Blog Archive (10) Posts Made in September 2022
Raking It In!
Saturday, September 24th 2022
With around 15 areas of meadow to manage (not including the large wildflower meadow) the Autumn job list involves a lot of cutting and raking.
The cuttings need to be removed to prevent the nutrients from going back into the ground as the wildflowers thrive best in poor soil conditions. Raking the hay can be a fun and rewarding task and this year help is on hand from the Northallerton Personalised Learning College in Northallerton.
Last week, the team worked together in one of the apple orchards and completed the job in no time!
Most areas have now been cut but some still contain flowering plants and will be left for as long as it takes for the flowers to go over and the seeds to set. The Hemp Agrimony is a valuable late source of nectar for many pollinators.
There are still plenty of butterflies on the wing; Red Admirals were observed feeding on rotting apples today. Dragonflies and damselflies are still flitting around the Scrapes and only yesterday a Kingfisher was seen there too.
St Helena National Trust
Friday, September 23rd 2022
Today it was a pleasure to welcome two members of staff from St Helena National Trust who were visiting with Entomologists Dr Roger and Rosy Key to learn about identification of bugs and invertebrates. Back in St Helena, the Trust is carrying out an Invasive Invertebrate Project. They were joined by Vicky Wilkins, Programmes Manager for the Species Recovery Trust.
The group enjoyed a guided walk to learn about the management of the different habitats at the reserve.
There was also time for some pond dipping to identify some freshwater species.
Caddis fly larva, Pond Skaters and water beetles were amongst the catch!
It was a fun learning experience for everybody and we wish them all the best of luck with their vital conservation projects.
Every Buzz Counts
Friday, September 23rd 2022
The Great Big Green Week 2022 is the UK's biggest ever celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature. If you would like to take part then join in with 'Every Buzz Matters'. In conjunction with the RSPB, The Climate Coalition, RCAP, YDMT and Sustainable Swaledale there will be a fun event for all ages.
On the day there will be:
Bee themed crafts and activities
Seed bomb workshop
Bilberry Bee Treasure Trail
Build a solitary bee hotel
In preparation for the big day, Co-op Member Pioneer Zabi kindly donated wildflower seed cards to be given out to people who attend the event.
There is no charge for this event however, donations are always welcome. Light refreshments will be available to purchase.
No need to book, just turn up!
Saturday, September 17th 2022
Recent weather conditions have been ideal for the growth of fungi. Volunteers have already identified 50 species on the reserve this month.
Particularly impressive is the Parasol mushroom. This species is fairly common in well-drained soils and has a large fruiting body which resembles a parasol. It can be distinguished from the similar looking Shaggy Parasol by the scaly snakeskin-like pattern on its stipe.
The Parasol can be found solitary or in groups. It is most common in pastures but can also be found in woodland. There is currently a stunning fairy ring of this species at the Stone Circle on the reserve.
The Parasol has white spores which can be seen in this beautiful spore print.
Thank you to everyone who has helped so far with identifying Foxglove's Fantastic Fungi!
Wednesday, September 14th 2022
Due to the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II on Monday 19th September, the reserve will be closed on this day as a mark of respect.
We will re-open as normal on Tuesday 20th September.
Thank you for your understanding.
30 Years of CES Bird Ringing
Saturday, September 10th 2022
Since 1993, bird ringers at Foxglove have taken part in the Constant Effort Sites Scheme (CES). The Scheme run by the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) provides valuable trend information on abundance of adults and juveniles, productivity and also adult survival rates for 24 species of common songbird. During the CES period ringers operate the same nets in the same locations over the same time period at regular intervals through the breeding season at over 140 sites throughout Britain and Ireland. Foxglove Covert is one of these important sites.
Lee Barber, Demographic Surveys Organiser for the BTO, sent out this message :
“It is now September and migration is well underway and with it comes the end of another CES season. We hope you had a good season and we extend our sincere thanks to you and everyone that helped out at your CES. This scheme does take time and dedication to complete the 12 sessions but the information it generates is unique and vital to our understanding of how the season has gone and how our birds fared.”
Although the data from all sites hasn't all been submitted yet, once it has a report will be compliled by the BTO. Last years report can be read on the BTO website.
The ambitious project has reached a 30 year anniversary at Foxglove which was the milestone that Tony Crease (who registered the Foxglove CES) hoped would be reached. In August 2017 after 25 years of the project he wrote:
“My very sincere thanks go to every single one of you who has helped create this remarkable achievement. Here I include the whole ringing group and all our volunteers and supporters, those that have strimmed and mowed our net rides in the rain. The data is a major component in the song bird studies being carried out by the BTO and it is a credit to you all. I am deeply grateful to every one of you - this really is a major milestone.”
He hoped the work would continue until the 30th year and thanks to a team of dedicated volunteers his wish has been carried out. Thank you to all who have been involved throughout the years in this valuable research.
Rest In Peace Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Thursday, September 8th 2022
The team at Foxglove are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen. Her Majesty was the Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards who established the conservation area 30 years ago.
The hard work and dedication of the Foxglove volunteers was recognised by Her Majesty in 2021 when the group was awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. It was an honour to receive the award which means a great deal to all of the individuals who contribute to the running of the reserve. We will always remain privileged of this commendation and our condolences are with the members of the Royal Family.
Thursday, September 8th 2022
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the reserve will be closed on Sunday 11th September for one day only.
We apologise for any inconvenience.
Tuesday, September 6th 2022
Last month was a busy one with plenty of visitors including several organised groups including one from Carers Plus Yorkshire who attended the Catterick Cuppa Club and spent a morning walking around the reserve. They also had a go at pond dipping and did the 'posh test' at the Grand Fir (If you know, you know)!
Forest School also took place and this month the children made bunting from materials they collected on a walk. Leaves were hammered onto fabric to leave an imprint.
Some of the bunting was left behind to join the Foxglove 30 decorations…
and some was taken home!
Thank you to all of the families amd groups that have supported the reserve this summer, it has been a pleasure to spend time with you. There are lots of family activities planned for the autumn and winter months, take a look at the events page for further details.
Tuesday, September 6th 2022
Livestock at the reserve are checked daily and last week the Dexter cows were there on Tuesday but nowhere to be seen on Wednesday! Then, they were spotted just on the other side of the fence. It is thought that loud firing on the training area had spooked them and in their panic they had fled the reserve. The owners were informed and a first attempt was made to entice them back with a sack of feed!
The cattle came close but refused to come back so were left overnight to calm down. However, the next morning they appeared to have vanished! Unbeknown to us they had gone into hiding in some nearby gorse bushes; believe it or not, in the photo below there are 4 farmers and two cows. Honest!
Eventually, they were spotted and this time with a bit of coaxing they were brought back to Foxglove.To prevent them from escaping again they were put on the wildflower meadow overnight. The only problem was that around twenty sheep followed them in through the gate! The following evening they were loaded into a trailer and taken back to Big Sheep Little Cow where they usually live.
Thank you to everyone who helped to find and catch them and to the farmers from Big Sheep Little Cow for kindly loaning them to us. They have done a fantastic job grazing on the wetland. Meanwhile, the sheep were behaving superbly on the heathland!
The small flock of six will be here for a few more weeks to help manage this habitat.