(17) Blog Posts Made in November 2009

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Heavy rain

Monday, November 30th 2009

The heavy rain has had its effects at Foxglove just as everywhere else. Here you can see the normal few inches depth of Risedale Beck has been turned into a torrent.

Risedale Beck

The water comes along so fast it can sweep large logs and stones along in its path.

The weir

The lake is also very high and the water is surging over the weir like a miniature High Force!

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Birds at the Eco-club

Sunday, November 29th 2009

The topic for todays eco-club was birds. After a slide show all about birds the youngsters listened to how and why birds are caught at Foxglove. Here you can see the children learning how the birds are caught for ringing. Toy birds were thrown into the mist net (this really confused Meg the dog)!

Eco-club

The children then watched some real birds being ringed, measured and weighed and helped by releasing some back into the trees.

Children releasing birds

A huge thank you to Elizabeth who prepared everything for todays session and to Tony for taking time out to demonstrate the bird ringing. Thanks too to Sue and Raymond for helping out.

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King Alfred’s Cakes

Friday, November 27th 2009

Today was the first 'hat and glove' day at Foxglove! Even Marion wore a coat and neckwarmer! The clean bird feeders are now all back out and re-filled for the benefit of our feathered friends.

King Alfred's Cakes

The wet weather is encouraging more fungi to send out their fruiting bodies. Pictured here are King Alfred's Cakes (Daldinia concentrica) from the Candle Snuff Family (Xylariaceae). The old fruitbodies are hard, black, light in weight and shiny, looking like burnt cakes. When cut open they reveal concentric light and dark zones, similar to charcoal.

They are found attached to the dead wood of broad-leaved trees (in this case Ash). In times gone by, this inedible fungus was believed to relieve night cramps and is sometimes referred to as 'cramp balls' for this reason.

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Early morning volunteers

Wednesday, November 25th 2009

Although it was raining first thing this morning we still had eight volunteers here today.

Volunteers

They performed the unenviable task of cleaning out all the bird feeders. This took much longer to do than we had anticipated - but everyone did a thorough job!

After lunch we all tidied up an area near the entrance to the reserve.

Jack saw a Sparrowhawk in the back garden of the Field Centre at lunchtime.

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Foggy day

Sunday, November 22nd 2009

What a difference to last week's picture of the blue skies and reflections in the lake! Today the fog hasn't lifted at all. You could hardly see the hide through the mist. The air was still and muffled and although it wasn't raining, you could hear the constant drip, drip of the water droplets from all the trees.

Mist over the lake

The fog didn't stop Emma coming in to volunteer. We carried on with the work from yesterday until it started to rain after lunch. Here she is with a smile on her face tending the (almost non-existent) bonfire.

Emma with the bonfire

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Oiling the benches

Saturday, November 21st 2009

The Askham Bryan students finished off the benches today ready for winter.

Askham Bryan students oiling the benches

They rubbed them with teak oil and took them back to their places on the woodland walk. They then carried on with habitat management in the shape of weeding the Silver Birch!

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Beautiful fungi

Friday, November 20th 2009

The wet weather has brought with it a new flush of beautiful fungi. This afternoon we spotted around two dozen different species on the woodland walk.

Fungi

These beauties were taken from a low perspective to show the tall conifers in the background.

Hazel in the plantation

This hazel was in a sheltered part of the plantation and still had all of its leaves. The pale yellowy-green was shining out in the low overcast light this afternoon.

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Jobs around the reserve

Wednesday, November 18th 2009

Lots of volunteers were here today doing a variety of jobs. In among all the different tasks no photos were taken, so unfortunately you have a pictureless blog!

Although there were showers the weather has been lovely. The blue sky and warm temperature making outdoor work no bother at all today.

Richard pressure-washed the benches from the woodland walk. They are drying off in the workshop prior to being re-oiled to protect them for the winter.

We did more work on the hay meadow in the scrapes. Young Silver Birch were weeded out from this area.

Opposite the Field Centre there were some young Scots Pine which were crowded in by large Willow. The pine have been re-located to the shelter belt where they will be much happier. This area also has more than its fair share of Silver Birch! They have been taken out as part of an ongoing task to open up glades around the reserve.

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Foxglove at Catterick Market

Monday, November 16th 2009

A big thank you to all of the volunteers who stood out in the cold today at Catterick Market in order to raise money for the reserve - and especially to Bev and Beryl (pictured) who were on the early shift.

Bev and Beryl at the Foxglove stall

Not only does this help to generate vital funds but it also increases awareness of Foxglove Covert and what it has to offer the local community. We really do appreciate this kind of help. The total collected was £405.92 which is better than last year (£325.32) and a significant sum in the current financial climate. This was a sterling effort from all those involved so many thanks to those who gave of their time - and the home team who kept the reserve open to visitors throughout the day.

The ringing day suffered slightly as a result of the market with ringers rattling buckets also; nevertheless 172 birds were processed at Foxglove including 15 new Lesser Redpoll, Goldcrest, Reed Bunting, Siskin, Long tails and other routine species.

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Autumn sunshine

Saturday, November 14th 2009

The Askham Bryan students were here today and worked on filling in potholes in the access road this morning. After lunch they finished off making a boardwalk in the scrapes.

Askham Bryan students

The beautiful autumn sunshine and the still air allowed us to capture these shots of the lake and tower hide.

The lake

The tower hide

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Stags Horn lichen

Thursday, November 12th 2009

It was a case of 'deja-vu' today as work continued weeding out the Silver Birch and Gorse along the access road. Although it seems that we are taking down a lot of trees at the moment, this is vital work to keep the reserve from becoming too heavily wooded. Many birds, insects and flowers all benefit from these open glades.

Stags Horn lichen

Although the trees are now bare there is plenty of colour everywhere. The damp weather suits lots of different plants and fungi. This Stags Horn lichen was found growing close to the 'vole' ponds on the discovery trail.

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Clearing scrub

Wednesday, November 11th 2009

We've had a busy day clearing scrub from the area opposite the Field Centre. The damp drizzle of the morning gave way to a warm, clear afternoon. You can see Fiona, Andrew and Archie (the dog) really enjoying themselves!

Volunteers clearing scrub

The volunteers have made a huge difference today and trees which were previously hidden have now got room to grow.

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Evidence of summer and autumn

Tuesday, November 10th 2009

It's been a quiet day here. Although the sun has been shining there is a definite nip in the air and there has been frost all day in an area along the beck which does not see the sun.

Whilst walking along the beck I came across evidence of summer and autumn within a few yards of each other. Firstly the rich golds and browns of the bracket fungus on the dead tree at the bridge over the beck.

Bracket fungus

A few yards further on these Red Campion flowers were hanging on as a reminder of summer.

Red Campion

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Bird ringing numbers

Monday, November 9th 2009

It has been a damp day at Foxglove. There were 11 bird ringers here who processed exactly 300 birds during the day - a impressive total! There were all the usual suspects, including Robin, migrating Blackbirds, Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest and Lesser Redpoll. Redwing and Goldfinch were also caught. Today's catch brings the total of Chaffinches ringed on the site to precisely 6000 (our highest figure for a single species)and the total number of new birds to 200 short of 40,000. That is a serious amount of data and information!

Apricot larch needles on the floor of the plantation

Although the colours of summer have now passed, the subtle colours of autumn are just as beautiful. This shot of the apricot larch needles on the floor of the plantation is enhanced by the slanting rays of sunshine coming through the trees.

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Autumn leaves

Sunday, November 8th 2009

With the recent wind and rain most of the leaves have now fallen from the trees creating a beautiful carpet on the floor (this photo was taken by Elizabeth).

Autumn leaves

The last few days have been so busy that the blog has been neglected! Askham Bryan students worked hard on Friday to clear more Gorse from the moor and carried out other essential jobs such as feeding hay to the cattle.

The new Christmas cards and the Foxglove 2010 calendars are now available to buy from the Field Centre (limited stock) and bookings are being taken for the Christmas party. Please book (and pay) soon if you would like to join us. See events for details.

We will be fundraising at Catterick Market on Sunday 15th November and need some more volunteers to help promote Foxglove Covert on the gates between 8am and 4pm. Please get in touch if you could give a couple of hours of your time, it will be much appreciated! It is good fun and the market will be a special 'Christingle' one.

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Volunteers haymaking

Wednesday, November 4th 2009

Even though it's a bit late for haymaking, we had one of our meadows cut yesterday.

Cutting the meadows

Today our volunteers spent the best part of the day raking off the cut grass into a big haystack and weeding the tree tubes which were there.

The Dales School pupils

The Dales School were here and pulled birch and gorse on the heathland.

Around 10 Fieldfare were seen feeding at the stone pile at lunchtime.

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Bracket fungi

Sunday, November 1st 2009

A glorious day here today. The forecast bad weather didn't arrive and the air was warm and still.

Elizabeth ran this month's Eco-club on the theme of bats. After a short presentation the children went for a walk to discover where bats would roost. They took a bat detector with them and also had a look at the bat boxes on the beck.

There is a huge amount of fungi out at the moment. The pictures here today are of the ones on the beck which looked like beach pebbles a few weeks ago. (Have a look on the post for October 3rd).

Bracket fungi

Bracket fungi

They have opened up into proper bracket fungi and you can see the spore holes on the underneath. We are still awaiting an identification from Keith as to the name of these very interesting species.

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