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Breeding Barn Owls

Thursday, May 7th 2020

Another resident of large bird boxes is the Barn Owl. Although nesting has been recorded in every month of the year, most pairs lay eggs only in the spring. Early laying females are generally those with the best food supply and first-year birds tend to breed a little later than older, more experienced birds.

It is almost impossible to tell if a Barn Owl is male or female just seeing it fly overhead. However, up close females often have darker brown feathers around the rim of the facial disc as well as darker bars on the tail and small black spots on the chest and underside of the wings. Males are generally lighter and a more pure white underneath. The one shown here is a female with dark flecks on her front and a dark fascial disc.

Barn Owls do not “build” a nest as such but lay their eggs directly onto the previous years’ nest debris – a compacted layer of owl pellets.  The female might also make a scrape in the debris and break up a few recent pellets creating a soft layer for egg laying. In this photograph the chicks are just hatching. Hopefully, there is a similar sight inside the Foxglove Barn Owl nest!

There are lots of interesting factsheets and videos about these stunning birds of prey on the Barn Owl Trust and the Hawk and Owl Trust Websites.


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Friends of Foxglove

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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