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 et.al.)
  • 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)