the top of the woodland walk.

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Busy volunteer day

Wednesday, October 14th 2009

It's been a very busy volunteer day today. This morning we cleared up a fallen ash tree which had come down over our fence on the top of the woodland walk. Then Raymond, Andrew and Stan took all the pruned birch and gorse from the heathland down to the stone pile and set fire to it.

Clearing the birch

Meanwhile the Dales School helped out the rest of the volunteers at the little hay meadow behind the scrapes. As you can see from the before picture (above) you could hardly see this little patch because of the tall trees, (mainly Silver birch and Beech with a couple of conifers).

Cleared hay meadow

Just look at it now! A beautifully opened up space where the light can get in and the flowers can grow. Richard, Ann, Hilary, Brian, Clive and Fiona all worked so hard to keep up with clearing the growing pile of brash from the felled trees. A new log and habitat pile will disguise the site of the bonfire eventually.

The Silver Birch is steadily encroaching onto the scrapes and over the next few weeks we hope to be taking some of these trees down. This will stop them from seeding into the wetland area which periodically has to be weeded of small birch and gorse seedlings.

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Reeth School visitors

Tuesday, October 13th 2009

It was a colder day here at Foxglove but that didn't stop 13 children from Reeth School coming with their teachers for an Autumn walk. They were well wrapped up and saw lots of berries and seeds, birds on the lake and mushrooms on the mossy logs.

Teachers and pupils from Reeth School

In other news there is currently a sheep running around in the top of the woodland walk! It has somehow got over the fence and the farmer is trying to get it back. It is likely to be there for the next few days so please keep your dogs on a lead if you are walking up there.

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Arrival of the Brambling

Monday, October 12th 2009

This male Brambling was caught during today's bird-ringing session. Brambling spend the summer in Scandinavia and are winter visitors to Britain. This bird will be the first of many to arrive over the next few weeks.

Male Brambling

Also seen today were 3 Teal and a Woodcock. There were 210 birds ringed including 39 Lesser Redpoll.

Fungi on rotten wood

Here is nature's re-cycling in evidence. These fungi were photographed today on the rotten wood of a fallen ash tree. Their delicate caps were shining out in a shaft of sunlight within a shady glade.

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Woodland maintenance

Sunday, October 11th 2009

he weather was fine for today's Autumn walk. On the way around numerous fungi were spotted including Sulpher Tufts, Hare's Foot Inkcap and Candle Snuff (also known as Dead Man's Fingers)!

Raymond on the hopper

Meanwhile Elizabeth worked on an Autumn trail for half term and Raymond and Tony did lots of woodland maintenance work and filled the hoppers. Boys and their toys!

Tony on the hopper

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Heavy work on the reserve

Friday, October 9th 2009

Autumn is a good time for the heavier work that needs to be done on a nature reserve. Today was a good day for felling trees. Good dry weather and no wind. Sophie and I took down some Silver Birch which were shading out a small meadow behind the Scrapes. This little meadow was being totally overshadowed and now has been opened up. You can now see it from the scrapes and hopefully the more open aspect should mean a more diverse amount of flowers.

Raymond was here to help all day. He hand felled some smaller trees and helped to clear up all the brash.

Here you can see Sophie in the process of felling.

Sophie felling

Here is Marion 'logging up' after felling a birch.

Marion logging up

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Wensleydale Ladies’ Walking Group

Wednesday, October 7th 2009

The rain didn't put off the Wensleydale Ladies' Walking Group from visiting Foxglove today. Other visitors included our hardy volunteers who carried out more work on the heathland and the students from the Dales School who enjoyed a walk to the wetland hide.

Wensleydale Ladies' Walking Group

There were plenty of birds at the feeders including Bullfinches, Coal Tits and Chaffinches, and a Sparrowhawk made a brief appearance in the back garden too!

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Painting the lake hide

Tuesday, October 6th 2009

The lake hide received some TLC today. John can be seen here painting it.

John painting the lake hide

The sunny weather was ideal for this kind of job and John soon ran out of wood preservative!

The newly painted lake hide

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Foxglove’s Fungal Foray

Sunday, October 4th 2009

Today we had excepionally high winds here, but Foxglove's Fungal Foray went ahead as planned. Keith Thomas (seen here 4th. from left) led a group of intrepid fungus hunters through the woods. As well as Honey Fungus and Sulphur Tufts we found such tongue twisters as Daedaleopsis confragosa and Lacterius pubescens.

Foxglove's Fungal Foray

The recent dry weather meant that there weren't as many species as we hoped but we still had a list of around 22 species with more to be identified by Keith later.

Bracket fungi

This bracket fungi is on one of the trees along Risedale Beck. Unidentified as yet - but Keith will let us know.

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Clearing Gorse from the moor

Saturday, October 3rd 2009

The year 10 students from Askham Bryan hepled to clear Gorse from the moor today.

Askham Bryan students clearing Gorse from the moor

This will allow more grass to grow for the cattle. They worked really hard and cleared a whole area.

Askham Bryan students

This work is part of their diploma in Countryside and Environment.

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Hector in the sunshine

Friday, October 2nd 2009

Hector was enjoying the Autumn sunshine today. His horns may look large now but there are only three feet between the tips and apparently this distance may increase to around five feet as he continues to grow!

Hector in the sunshine

Although the cattle look fierce they are actually very docile and are much loved members of the Foxglove family - generally speaking!!

Many plants are in fruit now such as the Blackthorn, Rowan, Crab apple and of course Bramble. These are being enjoyed by the birds, visitors and wardens alike! Several flowers are still out too. These include Fleabane, Herb Robert, Ragged Robin and Sneezewort. The Honeysuckle is in flower for the second time along the discovery trail as you can see here.

Honeysuckle in flower

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