Tuesday, March 17th 2020
Over the last few weeks, staff and volunteers have been working hard to maintain the many ponds all around the reserve. One of the dams at the cascading pools had been overflowing and to allow for this in the future, an overspill channel was created by first digging out a trench and then filling it with boulders.
The pools are a beautiful feature and act as a wildlife corridor from the training area to the main lake on the reserve. In the summer they are frequented by Grey Wagtails and Kingfishers.
Another task was to clear the inflow and outflow pipes from the ponds that are fed with water from Risedale Beck. After the recent storms, debris had collected around the pipe entrances preventing water from leaving and causing the levels to rise. In some cases, the levels were so high that waders were necessary!
Locating the pipe was the first challenge however, once the leaves and twigs were removed, the levels soon returned to where they should be. It looked as though spear fishing was the new hobby!
All of these water bodies are important habitats for a variety of species. Last week and the week before, the ponds were filled with frogs. Now there is hardly one to be seen just plenty of frogspawn. Today saw the first Toads arriving; this pair were in the middle of the footpath on the way to the wetland hide.
Signs of Otter such as spraint and tracks are frequently observed at Foxglove and recently this perfect footprint was discovered in one of the clay rafts on the wetland. The print had five clear toes and could only have been left by this impressive yet elusive mammal.
This evidence was backed up with a photograph of an Otter taken with a wildlife camera trap close to where the footprint was found. The image showed only of part of the animal and if a better one is captured, it will be posted on a future blog.
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