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Finding Food in the Frost

Monday, January 8th 2018

Yesterday was a busy day day at Foxglove Covert with around 40 visitors to the Reserve.  Today promised to be another good day, starting with a very heavy frost which attracted visitors throughout the day, but making it more difficult to find food.  Lark and Taurus did their normal ritual of standing next to the Wetland Hide to catch the first rays of the sun before moving on to browse the Gorse.  Watching Lark at work showed that he needed to break and bruise the plant first by stamping on it before eating it.  Taurus had no such inhibitions and was tearing off lumps to eat.

Clearly the frost took a long time to clear, covering much of the Reserve with ice.  There were several family groups walking round just to admire the views before making use of the faciilities in the Field Centre, and we had at least 16 visitors today, many saying that this was their first visit and they would be coming back soon.  

Here some were treated to the views from the camera on the Wetland Hide which had caught our attention as there was a tall thin line which was not normally there and which then moved to show itself as a Grey Heron.  Focusing on the bird showed interesting behaviour when it first noticed the ponies.  Initially both were wary of each other, but then the Heron seemed to start stalking them.  The picture below is taken of the Field Centre screen, so is a little bit blurred, but shows the bird making its way over to start feeding between Lark and Taurus, and it seemed to be working over areas that they had just been either walking or feeding on.

Going to check how the bonfire had settled over at the Bullet Catcher from the Worky Day on Saturday showed it was still glowing and so a quick raking in of wood that had not caught fire meant that this could now be burnt as well.  Again, a bird arrived to join in with the activity, with a Robin almost going into the fire to see if there was anything to eat.

Towards the end of the day, Susanna of the Yorkshire Exmoor Ponies Trust came to check on Lark and Taurus.  It was decided that they should move from the Wetland to the Moorland.  Thankfully, both know Susanna, so there was little difficulty in her catching them and getting head collars on.

They moved over quietly before cantering off to explore their new surroundings.  Lark discovered that there were sheep the other side of the fence and gave them a meaningful stare before settling to graze.  They have plenty to eat in the Moorland, and a good supply of running water, so we are putting signs up asking visitors to keep dogs on leads and not to feed them.


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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


Meadow Mayhem CANCELLED

Saturday 4th July 2020 | 10.00am - 12 noon

The events programme has been temporarily withdrawn. For up to date information this website, FaceBook and other forms of social media should be consulted. If you have donated in advance to secure a place on an event you will be contacted over the next few days and offered a refund. We apologise for this inconvenience.

Celebrate National Meadows Day!

Join us for a morning exploring the many wildflower meadows found at Foxglove. We will be learning how to ID wildflowers and grasses, as well as sweep netting for butterflies and insects and identifying them. This event is part of the Flowers of the Dales Festival

A minimum donation of £5 per person in advance to guarantee a place. Card payments can be taken by phone.

This event is free for Volunteers and Friends of the reserve.



Damsels and Dragons CANCELLED

Sunday 19th July 2020 | 1.00pm start

The events programme has been temporarily withdrawn. For up to date information this website, FaceBook and other forms of social media should be consulted. If you have donated in advance to secure a place on an event you will be contacted over the next few days and offered a refund. We apologise for this inconvenience.

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a Dragonfly and a Damselfly? Can you tell the difference between the different species of blue damselfly? Would you like to learn more about theses fascinating animals that have been around since prehistoric times? Join Keith Gittens for a walk around the beautiful Foxglove ponds (some of which are usually out of bounds to visitors) and observe as many different species as you can. Last year, a new species for the reserve was discovered on this event!

Booking is essential as places are limited. There is a donation of £5 per person to be paid in advance in order to secure a place. Payments now can be made on the phone.

This event is free for Volunteers and Friends of the reserve.



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The Dragonflies of Strensall and Foxglove Covert
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This book has been published with the aim of enabling people visiting these, immensely important Flagship Pond Sites in North Yorkshire, to identify the dragonflies and damselflies they encounter - by reference to a simple text and photographs. Credits - Yorkshire Dragonfly Group & Freshwater Habitats Trust

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