Friday, 30 March 2007

Bird news

Friday, 30th March
  • Muntjac on lawn behind Avocet bldg; Bank Vole in bramble patch by hide; 14+ S.Newts in Jack's Pond including a spectacular tail-waving male with an admiring audience of 3 females.
  • Red Admiral, Brimstones & Commas earlier in the week. (Nigel Willits)Four Redpolls flying over the stable block singing at 9am (Steve Blain)
Thursday, 29th March
  • We counted 185+ winter thrushes working their way noisily eastwards among the trees between the bottom of The Lodge and Biggleswade Common on Thursday lunchtime (Sarah & Derek Niemann, Louise Cavender)
Wednesday, 28th March
  • A single brambling with a flock of c.20 Chaffinch was the highlight of a lunchtime walk across Sandy Heath. Around 20 singing skylark, seven meadows pipits low north and still around 40 fieldfare feeding with starlings by Potton Road. Rather more surprising was a redshank calling somewhere overhead in the fog. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • 1 Chiffchaff singing in the fog, in birches east of the drive at 7am. 2 Buzzard calling in same area at same time. (Guy Anderson)
Tuesday, 27th March
  • Again in the borage field and quarry area: a pair of grey partridges and 12 skylark, including 8 singing. Discernable passage at last with 5 meadow pipits north and 3 sand martins north east. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • 1 Chiffchaff singing on the old railway line from the Biggleswade Common bridleway at lunchtime. (Guy Anderson)
  • A Red Kite drifted fairly low across the road as we headed down to Sandy from the Lodge at lunch at c.1:15 on Tuesday. It was heading in the direction of Everton. (Kat Balaam/Jamie Wells)
  • Saw my first common lizard of the year on the plateau, taking advantage of the sun. (Ian Hayward)
Monday, 26th March
  • 7 Comma and 1 Red Admiral on a flowering Pieris bush in the gardens near the 'gazebo clearing' at lunchtime.
  • 1 Brimstone near the hide (Guy Anderson)Male Blackbird tackling a Smooth Newt (?) in front of the hide at lunchtime, which it eventually flew off with. (Kat Balaam/Jamie Wells)
  • A pair of male Goldcrests were displaying furiously to each outside of the portokabin this morning. Both crowns raised to a peak showing the vivid orange underneath. Very impressive. (Steve Blain)
Sunday, 25th March
  • Walking across the borage field by Sandy Quarry at about 7.30 pm on Sunday I put to flight a wheatear, my first of the year (Gareth Fisher)Female brambling at feeding stations on Sunday - at the Gatehouse in the middle of the day, at the hide at the end of the afternoon. (Neil Renwick)
  • Saturday, 24th March In the borage field for a couple of hours this morning, no sign of any woodlarks, but still plenty of activity: 50 chaffinch, 35 skylark, 9 linnet, 6 greenfinch, 4 meadow pipit, one fieldfare, 4 redwing and 2 common buzzards. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • A team from Milton Keynes RSPB Phoenix worked at The Lodge on Saturday. One of their tasks was to clean the deciduous leaves out of the natterjack ponds in front of the hide. A bucket-full of common toad spawn and over 50 smooth newts (we lost count) were relocated to Jack's Pond, and dragonfly nymphs ( libellula sp ) were moved to the deep (western) pond in front of the hide. (Neil Renwick)

Friday, 23 March 2007

Bird news

Thursday, 22nd March
  • Bank Vole by the hide. (Nigel Willits)

Wednesday, 21st March

  • This evening on walking home via the gardens I was surprised to see 3 adult muntjacs on the garden side of the perimeter fence. Not too far away on the left hand side of the steps leading to the heath were another 3 calmly watching as I walked by. (Ian Hayward)
  • Moorhen in Memorial Garden lunchtime (heard, not seen - presumably at the pond)Buzzards seem to be slightly less obvious this weekJackdaws still busy shoving twigs down the chimneys at the house (a few pics here: Fuller)
  • A small flock of siskins and at least 1 redpoll in Scots pines along the southern boundary wall, close to Plantation Pond, Wednesday afternoon.
  • A slender groundhopper was found on this morning's bug hunt, among rotten wood on the heath (Neil Renwick)

Monday, 19th March

  • Sparrowhawk flying a foot off the ground along drive and past stable block, presumably hoping to surprise prey (Chris Magin)
  • Friday, 16th MarchChiffchaff singing by the bridleway paddocks (Nigel Willits)

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Bird news

Thursday, 15th March
  • Comma and peacock in the garden at 1100. (Ian Hayward)
Tuesday, 13th March
  • 11 Crossbills in BBS square, Galley Hill area. (Ian Hayward)
  • 4 Commas, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock and 5 species of bumblebee (Martin Davies)
Monday, 12th March
  • A single Little Egret on Warren Villas this morning during my break from 10:35-10:45 at least. No sign of yesterday's second bird from my viewing position at The Lodge.
  • A pair of Sparrowhawks were putting on a fine aerial display over the Quarry, with much flashing of undertail coverts by the female before the pair locked talons and tumbled earthwards. Quite a spectacle (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Sunday, 11th March
  • 3 buzzards displaying over the clearfell area alongside Potton Road in the morning, 4 birds present. 6 siskins in silver birches along the wall on southern edge of the heath (Neil Renwick)

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Bird news

Thursday, 8th March
  • A little egret was again on Warren Villas this lunchtime as I scanned from the Plateau. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • 10+ S.Newts active in Jack's Pond, several White-tailed Bumblebees prospecting nest sites around the heath (Nigel Willits).
  • Lunchtime - The now regular group of three buzzards were the circling the thermals above the heath again. They have been about virtually everyday for the last couple of weeks. (Carl Simms)
  • A few insects starting to enjoy the spring sunshine: Red Admirals in the Lodge gardens -1 on 5th, 3 on 6th and 5 on 8th March, mostly around the Pieris bushes in flower. Joined by 1 Comma on 6th and 8th and 2 Peacocks on 8th (Martin Davies)
Wednesday, 7th March
  • Watching from the Plateau at lunchtime today produced ten common buzzards over the woods west of the Ivel Valley, with a further, quite vocal pair displaying over the Quarry. Also a pair of sparrowhawks and a kestrel for good measure. On Warren Villas, a pair of oystercatcher were new in, and the lone, feral barnacle goose was amongst the sizeable flock of Canada and greylag geese in the field to the east of the A1. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Oak Beauty, melanic Pale Brindled Beauty, Common Quaker, March moth & 5+ Yellow Horneds on Snipe & Osprey walls (Nigel Willits)
  • Grey Heron seen from the office window at 12:30. It flew over the stable block and then across the gardens. (Jamie Wells)
  • Spring is here! Male Chaffinch started attacking the library window this morning. This has been an annual occurrence throughout my time at RSPB, so quite a few different individuals must have been involved over the years. Intriguing to know why the same window triggers the behaviour. Does a new territory holder learn from watching the previous occupant? (IKD)
Tuesday, 6th March
  • Male Brimstone in woods to east of house @1250, together with Red Admiral; then 4 Red Admirals together on Pieris in gardens (IKD, DFD)
  • 5+ Smooth Newts active in Jack's pond plus a couple in hide pond (Nigel Willits)
Sunday, 4th March
  • Woodcock beside the bridleway, near the bottom gate (Neil Renwick)
Saturday, 3rd March
  • 3 buzzards displaying over HQ (Neil Renwick)
Friday, 2nd March
  • Flock of about 15 redwings in the trees above the reprographics portacabin at 4.30pm today (Grahame Madge)
  • Male crossbill over Compartment 19 (the bracken slope overlooking the path from Jack's Pond to the Heath) (Neil Renwick)

Friday, 2 March 2007

Bird news

Friday, 2nd March
  • We've had a regular pair of buzzards displaying outside the windows every day this week, joined by an intruder this morning for a time. (Mark Ward)
  • Sparrowhawk soaring high over the Stable Block at 2pm. (Grahame Madge)
  • Two buzzards over the Lodge at lunchtime. (Grahame Madge)
  • 1 Red Admiral in woods at lunchtime (IKD, DFD)
  • 2 red admirals on the blossom at the corner of the garden behind the house and a doe and fawn muntjac grazing just outside the gardens (Ian Hayward)
  • Tawny Owl on a fence post by the side of the drive at 8.45 this morning. (Frank James)
Thursday, 1st March
  • A muntjac crossed the drive in front of my car at 5:55pm - looked like a female (Adam Bassett)
  • Flocks of fieldfares on Sandy Heath, redwings and chaffinches in the tree nursery. There were a few bramblings with the chaffinches, but birds were frequently disturbed by vehicles moving through the nursery. (Neil Renwick)
Wednesday, 28th February
  • Buzzard flying over pylons at 2pm, also red admiral flying by Jacks pond, lots of newt and water boatman activity and a seven spot ladybird on the rhododendron in the gardens (Ian Hayward)
  • Two Red Admirals by the entrance to the Memorial Garden (Trish Clegg)
  • Red Admiral by Pieris in gardens at lunchtime – at same time as the two above, so at least three (maybe four or five) on the wing today (IKD, DFD)
  • Red Admiral butterfly in the courtyard by the 'doll's house'. My third butterfly species for the year before the end of February. (Grahame Madge)
  • It's worth looking up to the chimneys over the House, where jackdaws are holding territorial disputes. As we watched, one bird adopted the 'elaborate full forward' display, leaning steeply forwards with head bowed, its feathers ruffled and its tail fanned out. According to corvid expert Lorenz, this type of display is only seen in arguments over nest sites or females. Jackdaws are vulnerable to nest predation by bigger corvids, so every narrow chimney pot is worth fighting over. (Derek & Sarah Niemann)
Monday, 26th February
  • Stoat across the drive this morning (Mike Clarke)
  • 2 Buff-tailed Bumblebees on the Pieris bushes and a Red Admiral (a rather tatty one) sunning on the Mahonia by the Memorial Garden. (Martin Davies)
Friday, 23rd February
  • Early moth at Osprey porch; 2 Smooth Newt swimming in hide pond (Nigel Willits)
  • Red Admiral at Lodge (by path near memorial garden) (Euan Dunn)
Wednesday, 21st February
  • Buff-tailed and White-tailed Bumblebees nectaring on the flower borders in the gardens. At least 3 Smooth Newts in Jack's Pond (and again on Monday 26th) (Martin Davies)