Blog Archive (9) Posts Made in June 2021

Working Together

Tuesday, June 29th 2021

Today Debby and Fiona from Dementia Forward, along with some of their Richmond volunteers visited the reserve. The visit came about as Dementia Forward volunteers are also proud recipients of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS). The reason for visiting was three-fold, to provide dementia awareness training to our volunteers, to look round the site in the hope that their young onset group can visit very soon and finally to celebrate with cake!

The visit began with a short training session in the classroom. Fiona explained that the term dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a group of symptoms that may include memory loss, confusion and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving, perception or language. The most common types of dementia were explained. She also explained that dementia affects each individual differently, and the symptoms that someone experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are affected. Dementia is not a natural part of aging, but age is the biggest risk factor. It is more common in people over the age of 65, but there are an estimated 42,000 people in the UK under 65 with a diagnosis of dementia. 

After the presentation, the guests enjoyed a guided walk and were especially pleased to find the haymeadow full of Buttercups (this flower appears on their logo). 

Special thanks to Karen for bringing delicious cakes to celebrate this new partnership!

We look forward to working together!

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Thank You

Monday, June 28th 2021

The reserve is looking its best just now, thanks to the dedicated team of volunteers. Tools are vital for the practical conservation tasks that are regularly carried out and are a big cost to the charity. Fortunately, Foxglove is one of the Co-ops 'causes' and funds received from this scheme have made it possible to purchase two new much needed strimmers.

Strimming of paths is important especially in some of the most special habitats as it encourages people to stay on the trails.

This prevents the wildflowers in the haymeadow from being trampled on. 

Volunteers have been busy with many different summer maintenance jobs such as pruning the fruit trees in the back garden.

New nestboxes, designed to encourage the return of Willow Tits to the site, have been handmade from materials found at the reserve. This species used to nest at Foxglove but hasn't been observed for several years.

Nearly all of the wooden features have had a coat of paint!

Sanding down and painting of benches is ongoing.

Volunteering is on Tuesday mornings and starts at 9.30am (after a fresh coffee)! If you would like to get involved then please contact the Reserve Managers on 07754 270980.

Thank you to everyone for all of your hard work keeping the reserve in tip top condition and to the Co-op (and their customers) for their generous support!

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Black-headed Gulls

Monday, June 21st 2021

Some of the Swaledale bird ringers returned to a large Black-headed Gull colony on the moors in the Yorkshire Dales.  These birds are not a 'seagull' and are found commonly almost anywhere inland. The birds in this particular location have had a successful breeding season so far and had chicks of various different ages.

The nests themselves are made from dry grasses and other vegetation, the amount of material used ranging from very little on dry sites to a substantial pile on wet sites, it is thought that the higher pile is to protect the nest contents from changing water levels. As you can see, the young chicks blend in well with their surroundings.

The eggs vary in colour from brown to green.

Some of the young chicks were too small to be ringed and were left sitting on their nests.

The ringers work quickly to minimise the disturbance and ensure that the chicks do not stray too far from their territories.

It is a mucky job and waders are always recommended!

So far this year the team have ringed 471 chicks on two separate visits.

Ringing this species is important as it can help us to understand their migration.  The Black-headed Gull has been widely ringed in Europe and large numbers of recoveries are available from several countries, among them Britain, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium. Many of the Black-headed Gulls ringed by the Foxglove team have been recovered in both Ireland and Cumbria over the years.

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Valued Volunteers

Tuesday, June 15th 2021

After hearing the fantastic news that the Foxglove Volunteer group had been awarded with the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Services it has been a busy few weeks at the reserve. A big celebration is in the pipeline and a date will be decided on once the latest government restrictions have been announced.

In the meantime, all volunteers have had some celebratory cake!

Twice! Thank you to Elizabeth for these delicious cakes.

There has been a lot of publicity too with photo shoots for newspapers and interviews for newspapers and radio

A group from the Personnel Recovery Centre came to lend a welcome hand. 

Time has been spent revisiting winter work areas. The Willow that was cut to ground level in the coppice block is already showing lots of new growth.

Summer work has been carried out including tasks such as slashing Bracken around the Outdoor Classroom,

painting the original shed…

and mowing and strimming of net rides and paths.

As always all of this help and support is extremely valued.

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First Aid Training

Monday, June 14th 2021

Some of the staff and volunteers spent 3 days on a First Aid course delivered by Golbourn Training Services. It was an intense few days with all kinds of topics covered from dealing with cuts and scrapes to allergies and head injuries. Some of the course was taught outside and the necessary equipment was transported in the 'seed trolley', an odd sight for any visitors!

First Aid training has had to change due to Covid-19 and all of the new measures were explained at the beginning.

Each candidate had their own 'Resuscie Annie' to practice CPR on!

The use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) was also covered.

An additional topic of Catastrophic Bleeding was included and several scenarios were created at the Outdoor Classroom to test out newly learned life saving skills.

Our sincere thanks to Steve from GTS for bringing us up to speed with First Aid at Work.

In other news, Gerry had a special birthday recently, Many Happy Returns!

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Friday, June 11th 2021

The warm sunny weather has seen the damselflies and dragonflies hatch and they can be seen not only around the ponds but also in many of the sunny glades.  Walking across the moor something large flew.  On being told to settle it did!  It was a Four-spotted Chaser.

Plover's Pool provides the exact habitat for many 'damsels aand dragons'.  Broad-bodied Chasers were certainly living up to their name as they hawked across the water.  Some of the males were obviously looking for food, whilst others were looking for females.  The male is blue,

whilst the female is golden yellow.  Not a very good photograph but you can just see the female through the vegetation.  She was dipping her abdomen into the water as she laid eggs.

It has been reported from several people that butterfly numbers are very low.  When walking around the reserve a butterfly does tend to be noticed.  One flew across the path and initial thought was a Painted Lady, a migrant species.  Very carefully a closer look was needed, but this was not easy as it was flying from one flower to another, feeding.  Eventually, a photograph decent enough for identification, was taken and ID was confirmed.  When these butterflies arrive they tend to be pale, but if they breed here and butterflies emerge, then these are much brighter in colour. 

The moth trap yielded a good catch, including this beautiful Small Angle Shades.  The larvae can feed on Bracken and other ferns.

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Early Summer Flowers

Sunday, June 6th 2021

Early Purple Orchids are the first to flower, followed by the Northern Marsh Orchids.  A close watch has been kept on the buds and the first ones in flower have been recorded.

Hawthorn or May is in flower across the reserve.

 'Wild' Holly trees are either male or female.  The male produces the pollen from stamens.  In this photograph you can see the pollen grains on the stamens.

The female flowers have stigmas and ovaries that will develop into the red berries seen in autumn.

Crab Apple flowers have set seed but the apple trees are still in full bloom.

After a slow start the Yellow Rattle is beginning to flower on the middle moor.

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A Long Time

Friday, June 4th 2021

Weather plays an important part in all living things lives.  We seem to have waited a long time for the return of animals that we unscientifically classify as 'bugs, beasties and creepy crawlies'!

It is always interesting to look back into our species records when something out of the ordinary is spotted.  Volunteers out looking for butterflies, spotted a moth, near to Spigot Mere.  It was confirmed as a Mother Shipton Moth.  This was first recorded by school children sweep netting on the flower meadow, near the middle moor gate on 17th June 2013.  It obviously likes this area.  Another sighting was recorded in June 2015.

The adults only fly in the sunshine and are easily disturbed as they feed from Ox-eye Daisy, Red and White Clover and other plants.  The larvae feed also feed on Red and White Clover as well as Bird's-foot-trefoil and some grasses.  All of these plants are available on the moor.

This photograph was taken in June 2013.

Buttercups provide a feast for tiny beetles 

and moths, Micropterix calthella.

Once uncommon in the north of the country the Red and Black or Black and Red froghopper Cercopis vulnerata is now commom and made an appearance this week.  They can appear from May and through the early summer months.

The moth traps were able to be set on Tuesday evening, but the catch from both traps was small, but as the saying goes it was quality not quantity.  A Poplar Kitten moth was recorded.  This beautiful moth has few records in our species database.  First recorded in 2006, and then again in 2015 and 2019, but not in large numbers.  The larva feed on Aspen and possibly on Willows.  Aspen does grow on the reserve but is not a widespread species.

Another moth caught was Pale Prominent, again the larvae feeding on Aspen, other poplars and willows.

And finally another moth with few records, but this may be because it does not stay still long enough to get close to even see what it is!  It was a hunt with patience.  The first photograph was of the underside through the Heather stems, really good for ID purposes.  But standing still and watching finally paid off and the photograph taken and ID confirmed the moth as Common Heath.  As the name suggests it is associated with heaths and heathers, the larva feeding on heathers and sometimes trefoils and clovers.

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Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Wednesday, June 2nd 2021

It is an honour to be able to let out the secret and announce today that the Foxglove Volunteers have been awarded with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK and is often described as the MBE for voluntary groups! Created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen's Golden Jubilee it recognises outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen's Coronation.

An assessment for the award took place back in November after a challenging year due to several periods of lockdown. During the visit, several volunteers talked to the assessors about work on the reserve and future plans were scrutinised.

Volunteers at the reserve come from all walks of life including local schools, military personnel and individuals who live nearby and have a love for nature. They work tirelessly sharing their differing skills to maintain and develop the reserve’s mosaic of habitats as well as working in the background on projects such as moth recording and of course day-to-day management.

Later this summer the crystal award and certificate will be presented by Mrs Johanna Ropner, Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire. Furthermore, two lucky volunteers will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2022 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this year's Award.

Chair of the Management Group, Lesley Garbutt, acknowledged the importance of receiving the QAVS award: “Having been a volunteer at Foxglove Covert myself for the past thirteen years I know how dedicated and hard-working our volunteers are. Without them Foxglove Covert would not be what it is today, and I am so pleased that they have been recognised by Her Majesty the Queen.”

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Help Support Foxglove

Friends of Foxglove

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.

More Details

Upcoming Events

Access to the Reserve: OPEN with limited access

Monday 18th March 2024 |

The reserve is now open, although again with limited access.

Visitors will be able to access the reserve with the use of key fobs provided at the pass office upon entrance to the camp, or will be provided entrance and exit through the access gate by an officer from the camp Guard Room. In this case visitors will need a mobile phone to call the Guard Room when they wish to exit the reserve.

Please be aware that due to these circumstances, entering and leaving the reserve might take a little longer than usual.

Dawn Chorus

Sunday 5th May 2024 | 5:30am-7:30am

A guided walk around the reserve to experience the dawn chorus and celebrate International Dawn Chorus Day.

Walk starts from the Field Centre at 5:30am.

Donation of £5 per person. Free for volunteers and Friends of Foxglove.

Booking essential. Fill in the booking form by clicking the link below. Pay via paypal or in person on the day.


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