Time for Toads
Sunday, March 29th 2020
It is that time of year when hundreds of Toads migrate back to the ponds at Foxglove. In usual circumstances, visitors have to take care when driving in, as the speckled amphibians are well camouflaged on the gravel track. The Toads make their way back to the pools around the reserve to breed. They are often found on the footpaths and are observed sitting on the bottom of ponds (where they can remain for four to seven hours). The pair photographed here appear to be following some kind of 'social distancing' rule!
They are always a delight to watch and the males make a funny sound (similar to a squeaky dog toy) in order to attract a mate! Each year, the first school children to visit the reserve enjoy this wildlife spectacle which only lasts for a few days. Last week a class from St Mary's RC Primary School in Richmond should have been to Foxglove for an educational day out. It is a shame that the the visit had to be cancelled for this Spring but we will give schools that had booked for this term priority for another date in the future. We hope that the staff and pupils are all safe and well and we look forward to welcoming them later in the year.
Photographs of wildlife have been coming in from many of our supporters and a Friend of Foxglove from Newton Aycliffe has kindly shared these beautiful pictures taken in his back garden. Here is a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly:
A Long-tailed Tit:
And finally, a Great Tit:
Please see our Facebook site for more wildlife pictures taken by our supporters and if you are stuck inside, a reminder that nature is never far away whether it is a ladybird on the windowsill or a Robin in your back garden, enjoy it!
Spring Goes On!
Wednesday, March 25th 2020
As a distraction from the current situation, we will try to bring you as many wildlife and nature photographs as we can. The latest Foxglove newsletter Undergrowth is now available to read and will hopefully be posted out to Friends and Volunteers shortly. Our sincere thanks to the editor Katie Awdas for bringing this together at a difficult time. Thank you too to all of the contributers (we are always looking for more if anyone has an idea for an article then please get in touch). A final thank you to the staff at Richmond Print who managed to turn this job around before having to close their doors.
Here are a couple of photos that were sent in by a local Natural Historian. The first one shows a Long-tailed Tit sitting in her beautiful mossy nest. According to the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) their nests can be found in a variety of locations; tight against the trunk of a forked tree, high up, or in a shrub like hawthorn or bramble and placed lower down. The oval-shaped nests have a single entrance and are made out of moss, hair and cobwebs, then covered with lichens for camouflage and lined with hundreds of feathers. The nest is made by both parents quite early in the year (beginning in February), as they can take more than 3 weeks to build, and it is often left for some days once complete - a noticeable gap before egg-laying begins.
He also sent this stunning photograph of some Avocets that have returned to breed on his patch.
We would love to see your pictures of wildlife too. It doesn't matter when they were taken. Please send any that you are happy to share on the blog to the reserve email address: email@example.com (remember to include your name if you would like to be mentioned).
Alternatively you can upload them onto the Foxglove social media sites (FB, Twitter and Instagram).
Monday, March 23rd 2020
We regret to announce that in line with both government and MOD guidelines, to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, as of 4pm today Foxglove Covert LNR will be closed to the public until further notice. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their continued support during these unprecedented circumstances and will keep you updated of any changes. We apologise for any inconvenience and hope to be open again soon.
An Important Update for Volunteers
Monday, March 23rd 2020
It is after much thought and with regret that a decision has been taken by the trustees to put a temporary halt on volunteering at Foxglove Covert LNR. Volunteers are the backbone of the reserve and will be tremendously missed but in view of the current situation with Covid-19 this next step was unavoidable and we need to do our part to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.The health and wellbeing of the staff, volunteers and visitors is the main priority and we will keep you informed as and when the situation changes. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all of your hard work to date, it is hugely valued and we hope that you will return as soon as the situation improves. You are a fantastic team and the different skills and knowledge that you bring to the reserve are second to none. In the meantime, please stay safe and if you are struggling in any way please get in touch and we will do our best to help you.
Here are some of the pictures taken of the last few volunteering days when we were respecting the two metre distance rule and enjoying the fresh air!
Friday, March 20th 2020
Circumstances globally at the moment are unprecedented and we are in unchartered waters. How life generally will pan out over the next six months is difficult to predict as are the spring and summer activities at Foxglove. It is our intention to keep the reserve open, if possible, but whether or not we will be able to achieve that is unknown at this stage.
Our main priority is to keep staff, volunteers and visitors as safe as possible. The reserve trails and hides remain open however, access to the Field Centre is now limited to the toilets only. Please use the hand sanitiser provided at the entrance way.
We have adopted the two metre rule, please respect this whilst on the reserve and keep a sensible distance away from staff and other visitors.
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.
The telephones will normally be manned during opening times. These are 01748 830045 (office) or 07754 270980 (mobile).
The reserve should always be open for walks and exercise unless notice is given to the contrary.
Keep well, keep safe and listen carefully to the advice given.
On a more positive note; the reserve is starting to come alive just now with signs of spring everywhere. There is a mass of frogspawn in the ponds through the scrapes and the Toads are beginning to arrive on their annual migration to their breeding grounds. Primroses and Bluebells are starting to show and the place is lifting with birds. There are still Brambling about and the first Chiffchaffs to arrive can be heard in the Willow Carr. There are plenty of Redpolls, Chaffinches and Bullfinches as well as the more usual common garden birds. Woodpeckers can be heard drumming in the woodland and up on the wetland and moorland, Lapwing and Curlew can be heard calling again too. A real sign of hope at this unsettling time. A walk around in the sunshine is just the right medicine if you are feeling concerned and provides welcome respite from the current situation. For those of you stuck at home, here is the view from the tower hide today!
Your continued support during this unusual period is extremely valued.