Thursday, June 18th 2020
Staff have been busy replacing the old waymarker posts with new ones. With over 100 posts to install the task is ongoing! The new ones have metal strips instead of painted grooves and hopefully will be easier to maintain.
Work on the Tower Hide at the lake is finally complete and the new steps are ready for a coat of woodstain.
Strimming of footpaths is almost a full time job at this time of year to keep the network of pathways open. The route along Risedale Beck was cut back earlier this week and is looking very inviting.
Along this route is the conifer bank that was thinned out two winters ago and as can be seen here it is greening up well. Bluebells and Primroses are going over but Foxgloves are now beginning to flower in this area alongside the ferns.
Heather is growing well on the heathland paddocks and the early morning mist at the start of the week highlighted thousands of cobwebs beautifully. It is hard to believe that there are so many spiders in this habitat!
A pair of Little Grebes made a nest directly in front of the main hide. If you look closely you can just make out an egg in the centre of the picture. The chicks can now be seen diving in the water from the hide.
The wildflower meadow has benefited from the recent rainfall and is looking spectacular after having struggled to grow during the heatwave.
There is good news up on the wetland too where Pillwort is spreading in certain ponds. Anne Carter (Northern Project Officer for Freshwater Habitats Trust) and Barry Wright (Principal Ecologist for Dryad Ecology) surveyed this special fern on Wednesday and discovered that it is growing well both here and in Plover's Pool and Spigot Mere. Pillwort is an aquatic fern with thin, thread like leaves which unfurl from tight coils as it grows. It has hard spore cases ‘the pills’ at the base of the stems. In the right conditions it forms a creeping mat over bare mud at the margins of ponds and lakes which make it look like a miniature bright green lawn.
Unfortunately Pillwort is declining rapidly throughout its north-west European range and the UK now holds a substantial proportion of the global population. Historically it occurred in about 250 ten km squares in the UK, but is now restricted to just a handful of scattered locations including Foxglove Covert.
The reserve is re-opening with all trails and hides open as usual. The Field Centre is now partially open; the toilets and shop are accessible however, for the time being the kitchen and activity room remain closed. All visitors are requested to respect the two metre social distancing rule and to use the hand sanitiser provided as they enter the main building. Normal car parking fees apply and 100% of the money taken for this goes directly back into the reserve. If you are not a pass holder then please phone ahead on 07754 270980 to confirm your visit with the Reserve Managers.
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