(17) Blog Posts Made in June 2010

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Thanks to our Volunteers

Tuesday, June 29th 2010

There were 10 volunteers here today and they completed a variety of tasks in the brilliant sunshine. A huge amount of timber from the old boardwalk was taken to our store and de-nailed for us to re-use during the winter to make more boardwalks! As well as this some dead trees were taken out and some pruning along overgrown paths was done.

Steps to the Woodland Walk

Colin worked on these steps that go up to the woodland walk. They were all overgrown. Now they have been cleared and topped with stone and gravel from the beck. A huge improvement!

Ann re-damming part of the beck

Next we worked on re-damming part of the beck which had been slightly washed out. Ann is seen here plodging about in the water. What better way to spend a Tuesday afternoon helping at Foxglove! Many thanks to everyone who comes and gives their time for us. It is much appreciated.

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Foxglove at Cape Wrath

Monday, June 28th 2010

The Foxglove team at Cape Wrath caught and ringed these two Red-throated Diver chicks today.

Red-throated Diver chicks

The fluffy chicks below were also ringed, they are Arctic Skua.

Arctic Skua chicks

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Boardwalk and Bird Quiz

Monday, June 28th 2010

Steve's team were busy over the weekend and started to lay the boards onto the frames of the new boardwalk. As you can see it is a transformation. The new boardwalk is wider, is anti-slip and looks beautiful going through the scrapes. They should be finished by Friday this week, so you don't have long to wait before you can try it out!

Boardwalk

Up on the wetland the still sky was reflecting in the long ponds in front of the hide. Damselflies are everywhere, as are numerous tadpoles and water beetles.

Ponds in front of the hide

Up on the woodland walk there are hundreds of Foxgloves in flower. These stately beauties have colonised an area to the left of the top of the steps.

Foxgloves in flower

Now for news about the Bird Quiz that we have been running. 118 people took a quiz to try their hand at completing. This means that Foxglove benefitted by £118 as the prize money was sponsored by Raye, who organised the whole thing. In the end we only had 31 returned answer sheets! Of these there were only 2 which were correct. Rather than separate the winners Raye kindly decided to give both winners a first prize of £20. The joint winners are G & F Wilkinson and R Wyatt. There were five sheets with only one answer wrong. We had a draw from amongst these for the third prize of £5. The recipient here is N. M. Wilkinson.

Thank you to all who entered. We hope you had a good time figuring out the answers. The correct answers and a list of the winners is available to see in the foyer of the field centre.

Many thanks to Raye for organising this quiz and for sponsoring the prize money. It is much appreciated by everyone!

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Eco club quadrats

Sunday, June 27th 2010

The theme for this week's Eco Club was that of a "Plantlife" walk. Armed with their quadrat frames our young explorers performed a close examination of the floral and insect contents within. A vast array of flowers was seen including Tormentil, Clover, Daisy, Buttercup, Self-heal, Herb Robert and Black Medic.

Eco Club Plantlife walk

Some of the insects found were Frog Hoppers, a Leaf Hopper, and an ant which was struggling to carry a dead fly. This caught everyone's attention as it was going around in circles!

Wasp beetle

Although not strictly in the quadrat, this Wasp Beetle was on the arm of one of the young children taking part. Even though it looks like a wasp its' wings form the outer carapace like that of the Ladybird.

Bumble bee

On our way back along the woodland trails we were pleased to see several Bumble-bees feasting quite happily amongst the Raspberry canes.

A young Smooth Newt was later found outside the Visitor Centre.

As the hot, sunny weather continues, the Butterflies, Damselflies, and Bees are extremely active, not like the cattle who have happily sat under the same tree all day. This Poppy was glady making the most of its suntrap right in the middle of the path.

Poppy

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Black Bryony

Friday, June 25th 2010

The warm weather continues although it was overcast today. The butterflies didn't seem to mind and Speckled Wood were seen everywhere. Also our bees have been very active today with lots of pollen being brought into the hive.

Scrapes refurbishment

The scrapes refurbishment continues apace. This view was taken during the afternoon when one of the dipping platforms had been removed. The new posts have been installed ready to take the new platform next week. The frames for the boardwalk are almost complete and there will be men on site over the weekend turning them back into a walkway. Everything is on schedule for completion next Friday!

Crop of sloes

Whilst looking through the hedgerows it's nice to see there are already a crop of sloes, still green, but with the promise of autumn ripeness.

Black Bryony leaf

Here's another plant which is not usually noticed until the autumn. This is the beautifully heart-shaped leaf of Black Bryony.

Its little greenish flowers are usually not noticed in amongst the other hedgerow herbs, but in the autumn they will have turned into scarlet berries. It is Britain's only native member of the Yam family.

Honeysuckle

There are many more things in flower. The Honeysuckle is just coming out as is Hedge Woundwort.

Hedge Woundwort

The grasses are beginning to lengthen and in some areas the stalks are covered in cuckoo spit. There are plenty of insects about and hopefully the nesting birds will be finding plenty to eat.

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Welcome shelter complete

Thursday, June 24th 2010

he warmer weather, especially in the evenings, has meant that the moth trapping yesterday was very successful. We had 41 species in the trap, of which this White Ermine was just one. He looks like he's wearing a fur cloak! Other notable species were Green Carpet, Clouded-bordered Brindle, Buff Tip and Blood Vein.

White Ermine

There are two sets of contractors on site at the moment. Trevor and his team have finished the new Welcome/Information shelter near to the entrance to the reserve. It is now awaiting some information! Later this summer it will be getting a site map and some information telling you about the reserve.

Welcome shelter

They have moved on to start the footings for the new disabled access hide. The wooden bases to hold the concrete were made on site yesterday and have been placed and filled with concrete today. They will now have to dry out for a week before any more work can continue.

Footings for the hide

Meanwhile, in the scrapes, Steve's team continued to install the frames for the new boardwalk. Here they are on the middle section between the two dipping platforms. As you can see the path through the scrapes continues to be out of action for the moment.

Frames for the boardwalk

The reserve is looking extremely colourful at the moment and this is the peak time for anyone who wants to see the abundance of flowers. The Northern Marsh Orchids are still in flower and are being joined by Common Spotted Orchid as well. There are too many to list here, but include Greater Spearwort, Marsh Cinquefoil, Clovers (red, white and zig-zag!), Wild Rose, Self-heal, Forget-Me-Not and, of course, Foxglove!

As noted last week we had a successful coffee morning at Richmond Town Hall. We are having another one, for the first time, at Bedale Car Boot Sale. This will be held on Saturday 10th July. So, once again, the call is out for any donations for the Tombola and baked goods to sell. Any offers of help on the day would also be truly and gratefully accepted. Thank you.

Last, but not at all least, we have a welcome return for the Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly. This was new to the reserve on the wetland last year and has been seen exactly one year later to the day! He is a spectacular pale blue and yellow. No photo as yet but we'll try our best to get one. Keep watching.

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Chickweed scones!

Tuesday, June 22nd 2010

Contractors were hard at work today. Trevor's team continued to build the new information shelter as you can see here. Playscheme staff carried on with the boardwalk replacement in the scrapes. Meanwhile the Foxglove volunteers helped out by pruning, strimming and mowing along our network of paths and net rides.

Building the welcome shelter

Pupils from the Dales school enjoyed a walk in the sheltered woodland walk and the volunteers enjoyed a well earned picnic on the moor. Marion's homemade Chickweed scones were absolutely delicious!

Picnic on the moor
 

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Tawny Owl and Buzzards

Sunday, June 20th 2010

When the sun made its re-appearance this morning along with it came this delicate Ragged-Robin. Although it is very close to the walkway it can easily be missed! Brooklime can also be seen blooming in large clusters on the grassland area of the moorland trail.

Brooklime flowers

Yesterday a Buzzard nest was discovered nearby. Our team of ringers recorded the details of these slightly dishevelled - looking chicks and so far have ringed 22 in all.

Buzzard chicks

The ringers were also pleased to discover an adult female Tawny Owl early this morning. She was mist netted along with over a hundred juveniles of more than 20 species all recently fledged on the reserve. Among them was a Goldcrest (weighing in at 5.1 grams), Treecreepers and several Nuthatches - over two hundred birds in all. Two pairs of Tufted Ducks have ducklings!

female Tawny Owl

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Age Concern, Darlington

Saturday, June 19th 2010

Today we had another visit by the Age Concern group from Darlington. Fifteen people came to have a guided walk around the reserve and then do some willow weaving with Kate from Plantlife. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves and said that they will be coming back to show their families around.

Visit from Age Concern, Darlington

As the following pictures show, work has started on replacing the boardwalk through the scrapes area. Steve from Playscheme arrived this morning with his team and started to pull up the old boardwalk, which came up with much cracking of timbers!

Work on the boardwalk

New boardwalk frames

Here you can see the new frames which have been installed so far. As well as being wider, the new boardwalk will not need to have wire on the surface as it is being made with modern grip decking. We will keep you up to date on the progress as it happens. This does mean, however, that the main path through the scrapes is out of action for the moment, but only so we can make our reserve better and more accessible for you.

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Richmond Coffee Morning

Friday, June 18th 2010

This beautiful Buff Tip moth was found at the front of the field centre yesterday. As you can see it looks just like a piece of broken twig as a deterrent to predators.

Buff Tip moth

Foxglove's annual coffee morning was held at Richmond Town Hall this morning. We had plenty of volunteer help to enable us to run it. Tony and Pat held sway in the kitchen whilst John and Jean ran the tombola. Frank and Veronica dealt with admissions and raffle whilst Mike sold the cakes, (all home-made and donated of course!) and Ray sold seed and cards. Beryl served lots of milky coffees and teas. A grand total of just over £200 was made by lunchtime. Thank you to everyone who donated goods or baked cakes and to everyone who helped on the day. We couldn't have done it without you! Thanks everyone. See you all at Bedale next month!

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Bee-keeping weekend

Tuesday, June 15th 2010

An update on the weekend activities first. The moth trapping total was a grand 85 species. There were seven new species to add to our lists. There were three macro-moths -Ruby Tiger, Green Silver-lines and White-pinion Spotted, and they were joined by four micro-moths as well.

Whilst the moth-ers and the flower walkers were out on site the Field Centre was equally busy. Richmond Beekeepers ran a Beginners' Beekeeping Weekend, which was well attended, and David and Sandra came to do some management on our internal hive. After coming through the winter with reduced numbers our Queen Bee has been very busy laying eggs which have been hatching well. The end result was that our hive was very packed with new bees. David and Sandra opened the hive outside and took half of them away to leave room for the rest to live in. They have got a couple of new wax plates which are already being 'pulled out' by the bees. The queen has been re-marked with white and is easy to spot. They have been very busy in and out today in the sunny weather.

The bird ringers had a good day on Sunday as well. The eleven year old Garden Warbler, which was caught last week and made all the newspapers, was back again!

After the busy weekend it's been a quieter day today. A couple of very heavy showers have been interspersed with beautiful sunshine.

Marsh Cinquefoil

Marsh Cinquefoil

These photos are of the Marsh Cinquefoil which is coming into flower on the wetland. This beauty is a member of the rose family and grows in damp, swampy areas primarily in the north of England and Ireland.

Jacob Sheep

Lastly a photo of the Jacob Sheep next to the wetland hide. They are doing well on the wetland and finding plenty to eat!

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Moth morning and the flower walk

Monday, June 14th 2010

It has been a very busy day here today. Charlie and the moth trappers were here at 7.30am to see what delights awaited in the traps.

Elephant Hawk Moth

There were eight traps which had been set in different habitats and you can see above the spectacular Elephant Hawk Moth which was found on the heathland.

The most notable species were Peach Blossom, Poplar Hawk Moth (which you can see Sandra holding), Green Silver-Lines and Green Arches. There were over seventy species altogether.

Sandra holding the hawk moth

Twelve people came to take part in a Wild Flower walk with Marion. They walked around the whole site and identified 88 plants in flower. As well as Northern Marsh Orchid, Butterwort and Ladies Smock there was Fairy Flax, Quaking Grass and King Cups amongst the many others.

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Volunteer day picnic

Wednesday, June 9th 2010

Foxglove volunteers enjoyed a picnic today to celebrate National Volunteer Week. Last year it was sunny and people sat out on picnic blankets, this year however, it was undercover! Tasks today included re-organising the workshop and cabins and putting up several House Martin nests on the wetland hide.

Volunteer picnic

Meanwhile, Dales School students enjoyed some bird watching from the tower hide.

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Common Butterwort

Tuesday, June 8th 2010

Although the weather has been damp today there has been plenty to see around the reserve.

On the wetland the fluffy black Moorhen chicks were swimming about among the reeds. The Adder's Tongue Fern is just showing through. This is an annual fern and although it is later than last year it is good to know it has come back.

Butterwort

On the raised fen the Butterwort, shown here, is in flower. There are plenty examples of this beautiful little flower and they were sparkling in the fine rain. The Northern Marsh Orchids are also starting to come into flower up there.

At the weekend the bird-ringing took place on Saturday. The Ringing Group set a national record with the re-trap of a Garden Warbler, which was originally ringed at Foxglove as an adult male in May 2000. This little bird, weighing less than 15g has migrated to and from Africa each year and is once again breeding on the reserve. It is at least eleven years old and in the time since its original ringing it has clocked up a minimum of 120,000 miles! The previous oldest known Garden Warbler in the UK was eight years old.

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Risedale Beck

Saturday, June 5th 2010

The hot weather today made a walk along Risedale beck a delight. The dappled sun and shadows brought warmth, then coolness.

Risedale beck

The Bluebells are still in full flower and the Wild Garlic is covering the banks with white. The sound of the water was a counterpoint to the birdsong through the trees.

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Hector and McDuff

Friday, June 4th 2010

Fraser and McGregor (pictured here) have now moved on to pastures new as the job they came to do (grazing the moorland) has been done so well that they are no longer required.

Fraser and McGregor

Hector and McDuff remain on the moorland and seem to be quite content and without Rob Roy (McGregor) to lead them astray they are behaving like gentlemen!

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Swallow on the wetland

Thursday, June 3rd 2010

This Swallow was hard at work again today building a nest on the wetland hide! Elizabeth took this picture from inside the hide through the glass. The nest is about half way to completion.

Swallow

Other construction work took place today inside the new workshop. Marion and Tony were busy making a tidy place to store the Foxglove tools.

Marion in the new workshop

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