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Birds, Voles and Schools

Monday, September 26th 2016

This was not the standard Monday morning; I had very little time in the office doing the usual Monday morning routine and busied myself with getting ready for a school education visit by Queen Mary’s School, Thirsk. This was the first visit by the school to the reserve.
The first activity featured birds. While I gave a general presentation on our feathered friends, Stacey and Jenny set up a mist net in the garden in readiness for giving a bird ringing demonstration to the small group of 14. With the birds extracted from the net we were able to show the girls a number of Siskins, Chaffinches, and Blue Tits. The joy on the faces of these young people of being able to get up close to these beautiful birds made all the preparation worth it, and I am sure the memory of this will stay with these young girls way into adulthood, hopefully we have sown a seed for a future Foxglove Covert Reserve Manager.

Below, one of the juvenile male Siskins.

It was not just the children who enjoyed themselves; the teachers themselves also appreciated their time here.


During the habitat walk I set up the bird spotting scope in the Wetland Hide where the Water Voles were seen close-up, and also having another little territorial fight with another Water Vole for the freshly put out apples. The Dexter cows were grazing nearby oblivious to the voles interaction.

With the beginning of Autumn yesterday the weather felt cooler, and the flower meadow devoid of flowers seemed to underline that summer was at an end. However, there is still Scabious and Fleabane about, amongst others.


(1) Comments:

Rebecca Foster (teacher at Queen Mary's School) responded on 29th Sep 2016 with...

We would like to send huge thanks to all the staff at Foxglove Covert for such a fantastic day out for our pupils on Monday! We all thoroughly enjoyed watching the bird ringing. What a treat indeed! We also enjoyed watching the water voles, pond dipping and looking into a real live bee hive. What an informative and fun day out. We hope to come again and visit this very special place which is bursting with natural wonders.
Thank you again,
Mrs Foster and Year Three from Queen Mary’s School.


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The Friends of Foxglove Covert is for those individuals, families and organisations who would like to support the reserve through an annual membership subscription. Friends receive a regular newsletter and invitations to attend our various activities and social events.

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Upcoming Events


Meadow Mayhem

Saturday 4th July 2020 | 10.00am - 12 noon

Celebrate National Meadows Day!

Join us for a morning exploring the many wildflower meadows found at Foxglove. We will be learning how to ID wildflowers and grasses, as well as sweep netting for butterflies and insects and identifying them. This event is part of the Flowers of the Dales Festival

A minimum donation of £5 per person in advance to guarantee a place. Card payments can be taken by phone.

This event is free for Volunteers and Friends of the reserve.



Damsels and Dragons

Sunday 19th July 2020 | 1.00pm start

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a Dragonfly and a Damselfly? Can you tell the difference between the different species of blue damselfly? Would you like to learn more about theses fascinating animals that have been around since prehistoric times? Join Keith Gittens for a walk around the beautiful Foxglove ponds (some of which are usually out of bounds to visitors) and observe as many different species as you can. Last year, a new species for the reserve was discovered on this event!

Booking is essential as places are limited. There is a donation of £5 per person to be paid in advance in order to secure a place. Payments now can be made on the phone.

This event is free for Volunteers and Friends of the reserve.



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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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