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The Lodge
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  • Blog Post: Discovery Day October 26

    I had a week away in the Lake District last week, and three great birds turned up in Bedfordshire! Firstly, a hoopoe at Willington, then even better (or rarer), a lesser grey shrike on nearby Biggleswade Common and then a dotterel, found by our very own Richard Bashford at Radwell pits. Luckily I did...
  • Blog Post: Hairy shield-bugs and hobbies

    Everyday now we wonder if the hobbies will head off on the start of their migration, but at least one bird is still lingering around the new heath and was seen several times today. Eight or nine buzzards were up in the air together around mid - day, although rather distant and hard to see in the hazy...
  • Blog Post: Peacock and butterfly extravaganza

    The hot July has bought us the welcome bonus of large numbers of butterflies and other flying creatures to the reserve. Flocks of peacocks in particular are quite amazing, with several hundred on Sandy Ridge alone. Scarcer species, such as purple hairstreak and silver- washed fritillary are being spotted...
  • Blog Post: Snakes and spott's

    Anthea, our Monday morning Visitor Centre volunteer had a surprise today as she stood outside the building, when a two foot grass snake slithered across the path towards the heath. There have been a few sightings here lately -I even managed to see one myself! The spotted flycatchers are settling down...
  • Blog Post: Butterflies and insects abound

    As the breeding season draws to a close (for most birds anyway) bird life Is now quietening down and the morning dawn chorus is over for another year. There's always some bird action though, a large group of swifts and several swallows were swooping over the new heath today and I watched as an adult...
  • Blog Post: Toads, snakes and birds!

    I was pleasantly surprised to hear and see a cuckoo today. They tend to go quiet and stop calling at this stage of the summer- and some are already making their way back across Europe to their wintering grounds in Africa. A pair of hobbies are around the new heath, but are fairly elusive at times this...
  • Blog Post: A good week for wildlife

    It's only Wednesday but we've had some great images of wildlife taken at The Lodge this week. It's been a poor year for seeing bramblings, with low numbers in the UK, but Malcolm Houseden took this image of a lovely male at the hide on Tuesday. We, and others have been looking , but it hasn't...
  • Blog Post: Rainbows and rain showers

    We are heading very quickly now towards March and between the rain showers and rainbows it feels like spring is really on the way. Bright snowdrops can still be enjoyed around the reserve and gardens at The Lodge and daffodils are starting to add a splash of welcome colour. Buds are appearing on the...
  • Blog Post: Last sightings of 2013

    To end the year on a good bird note, we have had both firecrest and a flock of around a dozen crossbills around The Gatehouse this morning, before the wind and hail swept over. A couple of lesser redpolls have been on the feeders at the hide and there are a lot of redwings feeding on the berry trees...
  • Blog Post: Misty,sunny, morning

    I managed to get away from my desk and pop outside for a bit this morning and what a lovely day it is. A line of mist was rising through the trees with the sun breaking through behind, and there were birds everywhere. A number of greenfinches have arrived over the last few days and good numbers of chaffinches...
  • Blog Post: Birds and Buildings.

    I was standing on the new enclosed area of the brand new Visitor Information building this morning- watching siskins, redwings, mistle thrush and fieldfares on the new heath.It's going to be a great place to work and to come in for a chat ,and all being well, it will be open by next week. If you...
  • Blog Post: Bag packing weekend in Tesco, Sandy.

    Another quiet week for the birds, with a few woodcock appearing, but little else arriving as yet. It's still incredibly mild for the end of November and I've been told the Scandinavian berry crop is a bumper one, so birds like waxwings aren't having to migrate south this year. The golden...
  • Blog Post: November draws to a close

    We are still waiting for winter to take a grip and a movement of birds to follow. November has more of an autumnal than a winter feeling, and trees are still glowing golden on sunny days. I was at The Lodge over the weekend, and the main action was from the mistle thrushes and jays playing noisy chasing...
  • 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: Update on the osprey.

    The osprey is definitley still here! It was seen on a couple of occasions around the reserve today, once coming into land in a tree along the path to Galley Hill, being mobbed by ravens. Crossbills have been seen around the hillfort and a brambling was watched from the hide.
  • Blog Post: Cancelled Food fayre

    Just a reminder that The Lodge Food Fayre that was scheduled for this weekend is regrettably cancelled.However, with the wisteria blossoming,cuckoo's calling, hobbies on the wing and The Lodge looking its very best in its spring finery, it will be a great weekend for a visit.
  • Blog Post: Summer and winter birds together.

    We had some good birds over the weekend; at The Lodge Open Day we stood watching three hobbies diving over the house and the front garden and around twenty siskins around the bushes. The first fieldfares were spotted on the new heath on Saturday, where around a dozen sat in the dead larch tree. They...
  • Blog Post: Jubilee days

    After the depressing wash-out yesterday, the reserve is looking a lot brighter today and the car -park is full again with visitors getting out and about. Spotted flycatcher's, young ravens, cuckoo and treecreeper have all been sighted today, but most people just seem pleased to be walking around...
  • 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: Stunning redpoll flock

    A very impressive flock of over a hundred redpolls has been found today and is currently feeding nimbly around some tall birch trees ,100m north of the hide.With careful searching you should pick out a scarcer mealy redpoll, and although identification is complex, they are basically greyer above than...
  • Blog Post: Slowly slowly- spring is coming

    With the winds turning to the south and a warmer feel to proceedings, the first spring migrants have slowly been appearing. After last weeks chiffchaff, several swallows were over the reserve at the weekend and sand martins have been in the local area as well.We are just waiting for our first willow...
  • 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: 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: Half term on the Horizon

    We are just putting the images together and warming up the laminator in preparation for our half-term Woodpecker trail, Our themed trails and hunts are always really popular with the youngsters and this one's great as the real woodpeckers are drumming and calling at the moment as well. Pop into the...
  • 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...