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Wildlife
We're about more than just birds (though obviously we like them a lot).
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  • Blog Post: Moving forests

    I’m a fan of a good tree. Any tree that draws attention will do, but a few nice ones are forest beech - smooth barked and massive, common oak - the classic ancient tree (a saying goes ‘they take 300 years to grow, 300 years to live and 300 years to die’) and scots pine - towering over...
  • Blog Post: Floor flora

    We got one day, one glorious day this week when you thought 'spring... I remember that'. On that day I managed to have a walk through The Lodge reserve on a lunch break. Sitting on the edge of the old quarry among spongy plants, and looking over a distant view of train lines and pylons I felt...
  • Blog Post: Forbidden Love

    We’ve seen them around the reserve , with their flirtatious behaviour, making strange noises in bushes and open displays of affection. No, I’m not discussing the lunchtime behaviour of The Lodge staff (I doubt I’d be able to write about that!), but actually the behaviour of a couple...
  • Blog Post: A woolly what?!

    I meant to go for a long lunchtime walk round the reserve today, but got sidetracked by Mark and Kevin staring intently at one of the conifer trees in our formal garden. Covering nearly every needle on the tree were what looked like small, white cotton balls. I was totally fascinated, and spent my...
  • Blog Post: A feather in my cap

    Feathers are a marvellous thing. That's what struck me today when I was out walking at The Lodge , in search of our flock of Manx Loghtan sheep (they're the little ones with dead-bracken-coloured wool and up to six horns...). I was busy not seeing the sheep, who were doubtless hiding in amongst...
  • Blog Post: We should all go on a woodland walk!

    It seems I should listen to my brain more often! According to a recent study from researchers at Heriot-Watt University a stroll in a leafy wood or park has a calming effect and lessens stress. This probably shouldn't really come as such a surprise to me. Working in the grounds of a woodland...
  • Blog Post: Bigging up the little guys

    Insects come in a variety of sizes and colours, but sadly, I can't say that I ever really pay that much attention to the little guys of our ecosystem, although I often see the evidence that they have been around - the intricate patterns left in leaves and bits of foliage missing as they happily chomp...
  • Blog Post: Stoatally amazing!

    Outside our window here at RSPB HQ, there's a massive pine tree. It's great for watching birds go about their business. Goldcrests hover among the needles, coal tits stash their sunflower seeds between the twigs, and sometimes there's even a nuthatch or a treecreeper wending its way up (or...
  • Blog Post: What's black, poisonous, has red-tipped teeth and inhabits a reserve near you?

    This week at The Lodge we’ve been on the hunt for killer. With its jet black fur, long tail, red-tipped teeth and poisonous saliva, I’d forgive you for thinking someone has being playing a practical joke on us and we’re searching for a mystical beast from an early horror movie. You...
  • Blog Post: Monday's magic moment: grumpy but gorgeous

    This little fella by Andy Hay looks how I felt when the alarm went off this morning: I was lucky enough to see this tawny owl for myself - he popped up at The Lodge nature reserve one lunch time, and lots of lucky staff were able to go and take a peek. He might look grumpy but I think he's...
  • Blog Post: Spring time?

    There seems to be lots of talk about at the moment over whether spring has finally sprung. The sun is shining through my window and temperatures are warm enough to think twice about the woolly hat. Now, I don’t want to run the risk of being too early, but I think spring might, just might be here...
  • Blog Post: Flaming autumn

    'The summer-flower has run to seed, And yellow is the woodland bough; And every leaf of bush and weed Is tipt with autumn's pencil now. And I do love the varied hue, And I do love the browning plain; And I do love each scene to view, That's mark'd with beauties of her reign.' ...
  • Blog Post: Aren't bramblings brilliant!

    The sun was burning orange on the horizon as we sneaked out into the gardens for our shady rendez-vous . 4.40, in the rhododendrons, see you there. It was a select gathering: a gaggle of web team members, some biologists, an editor and someone from IT. We stood in a row along the path behind the house...
  • Blog Post: Give us back our birds!

    Regular Notes on Nature readers will probably be building up quite a good picture of the birds we see from our window here, with the webcam feeder stationed outside. Great spotted woodpeckers , magpies and grey wagtails have all featured recently, however today it’s more a case of what we didn’t...
  • Blog Post: In the strangest of places

    Every year, we hear about lots of weird and wonderful places that birds have decided to nest, but birds aren't the only creatures that pick what can seem odd places to build a home. Last week, while staring out of my window at work ( again !) I realised that some sort of wasp was paying particular...
  • Blog Post: What did the owl have for dinner?

    No, seriously, it's not a joke! The answer can be found in this neat parcel, which was picked up under a tree at The Lodge a couple of weeks ago. You might say 'Yuck! a piece of owl poo! Why are you showing us this disgusting item?' But you'd be wrong - this is not a poo. Owl...
  • Blog Post: Entering another world

    Today, Lucinda and I spent our lunchtime staring into a tree. We had intended to go for a walk around the reserve, but got no further than the 'formal' gardens. 'Formal' is a bit of a misnomer; although the layout of the gardens is what you'd expect at a large, country house, they're...
  • Blog Post: Monday's magic moment: Trees are awesome

    This picture epitomises what I love about nature, it was taken just a stones throw from where I’m sitting at the RSPB’s HQ. Amazing scenes in nature are nearby wherever you are. This oak woodland has been captured with morning light getting caught in the haze of moisture rising under the...
  • Blog Post: Why getting up early is great

    You either love early mornings or you hate 'em. It's a bit of both for me, I think. But Sunday was International Dawn Chorus Day - a great reason to get up early. Trust me, the hardest part is always when the alarm goes off and you think 'Mmmm, I think I'll just close my eyes for five...
  • Blog Post: Getting a lift

    This week, we've had the pleasure of watching up to four buzzards at once, while seated at our desks (and working hard, obviously). Mostly, they spend time going round and round in circles, as if going up a spiral staircase. They're riding 'thermals', currents of warm air caused by the...