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Owl Breeding Season

Friday, May 3rd 2019

Owls are one of the first birds to breed in this area and so the bird ringers are busy monitoring the one hundred plus large wooden nesting boxes on the training area that surrounds the reserve. The adult birds are checked first to see if they have already been ringed, if not then they are fitted with a BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) ring on their right leg. They are then aged and sexed and the data is all recorded for the BTO before they are carefully returned to the nestbox.

The most common owls apart from Barn Owls are Tawny Owls. Although they don't seem to move very far from where they were born (An adult Tawny retrapped on Thursday night last week had been breeding in the same box since 2009), other information can be gleaned from ringing them. Longevity is one example and some of the Tawny Owls that are ringed by the Swaledale Ringing Team are older than thirteen years. 

Once the adults have been ringed then the nest is checked. In many cases, the ringers need to return again a few weeks later. However, this year some already have large youngsters like this healthy trio below.

All of this is hard work, involving a lot of logistics, a tall ladder, some thick gloves and a good head for heights!

Back at Foxglove, the preparations for the Bank Holiday weekend continued with the filling of all bird feeders. There seems to be a lot of activity at the moment so maybe some song birds are already feeding their young too. 

In the ponds, the Toad tadpoles are developing well and are clustering together, most likely for warmth in the cooler temperatures of the last couple of days.


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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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