Blog Archive (28) Posts Made in June 2011
A Good Moth Morning
Thursday, June 30th 2011
The moth trap was set out on top of a white sheet on the log in the back garden last night. We were greeted with more moths this morning than we have had over the last few weeks. When the sheet was lifted up to look for any hidden moths, this little fella was spotted emerging from his outer skin.
The remains of the skin was left on the sheet, showing that the case had split at the head end and the insect had pulled himself out.
Initially the name of the insect was unknown but about half an hour later when photographed again his wings had stretched and hardened and we could see that he was a froghopper! He was hidden under a fold in the sheet for protection.
Getting back the the moths, it was photograph time!
Moths who had their photo taken included Elephant Hawkmoth, Poplar Hawkmoth - who with some encouragement showed his red underwings, Peppered Moth and Pebble Prominent. Thank you to Josh, Gordon, Julia and Brian for identifying all the moths this morning.
Tony did the stocktaking whilst Mike continued painting the cabin and both continued with that task this afternoon. Thank you.
The ringing team are starting their journey to Cape Wrath tomorrow for their annual seabird ringing. If we can receive information from them, their progress will be reported on the blog.
BEES and Spiders!
Wednesday, June 29th 2011
Painting cabins, putting out mink rafts, strimming and re-building dams were some of the tasks carried out this morning by the Foxglove Volunteers. After lunch, attention was turned to the heathland where the piles of brash are mounting!
These will be shredded in the near future! Whilst working in this area, Brian and John delighted in identifying the invertebrates amongst the heather! Five-spot Burnet moth and Large Yellow Underwing were found alongside many spider webs like this one below.
Buff Ermine and Mottled Grey moths were seen on the front verranda of the Field Centre. Hopefully, there will be plenty of moths attracted to the moth trap overnight. Red Admiral butterflies were seen on the wing for the first time this year today.
Finally, the BEES group (Bradford Environmental Education Service) visited today and were shown around the reserve by Anne. They had a fantastic time, observing the many flowers, butterflies, damselflies and birds accross the site.
To find out more about the BEES group, you can visit their website:
Monday, June 27th 2011
Hipswell School visited and in contrast to the last school visit on Thursday, it was sunny and warm. Amongst today's exciting finds were diving beetle larva and adults, Water Scorpion, Ringlet Butterflies and this most beautifiul Leopard Slug!
Special thanks to Josh for helping out today and for giving the children an insight into the gruesome underwater world and its dwellers at the pond-dipping platforms!
Eco Club again and CES 6
Sunday, June 26th 2011
Sweep netting in the clearings near to the Field Centre.
After returning the various creatures our group moved on to the heathland. Another photo of the sweep nets in action!
Our search here was very productive, the catch included Harvestmen, Red Ants, and an Ichneumon Wasp.
This Clouded Border was basking nicely on the heath.
Can you spot the Rhinos? There are many variations to the patterns on a Clouded Border but the colours remain the same.
CES 6 was warm and sunny but at times there was a blustery wind. 225 birds were processed, many of which were juveniles, including 3 Redstart, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Greenfinch and Wren. Near the end of the day this juvenile Grey Wagtail was ringed and the final total for new Blackcaps was 11. Looking at the comparison table, despite the hot claggy weather and brilliant sunshine which was exposing most of the nets, the session ended up 3rd in the league table behind 2006 (274) and 2007 (244). At least 3 Roe Deer were seen with kids (one with twins) and the many visitors had an enjoyable day.
Eco Club Bug Hunt
Sunday, June 26th 2011
Various weather forecasts had been scrutinised and consequently plans two and three were in place. However we were very lucky and the sun came out just, and the wind dried up the water droplets on the vegetation so we were able to set out on our Bug Hunt.
Dr and Mrs Key explained to the children how to use sweep nets and pooters.
Our first stop was the grassy area of the old log pile and soon lots of creatures were caught, including three damselflies, Common Blue, Azure and Blue-tailed. We moved onto the heathland and the sweep nets and pooters were again hard at work catching a whole variety of different bugs. Many were taken to Dr and Mrs Key and fascinating tales were told about them. Ichneumon wasps lay their eggs in the eggs of other insects and then, on hatching eat them! The Ghost Moth does a dance just above the grass level to attract the female who is in the grass. Ants have to be released very close to their nest otherwise they can't find their way home.
We left the creatures on the heath in peace and headed along the path edged with Dog Daises, continuing to catch and examine many insects.
On our return to the Activity Room we celebrated Eco Club's second birthday, just a month late!
Thank you to Dr and Mrs Key for taking us all on a great Bug Hunt. And thank you to everyone who helped. A thoroughly enjoyable time was had by everyone.
Saturday, June 25th 2011
The moorland, from being very wet and looking sorry for itself yesterday, gave a beautiful display of flowers and grasses in the afternoon sunshine.
In the damper areas of the moor the Ragged Robin was blowing in the wind.
Damselflies, butterflies, moths and many other insects were on the wing, enjoying the warm sunshine. Bees were searching the flowers for nectar.
Other insects used the flowers as resting or sunbathing places.
Sluice and Slug
Thursday, June 23rd 2011
Pupils from Middleham School braved the rain this morning and enjoyed playing in the new dams by the outdoor classroom. The extra rainfall made this even more fun than usual.
The damp weather also meant that the minibeast safari produced plenty of slugs of various shapes, colours and sizes!
Elizabeth has been researching strange facts about minibeasts for a new panel in the outdoor classroom and has discovered that the word slug comes from an old word meaning slow or slothful. Slime helps to prevent them losing water and makes it difficult for prey to pick them up. The slime also helps them to move over rough surfaces and helps them to stick to smooth surfaces. They may live for up to three years.
Medicinal Plants Walk
Wednesday, June 22nd 2011
Nine people came to unearth the treasure chest of the reserve! They took part in Marion's Medicinal Plant walk in conjunction with Plantlife and the Flowers of the Dales Festival. In spite of the rain showers, everyone had an informative and interesting time learning about the medicinal uses, past and present, of some the flowers out on the reserve.
Tuesday, June 21st 2011
The cabins received a bit of TLC in preparation for the Open Day (July 23rd)!!! Here is Geordie painting the inside of the 'snap' cabin! This will be the 'Lepidoptera Suite'!
And the old ringing hut, seen here being painted by Fiona, will house the bird feed and fat ball demonstrations!
Volunteers also continued to weed the heathland before a farewell party for Marion, who is moving on to pastures new.
During her time here, Marion has bought a new meaning to '5 a day' and Reed Mace is the latest on the menu!
Good luck Marion, we all wish you all the best for the future.
A Lovely Day and Some News
Tuesday, June 21st 2011
Another class from Hipswell School visited for minibeast hunting, pond dipping and a habitat walk. There were many flowers and insects to be seen in the warm, dry, sunny weather. Pond dipping saw many tiny creatures caught. Very few tadpoles found their way into the nets, but the bucket filled with water to clean the sink was full of them!
The minibeast hunt on the moorland revealed a spider with all her spiderlings still attached to her. Sweep netting caught beautiful shiny green and bronze beetles, green insects and hundreds of tiny flies. Eagle eyed children spotted this ladybird on the bridge by the sluice and although it appears to have a damaged wing it flew off after the photo call!
Below is a Ring Ouzel nest the ringers visited at the weekend which had sadly been predated. On a brighter note another nest nearby had fledged three young from five eggs.
Summer Flowers and CES 5
Monday, June 20th 2011
Around each corner there are new summer flowers to be seen. The Common Spotted Orchids are showing their pink flowers in many places on the reserve.
The scent of the Wild Garlic is being replaced by that of the Honeysuckle. Moths will visit during the night. Some of the Honeysuckle will remain in flower right through to the autumn.
Weather forecasts had been scrutinised for several days and despite the menacing predictions a decision was made to go ahead with CES 5 today. Thankfully the weather had not read the forecast and although there were some showers the full ten and a half hours were achieved in surprisingly good ringing conditions. 248 birds were trapped including Nuthatches, 40 Chaffinches, Redstarts, good numbers of warblers and even Stock Doves and a Rook! The total was the second best ever for CES 5 and quite remarkable given the foul day we were expecting and the restricted number of additional nets used. Thanks go to all the ringers concerned who were ready to go at 4am and who hosted several visitors throughout the day.
Saturday, June 18th 2011
There were a lot of insects around in the undergrowth.
Even though it was wet and breezy there was much to be seen in the sheltered ares.
This is matured male Blue-tailed Damselfly.
Note the difference of the colouring on the thorax to that of the immature male Azure Damselfly (below).
The thorax has black and white striping which changes to blue as it matures.
Below is an Investigator Beetle. This insect feeds of the carcasses of others and lays its eggs inside for its young to feed from as they hatch.
What appeared to be colouring on the thorax turned out to be many mites that were only seen when they went for a walk around the beetles's back!
This male Scorpion Fly may look quite fierce but in fact is quite harmless.
Friday, June 17th 2011
Twelve people from Carillion came to volunteer for the day today. The threatened rain stayed away as they helped weed the heathland of invasive species.
You see them here at the end of the day with the newly cleared Heathland in the background. Thanks to Kevin for arranging this workday and to everyone who came and gave their time to help. We look forward to a return visit in September!
After lunch this spider was found on one of the work gloves.
She was very protective of the egg case she was carrying and as soon as she was put back on the heather she scurried away into the undergrowth.
Highlights from Today
Thursday, June 16th 2011
The sun highlights the tall grasses which were waving in the breeze this afternoon. Through all the open glades the grasses are coming into flower.
Yesterday Elizabeth took this close-up of a grasshopper on Gorse flowers.
The staff from Fusion LX were here all day laying cables so we can have our lake camera working again.
Meanwhile volunteers Mike and Kyle did some work on the moorland and then built a new boardwalk over a wet area in the scrapes. You can see Kyle (below) as he was clearing the tools at the end of the day.
This Large Skipper was taken late in the afternoon with the sun shining through the wings.
Lastly, here is a photo of the completed bridge from the northern shore.
Wednesday, June 15th 2011
More pupils from Hipswell School came to explore Foxglove Covert and found all kinds of creatures! Pond-dipping was very succesful and the catch included this carnivorous Diving Beetle larva below.
Another group pond-dipping caught an adult Diving Beetle seen here.
The children thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were delighted to find a Caddis fly larva too.
Over at the outdoor classroom, there was great excitement when this Toad was discovered in the log pile.
This Millipede was also found at the outdoor classroom by Brian's young 'rooters'!
Found on the heathland, Sinodendron cylindricum is a new species to the reserve. Only the male has the rhinoceros-like horn. It feeds on oozing sap but it breeds in rotting stumps, especially Beech.
20 moths of 13 different species were trapped last night. These included, Purple Clay, July Belle, Buff Ermine, Iron Prominent and Swallow Prominent (shown here).
Thank you to all of the children for being so enthusiastic and to Brian and Elizabeth for sharing your knowledge today.
Tuesday, June 14th 2011
Speckled wood, Ringlet, Wall, Green-veined white and Common blue were all found on the butterfly transect carried out by John this morning. Large skippers are also on the wing.
Volunteers were hard at work this morning painting and oiling benches, waymarker posts and picnic tables. This afternoon the area around the new bridge and boardwalk was cleared of brash.
Monday, June 13th 2011
A few weeks ago, Raye bought in a chrysalis of the Elephant Hawkmoth. At the weekend it hatched into this beautiful adult.
If you would like to learn more about these amazing animals there will be an opportunity to join Charlie (County recorder) at Marne Barracks on the 16th July and again at Foxglove Covert on the 23rd July on the Open Day. See the events section for more information.
Pupils from Hipswell School visited today, they enjoyed learning about habitats and did some pond-dipping too. The bridge at the head of the lake is almost complete!
This is one of the structures that will be formally opened by a VIP on Saturday 23rd July.
A Rainy Day
Monday, June 13th 2011
SOME of the ringers turned out today and braved the elements! It was another interesting experience with 40+ Black-headed Gulls ringed at a new site near Barningham then in incessant rain the net rides in the reed bed at Bellflask were cleared. Below you can see the team at close of play - soaked to the skin! Even the maltesers were wet and Sophie brought a flask of Elizabeth's tea by mistake! On a more sombre note the Peregrines shown a couple of days ago are still sitting so without doubt all three eggs are infertile, which is a great shame and the second year in a row this particular site has failed.
Saturday, June 11th 2011
The bird ringers were busy again today, ringing somewhat larger birds than those caught yesterday! 66 Greylag goslings were ringed and a few Black-headed Gulls also. It was a fun morning and a worthwhile experience enjoyed by all - including the dogs! It was also the catalyst for another interesting opportunity we hope to exploit and tell you more about in the future!
Dawn over the Scrapes
Saturday, June 11th 2011
Dawn was breaking over the Scrapes as the bird ringers put up the nets for yet another weather-affected CES day.
As it was a “work day” several people were unable to attend and so there were only a small number who could ring. Thank you to everybody who contributed today, especially those people who were there for the 4am start, put in 4 hours in the ringing room, and then went off to do a day's work! Also to those who gave up a few precious hours during the day. There were many juvenile birds caught including Robin, Greenfinch, Willow Warblers and Chaffinch. Together they created the day's total of over 200 new and retrapped birds. In the grand scheme of things it was the second best CES 4 with just 5 birds less than in 2002 which was the best year ever. Sparrowhawk, Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Garden Warbler and Marsh Tit added to the final total.
The picture above, was taken by Andrew, and shows a recently visited Peregrine Falcon nest where, sadly, we feel the eggs have failed. The female was still sitting when we arrived, but she has been there a very long time and the eggs should have hatched by now. We will be checking again from a distance this weekend just to make certain.
Thursday, June 9th 2011
This afternoon we had a visit by photographers from The Yorkshire Post. They were here to take photos for an article which is to appear in the Saturday magazine on the 25th June. After taking stills around the reserve video footage was also taken which will be able to be viewed on the Yorkshire Post website when the magazine is published. The interviews which accompany the photos had already been completed a couple of weeks ago. This will be good publicity for us, especially in the run up to our Open Day on the 23rd. July.
Exploring and Discovering
Wednesday, June 8th 2011
The rain wasn't going to stop pupils from Hipswell Primary School visiting their favourite Local Nature Reserve and it was well worth it! They had a wonderful time learning about all of the different habitats at Foxglove and which species live in them. Some of the pupils were lucky enough to see a pair of Redshank with chicks and a Water Vole up on the wetland.
After lunch a Common Newt was found during a minibeast safari around the new outdoor classroom. As you can see the two 'Nature Detectives' that found it were as proud as can be!
What a special find! Thank you to all of the staff and children that visited today for your support and enthusiasm! Everybody was well behaved and some excellent questions were asked at the end of the day.
National Volunteers’ week
Tuesday, June 7th 2011
Volunteers’ Week is an annual event which celebrates the fantastic contribution that millions of volunteers make across the UK. The Week plays a huge part in raising the profile of the millions of volunteers who regularly contribute to society, while inspiring others to get involved too. At Foxglove, volunteers are absolutely vital to the everyday running of the reserve and their help is really appreciated.
Making up mink raft clays, painting signs and waymarkers, pruning back along net rides, strimming along paths and installing posts are just some of the tasks that were carried out today. Volunteers also help out with surveying, administration, meeting and greeting and fund raising. If you would like to get involved please get in touch.
Wild Food Morning
Monday, June 6th 2011
Dandelion, Sorrel, Hawthorn, Chickweed, Burdock, Daisy and Clover were some of the ingredients gathered to make a colourful salad on today's Wild Food guided walk. People came from as far away as Hull to learn about some of the culinary delights that can be found in the wild.
Marion demonstrated how to collect Nettles without getting stung but nobody volunteered to help!
The foragers then retired to the Field Centre to sample several different wild food recipes. Marion's Chickweed scones and Dandelion honey, Sophie's Nettle soup and Elizabeth's roast Pheasant were enjoyed by all.
Well, with one exception…
The next event at Foxglove will be the Medicinal Plant walk on the 22nd June. Both of these events are in conjunction with Plantlife and Flowers of the Dales, please see the events section for further details.
Bridge and Bluebells
Friday, June 3rd 2011
The bridge at the head of the lake is almost finished. Trevor and Daryl are beavering away in order to complete a circular wheelchair route from the Field Centre to the Lake Hides.
Here is the view from the bridge.
Through the wodland walk, the bank is still blue with flowering Bluebells, whilst along Risedale Beck they are dropping their petals as they set seed. This stem is being used by a froghopper, inside the Cuckoo Spit.
Buttercups and Daisies
Friday, June 3rd 2011
A lovely warm day at Foxglove. Some volunteers were hard at work cutting back branches and strimming the grass whilst others were helping to plan the Open Day to be held on Sat 23rd July. Work on the new boardwalk and bridge is continuing.
All over the reserve buttercups and daisies are flowering. Buttercups have 5 petals.
However as you walk around you may see some buttercups with more than 5petals.
Daisies come in two sizes! The Common Daisy, below, is small and grows close to the ground and is usually found in areas where the grass is short.
The Dog Daisy or Ox Eyed Daisy is a much bigger, more robust flower and grows along many of the paths.
Blue Tit update
Thursday, June 2nd 2011
Our Blue Tits hatched their eggs on 14th May as we were on the reserve listening to the Dawn Chorus. We have watched the chicks being fed and growing apace. The chicks have been ringed. For the last few days the chicks have been jumping up to the hole and sometimes the parents have fed that chick instead of entering the nest box.
During today the number of chicks has decreased as the chicks have left the nest box. The youngster below sat quietly gaining its strength before flying off.
The parents continue to feed the young once they have left the nest.
A name and lots of work
Wednesday, June 1st 2011
Firstly the insect that was unidentified yesterday now has a name - Nemophora degeerella. This is a micro moth. Everyone was wondering how it managed to move around without falling over its antennae!! A final check will be made but this looks like yet another new species for the reserve.
The volunteers worked very hard today at a variety of tasks. The main one being the completion of placing all the coloured marker posts along the woodland walk. All posts throughout the reserve are now in their correct place! A big thank you to everyone who helped with this task.
Richmond WI came for a guided walk around the reserve and thoroughly enoyed themselves. Many visitors, several of whom had not visited Foxglove Covert before, were thrilled with what they had seen.
Whilst all this was going on the bird ringers had arrived at 04.15 to put up the mist nets to begin their ten and a half hours for CES 3. 155 birds were processed including some juvenile Robins, Greenfinches and Chaffinches - the first of the crop for the year. This was the highest total of new birds and retraps ringed on day 3 since our CES began 19 years ago and is in stark contrast to day 1 this year which was almost our worst! Thank you to everyone who helped in the ringing room today including our polished scribe!
Although the wind is still blowing and it is not exactly June-like weather there are plenty of flowers to be seen including the first of the roses in bloom.
The Northern Marsh Orchids (see photo below) are a beautiful splash of purple/pink around certain parts of the reserve. The leaves of the Common Spotted Orchid are still protecting their flower buds.