Blog Archive (8) Posts Made in August 2022
Thursday, August 18th 2022
Thanks are also due to a team from the Personnel Recovery Centre who gave up their morning to repair some of the rustic steps in the woodland.
Although heavy rain stopped play, this is work in progress and a team will be back to finish off in the near future.
Thursday, August 18th 2022
Each year a local farmer generously donates chaff from the rapeseed harvest. This provides a valuable food source for birds, particularly finches, over the winter months. The chaff is donated in large dumpy bags and must be bagged up into smaller sacks for storage.
This year one of our younger volunteers spotted some ladybirds amongst the chaff and set about rescuing them.
They were carefully relocated to a new habitat.
With many hands, the task was completed in no time. Thank you to everyone involved in this important annual job!
Wednesday, August 17th 2022
Due to good growing conditions, many of the ponds on the reserve have become overgrown. Regular volunteers have been busy clearing small amounts of Broad-Leaved Pondweed to prevent this plant from taking over the habitat and provide more areas of open water.
The Pondweed has been left at the side of the ponds so that any invertebrates can make their way back into the water.
Peter tested out his new waders!
Work was also carried out on the main lake where there was hardly any open water left.
It is hoped that this will encourage the kingfisher to return to his fishing patch near the Lake Hide.
If you manage to spot the kingfisher, please let us know!
Tuesday, August 16th 2022
The aim of the BIOBLITZ was to find 30 new species to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the reserve. This has now been achieved with 36 new species added to the list so far this year! Highlights have included two new butterflies; Silver-washed Fritillary and Brown Argus.
Not a wild species but a surprising new addition was a newborn Dexter calf! It was born on the wetland on the 2nd August and a shock to find when checking the cows first thing in the morning.
Both mother and calf were fine and have been taken back to their farm (Big Sheep Little Cow) so that the farmers can keep a close eye on them.
Yet another addition this week are 6 Hebriddean sheep from Gam Farm in Grassington. They will be here for a few weeks to help manage the heathland. Look out for them as you drive along the access track!
Finally, not a wildlife species or livestock but a new feature is being added to the reserve; a new viewing platform is under construction at Spigot Mere which will be a fantastic place to observe the birdlife and dragonflies from.
Thank you to everyone involved with these exciting conservation projects.
Wednesday, August 10th 2022
The hot weather this week has provided the perfect conditions for haymaking on the wildflower meadow. Luckily for staff and volunteers there was enough growth to warrant a tractor to both cut and bale the hay. In previous years with less growth there wasn't enough grass to make sufficient bales and the whole field had to be raked in the old fashioned way with wooden hay rakes. Therefore, this year, once all of the flowers had gone over, the tractor was a welcome sight!
Some of the corners were awkward to reach by vehicle so the far side of the footpath still had to be raked by hand. This was hard work in the hot sun but also a rewarding task as you could definitely see where you had worked!
Once the hay was raked into neat piles it was left to dry for a day or two.
The next stage involved 'tedding' the hay. A tedder is an implement that is used to 'fluff' and spread hay to make it dry quicker. Tedding is usually done after the hay is mowed and before it is raked into windrows for baling. Tedding breaks up the tidy rows and exposes the hay on the underside of a pile to air and sunlight, speeding up the drying process.
Next, the dry hay had to be put back into evenly spaced rows ready for the baler. This step is known as 'dashing out'.
There is something very satisfying about watching this part which didn't take long thanks to the advanced machinery. In no time at all the field was ready for the baler to arrive.
The baler then 'hoovered up' and compacted the whole lot in a matter of minutes!
There was a sweepstake as to how many large round bales there would be.
They were loaded up and counted at the end of today, all 11 of them!
Our thanks to Ian and Mike for making the hay so carefully and efficiently and helping to manage this important habitat. Head over to the Facebook page to see some reels of the haymaking.
The Dream Team!
Monday, August 8th 2022
Days like Saturday would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the Foxglove volunteers.
So much work went on behind the scenes including preparing the site ahead of the big day; trail edges were strimmed, net rides were pruned, paths were swept, lawns were mown. Everywhere received a bit of TLC to show the reserve off at its best.
Work took place off site too; raffle tickets were designed, printed and sold and bunting was made! Local businesses were extremely generous with some fantastic prizes. On the day, the raffle was organised and more tickets were sold. If you have won a prize you will be contacted soon and some are in the post!
Volunteers baked cakes and biscuits and a refreshment stall 'popped up' on the front verandah!
Handmade crafts were donated and sold to raise vital funds.
Species were recorded and photographed.
All of the bird ringing data was carefully scribed too.
Our sincere thanks to everyone who helped out from running children's activities and parking cars to scribing, bird ringing and washing up at the end, your time and effort are very much appreciated, what a dream team!
Foxglove 30 BIOBLITZ
Monday, August 8th 2022
The 30th anniversary of the reserve was celebrated on Saturday with a family BIOBLITZ event. This year the aim is to discover 30 new species of wildlife to add to the existing 2,700 on the list. There were many walks and activities throughout the day for all ages.
First on the program was the moth recording which began at dawn.
The cool temperatures on Friday night meant that the numbers of moths caught was lower than expected however, there were some beautiful ones of over 70 different species, two of which were new for the site.
The bird ringers also had an early start (5am) but were rewarded with some special birds. This Sedge Warbler was the first bird to land in one of the mist nets!
Another surprise was a juvenile Reed Warbler which wasn't new but hadn't been observed at Foxglove since 2018.
Many Natural Historians and specialists came along to deliver guided walks and talks about their subjects. The warm sunshine made perfect conditions for watching butterflies.
15 species were counted including both Dark Green and Silver-washed fritillaries.
There were lots of hands-on activities such as making butterfly feeders and leaf bunting. Some of the adults enjoyed these as much, if not more, than the children!
There was an opportunity to learn about wildlife photography and with some of the meadows and glades still in bloom there was plenty to capture.
Out on the heathland, Entomologists (both experienced and budding) searched for new invertebrates!
Back at the Field Centre, Beekeepers from Richmondshire District Beekeepers' Association were on hand to promote the importance of bees…
and a Mycologist was demonstrating the process of fermenting fungi to create Kombucha.
Walks also took place to find wildflowers, dragonflies & damselflies and lichens & mosses. Thank you to all of the specialists who contributed by sharing their incredible knowledge. The results are still coming in and will be available shortly.
Fingers crossed for some additional new species; 16 still to go so far!
Friday, August 5th 2022
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the reserve and to celebrate it is hoped to discover 30 new species of wildlife. With over 2, 700 species already on the list this is going to be a challenge! So far this year 12 have been discovered including a Silver-washed Fritillary butterfly which only showed itself for the first time last week.
If you would like to help to find some more wildlife to add to the growing list then why not join us tomorrow in a search of the whole site. Join Botanists, Ornithologists, Entomologists and Lepidopterists to learn more about their subjects. There will be a chance to chat to the Beekeepers and Birdringers and to watch a demonstration on how to make Kombucha from fungi! You may be lucky and spot a Common Lizard basking during a sunny spell like the one here that was photographed yesterday.
There will be fun nature themed activities for the children and refreshments on sale too. It will be the last chance to buy a raffle ticket too! Check the events page on our website for exact timings.