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The Lodge
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  • Blog Post: Early spring birds are arriving.

    Just checking on the Bird News forums and there is plenty of activity around the country, with wheatears, garganey, osprey, swallow and sand martins all arriving over the last week. No reports of any early migrants at The Lodge yet, but we should get the first chiffchaff or maybe a wheatear on Sandy...
  • Blog Post: A few winter migrants appear at the Lodge

    On Sunday, two ravens were seen flying together and later in the day, I noticed a raven mobbing a buzzard over the Galley Hill end of the new heath. As we haven't had any signs that they are nesting on the reserve, this is interesting behaviour at this time. Are they starting to nest later this year...
  • Blog Post: New birds on Sandy Heath

    I've mentioned before the work we are doing to encourage farmland birds, by planting seed crops on Sandy heath, the land we manage across the road from The Lodge. Over the last few months, we've seen up to seven stonechats and then a couple of whinchats arrived during autumn migration. There...
  • Blog Post: A small taste of winter

    It's not quite up to the standards of the bad weather recently seen in America, but at least we've had a touch of winter over the last couple of days. It's been lovely to see the sun giving a golden haze over the reserve after a frosty morning- and with some cracking sunsets as well. Numbers...
  • Blog Post: Autumn birds start to appear

    Although it is remarkably mild this week- and especially today, there are signs of autumn around us. Flocks of redwings have been arriving from around the 12th October and are often seen and heard on the reserve now. The odd single fieldfare has been noted and several lesser redpolls and single siskins...
  • Blog Post: Last of the summer birds

    As we reach the middle of September, a few summer birds linger around the reserve. On Tuesday, we had stunning views of the hobbies on the new heath. At least one adult was skimming around, low and close to the path and Visitor Information Centre and passing food to a juvenile bird in mid-air. Both birds...
  • Blog Post: Heather and hobbies

    A flock of mistle thrushes has just flown past my office, and a robin is singing its melancholy call outside, which is a sure sign that we are approaching autumn! Fortunately, signs of summer are still around at The Lodge. The hobbies are still feeding two young on the edge of the new heath and have...
  • Blog Post: Migrants galore!

    With spring migration now at its peak , The Lodge is alive with the calls and songs of many warblers. As I walked along the Firs Trail from the shop yesterday, willow warblers, chiffchaff along with garden warblers whitethroats and large numbers of blackcaps,were all loudly announcing their arrival....
  • Blog Post: Migrants come- and prepare to go.

    An exciting week for wildlife - with hopefully lots more to come as we head into peak migration time. A week of firsts - on Monday, the first willow warbler of the spring was heard singing on the new heath, followed on Tuesday by a blackcap around the shop gardens. A single swallow flew over and then...
  • Blog Post: A hint of autumn

    The weather does many different things- and here we are a week after temperatures peaked at 30 degrees wondering whether or not to put the heating on and wear a fleece! Wildlife is still very much on the summer side though, 3 hobbies are gracing the reserve and spotted flycatchers are still been seen...
  • Blog Post: winter thrushes

    It's a great season for winter finches at The Lodge so far, flocks of over 40 siskins are being seen around the reserve and a nice flock of over twenty lesser redpolls were on the old heath during the week. We are just waiting for our first bramblings to arrive, good numbers are arriving in the country...
  • Blog Post: Redwings return.

    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...
  • Blog Post: Busy time for spring migrants

    Spring migrant birds arriving The Lodge. The birds seem to be arriving here quickly after the slow migration over the last few weeks.The cuckoo's have been calling all day on the new heath and I heard my first garden warbler today. A few whitethroats have turned up on the reserve and a couple of...
  • Blog Post: Something bugging you?

    Tuesday saw the arrival of Leptoglossus occidentalis , perhaps better known as the western conifer seed bug! OK, maybe not... This impressive beast - similar to our shieldbugs - is an American species accidentally introduced into Europe. Now they're making their way across the UK, but ours was...
  • Blog Post: Scarce chaser sighting!

    A scarce chaser dragonfly was recorded and photographed by Dave Mansfield.This is only the second record ever for The Lodge, so well done and thanks Dave. More sightings of spotted flycatchers this week, two or three have been noted in the woodland around the corner of Sandy Ridge ,near the drive...
  • Blog Post: Easter Monday

    Another day of blue skies, hot sunshine and lots of visitors.....just perfect! We have been watching a splendid male wheatear from the Easter bunny watch point on Sandy Ridge this afternoon.It must have arrived overnight as we didn't see him yesterday. It's a remarkable thought that it's...
  • Blog Post: Fancy a spot of 'vis-migging'

    There is currently a very popular trend with birders to set the alarm, get up very early, head to a suitable prominent high spot and watch the skies above for birds flying over on what is called ‘visible migration’ , known as ‘vis-migging’. For experienced birders who know...
  • Blog Post: Dreary deluge!

    We made up for the dry February and March with a full day of heavy rain deluging us yesterday,with some sleet and snow mixed in. Fortunately Saturday was a much nicer day and we had some good bird sightings; 2 red kites, at least 3 buzzards in the air being mobbed by ravens,crossbills drinking at the...
  • Blog Post: Firecrests and fires!

    Our feed The Birds event this weekend was a massive success and really drew in the crowds, the site was exceptionally busy all weekend and it was a fantastic weekend. On top of this, we had a fire at the back of Sandy Ridge on Sunday and six fire engines attended to deal with it.We had some great birds...
  • Blog Post: osprey has flown

    It seems that the juvenile osprey has now decided to continue its migration as we haven't had any reports since the 4th November.This is the latest date for an osprey to be seen in Bedfordshire;the previous record was at Southill Park on 28 th October 1976 where up to four had been seen during the...
  • Blog Post: Signs of spring

    Just a whisper....I think spring is in the air at last! We've had two days of almost unbroken sunshine and its arrived just in time for the children and youngsters to come up and enjoy being outdoors in their school holidays. After the success of the weekends Easter Trail, I decided to leave the...
  • Blog Post: Another winter week.

    Having just returned from a week in the West Country, where torrential rain and gale force winds battered the area, I returned on the train on Sunday and watched as the fields turned from miles of flooded land to a landscape of frozen winter white countryside. The first sight I had at The Lodge this...
  • Blog Post: Hobbies and flycatchers

    Although the breeding season is nearly at an end for most birds, we still have some exciting nesting activity going on at The Lodge. The spotted flycatchers are constantly on the nest on outbuildings beside the Gatehouse, after already raising four young here just a couple of weeks back.It's a race...
  • Blog Post: Pied flycatcher

    Our warden, Andy Schofield, found a pied flycatcher on his walk down the drive at lunchtime today. It was amongst a roving flock of tits, so could be mobile. A good , late record for The Lodge.If you come along for a look for it, it will be in it's browny taupe plumage, not the bold black and white...
  • Blog Post: Migration time is here!

    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...