Blog Archive (11) Posts Made in February 2023

Signs of Spring

Wednesday, February 22nd 2023

Although Winter is not yet officially over, there are definite signs of Spring emerging at Foxglove. The birds have started to sing and Great Spotted Woodpeckers have been heard drumming in the tree tops. Earlier this week the first frogs of the year were spotted. These amphibians vary greatly in colour and 'hop' rather than walk as they head towards the ponds to breed. 

Frogspawn has already been found in one of the ponds in the Scrapes. Frogs can spawn as early as December and as late as April depending on the weather and an individual female can lay up to 4,000 eggs in one Spring! The spawn is jelly-like and forms big 'rafts' unlike toad spawn which is layed in long strands. 

After hatching, it will take the tadpoles around 14 weeks to metamorphose into froglets.

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Wetland Work

Friday, February 17th 2023

The ponds on the Wetland are an important habitat for a variety of birds, amphibians and invertebrates. Recently, one of the banks between two ponds has started to fail with water seeping over the top and soil slumping into the next pond. Our keen Duke of Edinburgh volunteer has been marking out the area in need of some repairs. 

Thank you for all your hard work this week!

A group from the Personnel Recovery Centre in Catterick Garrison have moved large amounts of soil in a huge effort to build up the bank and maintain the ponds. Definitely a 'Green Gym' day! 

Meanwhile, regular volunteers have continued working along the banks of the beck. The full length has now been cleared and several Kingfisher perches installed. 

The beck looks amazing, fingers crossed for Kingfishers! 

Thank you to everyone for your hard work.

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Queen’s Green Canopy

Friday, February 17th 2023

The newly replanted area by the Outdoor Classroom is now officially part of the Queen's Green Canopy, a initiative created to mark Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee. We are now live on the Queen's Green Canopy Map

Thank you again to everyone involved in the replanting at Foxglove. 

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Becks, Brambles and Bridges!

Wednesday, February 15th 2023

There were blue skies and sunshine on Tuesday as volunteers tackled another important habitat project. Work has begun along the length of the beck that flows out of the Lake. Overhanging vegetation has been removed from the banks to allow more light to reach the ground. This will benefit wildflowers in the spring and promote the growth of the remaining trees. There were plenty of brambles and thorns to make this task more difficult but this didn't put off our young Duke of Edinburgh volunteer!

It is hoped that this vegetation clearance will also benefit Kingfishers by opening up the habitat that they need to hunt for their prey. These birds fly rapidly over water and hunt fish from riverside perches. The habitat work will also benefit other bird species such as Grey Wagtails and Dippers. 

By the end of the day, the banks had been cleared. Fingers crossed for Kingfishers this year!  

Meanwhile, on the far side of the lake, Willow in front of the feeders was coppiced. This will allow birdwatchers a clear view from the Lake Hide to spot a variety of species including flocks of Finches and Tits. 

The cut brash was tidied up and added to habitat piles. These piles will benefit other wildlife, for example providing food and shelter for a variety of invertebrates. 

The view from the hide and bridge has been opened up massively and looks amazing. Unfortunately, this bridge currently remains closed to visitors for essential maintenance but we are working hard to open it up as soon as possible. 

Thank you to everyone for your hard work this week. 

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Fabulous Finches

Wednesday, February 15th 2023

There was excitement in the ringing room at Foxglove this weekend as not one but two control birds (ringed by another ringing group) were caught.

This stunning male Lesser Redpoll was first ringed in 2020 in the East Riding of Yorkshire, approximately 60 miles away.

This female Siskin hasn't travelled quite so far. She was first ringed in 2022 in County Durham, around 19 miles away.

Ringers were also fortunate to catch several Brambling. These beautiful birds are winter visitors to the UK and have been observed feeding amongst Chaffinches in the back garden. 

Other finches, including Bullfinches and Goldfinches, have also been observed feeding in the back garden.

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Ponds and Paths

Friday, February 10th 2023

The sun was shining and Team Thursday were out in force this week working on the Voley Ponds. 

Over time the first Voley Pond has filled with silt and become overgrown. Barely any open water remained and the levels were very low. 

Staff and volunteers have worked hard to dig out part of the pond and improve this habitat for wildlife. 

It was incredibly muddy work and it wasn't long before everyone was covered, particularly those wallowing in the pond itself!

Despite the mud, spirits remained high!

Meanwhile, old pieces of boardwalk from elsewhere on the reserve have been cut and repurposed. These have been hammered in along the bank of the second Voley Pond to provide more structure to the bank and path. 

The mud dug out of the first pond has been moved to build up the bank between the newly constructed edging. 

What felt like hundreds of trips with buckets and wheelbarrows was needed to fill the length of the path with the gloopy mud dug out of the pond. 

At the end of the day, the inflow pipe was unblocked allowing water to once again flow into the pond and begin to raise the levels. By the next day, the pond had completely filled with water again. This will be an important habitat for a variety of invertebrates and amphibians in the spring. 

Thank you to everyone involved for such a huge effort in completing this project.

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Go Batty!

Friday, February 10th 2023

Come to the reserve during half term and have some family fun along the Red Route (Easy Access Trail) as you seach for hidden clues. Test your knowledge of these elusive creatures of the night by answering the fun quiz. The answers can be found on the back of the clues as you go. 

No need to book, just turn up!

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Queen’s Green Canopy

Wednesday, February 8th 2023

Foxglove volunteers were hard at work on Tuesday planting trees kindly donated by the Woodland Trust. Incredibly, over 300 trees were planted in just one day! The work began with a tree planting demonstration and tool safety talk.

The trees were planted near the Outdoor Classroom where over 100 ash trees were felled in late 2022. These ash trees were infected with ash dieback and were a potential hazard to visitors and volunteers. After a massive tidy up operation, it was very satisfying to finally be able to replant the area. 

A mixture of broadleaved species were planted including Sessile Oak, Field Maple, Wild Cherry, Rowan and Grey Willow.

These trees now form part of the Queen's Green Canopy, a tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty's Platinunum Jubilee in 2022. Brian was the day's designated VIP and planted a Hornbeam tree behind the official Queen's Green Canopy plaque. 

There was a fantastic turn out including lots of regular volunteers and students from the Personalised Learning College.

The area has been added to the official Queen's Green Canopy Map and should go live in a few days. A huge thank you to everyone involved in this massive replanting effort!

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We’re Open!

Monday, February 6th 2023

The reserve is now open again. We apologise for any inconvenience caused over the weekend and look forward to seeing you all soon. 

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Worky Day Cancelled

Friday, February 3rd 2023

Due to unforeseen circumstances out of our control, the reserve will be closed this weekend (4th-5th Feb). As a result, the February Worky Day planned for tomorrow has had to be cancelled. We are really sorry for any inconvenience caused and hope to organise another tree planting event at a later date. 

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Wonderful Redpoll

Wednesday, February 1st 2023

Lesser Redpoll are a common sight on the Foxglove feeders at this time of year. They are a highly mobile species known to travel long distances. Members of the Swaledale Ringing Group have recently caught a control individual (ringed by another ringing group). This stunning male was first ringed in 2021 in Hampshire, over 200 miles away!

Ringers have also been fortunate to catch a Common Redpoll amongst the Lesser Redpoll. Previously considered to be one species, these have now been split into two separate species. Also known as the Mealy Redpoll, the Common Redpoll is a winter visitor to the UK and can be distinguished by its larger size and paler plumage. 

Both species feed on seeds, particularly birch and alder, and will form large flocks in winter often mixed in with Siskins.

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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.

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Upcoming Events

Winter Worky Day

Sunday 3rd March 2024 | 10am - 3pm

The final winter worky day of the season, join Foxglove staff and volunteers for a fun day of practical habitat management. Bring old clothes and sturdy footwear you don't mind getting mucky and a packed lunch. 

Booking essential for this free event. 

Spring Crafts Day

Wednesday 27th March 2024 | 10am-3pm

Spring themed crafts for kids during the Easter holiday. Come along to enjoy the reserve as spring breaks through and have a go at some kid-friendly crafts in the Field Centre classroom.

No booking required. Donations welcome.


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