Having seen the BBC weather forecast warning of rain all day, for our 'Feed the Birds Day 'event on Saturday 24th, it was with some trepidation, that i set off in the early morning to the Lodge.
However, it was dry when I arrived and Derek Gruar decided that he could set up his nets to run the bird ringing demo's.
After the usual last minute rush around, everone was in place and people now started to flow in and take part in the activities. The kid's loved getting their hands messy, plunging them into tubs of lard and seed to
make the fat balls and we had some brilliant collages made from Autumn leaves and nuts.
Visitors were now keeping us busy, visiting the marquees housing 'Homes for wildlfe', Membership and pin badges and then the wood carver, making bird feeders .
Whenever the bird ringing nets were emptied people crowded around and were able to gain close up viws of Goldcrests, Song thrush and Nuthatch in the hand, along with our common species.
Dawn Cox had home cooked excellent soup and chillie con carne and kept everyone well fed in the canteen, where people could watch the wool spinners using our very own Manx Loghtan wool and buy feeders and goods from the shop.
We had the bonus of a Peregrine flying over, we didn't get too wet and we signed up 3 new memberships, so a good day at the Lodge.
A very big thank you to everone, staff and volunteers , who helped out....thanks
Though you might associate moths with warm summer nights, they're still out and about! Look out for some special autumn moths like the merveille du jour around lights and on walls. We've seen quite a few this week at The Lodge, but keep an eye out back at home, too.You might also spot lots of ladybirds in the gardens. Take a careful look, because although some will be the familiar seven-spot ladybird, there'll also be lots of the alien harlequin species - accidentally introduced from Asia. Time will tell, but they may pose a serious threat to our native species. Have a look at the ladybird survey website to find out more.Other interesting wildlife sightings this week have included a stoat climbing up a massive pine tree, two jackdaws fighting and tumbling through the air together, and skylarks calling overhead as they migrate. A party of crossbills was seen in the pine trees in the quarry car park - listen for their 'chup, chup' calls. On Sandy Warren, near the new trail, flocks of redwings and fieldfares have been seen looking for bugs and worms to eat.It's not too late to see butterflies and dragonflies, even in late October... a southern hawker was seen around Jack's pond and common darters are still hunting and mating in the gardens. Painted lady, comma, peacock, speckled wood and red admiral butterflies are on the loose, tracking down those precious nectar-giving flowers. Ivy is popular with lots of insects, especially bees and wasps.We're looking forward to meeting lots of you at our Feed the Birds Day event tomorrow!
On one morning last week, a total of 29,982 redwings were counted flying over Sandy, not far from The Lodge!
Though that was an amazing morning and numbers have dropped off somewhat since then, you can still see some of these amazing migrants if you look out.
If you're here for a walk at The Lodge, you might see flocks of redwings - small thrushes that fly a bit like starlings - skimming the treetops. These smart birds breed in Scandinavia and cross the North Sea to come to us for winter.
Their bigger, noisier cousins, fieldfares, are also on the move now but in smaller numbers so far. They make chattering and chuckling calls as they fly around in flocks.
If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of crossbills or siskins as they're also arriving at The Lodge at the moment.
On warmer days, you can still see butterflies and the odd dragonfly around the gardens. Last week, a clouded yellow - a butterfly that migrates from southern Europe - was seen just off the reserve on Biggleswade Common, so keep your eyes peeled and don't forget to let us know what you've seen...
That's crispy leaves, crunchy beechmast underfoot and spiky sweet chestnuts and conkers. As you walk around The Lodge at the moment, you can't fail to experience some of those. There are lots of grey squirrels doing the same - I've seen a lot of them carrying sweet chestnuts around in their mouths - ouch! - and collecting moss for their winter dreys.Jays can be seen flying to and fro looking for acorns to stash away for a rainy day. They can be hard to spot as they're quite shy birds, but you stand a much better chance of getting a look at this beautiful bird if you know their call. Unfortunately it's not very easy on the ear: a harsh, loud squawk (have a listen on our jay page).If you visit in the next few days, you stand an excellent chance of seeing some ravens. A pair has been seen over The Lodge several times this week. Once again, if you learn their call, often described as 'cronk!' you may be in luck. When you look up, look for a big, buzzard-sized crow with a diamond-shaped tail.A young hobby and some sparrowhawks have been seen in the skies too.
Though many of the flowers in the garden have gone over now, the Michaelmas daisies, verbena and ivy flowers are still going strong. See how many butterflies, bees and hoverflies you can spot on one plant. Peacocks, commas, red admirals and small coppers have all been seen this week, plus a single brown argus, a little brown butterfly with beautiful underwings.
A young grass snake was seen in the gardens this week, not far from the swimming pool. You'll need to be very quiet to get a good view of one of these beasties, but good luck!