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The Lodge
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  • 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: 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: On and off shrike

    Since my last blog, the great grey shrike has been seen intermittently on the new heath. It seems to be around early morning and then goes missing for long periods- so it must be flying to different areas to feed. It was seen today, so there's still a chance of a sighting if you want to catch up...
  • 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: Big Wild Sleepout

    So, we've now had our first ever Big Wild Sleepout at The Lodge and it was a great night to be a part of. 30 campers of all ages joined ten staff and volunteers and set up camp in glorious sunshine. We then had a walk to show people the reserve and a little later, as dusk fell, we took a longer walk...
  • Blog Post: Redpolls and rain!

    It's a rainy day here at The Lodge but our volunteers are still working away outside.We have put up a marquee to keep them and their equipment dry while they start cutting wood ready for our 'Make a nest box 'event, on February 12th.We have given our regular Wednesday volunteer,David, a day...
  • Blog Post: Back to birds

    After the excitment of yesterday's hand grenade incident,it was business as usual on the reserve today, with a nice female redstart found by Mark Ward on the Sandy Ridge trail.This is a migrant bird, passing through on its way back to its wintering areas in Africa .Common redstarts once bred here...
  • Blog Post: WWW.?

    W AX W INGS AND W OODCOCK TODAY 43 Waxwings perched together on a tree on the New Heath late this afternoon, they seem to be appearing here at around this time quite regularly, before they go to roost somewhere nearby. A woodcock flushed up as I collected some rubbish along the drive and the elusive...
  • Blog Post: Hunting hobbies on the heath

    Over the weekend we took several groups out around different parts of the reserve. I was lucky that I took the walk to the hillfort, as we had fantastic views of two hobbies feeding directly above us. Just before they appeared , a small party of swallows had passed through, which had probably caught...
  • Blog Post: The week starts well.

    The week has started well at The Lodge, with nice views of two tawny owls perched together in the top of a pine tree near the hide and four ravens flying over the Gatehouse.Over the weekend female bramblings were seen at the hide and under the shop feeders and there are lots of siskins and lesser and...
  • Blog Post: Budding buds and noisy nuthatches.

    It's my first day in for a few days and just taking a quick check around the reserve I notice the first buds are peeping through on the willow outside the Gatehouse.It doesn't feel like Spring on a cold, wet day, but for nature, new life is well underway. I heard at least two noisy nuthatches...
  • Blog Post: Winter Wonderland walk.

    After a really busy day at The Lodge yesterday, we are lighting the bonfire and preparing for this afternoon's Winter Wonderland walk. It's very mild and quite bright today, so not quite the perfect setting for the winter walk, but I'm sure it will be great;it's already fully booked and...
  • 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...