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The Lodge
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  • Blog Post: Back again!

    Hello all and apologies, as it's been a while since the last blog while I've been away on hols. Good news on my return however, this week the spotted flycatchers have been seen with two young in the area of birch towards the hide. They haven't been as easy to see this year and we haven't...
  • Blog Post: Bluebells are blooming

    One of the sp ring highlights at The Lodge is the wonderful display of bluebells on the path to the gardens. It seems that it's becoming more and more popular to come and enjoy these sweet scented flowers and last week a Canadian lady, who was staying in Cambridge on holiday, called me as she'd...
  • Blog Post: At last, a great image of the lesser spott!

    I've been waiting for a good picture of our lesser spotted- woodpecker, and now I've got one! Ray Valpier took this brilliant shot, so a very big thanks to him. The first cuckoo of the year was calling here this morning - exactly the same date as last year!
  • Blog Post: Lesser spotted woodpecker and new spring arrivals

    Although it can be a frustrating search for many - the lesser spotted woodpecker is still around and the lucky few ( including me this morning! ) have had views of it working through the birches, mainly in the area to the W of the pylons at the bottom of the Sandy Ridge trail. It seems to be best seen...
  • Blog Post: Youngster finds the goodies!

    A father and young son popped into the shop late this afternoon for some ID advice. The lad had shots on his camera of a pair of bramblings, several lesser redpolls and a female linnet that he'd taken around the pond at the hide! They'd also seen nuthatch, great spotted woodpecker, stock dove...
  • 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: Stoats in the snow

    The main action on the reserve away from the busy bird feeders has been the regular sightings of a stoat around the Gatehouse. This little creature is often seen whizzing around in pursuit of an unfortunate rabbit - which it invariably catches - and today it charged through the snow and caught another...
  • Blog Post: Snow on Sandy

    We arrived at The Lodge this morning to find much more snow than we expected. It seems that most of the areas south of us had none at all, but I went out with the camera this morning so I have proof of how white it was here! Although the feeders are busy and bustling with lots of chaffinches, tits...
  • Blog Post: Great birding at The Lodge this morning

    A great morning for birding at The Lodge; a couple of bullfinches, a woodcock, a grey wagtail at the hide, fifty + yellowhammers with a few linnets, fieldfare, song thrush, and over the road on Sandy Heath - mixed flocks of over 650 reed buntings, linnets, yellowhammers,with around a dozen skylarks,...
  • 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: Exciting sightings

    There have been a lot of really good bird sightings here today, topped by an osprey seen with a fish, flying over the hillfort. It was seen again over the gatehouse late afternoon. At least 20 crossbills have flown over with several lingering and the 6 woodlarks have again been around the new heath,...