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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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Owl Pellet Discovery

Monday 26th July 2021 | 10.00am start

Come and learn all about the different  owl species that live in North Yorkshire. Find out what they eat by dissecting their pellets and identifying the contents.  Recommended for ages 7 years upwards. 

Booking is essential as places are limited.

Suggested minimum donation of £2.50 per person. Please donate in advance to secure a place.

This event is free for Volunteers and Friends of the reserve.

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Wednesday 28th July 2021 | 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. 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. 

Booking is essential. 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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Undergrowth Newsletter Winter 2020/21 Issue 54

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