We are getting ready for the first of our ‘Date With Nature’ woodpecker watches. I went down the trail towards the hide with two of our volunteers where we know there are nesting woodpeckers. Today, a young one had his head out of the hole, with a bright red punk rocker hair do scruffily sticking up, calling constantly to his parents to feed him.Every so often the adults darted in to feed it, causing more noisy calling!We were really amazed to see this.
If you want to come along and experience the woodpecker watch, the first one is on Sunday 30 between 11am – 4pm.Come in to the shop for details.it's a free event, although there is a £4 car park charge for non-members.
We are off to Luton carnival on Bank holiday Monday, where we have a stand at the event, with activities and lots of RSPB information. Should be good …!
Our woodlark is still around this week and singing its lovely song on the new heath. There has been plenty of activity with breeding birds, fledgling great spotted woodpeckers calling noisily from tree holes and blue and great tits whizzing in and out of nest boxes, with bills full of food for the youngsters tucked up inside.Robins, finches and dunnocks are all busy around the Gatehouse and a young blackbird has been on the lawn, being fed by its Mum .More good news! - several spotted flycatchers have been seen in different areas of the reserve, possibly five different birds. Always great to watch them, as they fly out from a tree branch to catch insects, and then return to the same perch.
A better morning in our moth trap on Tuesday after a warm evening; sixteen different species were trapped, my favourite being a very impressive ‘green silver lines’ moth.
Just heard (14:08) that a firecrest has been seen near the quarry car park !!, near the Lodge headquarters.
Hmmm…… have I got time to go and look for it!
It was an early start this morning for our fifth breeding bird survey of the year. A glorious sky sat over the reserve, a lower half of golden sun with a topping of blue haze.
2 cuckoo's flew together , calling ‘wokhoo wokhoo’ as they swiftly flew by, then a spotted flycatcher sat on the wire fence in front of us, patiently waiting for a passing insect to snatch.
We saw more evidence of birds carrying food and attending possible nest sites than on our previous surveys, and even watched as two great spotted woodpeckers carried food into a hole in a tree to the hungry youngsters inside.
One of the other survey teams was fortunate enough to see a woodlark and heard its beautiful ‘tooleooe tooleeoo ’ song descending from the new heath.
As we walked back to the Gatehouse, the first of the staff cars were heading down the drive to the Lodge HQ….real life had started again!
Today it was my turn to go off and tour the reserve on what we call a Q+A …quality and assurance walk, checking standards are up to scratch and looking at jobs that may need doing.
I took the path down to the hide and stopped when I heard an unfamiliar call. Looking up, a bird made a quick sally and snapped an insect, returning to the same perch….spotted flycatcher, I called to myself! I trained the binoculars onto the bird and sure enough, the handsome, slim flycatcher sat upright in the branches above me, the first to arrive on the reserve this spring.
Amazing to think that it has just arrived here at The Lodge, all the way from it’s wintering grounds in Africa!
I mentioned on a previous blog that I’d give an update on Wednesdays trip out….so here we are!
30 of the Lodge team, both staff and volunteers, met up at Paxton Pits nature reserve late afternoon. We started off with a very interesting and informative talk about the reserve and the exciting plans for the expansion that are taking place here.
The Paxton guys then led us out to see the reserve for ourselves…it was a bright sunny night with a bit of a nip in the air, perfect for a late stroll.
We passed the Heronry lake with its breeding cormorants... and grey herons of course,along with a pair of red crested pochards, the male with his gaudy orange head gleaming in the late evening sunshine. As we turned the corner, our first nightingale started to sing and what a voice it has! We all stopped and listened as it went through its repertoire in the bush directly in front of us.This was the bird that most visitors come along to see here at this time of year.We didn’t see it of course! We did hear several more singing as we walked around,and, eventually we did have excellent good views of one singing, right out in the open,with it's bill wide open as it's song poured out ...brilliant!
Finally, joined by the friendly Paxton team, we went along to the nearby pub ,where a splendid buffet sat waiting for us, (along with a few drinks!) to round off the night.
It was really good to get together, we have already organised some evening walks around The Lodge to make sure we don’t leave it too long before we go out together again.