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)