Blog Archive (29) Posts Made in March 2014

Bird Ringing

Monday, March 31st 2014

Calls of Tawny Owls, Curlew and Chiffchaff greeted the bird ringers as they arrived this morning.  The nets were raised in the mist, but there was a forecast for sun and warmth.

Brambling are still feeding in the back garden and 20 were seen at the feeders by the lake.  Eight new ones were processed today.  Twenty two Lesser Redpolls came through the ringing room, 16 of them had not been ringed before. Their numbers are increasing at the feeding stations in the back garden and elsewhere on the reserve.  A Willow Tit was also retrapped which was over 3 years old.

Grey Wagtail were seen on the weir, whilst the Dipper preferred the duck raft.

This beautiful male Siskin was one of 13 to be handled in the ringing room.

Male Siskin

Two Goldfinches were caught, one of which was a control.  This means that it was originally ringed elsewhere.  The data will be sent to the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) and they will inform us of whence it came.


At the end of the afternoon the last birds were returned to the Field Centre and to everyone's surprise two Mealy (Common) Redpoll were processed.  These birds are larger than the Lesser Redpoll and are more grey coloured.

Mealy (Common) Redpoll

Mealy (Common) Redpoll

By close of play Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming, Blackbird and this Robin (below) were singing, and the ringers headed home in the mist - still waiting for the sun and warmth!  Today we caught a 3 yr old Chiffchaff, a 7 yr old Long tailed Tit, a 4 yr old Lesser Redpoll and two Chaffinches 6 and 5 yrs old respectively - a total of 139 birds altogether.  We also had about 40 visitors eager to see what we were up to - some quite overwhelmed.


Volunteering at Foxglove covers many different areas.  The bird ringers were busy all day.  Other volunteers identified moths, took photographs for displays, made tea, welcomed visitors and helped tidy up at the end of the day.  Thank you so much for all your help, it is greatly appreciated.

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Signs of Spring

Saturday, March 29th 2014

Although damp, Eco Club managed to walk around the reserve without getting wet.  Signs of Spring were the order of the day and our list included Primrose, Chiffchaff and Robin singing, leaves of Bird Cherry and Hazel just breaking bud, toads and spawn.

Strings of toadspawn were seen in the pond.  Unusually it was laid next to frogspawn.

Toad and frogspawn

The plan for Eco Club was written on a warm sunny day so included looking for and finding sunbathing butterflies.  The plan was changed!  We set the moth trap and were rewarded with moths.  Hebrew Character, shown below, and Grey Shoulder Knot both made their first appearance of the year.

Hebrew Character

On Wednesday there was a surprise in the moth trap, a female Great Diving Beetle.  When released she was very active, making taking a photograph difficult. 

Great Diving Beetle female

Heavy rain overnight had again left water droplets on the vegetation.  Honeysuckle has been showing its green leaves for several weeks.  They catch the raindrops beautifully.

Honeysuckle buds with raindrops

The reserve is just beginning to put on 'her' spring coat and turn green rather than the black of tree branches and the yellow of dead grass.  Grey furry male flowers of the willow are just beginning to show their bright yellow stamens.  They will make an excellent food source for early insects once the temperature rises a little.

Male flowers of willow

As yet not many flowers to add to the new green growth, so no apologies for another photograph of Blackthorn.

Blackthorn flowers

Thank you to everyone who helped with Eco Club today.

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Dates for your Diary

Friday, March 28th 2014

On Sunday 20th April we are running a fundraising day at Catterick Market from 08.30-15.30 to help raise money for a new interactive display in the Field Centre.  This is an exciting project and will comprise a fun nature themed quiz as well as a collection of photographs and information about many of the species found here on the reserve.  If you can give any time to help us with this day please contact Adam or Lizzie on 01748 831113 or email

During the Easter Holidays there will be self-guided activity trails and activities available from the Field Centre.  On Wednesday 9th April we are running a morning of creative art activities based around owls and their lifecycles. 

On Wednesday 16th April we are running an activity day for children comprising of several fun nature based activities including building your very own bug hotel.

Booking is essential for these events. For more information and to book on either of these events please see the events page of our website.

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A good job for a rainy day!

Thursday, March 27th 2014

Today's volunteers have been keeping dry this afternoon as we cleaned and treated some of the benches from the reserve.

We gathered them in first thing this morning whilst it was still dry before doing a bit of work on the new pools. We have added some more stone to the dams which separate the pools and covered over some of the ruts left by the digger.

This afternoon as the rain came down we kept nice and dry in the workshop rubbing down the benches with wire wool to remove any loose dirt before giving them a coat of wood preserver. Once they are dry they will go back out along the easy access trail ready for our summer visitors.

Thank you for your help today everyone.

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Toad Walk

Wednesday, March 26th 2014

This morning we held the Frog Walk, which turned out to be a Toad Walk as there were no frogs to be seen because they have already laid their spawn and moved on.



We had a walk round the easy access trail and then down to the beck in search of all things amphibious.

There were plenty of toads to make up for the lack of frogs. Most of the toads we saw were males which were sitting on the bottom of the ponds awaiting the arrival of their larger female companions.

We also saw lots of frogspawn, a much of which was partially hatched with the new tadpoles hiding beneath the now empty jelly.

Thank you to those of you who came along, we hope you enjoyed your visit.

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A Good Days Work

Tuesday, March 25th 2014

Simon was busy again above the lake working on the new terraced pools.  Today the dams between the lower three pools were constructed using sleepers.

These were sunk into the side of the banks and are also supported by fence posts.

Volunteers helped to place stones along some of the interconnecting streams; this will help to support the dams as well as providing an area for birds such as Grey Wagtails and Dippers to feed.

As Simon was tidying up the pools began to fill - the dams were holding!

Volunteers were also working close by, clearing out an area of invasive Gorse.

In other news, Snipe have been heard drumming on the Wetland. Hutch, one of our regular visitors snapped this photo of one sitting on the fence.

Thank you to everyone who has helped out on the reserve today, not only with the habitat maintenance work but also taking photos and working away inside the Field Centre.

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Work Continues

Monday, March 24th 2014

Simon has been in again today continuing to dig the new pools at the head of the lake. Tomorrow volunteers will be assisting to build the dams which will allow the ponds to fill with water.

At lunchtime a pair of Grey Wagtails were seen on the freshly landscaped area - a promising sign for our new pools!

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Officially Spring!

Monday, March 24th 2014

Yesterday there was a telephone call from Willie Metcalfe to say that there were two Tawny Owls and a Buzzard to ring out on the training area.  In typical spring weather the Foxglove Team headed for Feldom where the birds were ringed.  It was an interesting route for those without 4 X 4s!

Watching the ringing of the owls and buzzard

For some it was quite special to see these species so close up - the Tawny Owls were male and female and the Buzzard was a large female.


Ringing at Foxglove today started in beautiful sunshine although very cold.   The sun was catching the tops of the trees along Risedale Beck.

Sun catching the top of the trees along  Risedale Beck

On Friday 18 Bramblings were recorded in the back garden.  Today seven new ones came through the ringing room, including this male and female.

Male and female Brambling

These may well be the last Bramblings to be caught at Foxglove this year, as they will be heading north to their summer breeding grounds.

A Chiffchaff, one of our first summer migrants to arrive, was heard calling last week and today two were caught in the mist nets, one a new one, one a retrap.  Another with a ring, was seen on the weir at the lake. They were all males and it was especially pleasing that the first caught was one ringed in the reserve last year.


Just after lunch spring returned with a vengeance and the wind increased, the hailstones came down and the temperature dropped.  All the bird ringers helped and carefully emptied the nets and took them down. 

At the end of the day 135 birds had been processed including 15 retrapped Bullfinches and five new ones. (Bullfinches can usually be seen around the hopper in the back garden.)  Three new Goldcrests were also ringed.  This male was quite happy, but trying to get the markings on his head into the photograph proved a little difficult, so we have Lesley's hand and arm too!  You can see his orange flashes!  These tiny birds weigh in around 5g.


Blue Tits are fairly common around Foxglove but don't often get a mention.  Today a retrapped Blue Tit was processed that was first ringed in December 2007, making this bird nearly seven years old.

To prove that it is spring, the Blackthorn along Risedale Beck is in flower.

Blackthorn flower

All weekend the reserve has been busy with many visitors, some old friends, some new to the reserve.  Children have been captivated by the toads, mainly males, at the bottom of the ponds. 

The bird ringers ringed birds, other volunteers made tea, welcomed visitors, checked bird bags, took photographs for display and recorded species.  A huge thank you to everyone.

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Willow Weaving

Friday, March 21st 2014

This morning 9 people attended our Spring Willow Weaving event.

The willow was cut on the reserve yesterday so was nice and pliable ready to be used.

The attendees were taught how to make fish, dragonflies and Easter bunnies which can be hung as garden decorations.

The dragonfly table was in full swing.

And after a bit of patience, and a few sore thumbs, everyone had got to grips with the technique and was able to create their own piece of willow art to take home.

Thank you to all of those who came along, we hope you enjoyed the morning and are proud of what you have created.

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Thursday, March 20th 2014

Over the last couple of weeks volunteers have been working hard to renovate the Bug Hotel, dubbed ‘Bugingham Palace’, at the Outdoor Classroom. We started by dismantling the existing structure so this could be re-filled properly.

The Tuesday volunteers went out foraging for pine cones, stones, and dead wood. These were all packed into recycled tree tubes to help hold them in place.

Some volunteers even learnt new skills – sewing pouches made from hessian sacks with 6 inch nails!

The material was then carefully placed between the gaps in each pallet before the next layer was secured in place.

The centre of each pallet was packed with woodchip left over from some of our winter works to help insulate the Bug Hotel, as well as providing even more nooks and crannies for invertebrates to live in.

Finally a slanting pallet was added and covered with roofing felt to keep the weather out.

Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this project, the finished article looks fantastic and is now a real asset for our education days based at the Outdoor Classroom.

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By the Lake

Wednesday, March 19th 2014

Work started yesterday on the four shallow terraced pools at the head of the lake. The digger was in early and worked hard all day nearly completing the first of these.

Unfortunately the digger broke down this morning; the parts needed are on their way and we have been promised it will be back up and running tomorrow.

Volunteers spent part of the day collecting and moving old sleepers which will act as dams at the mouth of each pool. The water will cascade over these before flowing down a short rocky stream into the next pool. The habitat created here will be perfect for birds such as Dippers and Grey Wagtails, and will hopefully attract more waders onto the reserve.

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Stool Making Workshop

Monday, March 17th 2014

Saturday morning saw the Foxglove Bodgers leading a rustic stool making workshop. Several people attended this with many visitors expressing an interest, a second course is now in the pipeline and will be added to our events page as soon as the date is confirmed.

After a morning learning new skills, these three were deservedly proud of their finished creations.

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Out and About Again

Sunday, March 16th 2014

It has been a busy weekend for the Bodgers.  Yesterday they held a stool making course that was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who attended.  Today was their monthly meeting.  The Nidderdale Bird Watchers came to the reserve and their list of sightings included Brambling, Tree Creeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Long Tailed Tits.

The leaves of many flowers are beginning to grow through the leaf litter.  These Bluebell leaves can be seen along Risdale Beck and also on the moor.

Bluebell leaves

Wild Garlic or Ramsons are also just beginning to show through the soil.

Wild Garlic leaves

Moorhen can be heard on lake and sometimes seen.


Washing dishes can sometimes take a while at Foxglove as the 'washer-up' is easily distracted by the birds visiting the feeders outside the kitchen window.  Coat Tits, Greenfinch, Long Tailed Tits are all vistors to the feeders whilst underneath Dunnock collect any dropped food.


The first 2014 Chiffchaffs have been heard on the reserve and the first Grey Wagtails seen! It is all happening!!

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Out and About

Saturday, March 15th 2014

It was very windy and cold but there were still things to see at Foxglove.  Jenny took this photograph of Brian and Elizabeth intent on taking a photograph of the gravel path!

Brian and Elizabeth phtographing the gravel path!

Actually they were taking a photo of a rather grumpy toad!

Grumpy Toad

At this time of year the toads are returning to their spawning grounds and so will walk across the road and paths.  Please be careful.  Some toads were spotted in the ponds.  A little Sun and warmth will see them become more active and the males will begin to call for the females.

We have frogspawn in deep water and in shallow water, so a wet dry summer or should that be a dry wet summer to come?  There are still frogs to be seen in the ponds.  Outside the spawn is at the 'full stop' stage.  A small amount of spawn was collected and placed in a tank in the Field Centre where it is warm, and it has hatched!

Barren Strawberry grows along the edge of many paths.  Few buds can be seen at the minute, but on a log pile this bud, that we have been watching for a few days, has now opened.

Barren Strawberry

Opposite Golden Leaved Saxifrage covered many of the vertical banks of the small becks that run through the reserve.  Last year's floods removed much of it.  However it  is recovering and spreading along the banks again.

Opposite Golden Leaved Saxifrage

 Primroses are just beginning to show their beautiful yellow flowers.


A Primrose flower that we followed last year as it was covered under snow several times, has survived the summer but as yet only has tiny leaves and no sign of any buds.

We always look for Coltsfoot early in the year.  On Wednesday it was not to be seen.  Today the bright yellow bud was showing itself above last year's vegetation. 


Foxglove was busy today with many visitors braving the weather to enjoy a walk around the reserve.

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Work at the Lake

Thursday, March 13th 2014

Work began today at the head of the lake in preparation for the creation of a series of terraced pools next week. Volunteers cleared small trees and Gorse from the area so work can start as soon as the digger arrives on Monday morning.

There are going to be three shallow terraced pools dug in with water cascading over rocks between these. The shallow water will create improved habitat for many species of birds including Dippers and Grey Wagtails. Watch this space for updates on this exciting project!

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Foxglove Extraordinary General Meeting

Thursday, March 13th 2014

On Tuesday 18th March at 1500 there will be an Extraordinary General Meeting held in the Field Centre, where new members will be voted onto the Management Group. Please come along and show your support for the reserve.

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Grey Wagtail

Wednesday, March 12th 2014

A Grey Wagtail has been seen flying up and down the beck leading from the lake over the past few days.  This afternoon Hutch managed to capture this beautiful picture of the bird sunning itself on the rails by the weir. This species typically breeds along fast flowing streams with plenty of rocks in and around the water. Hopefully this bird will breed here and the ringers will be able to locate the nest. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled as you walk around the lake!

Our phone line is back up and running; if you need to contact the reserve the number is 01748 831113.

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Home Improvement!

Tuesday, March 11th 2014

After a few weeks of working with the Gorse the volunteers were delighted this morning to have a change of scenery and to do something different. Today's jobs were to improve the bug hotel at the Outdoor Classroom area and to mend some of the boardwalks and bridges through the reserve.

The bug hotel team headed off to forage for natural items to fill the spaces and make all sorts of nice nooks and crannies for the bugs, this included pinecones, sticks, stones, woodchip, leaves and small stems of conifer needles.

Once the hoard was bought back to the workshop work began on making containers to hold these items together, tree tubes, string, broken bird boxes and hessian sacks were all used.

Rustic emergency sewing was called for to make smaller bags from the hessian sacks!

A few of the team took apart the old bug hotel, keeping some of the material to refill it later.

The sunshine was a very welcome sight and for the first time this year we were able to sit outside and enjoy our lunch.

After lunch Ken and Eddie began re-assembling the pallets which are being used as the frame and filling in the gaps with all the materials gathered this morning.

It soon filled up and by mid-afternoon great progress had been made and the bug hotel (named Bugingham Palace!) was really starting to take shape.

Meanwhile, another two teams worked on the boardwalks around the scrapes and up in the woodland. Any broken boards were replaced, bridges were levelled up and any loose wire firmly re-attached.

Well done everyone for your hard work today, we hope you enjoyed the change!

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Spring Willow Weaving

Monday, March 10th 2014

Our Spring Willow Weaving event is on 21st March from 10.30am. During this session we will be demonstrating how to create some small willow ornaments for your garden, including dragonflies and fish, as well as making some table decorations. If you would like to book on this event please speak to Adam or Lizzie on 07754 270980 or

Weather on the reserve today has been marvellous, with the first sightings of Comma and Peacock Butterflies recorded. As the temperature rises, more and more flowers can be seen bursting into bloom, just like this Larch flower. With the good weather set to continue for the week, come and enjoy it with us here at Foxglove!


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A Grand Day Out!

Monday, March 10th 2014

The bird ringers visited another two sites yesterday.  It was a beautiful day and the first Chiffchaff was heard.  Bumble bees were flying and a Brimstone butterfly was seen.  Sparrowhawk and Buzzard flew overhead.  Pochard, Tufted Duck and Great Crested Grebe were seen on the lake.  The resident cob Mute Swan was ensuring that his partner was safe from a young cygnet and made several threatening attacks towards it.  The cygnet had enough sense to move rather quickly out of the way!

Cob Mute Swan

After one foray the cob returned to the pen (female swan) and assured her all was well!

Cob and pen reunited

Back at the ringing, non fattening cake had been provided by Robin and Sophie.  Thank you, a real treat!  Nuthatch, Brambling, Reed Bunting, Robin and Yellowhammer (shown below) were processed. 


After lunch a Starling roost in a local reed bed was investigated.

Investigating the reed bed Starling roost

A net ride was made in the reeds.  Not an easy task.  Waders essential!

Marking out the net ride

When it was completed and the nets were up, it was easy to see what an excellent job had been achieved.  Well done!

Completed net ride

Just before dusk the ringers waited patiently for the Starlings to appear.  None did. And then a small flock flew over.  Then a few more joined in, then more.  They came from all directions in ones and twos or flocks of fifty or more, joining in the main flying group.  Ultimately there were an estimated 5000 birds.  They swirled, turned and twisted making fantastic patterns in the sky.  This photograph only shows a small number.  Can you count how many there are?


After about twenty minutes their flight changed.  It was like waves on a beach.  Lower and lower they flew over the reed bed and then suddenly, it was like a jug of water being tipped out and very quickly they were down in the reed bed and in the nets!

The ringers worked very carefully to extract the birds in the dark.  The Starlings were then taken away to be ringed.  They can be sexed by the colour of the lower mandible, pink for girls and blue for boys, well what did you expect? 101 birds were processed and it was early morning before we finished!  The birds remained snuggled in their own bird bag overnight and all were released happily this morning. 

Bird bags dropped in the water are awaiting washing, whilst those used last night have been washed! Starlings are not the sweetest scented birds!

Comments about the day - A lot of fun!  A great day! A brilliant day! And so it was.  A huge thank you and well done to all involved to make it so special.  (We are going to do it again sometime - great!!)

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Spring is still on its way!

Saturday, March 8th 2014

Tuesday, Thursday, worky day and other volunteers have worked hard over the winter and most of the work on 'the list' has been completed.  Many thanks for all your hard work.  The reserve looks a little bare in places, but Spring is on its way!  This is the area between the Scrapes and the lake.  Pollarded trees will soon be sprouting new shoots. 

Near the orchard

The newly cut part of the reed bed, near the first pond dipping platform, will soon turn green and be a haven for Moorhen and Reed Bunting. 

Newly cut reed bed

Last year an area of Risedale Beck was coppiced and the resulting spring flower display was magnificent!  A further area has been coppiced….

Coppiced area along Risedale Beck

....and already the Primroses are flowering.


Flower buds of Blackthorn won't be too long before they open.  Risedale Beck is the best place to look for the first flowers. 

Buds of Blackthorn

Dandelions are beginning to show their yellow heads.

Dandelion flower

The frogs are spawning in many of the ponds on the reserve and they can be found going 'walkabout'.  This one was quite happy walking along a grassy footpath.  The red colour is associated with where they have been hibernating.

A red coloured frog

At this time of year a lot of patience is required, spring has not arrived just yet - spring is still on its way!

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Contacting Foxglove

Friday, March 7th 2014

Our landline is currently out of order. Please use telephone number 07754 270980 to contact us.


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Work on the Wetland

Thursday, March 6th 2014

Today the Thursday team of volunteers spent time on the Wetland.

Over the winter holes have developed in the sides of the pools. Some of the team worked on patching these up to try to prevent the leaks and keep the pools water tight.

Also on the Wetland, we raked off the cut reed from the work last week and repaired the fence surrounding some newly planted areas of reed.

After lunch we spent a very muddy couple of hours trying to improve the drainage around the ringing rides in the back garden, a job which we have attempted on previous occasions, fingers crossed we will have succeeded this time!

Thank you all for your help today.  

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Rustic Stool Making Course

Wednesday, March 5th 2014

Chris Morgan along with the Foxglove Bodgers will running a Stool making course on Saturday 15th March (9.30am to 12.30pm). On the course you will expect to make a rustic stool with a woven seat.  The course is suitable for any level from beginner to expert! There is a charge of £30 for this course which is payable on the day.

If you would like to book on the course, please visit our events page or e-mail the Reserve Managers at

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Gorse, Gorse, Glorious Gorse!

Tuesday, March 4th 2014

Today's team of volunteers continued work on removing some of the Gorse from the Moorland which was started on the Worky Day.

The usual enthusiasm our volunteers show meant everyone got stuck in and the job took us half the time we had expected - perhaps everyone was so keen not to have to work with the Gorse for a third week in a row they wanted to make sure it was all finished today!

There was a lot left to be cut and dragged to the fire and as the day wore on the branches seemed heavier and the fire further away!

Break time was well deserved and thanks to Ann we all enjoyed some homemade teacakes toasted over the fire (Adam tried to convince us he had sterilised the fork first!)

Thank you all very much for your hard work today, we promise no Gorse next week.

And just a short PS to the ringing activities last Sunday to upstage Adam's grin!  With the wet, windy weather in 2014 we are 100 new birds behind this time last year, we caught the first new Treecreeper in over 6 months, we caught the most Dunnocks in one day for over 8 months, we caught the most Blue Tits in one day in over a year, and we caught the most new Great Tits in a day since last July.  We caught the first Bramblings since winter 2012/13, and the total of new Goldfinches caught on site reached 450.  Finally we caught the most new Lesser Redpolls in one day for over 10 months and have caught 24 new Bullfinches in only four 2014 sessions.  It was a successful day and the results speak for themselves.  A big thank you to all who helped.

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Quiz Results and 100 Club Draw

Monday, March 3rd 2014

Congratulations to Michael Fenwick who is the winner of the English Towns Quiz. Congratulations also to Viv Winter, Brian Hird, The Coopers, and The Poyntons who all scored full marks.

Below are the questions and answers for the quiz.

1. Ken dallied here - Kendal

2. You could easily clone this - Colne

3. A small amount of sugar plase - Tadcaster

4. You could sit here happily - Settle

5. Cast a spell over the bad actor - Hexham

6. Your vehicle is what colour? - Redcar

7. More east and flatter than in L.A. - Beverley

8. Carl is leading the way - Carlisle

9. The smallest particle imaginable by the coast - Whitby

10. Have a nap in hard ground out east - Skipton

11. Could be a high churchman in N.Z. - Bishop Auckland

12. Would you go here hatless? Ilkley

13. Yummy black cakes - Pontefract

14. Sounds a good place to sell dried fruit - Market Rasen

15. It is dismal tonight - Malton

16. A train needs to stop and toot here! - Haltwhistle

17. Blade before the east - Bedale

18. Swing North, West and to the side - Widnes

19. Meat past its sell-by date - Oldham

20. Twinned with Wise? Morecambe

21. Add 'id est' to 'fly' and you can swim in the sea - Filey

22. Fast to the forest - Fleetwood

23. Noah built another boat - Newark

24. This town ran into castle - Lancaster

25. Lindum Colonia to the Romans - Lincoln

26. The crew easily reached port - Crewe

27. Put the bolt on the door - Bolton

28. He was all mixed up - Hawes

29. A very cultured part of the ship! - Hull

30. Do its citizens run all the way to Epsom? - Derby

31. The Iron Lady's home town - Grantham

32. Call out his name in here - Louth

33. Glen and Toni met in The Dales - Ingleton

34. No pirates back here - Ripon

35. Sent here and no-one will speak to you - Coventry

36. Stroll along the edge - Ambleside

37. Jenny or Ken go in here - York

38. The learner's lost his sell-by date - Selby

39. A small, dark Scot's stream - Blackburn

40. Ralf does a mix up - Sleaford

Thank you to Pat and Glennis who have once again compiled and marked this quiz for us.  It has been the most successful yet raising over £150 for the reserve! There is another quiz already in the pipeline which will be released on the 21st March.

We must also congratulate Mrs Margaret Clarke who is the winner of the quarterly 100 Club draw.

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First Frogspawn!

Monday, March 3rd 2014

It has been a beautiful early spring morning here at Foxglove. The sun has been shining, birds have been singing, and the first frogspawn of the year spotted!

As we walked across the reserve we were paying special attention to the ponds, hoping to spot some frogspawn. Passing the Sand Martin Colony, the males could be heard calling. Once we had crossed onto the island you could see the water was bubbling with activity!

This shallow, sunny spot is usually one of the first areas that frogspawn is found.

The frogs were as curious as us, popping their heads above the water to see what we were up to.

It really feels like spring is now on the way; it will not be long before the reserve is alive with the sound of croaking and washed in colour as flowers come into bloom!

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Bird Ringing

Monday, March 3rd 2014

The winter has been mild but has not been kind for bird ringing.  Many Sundays have been wet and windy.  When checked on Thursday, the forecast was ideal for today, by last night we wondered if we would be able to put any nets up at all.  However the wind stayed low and the rain held off until after lunch.

Over 200 birds were processed including a Blackbird that was was coming up to its eighth birthday!  There have not been many Brambling seen this year but three came through the ringing room today.  Lesser Redpolls are now being seen on the reserve and some of these birds were handled by the ringers.  

Goldcrests are tiny birds and weigh less than 5g.  This one was very photogenic.


Tree Creeper, Reed Bunting and Goldfinch were also included in the final total.

The ringing room was busy not only with birds but visitors also.  

A busy ringing room

Children were fascinated by the birds and learnt a great deal from the bird ringers who patiently told them all about the birds and why they were being ringed.

the ringing room and young visitors

No sunrise photographs today but a little further sign of Spring in the breaking buds of willow, covered by ice droplets.

Willow buds with ice droplets

Many thanks to everyone who helped today.  As always there was tea to make, bags to count, meeting and greeting visitors, tidying up and of course bird ringing!

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March Winter Worky Day

Saturday, March 1st 2014

Forty seven volunteers of all ages joined us at Foxglove today for the last of the season's Worky Days. We headed up to the far end of the moorland to clear patches of Gorse.

This part of the reserve had become dominated with old growth Gorse. Clearing this will promote regeneration of younger Gorse which is more likely to be used as nesting sites by birds such as Chaffinches, Linnets and Stonechats.

The team soon got stuck in, and with the fire going it was not too long before we had cleared a big area.

It was hard work dragging the prickly bushes across the uneven, wet ground; the usual Worky Day chicken curry lunch was well deserved.

Work continued in the afternoon, as the last of the Gorse was dragged to the fire we took this picture to show the transformation. What a difference a day makes!

Robins were once again seen all day around us, searching the cleared areas for food.

We must say a big thank you to all the volunteers who have supported the reserve on our Worky Days this winter. We have completed a huge amount of work to a very high standard.  With leaves of many flowers showing above the ground it should not be too long before we can see and enjoy the difference we have made on the reserve.

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The Friends of Foxglove Covert is for those individuals, families and organisations who would like to support the reserve through an annual membership subscription. Friends receive a regular newsletter and invitations to attend our various activities and social events.

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Upcoming Events

Access to the Reserve: CLOSED

Monday 20th May 2024 |

Due to security and access problems the reserve is temporarily closed to the public except for organised events.

Dragonfly Walk

Sunday 21st July 2024 | 1pm-3pm

Guided walk around Foxglove Covert LNR to spot and learn about IDing dragonflies and damselflies. Led by county recorder Keith Gittens.

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