Tales of the Riverbank

Friday, November 15th 2013

Ken has completed his latest challenge of capturing a Water Vole on film with his remote camera. Although difficult to spot, these elusive mammals often leave behind footprints in the clay pads that are left out to monitor for presence of mink. During the winter months, the voles do not hibernate but their activity levels are greatly reduced making them even more tricky to see in the wild. As you can see from the footage below, they are considerably smaller in size than a rat and have much shorter tails.

 At the other end of the 'tail spectrum', Long-tailed tits were caught and ringed this afternoon. These beautiful birds are easily recognisable with their distinctive colouring, tails that are longer than their bodies, and undulating flight. They rove about in flocks of about twenty and are often heard at Foxglove calling to each other in the tree tops.


In Birds Britannica, Mark Cocker writes that “outside the breeding season they rove through their communal territory enveloped in a perpetual cocoon of soft, bubbling contact notes”. When a party flew off, he said, “they resemble a succession of whirring sticks with globular, pink ping-pong ball foreparts”. John Clare referred to them as bumbarrels in his poems.


A Kingfisher was watched feeding on the lake today and a Common Darter dragonfly was observed in the scrapes this afternoon. Watch this space for the results of Ken's next challenge!

(1) Comments:

Glenn responded on 17th Nov 2013 with...

And coy bumbarrels twenty in a drove
Flit down the hedgerows in the frozen plain
And hang on little twigs and start again.

John Clare, ‘the peasant poet’, written in the early 1800s.

As discussed on Friday. G.

Leave a Comment:

Please complete this field, it's required. Your email address will not be displayed but it's required.

Your email address will not be displayed but it's required.

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Back to Top

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

Owl Pellet Discovery - CANCELLED

Wednesday 8th April 2020 | 10.30am 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The events programme has been temporarily withdrawn.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.

Come and learn all about the different  owl species that live in North Yorkshire. Find out what they eat by dissecting their pellets and identifying the contents.  Recommended for ages 7 years upwards. 

Booking is essential as places are limited.

Suggested minimum donation of £5 per person. Please donate in advance to secure a place.

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

Richmond Coffee Morning - POSTPONED

Thursday 9th April 2020 | 9.00am - 12 noon

Due to the current situation, the coffee morning has been postponed. The next is planned for October 22nd.

Come and enjoy a relaxing cup of tea or coffee and a 'sticky' at Richmond Town Hall.  There will be a raffle, tombola and a stall selling delicious homemade cakes!  All proceeds from this fundraising event go towards the running costs of the reserve. 

If you would like to donate any cakes or items for the raffle or tombola please take them to the field centre beforehand or to Richmond Town Hall on the day.  No need to book, just turn up!


Undergrowth Newsletter

The Dragonflies of Strensall and Foxglove Covert

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

Read this Issue

View All The Newsletters

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Archive