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The Lodge

The Lodge
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  • 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: 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: Easter news

    It's been even more of a pleasure than usual to be working here over the Easter break. Families have been heading off and having fun doing both the Easter hunt and bunny trails and watching the rabbits and wildlife on Sandy heath ( although the hot weather has kept the rabbits below ground for most...
  • Blog Post: Bees, blackcaps and 'the Bard'.

    Just sitting in the office with the door open and a blackcap gave a brief interlude of song, it reminds me that the warblers are still out there, just a lot quieter than they were a few weeks ago.It's also the time when willow warblers and chiff chaff's are moving through, identifying them in...
  • Blog Post: Spotted flycatchers return

    With all the fun of the Spring Fair now over, my binoculars are back in hand and I've even managed a couple of walks out on the reserve this week. Summer really began yesterday and the reserve looked glorious with trees and flowers in full bloom and the whole place looked radiant in the warm sunshine...
  • 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: Massive Mistle Thrush Movement

    After a quiet couple of weeks,more birds have been in evidence over the last couple of days. A massive flock of over 90 mistle thrushes has been flying into trees around the Gatehouse from nearby Sandy Ridge.This is a record count of these large thrushes at The Lodge-and quite possibly a Bedfordshire...
  • Blog Post: Waxwings on Mothers Day

    What a start to the day-just turning off the A1 into Sandy this morning and a flock of birds flew up beside the road. I could see straight away that they were Waxwings! I managed to park the car around the corner ( St Neots Road) and walked back with my binoculars to watch around twenty five of these...
  • Blog Post: First spring bird is here.

    Hurray- at last- a chiffchaff has arrived and it greeted me with its welcome and constant 'chiffchaff' call from the New Heath when I arrived at The Lodge this morning.This is the first confirmed report as far as I'm aware and its at least three weeks later than the usual arrival dates! It's...
  • Blog Post: Passing over today

    High up in the sky this morning an Osprey passed over, maybe on its way to it's breeding grounds at Rutland water or up in Scotland.This bird has probably flown all the way from western Africa, which is an incredible journey. At the time, three buzzards, a kestrel and sparrowhawk soared in the air...
  • Blog Post: Migrant on the Ridge.

    Our Tuesday morning walkers group came back excited today as they had spotted a wheatear on Sandy Ridge. I popped over with one of our volunteers, James Clark and we managed to see this smart migrant. James even managed to get this excellent shot on his camera. Wheatears are now returning to their wintering...
  • Blog Post: Another Dawn Chorus over.

    Just recovering after a 4:30 am start from home for today's Dawn Chorus! We had a good, calm and settled morning, although a bit nippy in the N/NE wind. We were greeted in the near dark by a calling tawny owl, then the very vocal cuckoo's seemed to follow us around as we headed along the trails...
  • Blog Post: A 'fayre' few birds around at the weekend

    Phew...it was a a really busy weekend at The Lodge and we are just getting our breath back! Over 2,800 visitors came to the reserve to visit the Christmas Fayre, enjoy the trails and spot some good birds in mostly sunny conditions. The osprey was seen on both days, on one occcasion directly over the...
  • Blog Post: Bramblings and waxwings

    Two splendid, well plumaged male bramblings appeared at the hides today and we had another one at the back of the gatehouse, coming down to the small pool to drink. A flock of around 20 waxwings were sallying for insects on bare birches over on the new heath and several hundred fieldfares fed on the...
  • Blog Post: Osprey update

    It seems the osprey may still be in the area, we have heard from Steve Blain the Beds County Recorder that it was reported flying towards the reserve on two occasions on Sunday the 6th and it ( must be the same bird surely!) was spotted at Grafham Water on the 8th, so it's still happy hanging out...
  • Blog Post: Spotteed Flycatchers still on the reserve

    I took a walk along the path leading towards the hillfort at lunch time and watched three spotted flycatchers together on a fence wire, a lovely sighting as they could leave here to start their migration journey any time now. Also in the area, 30+ mistle thrushes called as they flew over, and a jay,...
  • Blog Post: Leaving home!

    It's going to be anytime now!...the spotted flycatcher chicks are stretching their wings and putting their heads out of the nest box, soon they will make their first forays out of the box and into the great wide world.In just a few weeks they will return to Africa for the winter...now that is incredible...
  • Blog Post: Flycatchers fledged on Saturday!

    On Saturday afternoon the second family of spotted flycatchers popped out of the nest box that has been their home over the last few weeks.They spent the afternoon in the trees around the back lawn of the Gatehouse , calling and being fed by their parents.On Sunday they appeared to have moved away from...
  • Blog Post: At last... some migrants!

    I did some bird surveying in the good weather last week. It involved me standing at certain points, and noting what birds and how many I could hear. All to assess our woodland for birds. It's one of the nicest things I get to do, though it's not easy! At last, there are some migrants! I heard...