Saturday, October 23rd 2021
Looking for somewhere to go with the family at half term, why not explore and discover at Foxglove and take part in the Pumpkin Trail?
From now until the 31st October come along and enjoy the autumn colours on the red route (Easy Access Trail) and search for the pumpkin clues along the way. Test your knowledge of the creatures associated with Halloween by answering the fun quiz which is available from the visitor centre for only 50p.
No need to book, come and enjoy some fresh air with your family bubble. Don't forget your wellies and a pencil! Check your answers at the Field Centre and claim a small prize!
Thank you to the Community Champion at Tescos of Catterick Garrison for donating the pumpkins and to the Member Pioneer at the Co-op in Leyburn for giving sweets for prizes.
Check out the events page to find out what else is on over half term. Wednesday 27th October is Wildlife Activity Day; there will be lots of hands - on craft activities for all ages. Make bird feeders, mini bug hotels, seed bombs. Craft a hedgehog or spider or bee from different materials to take away too. This is a drop in session so booking is not required. Donations towards costs of materials would be appreciated on the day.
There ares till places available on the pumpkin carving sessions too - booking is essential for these!
Did you know that there are lots of local homemade gifts available to buy in the Field centre? We currently stock 3 types of local honey, many beeswax products, embroidered stockings, homemade jewellery as well as Natural History books and guides. Beat the crowds and do some Christmas shopping at the reserve!
Bakewells, Banana Cake and Brushcutting!
Thursday, October 21st 2021
A coffee morning was held this morning in Richmond Town Hall to raise vital funds for the reserve. 10 volunteers helped out on the day with serving refreshments, running a raffle and tombola, washing up and selling shop items.
A lot of work went into the event such as preparing the tombola, raffle and baking the cakes. In true Bake-off style 'Star Baker' was awarded to Richard who made several cakes including a Malaysian banana cake (using Malaysian flour)! His fruit cake served in the traditional Yorkshire way (with Wensleydale cheese) was also a big hit!
A Foxglove 'handshake' went to Charlie for his delicious Bakewell Tart!
Back at the reserve staff and volunteers made the most of the sunny weather; one of the first jobs was to move the stack of timber away from the carpark to a safe storage place. This will make the carpark available to visitors next week during half term and keep the wood dry too.
The work at the wetland hide was completed and more meadow management began. With 100 acres of mixed habitats to manage there is always something to do!
Our sincere thanks to all who have supported the reserve this week from baking cakes to strimming meadows and buying a raffle ticket, it really does make a difference!
A Busy ‘Typical’ Day?
Wednesday, October 20th 2021
People often ask what a typical day at Foxglove is like. The answer to that question is that there is never a typical day. Each season has its own rhythm and autumn is no exception. Trees are shedding their leaves and changing colour.
Identification of moths took place first thing this morning and the Sprawler was the first of its species to be caught at this time of year. It is on the wing from now until December.
As the weather was forecast calm and no rain until lunch time the nets were out to catch Redwings. Another successful morning with 17 being caught. Whilst you are out walking around keep glancing at the sky as these birds will flock across the reserve as they search for berries.
During the morning the volunteers began the preparations for the Coffee Morning at Richmond Town Hall tomorrow. Pop in for a cup of tea or coffee if you are in Richmond. You will be most welcome.
Another volunteer was checking the resources for Owl Pellet Discovery and the Pumpkin trail. More information about these events can be found on the Events page.
Yet another volunteer who is leading the fungi walk on Friday was checking to see not only what fungi was on show but where they were. Shaggy Ink Caps are a delight when fresh, but do not look so lovely as they go over and drip with a black liquid. (Once used as ink by monks.)
Grey Knight lives up to its name, at least at Foxglove, as it likes to grow amongst the grey stones of the path.
The day was rounded off sorting and cleaning the cloakroom, entering the bird ringing data, and packing cars ready for tomorrow.
A huge thank you to everyone who helped. Foxglove volunteers have such a varied range of skills to cover a multitude of tasks. Tomorrow it will be coffee morning in Richmond and habitat management back at Foxglove, unless something else crops up!
Wet and Wild!
Tuesday, October 19th 2021
Since the wetland hide was built, the vegetation around it has been growing unchecked. It had become so overgrown that the view of the wetland habitat from the viewing platform on the boardwalk that leads to the tower hide had been lost completely! The mid-week conservation volunteers have been hard at work to cut back the scrub to open up the vista once again.
Cutting back some of the brambles, gorse and willow on uneven ground was a challenge in the 'dreich' conditions.
Brushcutters and chainsaws were required for some of the dense bracken, gorse and willow. The willows were coppiced or pollarded and will grow back quickly by next summer.
Looking back from the hide towards the boardwalk was a bit like a jungle and as the area was cleared beautiful ferns and ponds were revealed.
By the end of today, the area was transformed and although the work is ongoing it has already made a good difference with the bird feeders clear to see.
Thank you to everyone who has helped with this 'larger than expected' task!
Work has also been carried out on the other side of the walkway. Beforehand, a wall of gorse was all to see through the viewing slots in the screen. Now, visitors can once again enjoy watching the wildlife on the wetland.
Peering through the fence this afternoon, Bob was spotted repairing the stand for the solar panels that power the remote camera.
Later on, he was delighted when a delivery of timber was received in preparation for boardwalk repairs on the red route! This big project will begin after half term and the work will be done in small sections in order to minimise disruption to the easy access trail.
Autumn Bird Ringing
Monday, October 18th 2021
The still and misty weather conditions this morning created the perfect opportunity to ring more Redwings as their large flocks passed through the reserve.
Other species ringed included Chiffchaff (which can still be heard singing around the Field Centre), Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Robin, Bullfinches and Reed Bunting. The one shown here is a male.
Small flocks of Long-tailed tits can be heard flitting around the tree tops and several were ringed today.
A juvenile Sparrowhawk gave everyone a surprise when it landed in a net close to a Redwing.
It was a real privilege to see this stunning bird so closely!