The first winter thrushes arrived back on the reserve at the weekend. Around a dozen redwings joined up with the mistle thrushes that were already on the new heath and could be seen from the path along the drive . Redwings leave their breeding grounds in Scandinavia and Russia to spend the winter here. They were no doubt helped on their long journey with the strong , northerly winds that have swept down the eastern side of the country.Earlier in the week a few siskins were spotted. these handsome, greeny-yellow finches with black markings like to forage in the pine trees, but sometimes come down to the feeders at the hide and on the shop lawn. So, winter is starting to make a presence, but two swallows skimmed low over the trees in the gatehouse car-park , where a chiff chaff was spotted and a hobby zipped through towards Sandy Ridge, so some summer birds are still around- for a little longer at least.
It was a pretty quiet weekend on the bird front, but we did have a reported sighting of that little gem of a bird, the firecrest, which was spotted near the hide. Much scarcer than it's little cousin the goldcrest, we do see them on the reserve occasionally, especially in the autumn /winter months.If you are lucky enough to get a good view, you may see the prominent white and black markings around the eye and a bright greenish 'shoulder' which tell it apart from the much plainer goldcrest and really make any birders day! A hobby has been seen perching reguarly on a dead tree on the new heath, which can be seen form the path along the drive, but we are still waiting for our first reports of any winter migrants.
Lots of different fungi are appearing all over the site now, with plenty of the stunning, red ,fly agaric popping up to give photographers and walkers a thrill.
If you take a walk around The Lodge and you see anything unusual or exciting, please let us know.
If you are at The Lodge over the next couple of weeks you will notice that the Gatehouse is looking shining and smart.The painters are in at the moment, up on scaffolding and scraping and brushing to complete the job . It is quite strange to walk into one of the upstairs offices and see a face peering through the window.
Yesterday's Lodge Open day was a very successful event.Over 200 visitors came through the doors and had a guided walk around the house,with Derek Niemann and Barry Groom,( a local historian) passing on information and interesting facts about the place and the people who lived here.
You can tell Autumn is in the air when you come across a large mixed flock of birds in the woodland - that's what happened today on my walk around.At first a seemingly never ending amount of blue, great and long tailed tits and the odd coal tit streamed through the trees near the hide,a couple of treecreepers landed and worked their way up a nearby tree trunk, great spotted woodpeckers called above as did a chiff chaff , then a lovely yellow willow warbler flitted at the edge of the branches, making an occasional foray into the air to catch an insect. Add to this a couple of raucous jays, several mistle thrushes, a green woodpecker, nuthatches and two noisy buzzards and most of The Lodge specialities were spotted almost from one area of the site.
After the excitment of the nearby red backed shrike last week,we had a sighting of a spotted flycatcher on the 05th September and a solitary Swift flew over the Gatehouse yesterday morning, and with a chiff chaff still calling in the car park we hang onto the late summer , at least on the bird front anyway!