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The Lodge
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  • Blog Post: First flyover of the 'Flying bum'

    The morning started well with two spotted flycatchers and a willow warbler catching insects from the edge of the trees in the overflow car park. Ravens were calling from the new heath and the corner of Sandy Ridge, close to the Gatehouse. The hobbies are still around, although starting to range further...
  • Blog Post: Purple heather in bloom again

    I started working at The Lodge almost eight years ago. The heathland restoration was still in it's early days and the warden at the time, Graham Wilton-Jones, took me out to see how the heath was progressing and was really excited to see little patches of heather, about the size of a 50p piece. Roll...
  • Blog Post: Hobby success

    The juvenile hobbies have been seen in flight this afternoon, proving that successful fledging of the three young has now taken place! David Knowles
  • Blog Post: The Big Garden Birdwatch

    The 1st Great Barford Brownies kicked off our Big Garden Birdwatch event at The Lodge today, and smiled through the drizzle and rain! Many of the Brownies had already completed their own Big Garden Birdwatch surveys at home, and came along for a guided walk to see the birds at The Lodge. Large flocks...
  • Blog Post: Progress today on the wind turbine.

    The towers to the wind turbine have been put in place today. As you can see from the magnificent sunrise, the team were here very early to make a start. It's now just the blades to install to finish the main structure.This could happen over the weekend, depending ironically on the strength of the...
  • Blog Post: Lesser spotted woodpecker returns

    There's been a couple of sightings of the much sought after lesser-spotted woodpecker today, in different areas of the Sandy Ridge trail. The first was where the pylons cut through the woodland on the top of the trail, and another a little further along, on a line of trees nearer the wind turbine...
  • Blog Post: November dragonfly!

    After this mornings post in the fog and gloom, the sun suddenly appeared and blazed in a pure blue sky after lunch-time, and it's been a gorgeous autumn afternoon here. What we didn't expect on the first day of November was to see a southern hawker dragonfly around the pools in the gardens! Graham...
  • Blog Post: Autumn and fungi

    Apologies for the delay since the last posting. I've been away in the Yorkshire Dales, adding Black Grouse for my 200th UK bird of the year, but looking in envy at all of the great birds arriving on the east coast. The Lodge is starting to look more autumnal and gaining a lovely golden hue, but...
  • Blog Post: Big Wild Sleepout, birds and the bard!

    It's been a very busy fortnight at The Lodge. Last weekend we enjoyed the Pantaloons performing Pride and Prejudice in the sunshine on the lawns of RSPB HQ. They return on 22 August with Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing and finish with Treasure Island on Sunday 23. Prices, info and tickets...
  • 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...