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Orchids and Owls

Friday, June 21st 2019

There have never been so many orchids growing at Foxglove Covert before. They have spread to nearly every corner of the reserve and several places have so many that it would be difficult to walk there without damaging them. Some of the footpath edges have not been strimmed due to the presence of these stunning flowers.

Although mainly Northern Marsh and Common Spotted there are hybrids too and the colours vary from bright pink to purple. It is well worth a visit to see them and many are alongside the trails.

Off the beaten track, Marsh Cinquefoil grows in one of the UK Flagship ponds. It is a good source of food for nectar-loving insects, such as bees and hoverflies. It is one of a number of cinquefoils, but is unique in the UK as the only one with deep magenta flowers - the rest have yellow flowers. It is a member of the rose family.

lt can be identified by its magenta, star-shaped flowers (the red 'petals' are actually sepals) and the pinkish tinge to its green parts. Its leaves are divided into five long lobes with toothed margins.

The last brood of Pied Flycatchers for this breeding season were ringed this evening. There were five healthy chicks and both adults were keeping an eye on the proceedings! On the way home from the woodland this Little Owl was spotted by the roadside. A rare sight these days.

A team from the Swaledale Ringing Team are heading North to Cape Wrath today on a bird ringing expedition. So far they have ringed Curlew, Cormorants, Herring Gulls and a staggering eighty-three Common Tern chicks. Photographs will follow when wifi allows! 

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