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We All Went on a Bug Hunt

Wednesday, November 1st 2017

We were pleased to welcome Dr Roger Key to Foxglove today to run an invertebrate training course for the volunteers.  His presentation gave us some fascinating facts.  The structure of an Earwig's wing helped to develop solar panels that would not get damaged in space.  Of course for children, the more gruesome the better.  A lacewing larvae covers itself with the dead bodies, cases and droppings of it prey, for protection.  But its method of protection is brilliant!  A bird comes along for a feed and the lacewing larvae rears up and gives the predator a mouthful of the debris.  The question was posed 'Would you like to carry on trying to feed with all of that in your face?'    A solitary wasp collects a caterpillar and puts it in a hole, lays an egg on it and then blocks the hole up.  Another lovely photograph showed us a caterpillar feasting on a spider.   I will leave you to work out what happens next! 

The presentation over, we collected a variety of things to go on a bug hunt.

Getting ready to go on a bug hunt

Not far from the Field Centre Roger demonstrated how you could sweep net through Gorse.  I am not sure if I would risk this with children. 

Sweep netting through Gorse

And once your net is full you flip it over and then, and this is definitely a 'do as you are told and not as I do', stick your head in the net!

Checking the catch

We progressed to the heath.  Where we searched in the undergrowth, looked at the horse droppings (these were a little too fresh and it is now a little too cold for them to be homes for creepy crawlie things)  and carried out sweep netting.  Pooters were used to collect the catch, remembering not to put spiders in with other insects.

Bug hunting on the heath

The ponies' curiosity got the better of them and they had to come and have a look to see what we were doing.

Being watched

After lunch it was time to examine and where possible identify the catch.  A whole new world opens up when you look through a microscope.

Looking at the catch

Although colder than forecast, so not quite as many insects and bugs around, we did find more than enough to be of interest.  A huge thank you to Dr Key for coming and giving us a really enjoyable and informative day.  We hope he will return next summer when there are more invertebrates running, flying and crawling around.

We have, as I write this 19 days, 17 hours and 51 minutes to vote for the Aviva Community Fund 2017.  If you have not already cast your vote please do so to support Foxglove Covert LNR.  Thank you.


(1) Comments:

Tim Randall responded on 9th Nov 2017 with...

That looks like a fascinating day with the amazing expertise of Dr Key.


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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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Meadow Mayhem CANCELLED

Saturday 4th July 2020 | 10.00am - 12 noon

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.

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 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.



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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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