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Of Wetland and Water

Monday, July 16th 2018

On a day when a couple of hours rain was most welcome, the topic of the blog just had to do with water and things living in this habitat.  This morning, Anne Carter of the Freshwater Habitats Trust ran a training session on how to identify two of the rarities found at Foxglove, the Pond Mud Snail (Omphiscola glabra) and Pillwort (Pilularia globulifera).  These are both found among the older ponds on the Wetland, although the more obeservant visitors may also have seen them in the Field Centre's Activity Room.

The training included ways of identifying the snails by size, ratio of opening to shell length and whether the opening was on the left or right of the shell when viewed from underneath.  Pillwort may look like grass species but there are a number of clues to help identify it.  As a fern it spreads through rhizomes and also has a distinctive “shepherd's crook” at the tip of the stem as it unfurls.

Having seen the methods of identification on the slide presentation, it was time for a very brief visit to the Wetland to see if we could find any Pillwort.  Going via the Wetland Hide meant that we could let the two visitors in there know that we would be walking across the area.  Going out to the Wetland, we came upon a number of Great Crested Newts (Triturus cristatus) under the metal sheet.

It wasn't the first time I was on the Wetland today as I'd gone to check the flow into the first pond and chanced upon three very small Mallard chicks rushing to hide while their mother was doing her best to appear part of the floating vegetation with her head down so that her eyes were only just above the water.

Having found two very small patches of Pillwort, which lead to discussion about the best way to manage the ponds to help it develop and spread, we returned to the Field Centre to finish off.  Later on, while checking the path around the Lake, a small movement almost underfoot revealed another of the reserve's amphibian species, although this one was not so easy to identify due to still being very small and moving off very quickly, so unfortunately the image is a little blurred.  This looks like a newly metamorphosed Smooth Newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) but it moved away too quickly for me to be sure.

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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

Damsels and Dragons CANCELLED

Sunday 19th July 2020 | 1.00pm start

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.

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.

Family Pond Dipping 1 - FULLY BOOKED!

Wednesday 22nd July 2020 | 45 minute sessions on the hour

Come along and find out which animals are living in some of the Foxglove ponds. Book a pond dipping session for your family bubble of up to six people. There will be a socially distanced brief to set you off and then you can use the equipment for the remainder of the session. You will be requested to use hand gel on arrival and the net handles will be cleaned between sessions. Please call the Reserve Managers on 07754 270980 to book your allocated slot. You are advised to arrive 15 minutes before your allocated time. A donation in advance (card payment by phone) of £5 per family bubble is required in order to secure your booking. 


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The Dragonflies of Strensall and Foxglove Covert

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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