(21) Blog Posts Made in November 2012

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Tree Felling

Friday, November 30th 2012

An area of diseased and damaged sycamore at the top of the woodland was felled today, in preparation for the Winter Work Day this coming Saturday where we will be brashing and clearing these trees.

The trees here have been damaged by Grey Squirrels who chew through the bark in order to get the sweet sap.  This stunts growth and allows fungus and infection in.  Once cleared, the area will be replanted with a mix of native trees.

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Flower Walk

Thursday, November 29th 2012

In the bright early morning sun Elizabeth, Ann, Ruth and Sue set out on their monthly flower walk.  These walks aim to record all flowering plants in each habitat at Foxglove.  This can take all day during the warm summer months, but is considerably quicker during the winter!

While you might not expect wildflowers to be out at this time of year, ten species were found including Herb Robert, Nipplewort and Bush Vetch.

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Stone Walling

Wednesday, November 28th 2012

Over the past month a feature curved stone with cantilevered seating has been built outside the Field Centre to commemorate 20 years of Foxglove Covert.

The final coping stone was put in place just after lunch!  Dr. Whalley, from the local CPRE group who has funded this project, visited us to see the completed wall.

Members of the local Dry Stone Walling Association have driven the project, teaching new skills to several of the regular Foxglove volunteers, visiting school children, and people on work placements.

John celebrated finishing the wall (and tested its stability), in the traditional manner by walking all the way along the top.

Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this project, especially the members of the DSWA who have led the build and passed on new skills to all those helping out.  The wall looks fantastic and will surely be a very popular picnic spot on warm sunny days!

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News from Florence

Tuesday, November 27th 2012

Our Chairman Col. Guy Deacon and Fee completed the Florence Maraton in 4hrs 35 and 5hrs 30, raising over £10,000 for The Cure Parkinsons Trust.  Congratulations from everyone at Foxglove on this fantastic achievement.  If anyone would like to donate to this excellent cause please visit the Team Deacon Just Giving page.

Congratulations!

Heavy rain has once again been affecting the reserve; large puddles are forming on the waterlogged soils all around, and the Field Centre even sprung a leak!  Luckily roofing contractors arrived quickly and fixed the problem before it became too serious.

 

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Good Luck Team Deacon!

Friday, November 23rd 2012

The Chairman of Foxglove Covert LNR (pictured here on the left) will be taking part in the Florence Marathon this weekend. You can find out more and offer support by visiting the Team Deacon website.

Go for it Guy, we are all rooting for you!

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Thursday Makeover

Thursday, November 22nd 2012

In between the rain showers, the Field Centre has been getting a much needed makeover.

Painting the Field Centre

Tommy and John from Seddon have re-painted the outside of the building.

Seddon

Members from the Dry Stone Walling Association continued to build the wall in the front garden and the Thursday gang installed a boardwalk in the woodland that they have been building over recent weeks in the Carillion workshop. Here are some of the team members enjoying a break in the warmth of the Field Centre.

Thursday Breaktime

Captions on a postcard please!

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Christmas is Coming!

Wednesday, November 21st 2012

The festive season is just around the corner and there is plenty going on at Foxglove for anyone who would like to join in. Coming events include the December winter worky day, willow weaving, volunteer Christmas lunch, Foxglove Christmas party and a guided walk for Friends of Foxglove. Please get in touch if you would like to book onto any of these as places are limited. See the events section for more details. In the Field Centre there are several Christmas items now on sale from calendars and cards to jars of Foxglove honey and sweets. If you are stuck for a gift idea for someone who has everything why not adopt a bird box or bat box for them, a certificate makes an unusual present and can be posted out for you too! There is even reindeer food available in sachets! Here is Santa's little helper making up a bulk order of reindeer food for the man himself who has ordered 50 packets! Thanks to Sally and Richard for organising the cards and calendars and to Elizabeth and Ruth for making up Rudolph's mix and Christmas hampers.

Santa's little helper

Outside there is a huge amount of habitat work to be done this winter. Net ride maintenance began today with the pollarding of large willow trees and removal of Silver Birch along one of the main bird ringing net rides. With around 50 net rides in total, this work is like the Forth Road Bridge!

Net Ride Maintenance

Finally, raffle tickets are now on sale in the Field Centre for the luxury hampers. Tickets cost £1 each and the winner will be announced at the Christmas party on 19th December.

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Wet and Wild

Tuesday, November 20th 2012

Foxglove is always a hive of activity on a Tuesday with many volunteers lending a hand in all weathers. Some volunteers joined in with the construction of the CPRE funded dry stone wall today.

Walling in the rain

This has been a fantastic opportunity for Foxglove volunteers to learn new skills and we are grateful to the members of the Leyburn branch of the DSWA for sharing their expertise and knowledge.

Stonewalling

The feature is really taking shape now and looks very professional.

Wall

ln the centre is a stone with the letters CPRE carved in it.

CPRE

Meanwhile, in the Scrapes area, volunteers helped to improve this wetland habitat by removing invasive Gorse and Silver Birch.

The Mean Mean Gorse Machine!

Several large Silver Birch were felled with a bow saw!

TIMBER!

The world was put to rights back at the bonfire!

Twisted Fire Starters!

Students from the Dales School helped to drag brash to the fire.

Dales School

This was great fun and good exercise too.

Helping out

All in all, a huge amount of work has been achieved in miserable weather conditions too.Thank you everyone for your help and support on a soggy wet day!

Soggy Day

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Another Frost

Monday, November 19th 2012

In the sheltered areas of the reserve frost coated the Nettle leaves, highlighting their veins.

Frost coated Nettle leaves

Some of the grasses had rain drops along their length that had frozen and then become covered in frost.

Frost covered grass

The air was very still in the early morning.  There was a small amount of ice on the wetland ponds.  It is pleasing to see that all the work that was carried out on the bunds to stop the water flowing in the wrong direction has been successful, as there was plenty of water running into the centre of the reserve.

The wetland

Mist nets were up from early morning and over 190 birds were processed.  Several older birds were recorded, including a Blue Tit that was 7 years old, a Dunnock that was 4 years old and several Coal Tits that were 5 and 6 years old.  It was a Siskin day with well into double figures caught and ringed.

Many thanks to the team today for all their hard work and 'auf wiedersehen' to Lea who returns to Germany after helping the ringing team over the past few months. 

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A Walk In the Woods

Saturday, November 17th 2012

Brian and Elizabeth were rooting about in the woodland for treasures this afternoon.  The found several Kidney Spot Ladybirds (their favourite), harvestmen, Orange Ladybird, Spider Nests, Long Tailed Tits and several fungi.

Glistening Inkcap

This clump of Glistening Inkcaps was seen on an old log pile just off the path alongside Risedale Beck.  This is almost always found clustered on decayed deciduous wood.

Lemon Disco

This is an example of Lemon Disco, unmistakable for the small bright yellow discs spreading across the substrate.

The Kingfisher on the lake has been performing for the camera, with a happy crowd in the Field Centre being able to watch his antics on the screen.  He was seen fishing and enjoying his lunch on the perches put into the banks.

The Foxglove Christmas Dinner is on the 19th December, held at Wathgill.  There will be an excellent three course meal, followed by music, a quiz, and raffle.  All of this for £12! If you would like to come along please contact Sophie or Adam to book a place.

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Five Men on a Seat

Thursday, November 15th 2012

Members of the Leyburn branch of the DSWA (Dry Stone Walling Association) were hard at work once more to start the last phase of the CPRE funded project. The wall has been a great attraction over recent weeks as visitors, school pupils and volunteers have all enjoyed watching it grow from a pile of rubble to a beautiful feature.

Wall update

The curved wall has a built in seat which will provide adequate seating for an entire class of school children. Here is the team from this afternoon testing out the height of the seat. It is a bit too late in the day to move it up an inch now though! The remaining coping stones will be placed on the top next and the wall will be finished in the near future, watch this space!

Wall

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Moths, Beetles and Waxwing

Thursday, November 15th 2012

After a mild night several moths were waiting in the light trap as we arrived at Foxglove.  Five species in all were seen this morning, including The Sprawler, Mottled and Scarce Umber.

Scarce Umber

Scarce Umber, despite its name, is a resident and common species found most abundantly in the south of England though well distributed through the country to lowland Scotland.  The example seen here is a male; the female is flightless and dark brown, with obvious wing stumps usually with two dark bands on each.

Mottled Umber

Mottled Umber was also found and is recognisable by the inner and outer cross bands on the wing with a central dark spot.  The female of this species is flightless too, with minute wings barely visible to the naked eye.

The Sprawler

The Sprawler is unmistakable, with its stout furry thorax, streaky pattern and late flight period between October and December.

Dor Beetle

While clearing the moorland path Colin came across this Dor Beetle, the underside of which is a beautiful metallic green.  These beetles are found mainly on cow dung, where they dig shafts below to bury the dung for breeding.

Another notable sighting was Waxwing feeding on berries over the past couple of days.

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Helping the Heathland

Wednesday, November 14th 2012

Sixteen volunteers turned out this morning to help with habitat management on the heathland.  An area overgrown with Gorse and birch was cleared, allowing the heather to show through again.

A section of mature heather was also cut back with the brushcutter.  This will benefit the habitat found here by encouraging heather regeneration.

The dry stone wallers were also in again, as work continued outside the front of the Field Centre.

Pupils from The Dales School spent part of their visit learning about walling before helping to build a section.

 

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A Busy Day

Monday, November 12th 2012

In the early morning Sun the trees showed off their autumn colours.

Early morning sunshine on the trees

Through the Scrapes the shadows could be seen on the frost covered boardwalk.

Frost covered boardwalk through the Scrapes

The ringing room was busy throughout the day.  As the nets came down it was soon obvious that there were still many more birds to process.  Everyone worked methodically identifying, measuring and ringing the birds before taking the information to be added to the IPMR programme on the computer.

Thr ringing room

Over 240 birds were processed today, including Great Spotted Woodpecker, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Brambling and 11 Reed Bunting.  Ringing birds and computerising the data allows us to see at a glance how old each individual bird is; today a Marsh Tit was caught that was 8 years old (a real achievement for such a small bird), a Coal Tit was caught that was 6 years old, and a Long Tailed Tit weighing less than 8 grams, was 3 years old.

Once the last bird was released the tidying up was carried out.  We had that dangerous situation with 'Men at Work'.  Adam brushed the mud from the outside mat,

Adam brushing the outside mat

whilst Tony and Brian swept the ringing room. 

Tony an dbrian sweeping the ringing room

Thank you to everyone for all your help today.

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Autumn

Saturday, November 10th 2012

Autumn is the time when the trees delight us with their colours.  The Sycamore avenue is lined with leaves of orange, yellow and brown.

Leaves along the Sycamore avenue 

It is not the season we associate with insects.  However today, there were several to be seen, favouring the man-made structures.  A small brown fly, covered with hairs, was found inside a tree tube.  A spider was sheltering in another.  Along the rails of the boardwalk were small flies, a sawfly larva and this tiny shieldbug instar.

Shieldbug instar

 

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Richmond Coffee Morning

Friday, November 9th 2012

The final coffee morning of the year was held in Richmond Town Hall today.  Thirteen of our volunteers turned out to help run the event, with many more providing cakes to sell, bric-a-brac for the shop and prizes for the raffle and tombola.

Garth and Tony, along with Mike and Colin ran the kitchen making sure everyone enjoyed a hot cuppa.

Jean and John spent the morning running the tombola stall.

The morning was well attended, with around 80 people showing up.  The money raised has now been counted, with the total standing at over £250!

This represents a fantastic effort from all of those involved this morning.  Thank you, as always, for giving your time to help the reserve in so many ways.

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Moth Trapping

Thursday, November 8th 2012

The moth trap was set rather optimisitcally last night, in blustery cold conditions.  Not expecting much to have found its way into the trap, we were pleasantly surprised to find several November Moths, December Moths and Feathered Thorns, as well as about 15 caddis fly.

Feathered Thorn

The Feathered Thorn flies later in the year than other thorns.  It is unlike any other moth that flies this late in the year as it rests with its wings flat.

December Moth

The December Moth is unlikely to be confused with any other moth flying at the end of the year.  There is very little variation between individuals of this species, though the female tends to be larger than the male.

In other news the Christmas Cards and 2013 Calendars are now on sale in the Field Centre.

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Team Tuesday

Wednesday, November 7th 2012

Eighteen keen volunteers turned out this morning to lend a hand on the reserve.  The day's task was to continue with the area of willow coppice that was started on Saturday.

A large area was coppiced with some of the older willows being pollarded.  The Dry Stone Wallers were on site again working hard to complete the feature wall outside the centre.  The seats are now all set in place with only the top half of the wall left to build.

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November Work Day

Saturday, November 3rd 2012

Over 40 volunteers turned up this morning for the second of our Winter Work Days.  Three teams worked hard throughout the day on a variety of tasks, the first clearing along the beck below the weir.

Before

The aim of this task was to open up flyways along the watercourse, helping wildlife more easily move onto the lake.  This 'before' view is from the bridge before the day began.

The team worked hard during the morning clearing the larger trees growing along the beck side.

Volunteers were on hand to clear up the mess and got the bonfire going in no time!

View after

This 'after' picture was taken from the same place and the improvement is clear.

Weir Team

The group working below the weir put a fantastic amount of effort into cutting and dragging through this area; the benefits of their work are clear.

The second of the tasks was starting the willow coppice.  The reserve has a large area of willow carr running through the middle, split into 5 different areas.  These areas are managed on a ten year rotation, with a section needing to be coppiced every second year.

One of the volunteers gave a free demonstration of his courtship ritual.  You can see his wife looking on, clearly impressed!

After lunch the boys found a good use for all of the cut willow; building a den on the nearby meadow.

They were very pleased with the results and even wanted to stay the night!

The stone wallers were in again, continuing to work on the feature wall across from the Field Centre.  Here you can see the seats being levelled and set into the stonework.

The design is entirely curved, much harder to build than straight field walls.  The expertise from the wallers is benefiting several of the Foxglove Volunteers who have and will help in the construction.

Dr. Whalley from the local CPRE group, who has kindly funded the purchase of the stone, came to inspect the work and share lunch with all the volunteers.

Thank you to everyone involved today for giving up your time to help improve the reserve.

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Out of the Ground

Friday, November 2nd 2012

The Leyburn branch of the Dry Stone Walling Association arrived early this morning to begin the preparations for the construction of the stone wall and seats outside the Field Centre.

The first job of the morning was moving the large stump from the picnic area, so the pins and guides could be laid out.  By the afternoon the foundations were well out of the ground, ready for the team to work on Saturday.

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Flower Walk

Thursday, November 1st 2012

Every month during the year, volunteers with an interest in botany take a walk around the reserve recording every species of flower that is seen.  During the summer this can be a very long job with over 100 species recorded.  During the late autumn and winter this is a much quicker job, though there are still a surprising number of flowers about.

Self-heal

Today, 28 species were recorded including Self Heal and Heather.

These walks provide us with a fantastic record of what is to be found on the reserve, thank you to everyone who is involved during the year.

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