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Walking Around

Saturday, July 9th 2016

Walking around Foxglove you are never quite sure what you are going to see or hear.  Depending on the season, when arriving just before dawn for ringing, you could hear a Tawny Owl calling, a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming or a Roe Deer barking.  During the day the sounds change and it could be a Chiffchaff, or a Moorhen calling for her young, or the reeds rustling in the wind.  Sometimes it may be the plop of a Water Vole leaving the apple platform in disgust as there are no apples present.  They are on a diet at the minute as they were probably eating too many apples!

Knowing the reserve and knowing where certain insects are likely to appear, given the right conditions, standing quietly, your eye starts to tune in on what is around you.  Camera at the ready and focus and click.  Four blue damselflies all sitting together on a fern frond.  There was a fifth but the photo was not in focus.

Four Damselflies on a fern frond

The Ringlet butterflies are leading us a merry dance and refusing to settle in a suitable place, but the skippers are much more co-operative.

Skipper Butterfly

It is always best to take an invertebrate against a green background of vegetation, but this Zebra Spider preferred the rail of a bridge.  He does not spin a web but jumps onto his prey.  There can be insects on the rails, so probably a good hunting ground.

Zebra Spider

Many ladybird larvae eat greenfly, so it is to be expected that they would be found on plants.  As can be seen this marker post is not a plant and not the easiest of places to gain a sharp, in focus photo.

Ladybird larvae on a marker post

Thankfully plants stay in one place and stay still.  Some are more beautiful than others.  Water Figwort grows through the Scrapes and is not a flower that stands out, but when you look closely, the tiny flowers are different.

Water Figwort

Zigzag Clover is the brightest coloured of the clovers and essential for bees and other insects.

Zigzag Clover and Bird's Foot Trefoli

Zigzag Clover

Knapweed or Hardheads begins to flower now and can still be flowering well into autumn.  Consequently it is an important food source for late flying bees, butterflies and insects.

Hardheads

Interestingly the Rayed Knapweed flowers just a little earlier and its flowering season is not as long.

Rayed Knapweed

The Yellow Rattle has done really well and it is just beginning to rattle.

Yellow Rattle seed head


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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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