Blog Archive (24) Posts Made in July 2009
Purple Bar moth
Friday, July 31st 2009
This Purple Bar moth was trapped on Tuesday night.
Roy Crossley, our friendly dipterist was in today and left with a fine collection of flies, daddy-long-legs and other bugs which he can impale, behead and dissect in his own time. He departed a happy man with his pooter full - and confirmed that he had found several species new to the reserve while sweep netting on the new wetland.
Wednesday, July 29th 2009
Here you can see how far the workshop has come on. Harry is now working from a scaffold as he boards around the windows and doors. With any luck the windows will be in by the end of the week!
On volunteer day today 9 volunteers turned up to do lots of bracken management and mowing and strimming of paths and net rides. In this type of damp weather everything grows so quickly.
The discovery trail posts also got a welcome lick. of paint.
We also repaired the path on the middle of the moor; the cattle had got it into a totally muddy mess. You can see Colin, Tony, John and Chris putting logs into the mud to make a firm surface before topping them with bark chippings left over from the winter. Willow was determined to be involved too!
Great Willowherb is in flower in the scrapes and Red Bartsia has made a large patch near the lake hide. This plant is a semi-parasitic annual.
Tuesday, July 28th 2009
It has been mixed weather today.
Harry is back again working on the cladding of the new workshop. Hurrah!
Through the scrapes the Hemp Agrimony or Eupatorium (pictured here) is coming into full flower and looks absolutely beautiful. The little meadow behind the Sand Martins is also looking good with the Pepper Saxifrage fully out. On the moorland Harebells are showing their nodding heads. Everywhere the grasses are tall and in full flower. Their shades of brown, fawn, gold and cream are a delight to behold. They were swaying in the slight breeze today and the rain was light enough that the drops were sparkling on the flower heads.
There are signs of Water Voles at the dipping platforms. The reeds show the unmistakeable evidence of having been eaten by our voley friends. They might not have been seen so much this summer - but they are most certainly still here!
Moth identification at Eco-club
Sunday, July 26th 2009
Foxglove Covert Eco-Club had its third meeting today, the topic was moths. After identifying the moths caught overnight the young naturalists went on a walk to discover more about insects on the reserve.
They used sweep nets, pooters and magnifying glasses and shook the insects from the willow branches onto a white sheet.
Among the species identified were Soldier Beetles, Froghoppers, micro moths and many other interesting bugs!
Up on the wetland area there were different kinds of butterfly, moths and even a tiny frog.
Thank you to Elizabeth for all the time and effort spent preparing for today's event.
The ringers were in for CES day 9 and caught 277 birds including Kingfisher, Whitethroat, Goldcrest and Blackcap. They also caught 50 new Chaffinches and 30 new Willow Warblers; 23 different species in all.
Several Crossbills were seen on the reserve high in the conifers.
Saturday, July 25th 2009
Today Andrew has his first strimming session. He enjoyed cutting back the long grass on the path behind the lake hide. Andrew will be here for 3 days a week for the next year or so as part of his course.
This Brown China-mark moth was seen laying eggs at the pond-dipping platform in the scrapes. It has a caterpillar which is aquatic.
Messing about in the river!
Thursday, July 23rd 2009
There were 94 moths in the trap this morning of 32 different species. The one we had most of was the Large Yellow Underwing. The moth pictured is a Burnished Brass. It is unmistakeable with its brassy yellowish-green patches. It is a common moth at this time of year.
Elizabeth, Andrew and Bethany helped to identify all the moths.
Naomi, Owen and Bethany re-built the washed-out dams on Risedale Beck. They enjoyed messing about in the river!
Andrew, who is here as part of an NVQ course, mowed the front and back lawns this afternoon.
Repairing the ditch
Wednesday, July 22nd 2009
After a very wet Friday one of our paths had been washed out. The little ditch had overflowed right over the top of the bridge and it needed repairing. Here you can see Colin, Jack, John and John in mid repair! The stone had to be brought quite a way from the stone pile to replace the topping that had been washed away.
Other volunteers filled the bird hoppers, slashed bracken on the wet meadows and did some strimming in the rain!
Update on Sunday's sightings - 4 Crossbills were seen in the plantation adjacent to post 9 on the discovery trail.
Sunday, July 19th 2009
What a contrast to yesterday! The rain seems to have dried out already and the reserve is alive with butterflies. Species spotted today include Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Small Skipper (pictured here), Painted Lady, Ringlet and Small Heath.
Team building walk
Saturday, July 18th 2009
On one of the wettest days of the year so far we went for a team building walk with personnel from Wathgill and Warcop! We had all been looking forward to it -an eight mile hike from Cow Green reservoir to Dufton via High Cup Nick, it was going to be beautiful. As you can see from our photographs it wasn't quite what we expected!
Tony, Sophie and I were just about blown away whilst posing for this picture.
Ah well! We looked forward to our lunch at Dufton and enjoyed ourselves anyway. The rain never stopped at all, even though Sophie tried to persuade us to do tai chi to lift the rain. The lunch came in man-sized portions and was just what we needed as we divested ourselves of our wet clothes and tried to dry off.
The views, what we had of them, were spectacular, and I'd definately recommend a walk over this part of the Pennine Way.
The organisation of the walk had been done to perfection and although some people had to turn back due to the adverse weather everybody seemed to have enjoyed their day.
Meanwhile back at Foxglove Elizabeth kindly covered at the Field Centre but unsurprisingly had no visitors and nearly didn't get home due to the flooded roads.
Thanks to everyone who organised this and to Elizabeth for staying at Foxglove.
Same time next year? But order some better weather please!
Mating Dark Green Fritillary
Friday, July 17th 2009
This Dark Green Fritillary was seen mating during a training day walk at Warcop.
Although the weather was mixed and the rain kept coming down, the walk with Yoredale Natural History group went well. We spotted Hoary Whitlow-Grass and Creeping Yellow Sorrel as well as Maidenhair Spleenwort in the deep cracks in the limestone pavement.
Ringing Sand Martins
Friday, July 17th 2009
A group of bird ringers from Foxglove ringed Sand Martins at a local quarry last night. Here you can see Tony and Chris checking one of the mist nets.
The Sand Martin burrows are at the top of the bank behind the net.
The number of birds recorded was significantly lower than last year but this was due to the breezy conditions at the start of the evening which is not conducive to mist netting.
This was the first Sand Martin that Sophie had ringed and doesn't she look well with her new bag hook!
Happy faces all around!
Busy day on the reserve
Wednesday, July 15th 2009
It has been a busy day on the reserve. Firstly we have taken down an old bird hide which was in the scrapes and no longer fit for purpose. You can see John, Colin and Val in the midst of the demolition.
We burned off the rotten wood and also the Crassula helmsii at the stone pile.
At the lake John and Ann cut out a new net ride behind the feeders on the right of the hide. You can see them here cutting a swathe through the long grasses and brambles.
5 spot Burnet moths were seen alongside the heathland feeding on the birdsfoot trefoil.
Lots of Barn Swallows were swooping across the heath throughout the day feeding on the numerous insects.
CES ringing day
Monday, July 13th 2009
We have had mixed weather this weekend at Foxglove. Yesterday it was glorious and the bird ringers were here doing a CES ringing day. Over 20 different species were caught but in the baking weather there was less activity than usual with numbers roughly two thirds of last weekend.
Also a large branch had come down from a mature ash tree on the woodland walk. The branches needed to be chainsawed up and moved from the path. Elizabeth helped clear up the mess.
The sunshine meant that the whole reserve was covered in butterflies and moths. Common Blue, Large and Small Skipper, Painted Lady, Ringlet, Small Heath, Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood were all on the wing enthralling our visitors. It was the largest number of butterflies seen on the reserve for some time.
Today it has been overcast with a couple of showers. This didn't stop everyone enjoying our pond-dipping session this afternoon. It was lovely to see adults turning up and as you can see they really got stuck in and we had the best pond-dipping catch for a while.
Amongst the creatures we identified were tadpoles, Diving Beetle larvae, bi-valve molluscs, Backswimmers, Water Boatmen, Pond Skaters, pond snails, Caddis Fly and Damselfly larvae.
Hemp Agrimony is now in flower throughout the scrapes and is a magnet for the butterflies.
Habitat walk with Mowbray School
Saturday, July 11th 2009
Class 3P from Mowbray School came to do a habitat walk today. Whilst out walking they discovered a new moth species to the reserve. The White Plume (Pterophorous pentadactyla)moth was spotted close to the head of the lake.
Pond dipping with Richmond Beaver Scouts
Friday, July 10th 2009
Richmond Beaver Scouts did some pond-dipping in the scrapes at Foxglove yesterday evening.
Amongst the catch was a Water Scorpion nymph (Nepa cinera). These water bugs are around 20mm long and mainly crawl around on the banks of ponds or sit near the surface on plants with the tip of its breathing tube in the air. The forelegs are powerful grasping legs that close about its prey. Water boatmen, damselfly larvae, sticklebacks and pond snails were also found.
Otter and Mink
Thursday, July 9th 2009
There is a new addition to the classroom at Foxglove. The Mink (on the right) has been prepared by local taxidermist Brian Lancaster.
You can see that the Otter (on the left) is much larger and has blunter features and webbed feet. We hope that this will make it easier for visitors to differentiate between the two species. (Photo by Elizabeth).
48 different species of moth were trapped last night. These included Small Rivulet, Brimstone, Double Square Spot and Bright Line Brown Eye.
Three pupils from Colburn School tried out Elizabeth's new Alphabet walk. This is available from the Field Centre (free of charge).
The new workshop
Wednesday, July 8th 2009
Work is continuing on the new workshop. Here you can see Harry, the carpenter, installing the cladding to the outside of the building. He will be here most of the week but hopes to be finished by Friday. All we need now are the doors and windows!!
As well as Harry we have had our volunteers here today. Work done on the reserve included strimming of footpaths, bracken management, mowing net rides and replacing one of the broken posts on the front lawns. All this and making new picnic tables too.
The moth trap was set last thing. The warm, damp weather should be perfect for a good catch. Watch this space tomorrow for details.
Wildlife Crime Officer
Wednesday, July 8th 2009
Phil Hall, the new WCO (Wildlife Crime Officer) came to visit Foxglove today. He is pictured here on the left. He is based at Leyburn Police Station and working within the Richmondshire area. If anyone would like to report a wildlife crime or concern, Phil's contact number is: 0845 60 60 247.
On the right is Mark Rasbeary, Wildlife and Environmental Crime Co ordinator for the Richmondshire, Craven and Harrogate Districts. Mark's contact number is: 07794 310024.
Young farmers from Hawes
Wednesday, July 8th 2009
A group of budding young farmers from Hawes visited Foxglove Covert last night.
They just missed the thunderstorm and heavy rain and were able to go on a guided walk. The youngsters had a good knowledge of the countryside already but for most it was a first time visit.
CES visit 7
Monday, July 6th 2009
Bird ringing at Foxglove was very productive today with the highest daily total achieved for CES visit 7 in 17 years! In excess of 300 birds were caught and species included Redstart, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Marsh Tit, Willow Tit, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, 35 new Willow Warblers and some Rooks! Here are some of our younger visitors releasing a Willow Warbler and Goldfinch back into the trees.
Great credit is due to the stalwart band of trainees who, in the absence of most of the trainers, extracted and processed a large number of birds competently and safely. It is a relief to see the numbers of juvenile birds creep back up after the two very wet summers experienced recently.
Mixed weather for Foxglove visitors
Saturday, July 4th 2009
Mixed weather today meant that Middleton Tyas School, who were here with 50 children, had a dry, sunny morning and a very wet afternoon. Elizabeth and Jenny, who came to help, led a mini-beast hunt during the morning with half the group, whilst the others did a habitat walk along the beck. The younger children, who came in the afternoon, had a very wet walk around. The rain was good for spotting toads and frogs who were taking advantage of the rain to jump across the paths. The slugs were also out in force.
The hot sunshine and heavy rain has meant that you can almost see the vegetation growing! The brambles and nettles seem to be growing at least a foot a day!! Needless to say after the school had gone the rest of the day was taken up with strimming and cutting back.
The Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown buuterflies were flying despite the rain.
Friday, July 3rd 2009
Early this morning dozens of the fungus seen here were sprouting along the bark chipping path to the middle moor. By the time the sun was on them they were shrivelling up and this was the last perfect specimen.
The men who are working on site were sweltering in the oppressive heat whilst digging in the new electric cable.
The Pepper Saxifrage is in flower behind the Sand Martin colony. Among the many other flowers displaying there are Slender St. John's Wort, Brooklime, Betony, Hedge Parsley and Rough Sow Thistle.
Five-Spot Burnet moths were seen feeding on Birdsfoot Trefoil on the heathland.
An exciting day at Foxglove!
Thursday, July 2nd 2009
We have had a very exciting day here as the moth trap was full this morning. We had over 50 species with over 140 moths in total. The picture, taken by Elizabeth, shows a Pebble Prominent sitting on the privet hedge in the back garden of the field centre. Our catch included Green Arches, Brimstone, Brown China Mark and 13 Mottled Beauties. Elizabeth, Ray, Colin and Sandra were all here to see them.
Sandra had come to check the bees in the internal hive. Our new queen has not started laying yet and Sandra said that the bees were sulking because they had nothing to do. We thought that they were about to swarm again but maybe the queen was just going out on another mating flight. Watch this space for more news.
Colburn School came with three children and two teachers and filled up all of our bird feeders. It is the first time they have come to Foxglove that it hasn't rained!
The Broad-bodied Chaser was once again seen hunting on the wet meadows along with Common Blue Damselflies and Chimney Sweeper moths.
Colin saw a stoat hunting a rabbit - the rabbit got away!
The Common Spotted Orchids are in full flower. As well as the normal shades of pink we have had a couple of orchids with pure white petals and pink markings.
The workmen have been here again digging up the road to put in the cables for the new workshop.
The Broad-bodied Chaser
Wednesday, July 1st 2009
The weather has been overcast and humid today.
It has been volunteer day so we filled the hoppers with seed and started to weed the recently planted trees.
After lunch we went onto the wetland to take photos of the Broad-bodied Chaser. This is a new species to the reserve. It is distinguished by the shorter broad body and yellow circles along its sides. It was hawking around the newly dug out reed bed alongside the boardwalk.
The Dales School were here and did a session of pond-dipping.
Yoredale Art group came to paint. In spite of the overcast conditions everyone enjoyed having a look around the reserve. Some people were interested in seeing our numerous flowers, some were bird watching. All enjoyed their visit.