This will be my last post until 2015, as I'm heading away for Christmas and New Year on a birding trip to Kerala in South India. I'm looking forward to seeing plenty of new and colorful birds to add to my life list!
My colleagues will add any sightings of note to this page while I'm away.
The flock of finches and bunting across the road on Sandy heath are building up and some of these are now appearing around The Lodge. Up to nine yellowhammers were seen along Sandy Ridge and seem to favour the shrubby area at the back of the extension car park. Until recently , yellowhammers were very rarely reported here and my first one ever on the reserve was just a week ago! There are two or three flocks of Lesser redpolls around and occasionally they are using the feeders, but siskins are here in much smaller numbers at the moment. The same applies to the thrushes, with lots of redwings but very few fieldfares. On Monday, a birding couple visited from Florida ( they were staying with relatives in Bedford) and saw a good number of new birds for their lists, but unfortunately we couldn't find them a fieldfare, which they were very keen to see. It turned out that they were going to several other reserves including Lakenheath, and then birding in Norfolk, so I reassured them that they would definitely see one on their travels in the UK!
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year- look forward to telling you what's about at The Lodge again in 2015!
The day started with a stoat catching a rabbit right outside the Visitor Centre. A real close up view of wildlife in the raw, although I was pleased there were no young children in the vicinity at the time!.
Most birders have had good views of a flock of around 30 redpolls near the hide today, with some of these birds coming down to bath in front of the hide. Redwings have been around in large numbers, with the occasional mistle thrush joining them to forage through the leaf litter and shrub berries. Across on Sandy Heath, the flock of linnets, reed buntings, yellowhammers and chaffinches is building up week by week- with over 60 yellowhammers here on Friday. A couple of stonechats are still around this area and were seen today.
Stonechat Michael Lawrence
I've mentioned before the work we are doing to encourage farmland birds, by planting seed crops on Sandy heath, the land we manage across the road from The Lodge. Over the last few months, we've seen up to seven stonechats and then a couple of whinchats arrived during autumn migration. There have been larger numbers of finches and buntings building up in recent weeks, and today our warden saw four corn buntings , over 150 linnets and twenty yellowhammers - a real sign that the crops are attracting and providing food and shelter for the birds in winter.
Yellowhammer Tom Marshall (rspb-images.com)