Friday, 22 December 2006

Bird news

Wednesday, 20th December
  • A wood mouse was rushing around out in the open on this frozen lunchtime looking for food. I popped out with sugared stem ginger, peanuts and bread from yesterday's department do and sure enough, in a few minutes, the little beast was tucking in. Merry Christmouse! (Derek Niemann)

Friday, 15 December 2006

Bird news

Friday, 15th December
  • Flock of siskins flying around Avocet car park (seen by Katie first and then me a bit later) (Mark Ward)
  • 12.45 pm Sparrowhawk flew into pines by Transport (Simon Marsh, Carl Simms)
  • Noon: Male sparrowhawk perched on the big tree just to the left of Transport Office, then swopped into the thick of the adjacent yew tree, and skittered about in the branches and foliage there, passerines (seemed mainly tits) whizzing out in all directions. He didn't catch any. (Euan Dunn)

Thursday, 14th December

  • Mottled Umber - Snipe north wall; December moth - Osprey porch. (Nigel Willits)A single buzzard from the window (Mark Ward)
  • Two siskins flew over Osprey Carpark at 0845hrs this morning. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Tuesday 12th December

  • A little owl calling and in flight at 1300hrs today in the SW corner of the Heath. This was my first record at the reserve and species no.105 for the year. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • 2 buzzards on and off from my window and c60 fieldfares west over the gatehouse. (Mark Ward)

Friday, 8th December

  • Tawny Owl calling across quarry c.18.00. (Nigel Willits)

Friday, 8 December 2006

Bird news

Friday, 8th December

  • Song Thrush singing below plateau at lunchtime (Nigel Willits)
  • A Canada goose flying south mid morning was the 60th species of 2006 from my window. The first addition for three months! Also had a tatty buzzard from my window this afternoon (Mark Ward)

Wednesday, 6th December

  • Had a peregrine over the IS building @ ca 1510. Quick view as it came over the wildlife garden and then disappeared back over IS. Seen by myself and Spiro Vaos. (Ken Smith – Int)
  • Red Admiral near Memorial Garden @1315 (Trish Clegg)
  • Red Admiral on Verbena in sun by house at 1300. No sign of any darters this week, so they must all have succumbed (IKD, DFD)

Tuesday, 5th December

  • Stoat in hunting mode on meadow at lunchtime. Common Earthball on heath (Nigel Willits)

Monday, 4th December

  • Several Redwing & Mistle Thrush feeding round the yew-tree car park c.13.45 (Nigel Willits)
  • Red Admiral at lunchtime (Trish Clegg)Red Admiral in gardens, late morning (JOS)
  • Red admiral and buzzard in flight outside my window this morning (Mark Ward)

Friday, 1 December 2006

Bird news

Thursday, 30th November

  • Red Admiral outside canteen. (Nigel Willits)Siskin/s calling from the Quarry at 0900hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Wednesday, 29th November

  • A couple of Mottled Umber on the walls & my 1st Winter moth of the season (Nigel Willits)
  • Red Admiral in Memorial Garden at 1240 (IKD, DFD)
  • One Common Darter still on house wall at 1145. My previous latest at Lodge was on 24th November (1995). Will it last out until December? (IKD)
  • Red Admiral outside Anne Harley's office at 1120 (DFD)
  • Red Admiral outside canteen late morning (Margaret Walton)

Tuesday, 28th November

  • One Common Darter on house wall at 1345 (IKD)
  • 11 golden plover low over the Garden at 1050hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Monday, 27th November

  • 2 Common Darters on house wall and a third flying over swimming pool. (IKD, DFD)
  • Red Admiral on the wall of the shoot room Monday afternoon. (Steve Blain)
  • Red Admiral by the pond outside of the canteen, 11:50 on Monday (Jamie Wells); and at 1300 (IKD, DFD)
  • Muntjac outside library in morning (Lynn Giddings, IKD)

Monday, 20th November

  • Another large common toad active on a very cold evening, by entrance to Avocet building. (Conor Jameson)

Friday, 24 November 2006

Bird news

Friday, 24th November

  • The Borage Field (Compartment H1) at lunchtime: grey partridge 0, red-legged partridge 8, skylark 41, meadow pipit 0, chaffinch c.30, greenfinch c.25, brambling 0, redpoll 0. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Thursday, 23rd November

  • A buzzard flew low over the trees parallel with the car park and osprey building. (Ian Hayward)
  • The Borage Field (Compartment H1) at lunchtime: grey partridge 5, skylark 35, meadow pipit 4, chaffinch 6, greenfinch 0, brambling 0, redpoll 0. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • 3 Red Admirals in the gardens at lunchtime; also one Common Darter still sunning itself on the House wall and a fine Red-green Carpet by the entrance to Osprey building (Martin Davies)
  • I heard a siskin flying over calling near the canteen today and there were 2 red admirals sunbathing on the wall at the eastern entrance to the memorial garden at lunchtime today (Mark Ward, Katie Fuller and Lucinda King)
  • We now have a regular male sparrowhawk patrolling the vicinity of the webcam feeder, first spotted by Sheena a couple of weeks ago sitting on top of the feeder! At the end of last week it was proudly perched atop the feeder once again just outside my window for a short while. (Mark Ward)

Wednesday, 22nd November

  • Common buzzard over the Quarry at 1045hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Red Admiral in the Courtyard at 10.45 (Margaret Walton)

Tuesday, 21st November

  • 2 muntjac (adult plus young?) seen from the quarry trail. Didn't seem bothered by us, unlike the fox that bolted from cover about 15 yards from them. Wonder what it was up to? (Tony Payne, Keith Blomerley, Dave Pons, Frank James, James Hall, Francis Denning
  • The Borage Field (Compartment H1) at lunchtime: skylark 47, meadow pipit 3, chaffinch c.50, greenfinch c.30, brambling 2, redpoll 2 over. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Monday, 20th November

  • Single Red Admiral, Peacock and Common Darter, all on south wall of house at lunchtime (IKD, DFD)
  • Red Admiral & Peacock in the garden; Red-green Carpet at Osprey porch. There's a Stinkhorn colony living up to its name & attracting flies by the path at the bottom of the heath - includes freshly emerged fruit & 2 eggs (Nigel Willits)
  • Red Admiral in the Courtyard at 11.30 and another one seen near the hide at 13.00 (Trish Clegg)
  • Mistle thrush singing in the Quarry at 0850hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Friday, 17 November 2006

Bird news

Friday, 17th November

  • One or more siskins calling over Avocet carpark at 1330hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin & Mark Ward)2 buzzards from my window this morning (Mark Ward)

Thursday, 16th November

  • Several siskins with greenfinches in the canopy of trees by the stable block at 1430hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Wednesday, 15th November

  • 1 Common Darter on walls (IKD, DFD)
  • 2 Red Admirals in the Courtyard at 0955 (Trish Clegg)
  • 3 common buzzards over the RSPB's Sandy Ridge woodland (Neil Renwick)
  • Many thanks to Ray Alami for alerting me to the presence of a large bird drifting over the garden this morning. My second raven of the week, drifting east at fairly low altitude. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Tuesday, 14th November

  • Common toad out for a leg stretch - nice to know they are still around even if active at the wrong time of year (Conor Jameson)

Monday, 13th November

  • Still 4 Common Darters on the walls of the house at lunchtime (IKD, DFD)
  • Migrant Hawker by Avocet and Red Admiral by quarry (Martin Davies)

Sunday, 12th November

  • Green sandpiper still at The Lodge, Sunday afternoon (Neil Renwick)

Friday, 10th November

  • A single reed bunting calling over the Meadow at 1530hrs was my second of the autumn and only my third here in the last 18 months. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Friday, 10 November 2006

Bird news

Friday, 10th November
  • I saw the Green Sandpiper at the hide this lunchtime. (Katy Stevenson)
  • 4 redpolls flew over the Gatehouse at about 9.40, heading for HQ (Neil Renwick)
Thursday, 9th November
  • Newly emerged Speckled Wood early afternoon in foyer at south end of Avocet, with empty pupal case nearby (Katie Fuller)
  • Still 2 red admirals on valerian by the canteen yesterday to add to the newly-emerged speckled wood in the south end of the avocet building (Mark Ward)
  • A brambling flew into the birch in the former wildlife garden at 1330hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Kingfisher flew in to swimming pool perch @1250. Also 2 Peacocks, 1 or 2 Red Admirals, 1 Comma and 2+ Common Darters (IKD, DFD)
  • Four Red Admirals in the Courtyard this morning. (Trish Clegg)
Wednesday, 8th November
  • A migrant hawker outside the eastern entrance to the Avocet Building at lunchtime today - the latest I have ever seen.
  • Also a buzzard from my window and c40 redwings south. (Mark Ward)
  • Around 60 fieldfare across the drive at 1315hrs today. (Katie Fuller & Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Common Darter round the back of the Quarry (1pm - ish). (Trish Clegg)
  • Kingfisher at swimming pool, late am (IKD, DFD)
  • Masses of finches around the car parks this morning. Highlight of my coffee break were eight siskin north over The Meadow and one or two bramblings calling overhead. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Tuesday, 7th November
  • A very vocal green sandpiper (presumably the long-stayer) over the Meadow and House at 1530hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin, Richard James, Katherine Stevenson)
  • Single Brambling calling in the trees in the car park opposite Osprey building earlier on. Also a Cormorant circled the swimming pool around 9:30 ( I suspect looking for wrecked Little Auks to eat...!) (Steve Blain)
Monday, 6th November
  • Kingfisher back at the east end of the swimming pool @1440 for well over an hour (Phil Burfield, IKD)
  • lunchtime: 3 Peacocks, 2 Red Admirals, 1 Comma and a minimum of 10 Common Darters (IKD, DFD)
  • Green-brindled Crescent on Snipe north wall; 2 Peacock & a Comma in the garden. (Nigel Willits)
  • We had a Red Admiral in the Courtyard (Margaret Walton, Trish Clegg)
  • Calling siskin outside the north entrance to the Osprey Building. (Mark Ward)
  • After fishing the little auk out of the swimming pool, the bird was taken to Bedford Museum, where it will be mounted and displayed. (Darren Oakley-Martin et al.)
Sunday, 5th November
  • Drowned Little Auk in swimming pool. (Neil Renwick) [There has been a major influx along east coast in last few days]
  • Little owl flushed during Sunday morning's fungus foray, in the open woodland to the north of the Hide. Late in the afternoon, a little owl was calling from the south-east corner of the heath
  • A female tawny owl was calling along the Long Riding bridleway across Sandy heath, and then seen to fly out of an oak, as the skies all around were lit with distant fireworks
  • A Leucoagaricus ionidicolor was found under the yew hedge at the Gatehouse - the same site as it was discovered last year, and it is still the only known site in Bedfordshire for this fungus. Over 120 fungus species were recorded on Sunday's fungus forays (Neil Renwick)
Saturday, 4th November
  • Red admirals and small whites seen in sunny spots (Neil Renwick)

Friday, 3 November 2006

Bird news

Friday, 3rd November
  • Green sandpiper still on natterjack ponds at 1600hrs. A few meadow pipits heard over the Meadow. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Kestrel, sparrowhawk, common buzzard and little owl at Sandy Heath Quarry. 1250-1320hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Kingfisher again at swimming pool in morning (Phil Burfield et al.); and late afternoon (Rob Hume et al.)
  • Comma, Red Admiral, 2 Peacocks and 5 Common Darters at lunchtime (IKD, DFD)
  • 2 Red Admirals along Stratford Road extension below heath (Lynn Giddings)
  • Red Admiral by Central Services in morning sun (Margaret Walton)
Thursday, 2nd November
  • Kingfisher at swimming pool again late afternoon (IKD)
  • Grey Wagtail on the ponds by the hide at 12.30 today. Perched on the stick with the feeders hanging from it, and then flew down, caught a dragonfly from the back pond before spending a few minutes bashing it about, de-winging and eating it. (Gareth Fisher)
  • A couple (or more) siskins flew calling over Osprey carpark at 0845hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Wednesday, 1st November
  • Green sandpiper still on natterjack ponds at 1105hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Tuesday, 31st October
  • Green sandpiper on the natterjack ponds at 1410hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin & Steve Blain)
Monday, 30th October
  • 32 fieldfare north west over the Heath at 0815hrs, along with around ten meadow pipits and a similar number of redwing. Sparrowhawk over main house a little later and a skylark over. (Katie Fuller & Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • 44 redwing and one fieldfare south over Osprey carpark at 0845hrs (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Another two groups of 22 and eleven redwings west over Osprey carpark and three sparrowhawks over the Quarry at 1050hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • 56 fieldfare, 20 redwing, 14 meadow pipit west over Sandy Heath Quarry, with a further seven of the latter on the deck. Probable rock pipit over, but too high and too windy to be sure. A little owl calling nearby between 1250-1320hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Thursday, 2 November 2006

Bird news

Thursday, 2nd November
  • Holly Blue (same female) still flying around Wisteria by House Meeting Room. Also 4 Red Admirals, 2 Commas, 2 Peacocks, 7 Common Darters; and Grey Wagtail heard calling (IKD, DFD)
  • Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail at Swimming Pool at lunchtime (Katie Fuller)
  • Kingfisher on swimming pool at east end on post. Flew off towards hide at 12.50 (Judith Emmerson)
  • c50 Fieldfares west over the plateau from my window early am.
  • Despite the first overnight frost, still 4 species of butterfly at large around the borders: holly blue, comma, red admiral and peacock. Also a couple of common darters still and a grey wagtail commuting between the Swimming Pool, the top of the House and the Memorial Garden. (Mark Ward)
Wednesday, 1st November
  • Kingfisher fishing (successfully) in swimming pool, 1540 on, for at least 20 minutes (Aniol Esteban et al.)
  • Red Admiral still in Courtyard by canteen at 1350. Peacock on wall of library by terrace. (Got photos!) Common Darter near there and another by entrance to hide. Green Sandpiper on 2nd pool from hide. (Trish Clegg)
  • Approx 100 Fieldfare west over the heath, Wednesday @ 13:30. Also Mistle Thrush over the meadow. (Kat Balaam/Jamie Wells)
  • Lunchtime: 7 Red Admirals, 3 Commas, 2 Peacocks and a female Holly Blue, all in Memorial Garden or along south side of House. The Holly Blue (presumed same as Martin saw yesterday) landed on Debra’s leg and sat there for the best part of five minutes, before flying off over main border!
  • Also 9 Common Darters sunning themselves on walls (IKD, DFD, Martin Davies)
  • Good arrival of Fieldfares with the switch to northerly winds today. An impressive flock of 300+ swept low west/north-west over the canteen at 11.25 this morning and another c80 in the same direction over the meadow soon after.
  • Green Sandpiper on the Natterjack Pool late am.
  • Peacock, 6+ Red Admirals and several Common Darters still at large this am. (Mark Ward)
  • Red Admiral in courtyard in morning sun (Trish Clegg)
Tuesday, 31st October
  • Migrant hawker outside my window. 2 Buzzards from my window. (Mark Ward)
  • Female Holly Blue on ivy in Memorial Garden; also 6 Red Admirals, Painted Lady, Comma and 2 Peacocks (Martin Davies)
Monday, 30th October
  • Great sighting this afternoon, Sparrowhawk being mobbed by mixed flock of small birds, most aggressive were the fieldfares, along the osprey car park and dived into the quarry seeking cover. (Ian Hayward)
Sunday, 29th October
  • Green sandpiper at the hide pools again, red admirals in several places, 8 buzzards over the heath. (Neil Renwick)
Saturday, 28th October
  • Green sandpiper at the hide pools and a redwing in the ringers' nets to entertain Feed The Birds Day visitors, plus a male goldcrest that had been ringed at The Lodge in December 2005. (Neil Renwick)
Friday, 27th October
  • 29 sheep sent back to Minsmere, 6 staying on the reserve for the winter. (Neil Renwick)
  • Saw a Red Admiral in the Courtyard mid morning today. (Trish Clegg)

Wednesday, 1 November 2006


Finally got to see the Green Sandpiper that's been hanging around for a little while now. Fortunately, I was able to make use of a 10-minute window of opportunity while I was waiting for something to happen to walk up to the hide and get a few record shots.

I'm sure if Steve goes, he'll make a better job of it, but time was short!

If you look at the reports from the Olden Days, Green Sandpipers used to be quite frequent around The Lake, but now that's gone. This one was strutting around the edge of the little natterjack pool and seemed quite at home. Perhaps it'll hang around for winter?

Friday, 27 October 2006

Bird news

Friday, 27th October
  • Two fieldfares SW over Avocet carpark at 1335hrs. (Katie Fuller & Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • A single Painted Lady at 1220 on the flower border behind the House (JOS)
  • A Green Sandpiper high over Osprey, calling loudly, at 0830 this morning (JOS).
Thursday, 26th October
  • Three redpolls over Osprey carpark at 0850hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Good movement of Redwings going on early this morning: c70 over central Cambridge; c50 near Wrestlingworth; 80+ over Potton/Deepdale (mostly heading west); c80 over the Lodge (mostly heading west)(Ben Stafford)
Wednesday, 25th October
  • Noisy mixed flock of ca 400 Jackdaws and 100 Rooks low over meadow and house @1750, presumably on way to a local roost (IKD, DFD)
  • I saw a group of Collared Earthstars along the drive today, almost where they were four years ago, but on the opposite side of the road. (Mark Gurney)
  • 12.45 pm flock of redwings (up to 20?) briefly glimpsed flying and calling over Osprey. (Simon Marsh)
  • Kingfisher by swimming pool in morning (Lynn Giddings)
  • Kingfisher on the swimming pool at 1120hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Tuesday, 24th October
  • Saw a peregrine at lunchtime just outside of reserve over path towards Biggleswade Common (Richard Winspear)
Monday, 23rd October
  • Heard Lesser Redpoll, Grey Wagtail and Skylark calling as they flew over the meadow (Katie Fuller)
Friday, 20th October
  • A Clouded Yellow flew across the path at the far end of the heath, lunchtime (Chris Bowden & Mark Boyd)
Thursday, 19th October
  • Brimstone on flowers outside backdoor to the house (Phil Burfield)
  • Grey Wagtail at fish pond c.14.15; Common Darters at hide pond & east of garden, where also Red Admirals. (Nigel Willits)
Wednesday, 18th October
  • 2 Grass Snakes swimming in Jack's Pond - one very large, well over 1 metre - one quite small c.50cms. (Nigel Willits)
Tuesday, 17th October
  • Grey Shoulder-knot on Osprey north wall (Nigel Willits)
Monday, 16th October
  • male Brimstone butterfly in gardens; Merveille du Jour & Green-brindled Crescent moths on Snipe north wall. (Nigel Willits)
Friday, 13th October
  • Yellow Stagshorn fungus east of Jack's Pond. (Nigel Willits)


Heard my first Fieldfares of the autumn this lunchtime - two chacking their way south-west, over Avocet car park and then the quarry.

Friday, 13 October 2006

Bird news

Friday, 13th October
  • Pair of common darters in tandem over the swimming pool (Mark Ward and Lucinda King)
  • Biggleswade Common: Kingfisher flipped over the hedge and away from the brook. (Olly Watts)
  • Chiffchaff calling between Avocet building & Cottage Farm. Lots of different fungi species to be seen - lets hope it lasts until the fungus events with the county recorder on 5 November (Neil Renwick)
Thursday, 12th October
  • Another group of c8 redwings low south over the avocet car park mid pm. (Mark Ward)
  • 5 buzzards in air together over the Gatehouse, lizards basking on the heath & by steps at Jack's Pond (Neil Renwick)
  • my 1st Epirrita moth of the autumn (Pale November perhaps) on Snipe northern wall. (Nigel Willits)
  • Redwing - 1 Bunkers Hill (Dave Buckingham)
  • 8 buzzards thermalling and sparring high and to the north of The Lodge at 1210. (JOS)
  • Two '2s' of redwing in flight from my window early this morning. Up to 9 buzzards together outside my window today.
  • Migrant hawker opposite the house at lunch and common darter still at large too. (Mark Ward)
Wednesday, 11th October
  • Still a single migrant hawker outside my window late pm today. (Mark Ward)
  • ...and outside mine in the gloom this morning (IKD)
  • Grey wagtail over Avocet carpark at 1030hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Tuesday, 10th October
  • c.270 Golden Plover through north between 1530-1545hrs in two discrete groups of c.180 and c.90. A single swallow through south. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Another three redwings through south at lunchtime today and a substantial and highly vocal mixed feeding flock of perhaps 200 individuals on the Plateau consisting of great, blue, coal and long-tailed tits, goldcrests, treecreepers, nuthatch and chaffinches. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • 2 pairs of Common Darter ovipositing in tandem at hide pond, plus several very active males including a couple of Ruddies. (Nigel Willits)
Monday, 9th October
  • Around 200 golden plover and 300 lapwing high over the Ivel Valley at 1530hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Red-green Carpet on Snipe northern wall. (Nigel Willits)
  • Small orange butterfly first seen a little way off and then got away from me on the heath (area of heather regeneration) at The Lodge - small copper? (Euan Dunn)
  • Saw what I'm fairly certain was a clouded yellow out the front of the House at lunchtime today (Sally Webber)
  • Clouded yellow on heath restoration area east of Drive, midday. (Graham Wilton-Jones)
  • A single reed bunting north over the Heath at 1300hrs. A little grebe in the channel between heath and Biggleswade Common was something of a surprise. (Katie Fuller & Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Three redwings over the Heath this morning at 0830hrs were our first of the autumn. Six meadow pipits and 43 lapwing through south. A kingfisher again south of the heath. (Katie Fuller & Darren Oakley-Martin)
Saturday, 7th October
  • 3 siskins at the pool in front of the hide at The Lodge, Saturday, 1pm (Neil Renwick)

Monday, 9 October 2006

Lodge tick double-whammy!

Out for a lunchtime stroll and what did we get? Two Lodge ticks!

1. Reed bunting: One called as it flew over from Biggleswade Common onto the reserve
2. Little grebe: One lurking on the cut at the bottom of the hill, between reserve and Common.

Wonders will never cease!

Friday, 6 October 2006

Bird news

Friday, 6th October
  • 12.50: 3 House Martins moving west over swimming pool area. (Ben Stafford)
  • House martin outside our window this am briefly (Mark Ward and Ellen Collier).
  • Also migrant hawker over the lawn. (Mark Ward)
Thursday, 5th October
  • Two swallows through south at Sandy Quarry and a good-sized mixed flock of 120 tits; predominantly long-tailed, blue and coal with a dozen or so goldcrests and two treecreepers amongst them. Couldn't coax out anything more interesting. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • One Redwing heading SW over the Lodge at 12.00 (first of the autumn for me). (Guy Anderson)
  • Grey Wagtail over the new Avocet building, heading towards the quarry @ 9:05am. (Jamie Wells)
Wednesday, 4th October
  • Hummingbird hawk moth at the valerian outside the canteen mid pm today.
  • Meadow pipit south early am. Up to 4 buzzards from my window. (Mark Ward)
  • Six common buzzards over The Lodge, drifting WSW over the Ivel Valley at 1030-1045hrs, unfortunately, not a honey amongst them. (Darren Oakley-Martin, Richard James, Ian Peters).
  • Still one hummingbird hawkmoth zipping around outside the canteen on Weds morning (Paul Donald)
Tuesday, 3rd October
  • Juvenile Hobby from my window regularly again this morning and up to 5 buzzards. Skylark/s heard migrating high south over the garden at lunch. 2 swallows and a house martin outside my window briefly mid pm. (Mark Ward)
  • Single small copper, comma and painted lady at the back of the house at lunchtime (Mark Ward and JOS)
Monday, 2nd October
  • Painted Lady by main border; Hobby over quarry @1310 (IKD, DFD)
  • Juvenile Hobby frequently outside my window today, joined by a second on one occasion. (Mark Ward)
  • pair of Hobbies soaring over quarry mid afternoon. (Nigel Willits)
Sunday, 1st October
  • Two hobbies over the Galley Hill Iron-age hill fort at The Lodge, and a comma butterfly at the Gatehouse lavender. (Neil Renwick)
Saturday, 30th September
  • More meadow pipits around Sandy Heath Quarry on Saturday.
  • A report of a possible marsh tit in the birches between the Gatehouse & the hide on Saturday afternoon. (Neil Renwick)
Friday, 29th September
  • Hobby seen high over Jack's Pond, top of heath, ca. 1.15 pm (Chris Magin)
  • Painted lady on lavender at Gatehouse; buzzard mewing over Sandy Ridge woodland (east of the heath) (Neil Renwick)
Thursday, 28th September
  • Meadow pipits at Sandy Heath Quarry generally drifting southwards, tawny owl calling from The Lodge bridleway at dusk. (Neil Renwick)

Friday, 29 September 2006

Bird news

Friday, 29th September
  • 31 passage house martins south outside my window mid pm. Buzzard from my window, mobbed by crows this am. A late, but fresh, hummingbird hawk moth at the valerian near the canteen (Mark Ward)
Thursday, 28th September
  • Buzzard over the garden (Mark Ward)
  • Buzzard soaring over Avocet at lunchtime (IKD, DFD)
Wednesday, 27th September
  • I've been enjoying a hobby feasting on migrant hawkers outside my window today, joined by a second this afternoon. (Mark Ward)
  • 13.30: Excellent views of long grass snake (50cm) on the edge of the swimming pool: swam, stopped on top of a couple of lily pads, swam towards a group of unaware fish happily swimming half mouth above waterline, quite funny to see them getting scared, after being quite slow at detecting the snake swimming among them. Snake show ended when it disappeared into the floating vegetation areas. (Aniol E./ Ken P)
Tuesday, 26th September
  • Two groups of swallows (c20 birds in each) flew south-west, viewed from our window this am (I also saw a large flock of c80 moving in the same direction over Sandy as I drove home last night, so clearly a bit of a surge at the moment).
  • Buzzards putting on a splendid display outside as well today with up to seven together (all juveniles). (Mark Ward and Ellen Collier)
  • 12:10pm. Four buzzards showing well as a group over the house. Varying sizes so possibly some juveniles amongst them. Another seen very low over the grassland at front of the house later in the afternoon. (Carl Simms and Simon Marsh)
  • There were 3 buzzards calling, displaying and generally showing off over the forested area beyond the meadow this morning. (Ian Hayward)
  • Kingfisher using perches both ends of swimming pool early am (Val Tingey)
Monday, 25th September
  • The rain seems to have triggered something in the birds of the Lodge. This morning flying between the Oaks in the Quarry I heard and saw at least 8 Jays, I thought it quite unusual to see quite so many together in full view. Early afternoon I passed by the hide and was lucky enough to see a juvenile sparrowhawk in hot pursuit of a pair of grey wagtails... the wagtails managed to avoid capture much to the annoyance of the hawk. (Ian Hayward)

Friday, 22 September 2006

Bird news

Friday, 22nd September
  • 20 mistle and three song thrushes settled briefly by the Stableblock at 1045hrs before heading north over the Meadow. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Thursday, 21st September
  • Hobby and buzzard seen a couple of times in morning over the quarry (Ellen Collier and Katie Fuller)
  • Hobby over Avocet, Thursday morning (Paul Donald)
  • Hobby hunting over the meadow this morning (Ian Hayward)
  • 8.55 am: 52 house martins over Quarry car park before drifting east (Darren Oakley-Martin, Katie Fuller)
Wednesday, 20th September
  • Southern Hawker male at fish pond. Peacock & Red Admiral in sunny patches along bridleway, Speckled Wood & Comma on meadow. Female-type Blackcap wolfing blackberries by the hide - perhaps stocking up for the long trip ahead. (Nigel Willits)
  • Hummingbird Hawk-moth in gardens (IKD, DFD; Lynn Giddings)
  • A visitor reported a lesser spotted woodpecker by the hide at 1200hrs today. This would be the first here since Dave Buckingham's on 16 September 2005. (per Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Two adult hobbies performing superbly over The Quarry all morning today (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Tuesday, 19th September
  • A tree pipit calling over The Meadow at 1550hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Numerous Migrant Hawkers & Common Darters, especially east of gardens & around Jack's Pond.
  • Yellow-tail male on north Snipe - 2nd gen or late 1st? (Nigel Willits)
Monday, 18th September
  • Painted Lady in the gardens among plenty of Commas and Red Admirals, and 2 Small Coppers. (IKD, DFD)
  • Small Copper & Small Heath on the meadow. Silver Y disturbed from veg in garden (1st for several weeks). (Nigel Willits)
  • Three common buzzards over the Quarry and two swallows through south at 1045hrs (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • A trickle of yellow wagtails over The Plateau at 0850hrs (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Sunday, 17th September
  • 9 grey partridges in the borage field at Sandy Heath Quarry, then 7 red-legged partridges in the quarry, plus one little owl sunbathing and a meadow pipit heading south. Visitors reported a kingfisher flying past the hide and 2 grass snakes at the long pond behind Reprographics. (Neil Renwick)
Thursday, 14th September
  • Grass Snake, approx 18" long by Miss Flashman's bench, Quarry trail. (Andrew Hay, Lesley Norman).

Friday, 15 September 2006

Bird news

Wednesday, 13th September
  • Migrant Hawker trying to catch Comma but failing plus a few Common Darters perching on prominent fronds of bracken (Jack's Pond). Several Mistle Thrushes moving south through the reserve. (Nigel Willits)
  • Buzzard and hobby flying together over car park and then eastwards over gardens at 2pm from web team window (Ellen Collier, Katie Fuller)
  • Grass Snake in the swimming pool (per Hannah Daniels)
  • Grass Snake (or maybe two different) crossing lawn on two separate occasions in afternoon (Rob Hume)
  • 1.30pm: Grass snake, c. 1 metre long, slithering into the island at the east end of the swimming pool (Ian Dickie)
  • One adult and one juvenile hobby hunting over the Quarry at 1300hrs. (Katie Fuller & Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Hobby over quarry @1250 (IKD, DFD)
  • Eight lapwings flew east over the carpark at 1230hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • A single, fresh looking red kite drifted east over The Lodge at 1050hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Green Sandpiper on the swimming pool steps @0920, flew off west. (Ian Dickie, Phil Burfield)
Tuesday, 12th September
  • Single hobby flying northwards in pm (Ellen Collier, Katie Fuller)
  • Sandy Heath Quarry (RSPB managed area). An impressive flock of at least 35 mistle thrushes and six song thrushes to the north end of the old quarry area. A tree pipit flew over calling twice. (Richard Bashford & Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Up to 19 Mistle Thrushes at the eastern end of the heath. (Ben Stafford)
  • 14 Commas, 8 Red Admirals, Painted Lady, Speckled Wood, sev Small Whites, Hummingbird Hawk-moth in gardens, plus a Grass Snake in main border. (IKD, DFD)
  • 2 male Southern Hawkers still patrolling the fish pond, but no damsels anymore. Pair of Common Darters ovipositing in tandem at hide pool. Male Kestrel bathing in pool north of hide. Red Admirals & Commas on buddleia. Brimstone moth on Snipe north wall. (Nigel Willits)
Monday, 11th September
  • Canary-shouldered Thorn on Osprey west wall. (Nigel Willits)
  • Darren and I saw what was probably Richard's kingfisher at 3 pm yesterday afternoon. We were walking towards the pool to take some photos (it was for work, honest!) when it flew past us and settled on the edge at the far [eastern] end. It sat there for a couple of minutes before flying to the branch in the middle of the water for another minute or so. Flew off in the direction of the hide shortly after. (Katie Fuller)
  • I saw the Kingfisher too reported by Richard Bashford! I was in a very (very) dull teleconference in the main house and saw it fly across the lawn toward the Yew Tree car park…(Sally Webber)
  • Buzzard, 1 being mobbed by corvids on the southern part of the heath, 8.30 am; one brown argus and quite a number of small coppers also around. Hobby, 1 hawking for dragonflies over the meadow at 5.30 pm (Katie Fuller).
  • Hummingbird Hawk-moth again on Verbena in Memorial Garden. Still a lingering male Common Blue Damselfly on swimming pool (IKD, DFD)

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Kite Humble

Coffee break this morning saw me viewing over the Ivel Valley. It's now pretty much a daily ritual: have breakfast, smoke fag, do ten minutes birding, see nothing.

But today a distant raptor drifted into view, accompanied by three carrion crows. Head on, my first thought was a harrier, but as it drew overhead all became clear- red kite.

Rushed to my desk and put news out. Everyone at work is either engaged, on voicemail, or being slack, but a few people gathered as it drifted out of sight over the gardens.

After a lunchtime stroll that was enlivened by a couple of hunting hobby, I returned to my desk and out of the corner of my eye, spyed a familiar face in the corridor. That looks like Kate Humble at the vending machine!

She has very nice eyes.

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

Bird news

Tuesday, 12th September
  • Probable male Montagu’s Harrier over reserve @0845 heading east towards Potton (Trish Clegg)
Monday 11th September
  • Kingfisher from the office today and I work in the Stable block! Not sure what it was doing but heard it calling, presumably from the tree outside the office and then watched it fly across the lawn and over the pond at the front of the house and into the Yew Tree Car park...(Richard Bashford)
  • Stoat seen chasing a Rabbit in the gardens about 1:50pm. (Heidi Crumpton; Julia Mackay)

Sandy Heath Quarry

A member of staff had a probable male Montagu's harrier over the Meadow at work this morning at 8:45. It must have flown over our heads as Katie and I drove along the drive this morning.

After a meeting, and reading Richard's email to this effect, I found a dark corner, put my head on my knees, and wept like a baby.

Then the two of us dried our eyes and went east to Sandy Heath Quarry during our lunch break 'on the off chance.' No joy with any harriers but a seriously impressive flock of thrushes- 35 mistle and six song thrushes foraging in the grazed area.

Not bad at all. But as each bird flew up into a tree as they became aware of our presence, we couldn't help but think ''be a wryneck, please be a wryneck.''

Then a tree pipit flew over calling, which we couldn't quite place at the time!

Lodge tick and Katie seriously gripped!

Friday, 8 September 2006

Bird news

Friday, 8th September
  • Probable Bank Vole in undergrowth near hide. (Nigel Willits)
  • Plenty of Commas on the buddleia and Verbena; 2 Small Coppers (IKD, DFD; Sally Webber)
Thursday, 7th September
  • Family party of spotted flycatchers (2 adults, at least 3 fledglings, still begging for food) on the bridleway & 2 hummingbird hawkmoths on lavender at the Gatehouse (Neil Renwick)
  • Rhododendron leafhoppers on the increase: 500++ in gardens yesterday on a variety of bushes, not just Rhododendrons (lesser burdock particularly favoured). Looks like the 'Rhododendron bud blast' disease that they allegedly spread is also present. Nice little patch of thorn-apples flowering by the webcam bird table (allegedly one of the most poisonous plants on the planet and a widely abused hallucinogen !). (Dave Buckingham)
  • 3 buzzards from my window early am. The usual butterfly transect at the back of the house at lunch with Katie Fuller produced 6 commas again, 12+ red admirals and 2 small coppers. (Mark Ward)
  • At least two, probably three spotted flycatchers near the trail below the garden at 1320hrs (Dave Buckingham & Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Male Southern Hawker & single Common Bluetail on fish pond. (Nigel Willits)
  • Stoat at back of garden near pergola @1250 (IKD, DFD)
  • A garden warbler in sub-song by the gate at the bottom of the Quarry at 1250hrs (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Red Admiral Butterfly on the Valerian plant outside Central Services (Margaret Walton)
  • Two common buzzards again drifted high over to the east, calling at 1040hrs. A Lodge rarity in a collared dove perched in pines in Avocet carpark (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Wednesday, 6th September
  • 2.30pm 6 Commas on the buddleia at the back of the House (Sally Webber)
  • Hummingbird Hawk-moth and Hornet on Buddleia by HR (DFD)
  • Following one recently, another (flightless) female Vapourer moth with eggs on a Sycamore trunk. The infamous Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner, a micro-moth first recorded in the UK in 2002, has reached the Lodge, with small numbers of mines in evidence on Horse Chestnut by drive. (IKD, DFD)
  • A buzzard 'buzzed' by a hobby (seen through the pines on top of the plateau) from my window this afternoon and a second hobby circling high in the sky at around the same time. A rise in comma numbers at lunchtime today: now 6, with an even split between the buddleias at the back of the house and the memorial garden. Also a number of hornets in evidence on/around the buddleias. (Mark Ward)
  • 2 Common Blue damsels on fish pond. (Nigel Willits)
  • Adult hobby over the Quarry at 1040hrs and again, it or another hawking insects over the Meadow at 1515hrs. Two common buzzards, including one juvenile, over the Ivel Valley at 1040hrs (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Common tern(s) heard calling over the Quarry at 1045hrs (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Marsh tit in amongst mixed tit flock along southern boundary and just two swallows remain around the paddocks (Stratford Road) at 1300hrs. There seems to be an increased amount of robin song around the reserve today (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Derek Niemann came across to tell us he had heard and seen two Ravens on the south side of the Avocet Building c12.15 today and five minutes later, I picked them up soaring around high from my window. They showed nicely against the blue sky to the Web Team (and Mark Thomas, who called me having also picked them up) for a few minutes before dropping to the west. (Mark Ward)
Tuesday, 5th September
  • Hobby over The Plateau at 1530hrs and four swallows over SE (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Two Hobbies together drifting gradually east over the Avocet Building and lawn this afternoon. Butterflies at lunch at the back of the house included 3 commas, 10 red admirals and a small tortoiseshell. Also a large, fresh-looking hummingbird hawk moth nectaring from low flowers at the back of the house. (Mark Ward)
  • Young Grass snake, perhaps 5" long under Miss Flashman's bench, Quarry trail, 13:30. (Andrew Hay)
  • Probable Giant Wood Wasp (female) attempting entry to our office, Avocet building. 13:00 (Andrew Hay)
  • Juvenile and adult male sparrowhawk over the Quarry at 1030hrs (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Juvenile common buzzard over the Quarry at 0845hrs (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Monday, 4th September
  • Four Hobbies over gardens in afternoon (Mike Clarke)
  • Hobby over the Plateau at 1540hrs (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Hobby from my window again in afternoon. (Mark Ward)
  • Presume same Volucella zonaria as on Friday on the buddleia south of the swimming pool at lunchtime. Also 3 commas around, c12 red admirals and a small tortoiseshell. (Mark Ward)
  • Common whitethroat along Stratford Road at 1255hrs (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • A hobby from my window at 12.24, which performed a spectacular peregrine-esque stoop. (Mark Ward)
Friday, 1st September
  • 15:45 - Large grass snake by the side of the Gardeners compost heap, slithering away into one of the wood piles. Quite impressive size compared to the ones I've seen previously. (Carl Simms)
  • Two really vivid commas on the buddleia at the back of the house (Sally Webber)

Warren Villas

This is about as good as the view gets, at this time of year. Careful positioning is required in order to view any birds that might be hiding behind the trees (getting on for a kilometre away).

Thursday, 7 September 2006


These are the formal gardens at The Lodge, behind the main house. They're good for seeing flowers, shrubs, gardeners, hoses, wheelbarrows, lawnmowers and firecrests, on occasion.

The old swimming pool (now wildlife pond) is nice to sit by in summer and watch the dragonflies go by. In summer 2006, small red-eyed damselflies were seen for the first time. Moorhens also bred (more or less unnoticed) on one of the floating 'beds', before relocating to the pond outside the canteen.

Friday, 1 September 2006

Bird news

Friday, 1st September
  • Friday 1/9, 13:30 - Hobby south over Sandy train station. (Jamie Wells)
  • 1 pm: Raven calling from trees at the east end of the garden again (same one as Wednesday?), before flying in an easterly direction. (Katie Fuller, Lucinda King, Mark Ward; IKD, DFD)
  • 12.50 pm: A [family?] group of four nuthatches in a yew tree overlooking the Memorial Garden (Katie Fuller)
  • The large hornet-mimic hoverfly Volucella zonaria feeding on Buddleia to west of swimming pool from at least 1200 to 1300 (JOS, IKD, DFD)
Thursday, 31st August
  • 17:20 - Hummingbird Hawkmoth around Buddleia by the stable block. (Jamie Wells)
  • Sedge warbler in the vegetation on one of the floating rafts in the swimming pool, then in the main flowerbed in front of the house (4 pm). Swift and hobby earlier. (Rob Hume)
  • Adult hobby flew west along Stratford Road just south of the reserve at lunchtime (Katie Fuller, Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Hummingbird Hawk-moth again on Verbena in Memorial Garden (Lynn Giddings)
  • Hummingbird hawk moths in the memorial garden and at the buddleia behind the house at lunchtime. Also a comma on the buddleia at west end of swimming pool. (Mark Ward)
  • This morning, still one Swift from my window. (Mark Ward)
  • A remarkable encounter with two adult hobbies today - no more than 50 feet away as I stood on the Plateau - one was carrying what appeared to be a greenfinch! Also a single swift over west. 10:45-11:00. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Wednesday, 30th August
  • 3 swifts lingering outside my window/over the plateau this morning and a hummingbird hawk moth on the buddleia at the back of the house. (Mark Ward)
  • Watching various greenish dragonflies (Migrant Hawkers?) hawking over the bracken at the southern end of the plateau, when a hobby raced into view, bombed around a bit and then was gone. Great stuff! Yours, excited of marketing. (Stephen Noble)
  • A vivid fresh Comma on the meadow & Speckled Woods near the hide; lots of Migrant Hawkers & Common Darters everywhere. (Nigel Willits)
Tuesday, 29th August
  • On Tuesday I heard and saw a Spotted Flycatcher with a mixed flock south of the hide. (Mark Ward)
  • Canary-shouldered Thorn (Snipe) & Light Emeralds (Osprey) on the walls & still quite a few Lesser Swallow Prominents. (Nigel Willits)

Thursday, 31 August 2006

Borage field

This is the borage field that Neil Renwick had a covey of Grey Partridges in a few weeks back. Looks nice, but all it contained this evening was a small flock of c30 Greenfinches. A couple of Little Owls called nearby.

The field can be viewed via the Sandy Quarry entrance road. You can park down there at the gates after the quarrying has finished for the day and wander along a few unofficial footpaths.

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Bird news

Tuesday, 29th August
  • Hummingbird Hawk-moth in Memorial Garden (Lynn Giddings)
  • A swift from my window this morning, a pair of small coppers mating on the heath and a single brown argus there too (Mark Ward)
Monday, 28th August
  • A flock of Sand Martins feeding over the Lodge heath on Monday afternoon. About 40-50 birds. Volunteers counted 177 sand martin nest holes at Sandy Heath Quarry the other day. (Neil Renwick)

Friday, 25 August 2006

Bird news

Friday, 25th August
  • 11 red admirals at various places around the house today - a welcome sight after days of overcast conditions and little sign of butterflies. Also a peacock and a painted lady in the memorial garden and a comma. Male red-eyed and blue-tailed damsels still on the swimming pool. (Mark Ward)
Thursday, 24th August
  • Hornet feeding on insects on the trumpet vine outside my office. Appeared to be eating ants?? (Anne Harley)
  • 2 hummingbird hawk moths around the house at lunchtime today and single male red-eyed, blue-tailed and common blue damselflies on the swimming pool. (Mark Ward)
  • Young Grass Snake in gardens near pool by wrought-iron gate (Lynn Giddings)
Wednesday, 23rd August
  • 3 swifts flew south, viewed from my window in afternoon and another lingering. (Mark Ward)
  • One of the biggest single tit flocks I have ever seen moved north to south through the Avocet car park this afternoon - viewed from my window. 172 birds in total, included half a dozen long-tailed tits, with a roughly even split between blue tit and coal tits, followed percentage-wise by great tit and goldcrest. (Mark Ward)
  • Yellow Wagtail migrating south over the lawn late morning (Mark Ward)
Tuesday, 22nd August
  • A kettle of 5 buzzards assembled over the canteen/osprey building early afternoon today during a Web Team meeting outside. They all appeared to be juveniles. The most buzzard activity I have seen here for several weeks. (Mark Ward)
  • A young grass snake making its way across the lawn just outside the east entrance to the Avocet building at lunchtime today. One was spotted by one of the cleaners inside the Avocet building yesterday evening, so presumably the same individual having made a successful break for freedom! (Mark Ward & Lucinda King)
  • Hummingbird hawk-moths in the memorial garden and outside the west entrance to Avocet and a buzzard high west from my window this morning. (Mark Ward)
  • A Hummingbird Hawk-moth on valerian in the Memorial Garden at lunchtime. Fiona Hunter reidentified what I originally thought were Parent Bugs as Sloe Bugs. Pics here: (Katie Fuller)
Friday, 18th August
  • 2 lesser whitethroats seen in morning in Sandy Heath Quarry (Michael Lawrence, volunteer)
  • Adult hobby disturbed from the plateau, a small southerly movement of lesser black-backed gulls in am and a single swift from my window mid pm. (Mark Ward)
Thursday 17th August
  • Oak bush cricket sheltering under the window shades of an upstairs window in Osprey building (Keith Blomerley)
  • Hummingbird hawk moth at buddleia at back of house and 3 swifts from my window (Mark Ward).
Wednesday 16th August
  • Two brown argus on Gatehouse lavender. (Duncan McNiven)

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Honorary bird

Insects are the future! Hummingbird Hawk-moth is as close as it gets to a good bird at the moment. That said, the five buzzards soaring overhead this afternoon were pretty good. We were in a meeting at the time...

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Bird news

Thursday 17th August
  • Tanner or Sawyer Beetle (Prionus coriarius) – possibly the same as on Tuesday (though not there Weds) – on window frame on east side of Avocet towards south end. (IKD, DFD)
  • Four swifts south over The Quarry at 1045hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • An adult hobby flushed from a pine on The Plateau at 1245hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin & Katie Fuller)
Wednesday 16th August
  • Pair of Small Red-eyes in cop at east end of fish pond. (Nigel Willits)
  • 3 swifts over Snipe Building at 17:30 (Phil Burfield)
  • Six Painted Ladies on Buddleia by Stable Block at lunchtime (IKD, DFD)
  • A superb flock of 77 greenfinches feeding in the borage field near Sandy Quarry. It will be interesting to see how this flock develops over the Autumn and what other species are attracted there. (Darren Oakley-Martin & Katie Fuller)
Tuesday, 15th August
  • Two Hummingbird Hawk-moths on Buddleia by Stable Block in evening (IKD, DFD)
  • Hummingbird Hawk-moth on Verbena in Memorial Garden at lunchtime. (Lynn Giddings)
  • Tanner or Sawyer Beetle (Prionus coriarius) – one of our largest UK beetles – on window ledge on Avocet. (Andrew Hay et al.)
Monday, 14th August
  • Ten swifts east over the south of the reserve at 1340hrs, followed by my first (Lodge) lesser black-backed gull of the Autumn north over The Heath. Still seven or eight swifts lingering over the Ivel Valley this afternoon at 1530hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Hummingbird hawkmoth "perched" on wall of Central Services - not seen one sitting before. (Paul Donald)
Sunday, 13th August
  • Painted lady butterfly on lavender at the Gatehouse. (Neil Renwick)
Saturday, 12th August
  • Covey of 11 grey partridge on the borage field at Sandy Heath Quarry, and 2 red-legged partridges on The Lodge heath. Juvenile grey heron at one of the natterjack ponds by the hide on Saturday evening (Neil Renwick)
Friday 11th August
  • A single common crossbill 'gipped' across the Osprey Building carpark at 1715hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Tuesday, 8th August
  • Wood mouse in woods n.e. of garden; Southern Hawker seems to have taken over the Emperor territory on the fish pool, plus 1 male Small Red-eyed Damselfly still at the east end; Small Copper in garden. (Nigel Willits)
7th/8th August:
  • Butterflies much reduced on buddleias - only a couple of Painted Ladies, mostly Red Admirals & Peacocks, also Hummingbird Hawkmoths. Other moths include Black Arches, Lesser Swallow Prominents, Pine Hawk, Marbled Beauty, Straw Dot, Yellow-tails. Still lots of Silver Ys everywhere. (Nigel Willits)

Monday, 14 August 2006


Went for a pre-work stroll down to the paddocks along Stratford Road this morning (this is a track that forms the southernmost perimeter of the reserve). I live in hope of a whinchat at this time of year, parking itself nicely atop a bramble, so I can then clamber over the reserve wall and claim it as a Lodge tick.

A similar thing happened last September with a stonechat in exactly this spot. The sight of Katie and I leaning back within the reserve whilst viewing the bird must have seemed comical to anyone who was watching.

But then, no-one goes birding at The Lodge, do they?

This morning, I had only a rain shower and a blackberry-faced blackcap and common whitethroat for company as they gorged themselves in preparation for the journey south.

I went out again at lunchtime, a few swifts; my first (Lodge) lesser black-backed gull of the autumn but precious little else.

At least it didn't rain.

Why do I do it? Because I love The Lodge- it may be birdless for large parts of the year, but it is a relaxing and therapeutic place to stroll around.

One day, the biggy will drop.......

Just hope I have credit on my mobile.......

Sunday, 6 August 2006

In the olden days...

Where this sign once said 'The Lake', it now says 'The Hide'. Sigh.

I am a Lodge newcomer: I only set foot on the reserve last May. So, I am pretty ignorant of how it used to be in the olden days, when wild boar and wolves roamed the slopes of the Greensand Ridge.

Well, maybe not quite that far back.

However, I've been reading up on some old reserve annual reports, and it's been a revelation.
  • There used to be a pool where the pond in front of the hide is now, called The Lake!
  • Little grebes and reed buntings used to breed there! It attracted passage waders, including greenshank and common sandpiper!
These days, to get your wader fix at The Lodge, you have to go to little hill on the plateau and squint through the oak leaves at Warren Villas NR from about 1 km away (zoom eyepiece essential).

This is something that Darren is very fond of, as it's one of the easier ways to get a Lodge tick. If you want barnacle goose on your list, he's your man...

I have to say that, for me, at this time of year, Lodge insects are more interesting than the birds.

Friday, 4 August 2006

Bird news

Friday, 4th August
  • Adult Yellow-legged Gull passed over the portocabin early-afternoon. A Mink was in the stream with the footbridge over it bordering Biggleswade Common at lunchtime too. The Buddleia at the end of the stable block had at least 30 Red Admirals early afternoon as well as a Hummingbird Hawkmoth, but there’s been a distinct drop-off of Painted Ladies over the last few days. However there has also been a surge in butterfly-watchers pausing at this bush after last weeks Silver-washed Fritillary! (Steve Blain
  • Several Brown Argus, plus Long-winged Conehead and Roesel’s Bush-cricket singing along track to north of Gatehouse. (IKD, DFD, Mark Ward)
  • Hummingbird Hawkmoth around the Buddleia outside of the stable block @ 13:05. (Kat Balaam, Jamie Wells)
  • Hummingbird hawkmoth & mother-of-pearl on lavender at the Gatehouse, Friday morning (4th) (Neil Renwick)
Thursday, 3rd August
  • 6 Swifts from my window this afternoon, moving through. Daily sightings now sadly over. (Mark Ward)
Monday, 31st July
  • Raven south over Plateau, also two hobby and a kestrel hunting over the Quarry. (12:45-13:30) (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • 2 Hobbies together from my window at 12.28. Quite high so hard to ascertain plumage details for ageing purpose, but the neatness of the wings suggested they might be juveniles. (Mark Ward)
  • One fieldfare was found on Sandy Ridge, the land to the east of The Lodge Gatehouse on Monday morning during the final survey of the season. Has this bird been around all summer, or is winter around the corner? Also, 2 nightingales in the scrubby patch where a male was singing in May (Neil Renwick)
Saturday, 29th July
  • Silver-washed fritillary still on buddleia on Saturday, along with small copper, but no sign on Sunday. (Paul Donald)
Friday, 28th July
  • 4 hummingbird hawk moths on the buddleias west of the main house after work on Friday - one of which was stung by a hornet just before I arrived (witnessed by Darren Oakley-Martin) and eventually died. (Mark Ward)
Wednesday, 26th July
  • Brown Argus, Small Copper & Essex Skipper (perched on finger) on the heath; Ruddy Darters, 4-spot Chaser & Blue-tailed Damselfly at Plantation Pond; Southern Hawkers at Jack's Pond. (Nigel Willits)

Very gripped.......

Very gripped by Mr Blain's y-l gull at work today but I was looking for something far more interesting- a firecrest I had heard calling on The Plateau.

What was quite worrying was getting a rather garbled call from Steve mid-afternoon about a heron that had just flown over his office building.

Steve: ''Heron, just gone over, it must be in the swimming pool!''
Me: ''Eh, you what? What colour heron? Who is this? Are you some kind of stalker?''
Steve: ''It's Steve! No! grey heron just gone over. Window tick!''
Me: ''Oh......cheers Steve, you tw*t.''

The conversation didn't really proceed like that and I don't really think that Steve's a tw*t, but best be safe than sorry with this listing game........

Friday, 28 July 2006

Nice skiving

Went to look for Steve's SwF after work today but the search proved to be fruitless. I did watch a Hornet catch and paralyse a Hummingbird Hawkmoth though. We repelled the Hornet but it had already delivered its lethal blow. The hummer expired twenty minutes later. Oh, and Katie and just about everybody else at The Lodge managed to see the butterfly......because they can skive at will...... ;-}

Thursday, 27 July 2006

Bird news

Thursday, 27th July
  • 2 pairs of small red-eyed damselflies 'in cop' at the west end of the swimming pool at lunchtime and a total of 37 painted ladies on the two buddleias west of the main entrance to the house. (Mark Ward)
  • A Raven went low over the house at around 10am today, heading towards Sandy. (Steve Blain)
Tuesday, 25th July
  • A single crossbill gipping over the Avocet Building at 1615hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Hummingbird hawk moth caught by Duncan McNiven in the office (Diane James)
  • 2 Purple Hairstreaks, male brimstone and comma from my window. Also pine hawk moth and scalloped hook-tip on my window. 32 Painted Ladies on buddleias west of the main entrance to the house at lunchtime and c8 red admirals, a comma and a hummingbird hawk moth. (Mark Ward)
  • Lunchtime: two brown arguses flirting or fighting (not sure which!) around the verbena in the Memorial Garden. Photos here. Morning: male southern hawker around the pond outside the canteen (Katie Fuller)
  • Brown Argus, Small Skipper & several Silver Y on buddleia by stable-block - as well as painted ladies, red admirals, peacocks, commas, (no tortoiseshells), whites & browns. (Nigel Willits)
Monday, 24th July
  • 1 hornet attacking several Painted Ladies on buddleia - as soon as attacked butterfly left flower, hornet moved to another, continuously for 5 mins - seemed to ignore other species. (Nigel Willits)

A bird at The Lodge!

My Plateau watching finally paid off today. Green Sandpiper during afternoon tea break, then after work, whilst trying to relocate it for Richard J, a Common Sandpiper came into view. Two Lodge ticks in a day, breaking the century barrier at last.

I got Katie and RDJ onto the bird, but Mr Ward was busy styling his hair and/ or eating crispy pancakes at the time; Jamie was probably at some birdless place called Paxton Pits, Steve was at an equally birdless place called Broom and Richard B was on holiday. Bad tactics or what?

Friday, 21 July 2006

Bird news

Friday, 21st July
  • Buddleia Bar very busy today - Hummingbird Hawkmoth & several Painted Ladies having joined the red admirals, peacocks, whites & browns (Nigel Willits)
  • A rather tatty Pine Hawk Moth on the Finance building. (Jamie Wells)
  • 3 small red-eyed damselflies on the Swimming Pool at lunchtime, Essex skipper, comma, peacock and red admiral in the Memorial garden. My first migrant hawker of the summer patrolling its beat outside the window today too (Mark Ward)
  • 2 Common Blues at lunchtime by ha-ha in front of house (IKD, DFD)
  • Hobby (same bird as yesterday) from our window mid morning (Ellen Collier and Mark Ward)
Thursday, 20th July
  • Comma and Painted Lady among others on Buddleia in front of house in evening (IKD, DFD)
  • Purple hairstreak around the oak on the south edge of the Avocet car park as I walked to my car on Thursday evening. (Mark Ward)
  • 2 adult Moorhens with 3 (half-grown) young by the pond outside the canteen at 3pm on Thursday. (Jamie Wells)
  • Hobby (with a notch out of one of the secondaries on the left wing) again from my window a few times this afternoon. At one stage using the updraughts from the plateau edge to rise up into the air to hang 'kestrel-style' with great efficiency. (Mark Ward)
  • 4 small red-eyed damselflies on the Swimming Pool (3 males, one female) - I haven't been able to beat 4 as a day count. Male banded demoiselle at the Swimming Pool. Small copper in the Memorial garden. Hummingbird hawk moth in the Memorial Garden. Nice fresh. Peacock and red admiral (2) in the Memorial Garden (Mark Ward)
  • A Ringlet on Hemp Agrimony behind Human Resources (east end) at lunchtime (JOS)
  • Hummingbird Hawk-moth on Verbena in Memorial Garden (IKD, DFD)
Wednesday, 19th July
  • Hobby from my window; A tatty male large red damselfly on the swimming pool; Also a male broad-bodied chaser at the Swimming Pool; Common blue in the Memorial garden; Brown hawker and at least 2 female emperors busy oviposting in the Swimming Pool (MarkWard)
  • Small Copper on sheep meadow. (Nigel Willits)
Tuesday, 18th July
  • Male broad-bodied chaser at the swimming pool at lunchtime and a buzzard (possible juvenile) over the gardens (the latter also seen by Darren Oakley-Martin). (Mark Ward)
Monday, 17th July
  • Had a marbled white butterfly outside the Avocet Building on Monday afternoon - only my second at the Lodge (the first being last year) (Mark Boyd)
  • 2 moorhen chicks and an adult next to the pond outside the canteen at lunchtime. (Phil Burfield)
  • 4 small red-eyed damselflies still at the eastern end of the swimming pool at lunchtime, including a pair copulating. (Mark Ward)
  • Marbled White flying in front of house at 0910. Lots of Roesel’s Bush-crickets singing by ha-ha at lunchtime. (IKD, DFD)
  • 3 Crossbills west over meadow in front of house towards quarry, morning. (Ben Stafford)
  • A juvenile crossbill flew south over Avocet car park and away east over the Avocet building when I arrived this morning (c08.25). (Mark Ward)
Saturday, 15th July
  • At least 8 hobbies hunting over the fields across the Potton-Sandy Road from The Lodge Gatehouse, then 2 large hawkmoths (elephant?) on honeysuckle at the shop doorway (Neil Renwick)
Friday, 14th July
  • Two small red-eyed damsels at E end of the swimming pool at lunchtime (Duncan McNiven/Debbie Pain)

Tuesday, 18 July 2006


The Lodge is the UK Headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds - the largest conservation charity in Europe - and where we all work. The office buildings are surrounded by mixed woodland, formal gardens, an acid grassland meadow and a remnant of the heathland that once covered the area.

Over the last year, an ambitious project to restore a large area to heathland began with the felling of many of the wildlife-poor coniferous trees at the northern end of the reserve. It is hoped that in years to come, this restored heathland habitat will attract species such as woodlark, tree pipit, nightjar and Dartford warbler - lost as breeding species to Bedfordshire many years ago.

Parts of the reserve are being grazed by a flock of rare-breed Manx Loghtan sheep.

This website will be updated by friends and colleagues; people who share my passion for The Lodge and its birds. It will be both a running diary, along with some historical anecdotes of some of the great birds that have turned up over the years.

Admittedly, it can be hard work birding here, but with its position on the edge of the Greensand Ridge, the occasional good bird does turns up. Red kite, osprey, raven and little egret have all been seen this year and it's as good a place as any in Bedfordshire to see common crossbills. Some of us even have these on our Lodge lists, as can be seen below.

Friday, 14 July 2006

Bird news

Friday, 14th July
  • Nice, but brief views of a purple hairstreak flying just outside my window early pm Friday. (Mark Ward)
Thursday, 13th July
  • Afternoon - very noisy common buzzard over Sandy Ridge woodland; common lizard swimming across the deep basin in the Plantation Pond; red-legged partridge on the drive (between shop & cattle grid) (Neil Renwick)
Wednesday, 12th July
  • One male small red-eyed damselfly still on territory at the eastern end of the swimming pool pond on Wednesday evening. (Mark Ward)
  • 3 Buzzards over the heath Wednesday lunchtime, c.13:40. (Kat Balaam, Jamie Wells)
  • Report from a visitor of at least 6 hobbies at dusk, Wednesday 12th, over fields to the north of the Gatehouse (Neil Renwick)
Sunday, 9th July
  • Afternoon - 2 red-legged partridges under the feeders on the Gatehouse lawn, as soon as visitors had left the area. (Neil Renwick)

Thursday, 13 July 2006

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Bird news

Wednesday, 12th July
  • Several male Small Red-eyed Damselflies on lilypads on the swimming pool at east end, plus at least one pair in tandem. Probably the first Lodge record of this recent colonist. Also lots of Red-eyed Damsels to confuse (found by Tony Payne & Keith Blomerley; also seen IKD, DFD, Mark Ward)
  • Grass Snake in gardens (Lucy Cox)
  • Stoat seen well near the hide at lunchtime (Paul Donald)
Tuesday, 11th July
  • Purple hairstreak from my window at 15.28 day flying between oaks. (Mark Ward)
  • A large grass snake in the linear pond in the Lodge gardens (Paul Donald)
  • 1 very worn Hummingbird Hawk-moth nectaring on the Verbena in the Memorial Garden. Pics here (Katie Fuller et al)
Monday 10th July
  • c80 swifts gathered outside ahead of a storm. (Mark Ward)
  • A Stoat ran straight across the Gatehouse car park again, at 13:45 on Monday. Seems to be quite regular around that area at the moment. (Kathryn Balaam, Jamie Wells)
  • Hummingbird Hawk-moth just outside gardens (Lynn Giddings)

Friday, 7 July 2006

Bird news

Thursday 6th July
  • 1100hrs. Tawny owl calling from wooded area south of Avocet building. Approximately 40 swifts feeding low over the Ivel Valley. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Grey Wagtail over the house just before 9am (Steve Blain)
Wednesday 5th July
  • 8.40 am: 1 smallish moorhen chick wandering about on the lilypads on the western end of the swimming pool before disappearing into the floating vegetation; 1 adult moorhen walking around the lawn; 1 stoat sneaking under the rhododendrons nearby (Katie Fuller)
Tuesday 4th July
  • lunchtime - baby grass snake (20 cm long) swimming in the swimming pool - it squeezed through one of the nets and disappeared into one of the planters in the central section. Also a moorhen and two chicks hiding in the vegetation at the E end of the pool. (Simon Marsh and Carl Simms)
  • lunchtime: stoat foraging under the trees between the drive and the hide, took a couple of goes to clamber over the wire net fencing and way across the drive (Olly Watts)
Monday 3rd July
  • Lizard in Personnel corridor in pm! (Chris Martin)
  • Spotted Flycatcher outside Finance dept, 9:30. (Jamie Wells)
late June
  • A tawny owl (we think) has overnight (Thursday/Friday 22nd/23rd June) left a rather artistic impression on one of the windows in Funding Development, Marketing. (Conor Jameson)

Friday, 30 June 2006

Bird news

Thursday 22 June:
  • Hornet at Plantation Pond late morning. (Neil Renwick)
  • Raven north west over quarry at 1:00. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • One crossbill calling in flight, south over the heath, then 15 minutes later another calling in flight, south over the hide late afternoon. (Neil Renwick)
Friday 23 June:
  • Four hummingbird hawk moths on the red valerian between the canteen entrance and Wildlife Enquiries. Male broad-bodied chaser by the pond in front of the hide. Male banded demoiselle by the canteen pond. Now c30 red-eyed damselflies on the swimming pool pond. Where are those small ones.....? A male great spotted woodpecker showing a juvenile how to cling to a tree in front of the hide. (Mark Ward and Lucinda King)
Monday 26 June:
  • Excellent views of a stoat at 13:45 on Monday as it scurried about the staff car park by the Gatehouse. (Kate Balaam, Jamie Wells)
  • Pair of oystercatchers again on Warren Villas, viewable from the Plateau. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Tuesday 27 June:
  • From the Web Team window, 11 am. Male banded demoiselle resting on the hedge. Large emerald moth on the windowsill. (Mark Ward, Katie Fuller, Ellen Collier et al)
  • 3 buzzards seen from the office window (Finance), circling fairly high above the stable block at 11:15 (Jamie Wells)
  • A hummingbird hawk moth outside the canteen again today and a good emergence of meadow browns. (Mark Ward)
Thursday 29 June:
  • Single hummingbird hawk moth at the canteen red valerian Wednesday and Thursday. (Mark Ward)
  • A reasonable variety and number of moths lurking on the walls around the Web Team windows/Avocet building this week, including the large emerald still on Wednesday and a bordered white on Thursday. (Mark Ward)
  • Spotted flycatcher in the shop car park Thursday morning (Mark Ward)
Friday 30 June:
  • Two lapwings west over Osprey Carpark at 11:00. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Hummingbird hawk moth again at the canteen red valerian Friday and moths around our (Web Team) windows included blood-vein, clay triple-lines and marbled brown. (Mark Ward)
  • Hobby high over Avocet Carpark at 12:45. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Thursday, 22 June 2006

Bird news

Thursday 22nd
  • Thursday, late morning - turtle dove singing on the reserve boundary, between the Plantation Pond & the bridleway gate (towards Biggleswade Common) (Neil Renwick)
Wednesday 21st
  • Lunchtime: Male black-tailed skimmer between the house and the swimming pool (Katie Fuller)
  • Heard Raven calling over reserve at 15.00 (Zbig Karpowicz)
  • Up to 3 hummingbird hawk moths once again at the canteen valerian and another around the snipe building. Also a 2nd summer herring gull west - from my window (quite notable for the time of year) (Mark Ward)
Tuesday 20th
  • Two Red Kites drifted west over the staff carpark, obligingly at 1715hrs Tuesday as everyone was leaving. It was nice to be able to get a few staff members onto the birds (Darren Oakley-Martin, Katie Fuller, Mark Ward
  • A new tick for our office on Tuesday afternoon with the appearance of a common lizard on the windowsill, peeking in to our office before scurrying off into the wisteria (Julie Sutton & Rosie Sutherland)
Monday 19th
  • A common tern flew south past my window Monday pm. Up to 2 hummingbird hawk moths at the canteen valerian Tuesday and a buzzard from my window (Mark Ward)
  • Adult hobby from my window early Monday morning. Also still up to 3 hummingbird hawk moths at a time delighting one and all on the canteen valerian (Mark Ward)
  • Minimum of 3 Hummingbird Hawk-moths on Red Valerian outside Central Services/Wildlife Enquiries, Monday lunchtime(IKD, DFD)
Friday 16th
  • Waiting for a lift home from the Gatehouse last Friday I noticed a great tit with grubs going in and out of the hole on the side of one of the black metal bollards outside the door to the gatehouse that faces the drive - closer inspection confirmed there is definitely a nest in there! (Julie Sutton)
Friday 9th
  • Lime hawk moth on the tyre of my bike (!) in newish bike shed next to transport office lime tree Friday 9 June (Robin Wynde)

Thursday, 15 June 2006

Bird news

A good influx of migrant lepidoptera with Hummingbird Hawk-moths, Silver Ys and Painted Ladies much in evidence this week, while a good variety of dragons and damsels have been performing well at the various waterbodies in and around the Lodge gardens - but very few moths on the walls or butterflies on the wing.

Thursday 15th
  • Hummingbird hawk-moth on valerian by wrought-iron gate, Thursday lunchtime (Nigel Willits)
  • Lunchtime - at least 13 Southern Hawkers in various states of emergence from Jack’s Pond, plus several empty cases (Len Campbell, IKD, DFD). Also our first 2 Meadow Browns above Jack’s Pond (IKD, DFD)
Wednesday 14th
  • There were 4 hummingbird hawkmoths just outside the canteen Wednesday afternoon (c. 16:45) (Phil Burfield, Ian Dickie and Barrie Cooper)
Tuesday 13th
  • Hummingbird hawk-moth, at least one on the valerian outside the canteen at 2.55 pm (one-to-ones are much more fun at this time of year!) (Katie Fuller, Cliff Beale)
  • Emperor dragonfly, one female ovipositing on the swimming pool (there were two on 12th) (Katie Fuller)
  • Lunchtime: 2 Hummingbird Hawk-moths together and a Painted Lady on Red Valerian by Wildlife Enquiries, plus another Painted Lady on Buddleia (different to Monday’s), and a female Banded Demoiselle in gardens (IKD, DFD)
Monday 12th
  • Painted Lady on Buddleia at end of stable block, Monday lunchtime (IKD, DFD)
Sunday 11th
  • Lime Hawkmoth found on the path by the cattlegrid near the Gatehouse, Hobby over the drive in the afternoon (Neil Renwick)

Friday, 9 June 2006

Bird news

Friday 9th
  • Lunchtime: female Emperor ovipositing in vegetation in swimming pool; also 2 males. First Southern Hawker exuvia on bogbean pool by wrought-iron gate (IKD, DFD)
Thursday 8th
  • A buzzard low over the canteen at lunchtime Thursday with a kestrel in attendance. Also a different buzzard from my window Wednesday. Hobby from my window Thursday afternoon and earlier, a calling spotted flycatcher outside was a window first for me (and species 55 for the year from it!). Seeing and hearing several spotted flycatchers at various locations around the reserve this week as well (Mark Ward)
Wednesday 7th
  • Lunchtime: Nightingale, 1 singing along the path to Biggleswade Common, near the corrugated iron; Garden warbler, 2 in song in the same area; At least 2 juvenile blue tits (near fledging?) peeking out of a nestbox in the garden near Avocet, with the adults still bringing food and removing droppings. Only one Emperor chasing four-spots on the swimming pool today (Chikako Woodgate and Katie Fuller)
  • A male Banded Demoiselle over the swimming pool (IKD, DFD)
  • A great tit nesting in our open front shed at the gatehouse is very busy coming into the garage and greenhouse and feeding around the cobwebs. It has no fear when we are around (Val Tingey)
Tuesday 6th
  • Lunchtime: a male Emperor hawking over swimming pool, plus a minimum of 33 exuviae, mostly on the northern (south-facing) surround. Also a Small Copper in borders (IKD, DFD)
  • On the swimming pool at lunchtime Tuesday: Emperor, 2 - one at each end of the pool, busy patrolling their respective territories; Four-spotted chaser, c10; Red-eyed damselfly, several pairs in tandem and egg-laying on the lilypads; Also several pairs of large red and common blue damselflies in the Memorial Garden and the narrow ponds near the house (Katie Fuller)
Monday 5th
  • The Web/Intranet Team weekly Monday morning catch-up meeting was brought to an abrupt halt by the arrival of a five-inch grass snake under our chairs. It rapidly departed for Editorial, where after a search, snake fan Jo Hill captured it and liberated it in the garden (Creative Services all staff (well, nearly...)
(Katie Fuller)

Monday, 5 June 2006

Bring Your Snake To Work Day

This morning we had the most exciting meeting in the world... ever.

It started as normal but descended into chaos when this five-inch long Grass Snake (Natrix natrix) made its appearance under our meeting table. Lucinda said 'What's that?!'. I looked down to see a small, dark, elongated something slithering its way under my chair.

My initial reaction was to go 'Gahhh!' but I think it's only human to do that - a meeting in the office is not where you expect to see a small snake. I recovered my normal composure and managed to ID it before it disappeared under the partition and out of sight.

After it was refound a couple of minutes later, the whole department went snake-crazy and gathered round to coo over the cute little fella.

We then released back where it had come from - the gardens outside.

A few weeks ago, the Guardian Newsblog had a post about the wildlife seen from people's offices, but I don't think they extended that to wildlife that made its way inside offices. Shame...

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Friday, 2 June 2006

Bird news

Friday 2nd
  • Spotted flycatchers very evident at lunchtime today. Seen and heard at three different locations between Transport and the Shop.
  • Some comedy from my window yesterday (sadly not captured by the webcam) in the form of a grey squirrel (that was really struggling with the squirrel-proof feeder) falling off and landing on top of a woodpigeon feeding on the ground below! Don't suppose the pigeon found it very amusing though... (Mark Ward)
  • A noisy Spotted Flycatcher in Sweet Chestnut in yewtree carpark, Friday lunchtime. Also two queen hornets in gardens (IKD, DFD)
Thursday 29th May
  • A pair of turtle doves flew along the edge of Biggleswade Common at lunchtime. Also nightingale still singing sporadically (Mark Ward)
Wednesday 28th
  • A single Raven heading low south along the Greensand Ridge at 1545hrs Wednesday, possibly the same individual seen in an aerial dogfight with a Common Buzzard on 23rd May (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Sunday 25th
  • Spotted Flycatcher singing by the bend in the drive, 3 Nightingales singing between old railway line and Biggleswade Common (Paul Donald)

Friday, 26 May 2006

Bird news

Friday 26th
  • Pair of spotted flycatchers showing well in the vicinity of Jack's Pond Friday lunchtime (Mark Ward and John Day)
Thursday 25th
  • Hobbies twice from my window (Mark Ward)
  • Another Garden Chafer mass emergence Thursday, especially on small lawn in front of house (IKD, DFD)
Wednesday 24th
  • A pair of hobbies in high altitude display from my window early afternoon on Wednesday and up to 3 buzzards on and off this week (Mark Ward)
Tuesday 23rd
  • Tuesday: mass emergence of Garden Chafers Phyllopertha horticola in garden (Andre Farrar)
  • Lunchtime: 7 Jackdaws on the lawn outside Avocet, feeding voraciously on what looked like small chafers (Lucinda King, Katie Fuller)
Monday 22nd
  • 1720hrs, Monday, from the Lodge Carpark, c.53 Swifts North over the Ivel Valley. Any other large gatherings noted elsewhere pre or post showers? (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Friday 19th
  • Crossbills in front of house Friday 19th pm (Gwyn Williams)
Thursday 18th
  • c.10 noisy Crossbills flew out of some pines by the new car park/outside of transport at 17:25 on Thursday evening, 18th (Jamie Wells)

Friday, 19 May 2006

Bird news

Tuesday 16th
  • At the Lodge, two turtle doves near the heath pond flew just off the reserve and were displaying in a dead tree, Tuesday lunchtime (Dave Agombar)
  • Following the first ever Web Team window record of Crossbill this morning, came the second Tues afternoon (c16.50) with a sizeable flock (15+) coming into and then leaving the pines (dropping down beyond the plateau), at the west side of the Avocet car park, again seen from my window. Just like buses - you wait ages for one and then two come along at once... (Mark Ward)
  • 5 Crossbills flew low east over the Avocet building at 11.46 Tues am, seen through my window. A Web Team window first! (Mark Ward)
Monday 15th
  • Pair turtle doves just over wall near bridleway gate (Graham Wilton-Jones)
  • Hobby from the Web Team window Monday pm (first of the season from the window). Also 2-3 buzzards appearing infrequently again now following a break from regular sightings (Mark Ward)
Friday 12th
  • Pair Mandarins on Hide natterjack pool nearest woodland trail. Where are they nesting?
Saturday 13th
  • 2 shelducks circling the heath, again, while I was checking the sheep; spotted flycatcher singing at the Gatehouse; 2 cuckoos in Sandy Heath Quarry (and a team of volunteers) (Neil Renwick)
Friday 12th
  • Hobby over the Avocet car park 11.00 on 12 May (Chris Bowden)
  • lunch time baby grass snake by gate to woodland at rear of house pond (Chris Magin)
Thurs 11th
  • 3 crossbills seen heading away from the hide pools whilst I was checking the sheep; pairs of spotted flycatchers around Jacks Pond & over the drive just south of the cattle grid at the Gatehouse end of the drive

Friday, 12 May 2006

Bird news

Thurs 11th
  • Good view of a mink in the ditch which runs at right angles to the path across the old railway line. Also, three nightingales singing. On the heath, two small coppers and a common lizard. Ovipositing large red damselflies on Jack's pond and plantation pond (Duncan McNiven/Debbie Pain)
Wednesday 10th
  • Lizard on heath, Weds lunchtime (Lynn Giddings)
  • Hornet outside of the main house building, nr reception entrance Weds lunchtime (Jamie Wells)
Tuesday 9th
  • Cuckoo over Snipe building heading towards the gardens @ 17:25, Tuesday 9th (Jamie Wells)
  • Spotted Flycatcher half way along the drive, 13:40 Tuesday afternoon (Kat Balaam, Jamie Wells)
  • Large Red Damselflies emerging from canteen pond, Tues (Margaret Walton)

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

Bird news

Tuesday 9th
  • We've noticed a moorhen feeding around the swimming pool for the last week or so. Can only think that it's taken up residence on the floating mats (Sarah Alsbury)
Monday 8th
  • Male crossbill perched atop a pine at the back of the avocet car park c13.20 Monday. Sadly, it had dropped down and out of sight by the time I had sprinted inside to my desk to try to add it to my window list! (Mark Ward)
  • 14-15 crossbills flew into tall lime across the clearing opposite the lake hide, Monday morning, 8 May (Rob Hume)
Friday 5th
  • Two nightingales singing either side of the path over the railway line, and another intermittently from the hedgerow by the bridge over the stream on Biggleswade Common. Also singing: 1 chiffchaff, 2 willow warblers, 2 whitethroats, 1 lesser whitethroat, 1 garden warbler and 2 blackcaps. Earlier, 2 red kites soaring with a buzzard high over Transport at 11 am, then headed off north (Duncan McNiven)
  • A few recent insect notes: First dragon of the year - a male Common Red Damselfly freshly emerged from the canteen pond, Friday 28th April. Pine ladybird in the gardens, Thurs 4th May; male Holly Blue on bush outside Bittern building, Friday 5th May (Martin Davies, John O'Sullivan)
Thursday 4th
  • A metre long grass snake at Jacks Pond on Thursday (Gareth Fisher)
Wednesday 3rd
  • Garden warbler, 3 singing in the area between the memorial garden and the drive/hide, 1.30 pm (Katie Fuller)
  • Teneral dragonfly sp, probably four-spotted chaser, over the canteen at 2.15 pm (Mark Ward, Katie Fuller)
Tuesday 2nd
  • Moorhen by the swimming pool, Tuesday am (Aniol Esteban)
  • A noisy flock of crossbills arrived near Jack's Pond at lunchtime as I stood watching the newts in the sunshine and circled the treetops a few times. I estimated 8+ birds from the brief glimpse I got through the foliage as they eventually flew off low west (Mark Ward)
  • Cuckoo flew over Osprey 2nd May @1445 - office tick! (Richard Bashford)
  • 2 House Martins flying over (Barrie Cooper)
  • 10 crossbill over transport at 9.30 (Tony Payne)
Sunday 30th April
  • A flock of swifts (at least 3), house martins & swallows hawking over the clear-fell area next to The Lodge Gatehouse
  • The morning's dawn chorus set off in rain. With a tawny owl calling from beside the Gatehouse, a nightingale very close to the path onto Biggleswade Common (with free-flying muscovy duck & 4 swan-geese in the field there), male & female cuckoos calling (Neil Renwick)
Saturday 29th April
  • 9.30am: Lodge/entrance to Biggleswade Common. 2 Nightingales singing and the one near the corrugated metal was showing well. Also cuckoo calling and a muntjac posing eye-to-eye for a couple of minutes (Barrie Cooper)
Friday 28th April
  • 28/4 Hobby over the quarry at 2.30 (Tony Payne)
  • ca. 1.30 pm Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat and Nightingale by old train track on path to Biggleswade Common. A vulture perched in a distant tree turned out to be a Heron preening under its wing. Male Sparrowhawk soaring over the Heath. Also a Swift (Chris Magin, Zbig and Ian Barber)