Friday, 26 January 2007

Bird news

Friday, 26th January
  • At least one brambling (female) among the chaffinch flock in the Borage Field today (lunchtime). (Grahame Madge)
  • Two Ravens in trees to south of garden in morning (Mike Clarke)
Thursday, 25th January
  • A woodcock over the quarry - same place, same time as the one on Weds evening! (Darren Oakley-Martin)Red Admiral sunning itself on library wall at lunchtime (IKD, DFD)
  • Decidedly scarce birds at The Lodge nowadays, a male bullfinch was a pleasant surprise as I was enjoying the mid-morning sunshine during my break. Only my third record of the species here in the last two years. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Wednesday, 24th January
  • I don't know, I see one here, then they come along like proverbial buses.....As I was admiring the sunset at 5:15, a woodcock weaved its way north to south across the Quarry, perfectly framed by the warm tones of the setting sun. Wish I had had a camera and knew how to use it! (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Whilst 'scoping Warren Villas from the Plateau at 10:30, two little egrets came in from the north, circled three times and appeared to settle at the southern end of the pits - my first of the winter here. During the winter of 2005/2006 they were much more frequently seen. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • A pair of stonechats on the bridleway opposite the Lodge entrance at lunchtime. (Grahame Madge)
Tuesday, 23rd January
  • Muntjac between gardens & bridleway. (Nigel Willits)
Saturday, 20th January
  • Again, drew a blank with sprites this morning. Female stonechat still present and a great spotted woodpecker drumming by the gatehouse the only highlights. (Steve Blain/ Mark Gurney/ Darren Oakley-Martin)
Friday, 19th January
  • Peacock by the Gatehouse while waiting for the eagerly-sought phylloscopus warbler. (Grahame Madge and Andre Farrar)
  • Whilst searching extensively for the putative Pallas' this afternoon (without success!) I did manage to find a warbler- a male blackcap in the yew at the gatehouse. Also a female stonechat in the field to the west of the bridleway opposite the reserve entrance. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Monday, 22 January 2007

Putative Pallas' Warbler

We may have added a new bird to The Lodge avifauna on Friday. One of the girls in the shop reported this:

"a very small (goldcrest sized) bird disappear into the yew hedge by the path to the gatehouse shop at about 9.00 this morning with a very square-cut yellowish-white rump as it flared its tail before landing, just like the Pallas' warbler I saw at Lowestoft last year."

I spent five hours searching on Friday and again on Saturday to no avail, but she is going to submit the record! Extraordinary!

I did manage to find a female stonechat in the field opposite the entrance to the reserve and also a male blackcap, so new recent additions to the 2007 Lodge yearlist:

59 Stonechat 19-Jan
58 Blackcap 19-Jan
57 Grey Wagtail 17-Jan
56 Common Gull 16-Jan
55 Tufted Duck 16-Jan
54 Lesser Black-backed Gull 15-Jan

Friday, 19 January 2007

Bird news

Friday, 19th January
  • 2 Red Admirals on Mahonia by Memorial Garden at lunchtime (IKD, DFD, Trish Clegg)
  • This lunchtime - 2 red admirals chasing each other outside the library window, fresh female brimstone by the bridleway near the Heath (Peter Newbery)
  • 4 buzzards putting on a show outside my window this morning. (Mark Ward)
Thursday, 18th January
  • An incredible lack of birds in the usually busy airspace outside my window during the gales today. A single crow was the only bird brave enough to enter my line of vision all day and it looked distinctly uncomfortable battling against the crosswind whipping up over the plateau! (Mark Ward)
Wednesday, 17th January
  • Flock of c30 redwings moving between trees east of Avocet late am. (Mark Ward)
Tuesday, 16th January
  • Pale Brindled Beauty, Winter & Northern Winter moths at Osprey porch (Nigel Willits)
Monday, 15th January
  • Cormorant flew south-east outside my window. (Mark Ward)
  • 2.45pm. A woodcock flying over the garden, in front of the Avocet building and over the Snipe building. (Barrie Cooper)
  • Kestrel wheeling over the quarry from the newly felled areas, 2 Common buzzards, both heading out towards Biggleswade Common. A mature holly off the plateau, Stratford Road side, is laden with berries and attracting good numbers of redwing and fieldfare. (Ian Hayward)

Monday, 15 January 2007


I always get a buzz of anticipation when sifting through finch flocks, in much the same way as many of you do with gulls, no doubt. I don't find much - at least not in Bedfordshire - save for the odd lesser redpoll or brambling, but the buzz persists nevertheless.

Today in the paddocks on Stratford Road, the marvellous sight of 53 goldfinches feeding under the birches. In amongst them, six lesser redpolls. I don't usually take the 'scope out on the reserve, but I'm glad I did today so I could satisfy myself that they were all just cabaret.

New birds today:

51: Feral Pigeon
52: Kestrel
53: Goldfinch

I wonder if Mr Sharrock's Goldeneye at Warren Villas is viewable from the Plateau?

Friday, 12 January 2007

Peregrines and Little Egrets

From: Bashford, Richard
Sent: 12 January 2007 16:06
Cc: _Bird News
Subject: Peregrine

One from the office (at the Lodge) 16.00. Seemed to be chasing something. Out there again now 16.04...

From: Blain, Stephen
Sent: 12 January 2007 16:24
To: ''
Cc: _Bird News
Subject: RE: Peregrine

...and while looking for the Peregrine around the quarry I saw a Little Egret come in to roost at Warren Villas!


From: Oakley-Martin, Darren
Sent: 12 January 2007 16:29
To: Blain, Stephen; ''
Cc: _Bird News
Subject: RE: Peregrine

And the funny thing is, seconds before Steve saw the egret, he said ''there should really be a Little Egret roosting down there.''

I shan't say what he said next but I missed it. I did see the Peregrine as it zoomed across the quarry though. You can't win them all, mate.

Nice work chaps.


50 up for The Lodge 2007!

50 Peregrine 12-Jan
49 Great Crested Grebe 11-Jan
48 Coot 11-Jan
47 Sparrowhawk 10-Jan
46 Woodcock 10-Jan
45 Tawny Owl 08-Jan
44 Great black-backed Gull 08-Jan
43 Canada Goose 08-Jan
42 Golden Plover 08-Jan
41 Common Buzzard 08-Jan
40 Pheasant 08-Jan
39 Brambling 05-Jan
38 Meadow Pipit 05-Jan
37 Red-legged Partridge 05-Jan

A nice way to bring up the half century

Bird news

Thursday, 11th January
  • Muntjac on the back lawn by the swimming pool (17:10) (Phil Burfield)
  • A male sparrowhawk was perched up in the tree outside the stableblock this afternoon - presumably escaping the high winds and waiting for an easy meal to arrive at the feeders! (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Wednesday, 10th January

  • Siskins calling to the east of the gardens at 1530hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • A woodcock flushed from rhododendron bushes to the east of the swimming pool at 1045hrs today was my first ever at The Lodge! (Darren Oakley-Martin/ Richard James/ Ian Peters)
  • Insects active at lunchtime included 2 Buff-tailed Bumble-bees with full pollen-baskets on Mahonia, several Drone Flies Eristalis sp., and a Minotaur Beetle and Green Shield-bug Palomena prasina both on Avocet. Where has winter gone? (IKD, DFD)
  • c20 fieldfares north from my window. (Mark Ward)

Tuesday, 9th January

  • The chaffinch flock at the Borage Field is now approaching 200 birds. Strong winds made accurate counting impossible, but at least one brambling was within the very flighty flock. 40 skylark also present. (Graeme Lyons/ Grahame Madge/ Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • A common buzzard again over Osprey Carpark at 0900hrs. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Monday, 8th January

  • Whilst returning some books to the library just before 5 o'clock, I heard a tawny owl calling at the back of the garden. Standing behind a shrub and doing my best vole impression, two tawny owls came down to investigate! (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Nice close views of a Treecreeper from my office window, late morning on Monday. Not really that noteworthy but always nice to see this species close up. (Jamie Wells)
  • An exciting start to the week as I got out of my car and was startled by the sound of something running at rapid speed across the muddy Avocet car park - a very small muntjac racing directly towards me. I stood completely still and just as it looked as if it would run between my legs and under my car it veered off to the perimeter fence. Its problems weren't over though. Its struggle to get through the wire was certainly intensified by the appearance of a buzzard circling just overhead!
  • The same muntjac (a youngster) was foraging under the yew hedge outside the Web Team windows later in the day. (Mark Ward)
  • Two common buzzards being harassed by carrion crows drifted slowly west over the carpark at 0900 hrs this morning. Around 100 golden plover high over the Ivel Valley (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Friday, 5 January 2007

Bird news

Friday, 5th January

My second consecutive lunchtime visit to the excellent Borage Field by Sandy Quarry, full of weeds and cover:
Skylark, 52 - my highest ever site count and the average of three counts, up from 42 yesterday
Chaffinch, 110 - another high site count, average of three counts, up from 80 yesterday
Brambling, 2 females, not present (or unseen) yesterday
Lesser redpoll, 2 again (as yesterday)
Fieldfare, 20
Redwing, 12
Greenfinch, 10 (well below my highest count here of 77)
Meadow pipit, 1
Red-legged partridge, 8
With so many small passerines around, I half expected a merlin to put in an appearance.
(Darren Oakley-Martin)

Thursday, 4th January
  • Lunchtime at the Borage Field by Sandy Quarry produced a very nice mixed feeding flock consisting of: c.80 chaffinch, c.20 greenfinch, 42 skylark, 12 redwing, at least 2 lesser redpoll and a single fieldfare. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Wednesday, 3rd January
  • A few siskins in pines on the Plateau. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Pesky squirrels

It's still a bit quiet at our feeder over here. To enable easy feeder topping-up over the festive period, we put the seed outside, safely contained in a black plastic bin. Unfortunately, when I got back to work, squirrels had broken in through the lid, by chewing a large hole in it. So the birds have gone a bit hungry.

2007 Lodge List

As this blog is called 'Birding at the Lodge' not 'Squirreling at the Lodge' or 'Beeing at the Lodge'! I thought I'd post something bird-related.

I'm doing another Lodge year list. I'll probably end up on about 105 again but you never know. Here's the list to date, so I'm 1/3 of the way there and won't see anything new now until a Sand Martin on March 17th:

36. Fieldfare 04-Jan
35. Lesser Redpoll 04-Jan
34. Skylark 04-Jan
33. Rook 04-Jan
32. Cormorant 03-Jan
31. Magpie 03-Jan
30. Redwing 03-Jan
29. Greylag Goose 03-Jan
28. Black-headed Gull 03-Jan
27. Siskin 03-Jan
26. Great Spotted Woodpecker 03-Jan
25. Jay 03-Jan
24. Herring Gull 02-Jan
23. Song Thrush 02-Jan
22. Greenfinch 02-Jan
21. Wood Pigeon 02-Jan
20. Stock Dove 02-Jan
19. Mistle Thrush 02-Jan
18. Carrion Crow 02-Jan
17. Jackdaw 02-Jan
16. Mallard 02-Jan
15. Moorhen 02-Jan
14. Mute Swan 02-Jan
13. Chaffinch 02-Jan
12. Nuthatch 02-Jan
11. Treecreeper 02-Jan
10. Green Woodpecker 02-Jan
9. Goldcrest 02-Jan
8. Great Tit 02-Jan
7. Coal Tit 02-Jan
6. Long-tailed Tit 02-Jan
5. Blue Tit 02-Jan
4. Blackbird 02-Jan
3. Wren 02-Jan
2. Dunnock 02-Jan
1. Robin 02-Jan