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The Lodge
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  • Blog Post: A shot of Spring

    After a seemingly long, dull spell of weather,The Lodge has burst into Spring with blue skies and bright sunshine over the last few days. Although we had a sharp frost last night, with temperatures down to -5 degrees, it's sunshine all the way again today.The first daffodils have appeared along the...
  • 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: 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: Ravens breed again

    After last year's successful breeding by ravens at The Lodge, we have been eagerly awaiting to see if they would breed here again this year. Today, 3 young ravens have been seen around the hillfort, with their parents noisily and actively watching over them. Excellent news! A pair of hobbies have...
  • 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: Brambling numbers building up today

    Great to see at least five bramblings, with the siskins and redpolls around the gatehouse feeders this morning. Yesterday we didn't see one at all, so it seems that the flock is fairly transient with new birds joining all the time and others leaving. I'm away next week, so it's unlikely they'll...
  • 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: 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: Birds and barbeques...

    A great sight this morning in the sunshine at The Lodge, 4 buzzards, a red kite and a sparrowhawk all soared together in the skies above the gatehouse shop.The sparrowhawk was first seen, bombing the red kite and generally giving it a hard time! Yesterday, 3 hobbies were seen in the air together,it will...
  • Blog Post: Bramblings on budget day!

    Here's a shot of the cracking male brambling around the Gatehouse and shop, taken yesterday by one of our volunteers, James Clark. There were two more at the hide as well.
  • Blog Post: Waxwings

    Just as dusk was settling an email came from headquarters; ' 23 waxwings in trees above the transport building'.I dashed down and there they were, a group sitting perched in the lime tree, which then flew over to the back of the car park. I could clearly hear the lovely, soft trilling call that...
  • Blog Post: Last day of 2010

    The reserve is shrouded in a grey gloom on the last day of 2010 and is very quiet and still.I heard a great spotted woodpecker drumming in the car park however, a sign that even in the depths of winter life is moving forward for our birds. On yesterdays Winter Wonderland walk, we had several sightings...
  • Blog Post: Goodbye to our Manx loghtans,

    They've been our friends and close neighbours for the last six years, but it's the end of an era today as we say a sad farewell to our 52 Manx loghtan sheep! They came here to get our new heath and grassland into shape, but with the heather doing so well now we feel the time is right for them...
  • Blog Post: Spring update

    I've been away for a few days on some unplanned time off, so it's great to be back to see the reserve looking fresh, vibrant and green, with the first bluebells now appearing as well. The birds are slowly arriving as well, blackcaps, willow warblers, wheatears, swallows, sand martins and house...
  • Blog Post: After the hols....

    The country returned to work and school today and we've passed Easter, the Royal Wedding, a Dawn Chorus walk and a Bank Holiday with the sun shining throughout! It has been very blustery over the last few days however, but it is calm sunny and settled again now.Bird highlights over the holiday have...
  • 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: 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: Drama for the spotted flys

    It seemed over the last few days that we only had one adult feeding the young flycatchers in the nest box! A single bird had been very busy, taking in insects to three young, feeding itself,and fending off an aggressive local robin.The other parent had disapeared completely.....what had happened to it...
  • Blog Post: Siskin spectacle

    With winter still in the air the mixed flock of finches is still keeping us and our visitors and photographers well entertained. The cacophany of finch song greeted me this morning and good numbers of siskins and redpolls were still around and feeding on and under the feeders. The weather looks pretty...
  • Blog Post: Siskins and more...

    With winter still in the air the mixed flock of finches is still keeping us and our visitors and photographers well entertained. The cacophany of finch song greeted me this morning and good numbers of siskins and redpolls were still around and feeding on and under the feeders. The weather looks pretty...
  • Blog Post: woodlark on old heath

    The woodlark was sighted on the old heath this morning, so it's still on the reserve, which is great news. I heard a tawny owl hooting almost spot on mid-day, between the HQ car park and the Quarry Trail and there's good numbers of siskins flying overhead. A grey heron was disturbed by a jogger...