Friday, 25 May 2007

Bird news

Thursday, 24th May
  • Plateau-watching today produced a pair of sparrowhawks at 0855hrs, three common buzzards over the Ivel Valley at 1030-1045hrs, another (or two of the same) buzzards at 1300hrs, a hobby attempting to snatch a swallow at 1315hrs and a kestrel shortly after, but not the recently reported osprey... or the escaped Ruppell's vulture! (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Buzzards from my window yesterday and over the clearfell opposite the gatehouse at lunch. Also a fine spotted flycatcher in full song (and showing nicely) in oaks on the drive side of the shop car park lunchtime today. (Mark Ward)
  • Male Red-eyed Damselfly on lilypad at west end of swimming pool (IKD, DFD)
Wednesday, 23rd May
  • Several Tiger Beetles on the heath at lunchtime. Male Broad-bodied Chaser and 2 Four-spotted Chasers at lower heath pond. Hairy Dragonfly hawking over bracken slopes above Jack’s Pond (IKD, DFD)
  • Summer is here; Spotted Flycatcher singing in limes around the portokabin this morning (Steve Blain)
Tuesday, 22nd May
  • Hobby hawking over the avocet car park and plateau at lunchtime today (Mark Ward)
  • Two Four-spotted Chasers at pond by wrought-iron gate, one ovipositing. Lots of Azure damselflies incl. several in tandem (IKD)
  • On a lunchtime heath walk we saw a common lizard, a grass snake in Jack's pond and another snake further up the path by the steps. (Lucinda King and Ellen Collier)
  • A pair of hobbies from my window this morning, enjoying the summery weather (Mark Ward)
  • 0930 Pair of sparrowhawks circling together over gardens, female headed east over the reserve, pursued by male (Ian Dickie)
Friday, 18th May
  • lunchtime: Kingfisher on the brook on north edge of Biggleswade Common ; a foot-long grass snake lounging in the path just outside the gate to the reserve. (Olly Watts)
  • Pair of shelducks flying around Sandy Warren (area that was clear-felled earlier this year), before flying low through trees in the direction of the hide.
  • Spotted flycatcher next to the visitors car park at the Gatehouse, sand martin hawking around the tree tops at the Gatehouse
  • Garden chafers emerging from short-grass areas of Sandy Ridge (Neil Renwick)

Friday, 18 May 2007

Bird news

Friday, 18th May
  • Spotted flycatcher near to Jack's Pond at lunchtime today. Also a female broad-bodied chaser in the area.
  • Pairs of large red damselflies in tandem on the swimming pool and Jack's Pond with another single on Jack's Pond. (Mark Ward and Lucinda King)
  • Mass emergence today of Garden Chafers Phyllopertha horticola on meadow (brown beetles the size of a finger nail, with metallic green thorax) (IKD, DFD)
  • Red kite heading northwest away from house @1235 (Lynn Giddings)
  • Red kite low over International/Avocet, 12.30 today, followed by two hobbies shooting the breeze (Conor Jameson)
Thursday, 17th May
  • Cuckoo seen and heard flying over the meadow this afternoon (Ian Hayward)
  • Pair of swifts in cop. over the quarry this afternoon. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Tatty buzzard high over garden @1315 (IKD, DFD)
  • 11:45 - Two very tatty looking buzzards circling on thermals out the front of the house. (Planning and Regional Policy Team)
  • 2 buzzards from my window this am.
  • Unusual behaviour (well, I thought so!) from a male great spotted woodpecker at lunch. It flew past the hide in pursuit of its mate and then landed on a molehill, where it stayed for almost a minute. It then flew directly onto the ground nearby and hopped around on the grass in the manner of a green woodpecker for quite some time. (Mark Ward and Lucinda King)
Wednesday, 16th May
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker on our bird feeder @ 5.15 (Margaret Walton)
  • Shelduck pair back again on Wednesday, observed flying from the back of the meadow towards the Ivel. (Ian Hayward)
  • Some good mammal watching from my window at present with a very cute baby grey squirrel often perching on the webcam (alright, I know I shouldn't really be saying that about a grey squirrel - but it is!), a shrew sp scurrying around from time to time which I'm pretty confident is a pygmy based on its domed head shape, very long snout and general proportions/tiny size and a field vole also appearing periodically under the yew hedge. (Mark Ward and the web team)
  • Buzzard circling over House @1245 (IKD, DFD)
  • Two starlings on our feeder this morning very briefly and a great spotted woodpecker.
  • Hobby and buzzard simultaneously early pm from the window (Mark Ward (and the web team))
  • Spotted flycatcher between the hide, the steps to Jacks Pond and the biggest speed bump on the drive, Wednesday morning (Neil Renwick)
  • A shelduck west over the avocet car park/plateau at 5 to 9 this morning (Mark Ward)
Tuesday, 15th May
  • As the sun finally made an appearance mid-afternoon, two hobby occupying airspace over The Lodge, one hawking over the gardens, the other over the Ivel. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Monday, 14th May
  • A yellow wagtail calling over Osprey carpark at 08:50 this morning. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

Friday, 11 May 2007

Bird news

Friday, 11th May
  • Muntjac on the lawn outside Avocet, 12.35 pm. Swifts and house martins flying in front of the approaching storm (Simon Marsh)
Wednesday, 9th May
  • 3 Hobbies hawking in unison over the Ivel Valley viewed west from the avocet car park at lunch today (Mark Ward)
  • 2 Hobby diving in spectacular style (display I presume) above the Avocet car park at lunchtime today (Chris Bowden)
Tuesday, 8th May
  • Hairy dragonfly patrolling just south-west of the hide at lunchtime (Mark Ward)

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Bird news

Wednesday, 9th May
  • Baby Tawny Owl sitting out in full view at the top of a dead birch just north of the hide, between the path and the drive @1315. Very drowsy and likely to be on view for a while! (IKD, Kim Gutteridge, John Day et al.)
  • Water vole by the stream feeding into Potton Brook, just before the bridge leading out onto Biggleswade Common this lunchtime (Olly Watts)
  • Spotted flycatcher heard on the edge of the gatehouse car park this morning. (Gareth Fisher)
Monday, 7th May
  • Monday - 2 reports of (2) fallow deer in woodland near the HQ gardens (per Neil Renwick)
Sunday, 6th May
  • 34 wild bird species recorded on Dawn Chorus (before breakfast) at The Lodge, including nightingale at 04.20 while the group was at the Gatehouse - the bird wasn't, but the sound carried on the wind. Also heard nightingale on the old railway line & found long-tailed tit fledglings between there & Biggleswade Common
  • Later in the morning, a four-spotted chaser was observed for about 3 hours by two visitors as it emerged from its exuvia, dried out and flew (Plantation Pond). A small grass snake was swimming there in the afternoon. A red kite was reported flying over, in company with a buzzard, in the afternoon (Neil Renwick)

Friday, 4 May 2007

Bird news

Friday, 4th May
  • During our lunch-time walk today at approx. 1:15, we saw swallows and skylarks over Biggleswade common. We also saw a jay when walking back through the reserve. (Sue Lawson, Lynn Giddings, Kathy Berkery)
  • 2 Garden Warblers in full song east of the gardens (1 clearly seen); also a large grass snake crossing the path there & a couple of Speckled Woods. Another Hairy Dragonfly at Jack's Pond - this one freshly emerged & flying weakly to rest on an overhanging birch in the sun. (Nigel Willits)
  • I saw a tadpole this morning in the small pond near the path to the Avocet building. (Sue Lawson)
Wednesday, 2nd May
  • A hobby flew north over the quarry car park at 1.50 pm (Katie Fuller)
  • A Hairy Dragonfly briefly at Jack's Pond lunchtime plus a couple of Large Red Damsels. Also 6+ LR Damsels at the long pond, including 2 pairs in tandem. (Nigel Willits)
  • Two-foot long Grass Snake swimming in lower heath pond at lunchtime (IKD, DFD)
Tuesday, 1st May
  • Tuesday pm had a large red damselfly come in through my window in Avocet. Whilst trying to escort it from the building it landed on my hand allowing the ideal opportunity for close scrutiny! (Kim Gutteridge)
  • Several pairs of large red damselflies ovipositing in the swimming pool (Katie Fuller, Ellen Collier, Lucinda King)
  • Male Broad-bodied Chaser at pond in Memorial Garden, and a female-type B-b C at Jack’s Pond which was also being patrolled by a Hairy Dragonfly. Also quite a few Large Red Damsels. A couple of Holly Blues in the gardens. (IKD, DFD)
Monday, 30th April
  • At lunchtime: Heard nightingale singing by path just outside reserve on path towards Biggleswade common. Saw lizard scurrying across the path down by the heath. On bluebell path just outside the garden I saw a grass snake partially out of its hole with a struggling toad locked in its jaws - amazing! (Christine Fitch)
  • Grass Snake attempting to swallow a live Common Toad at the Lodge. It seems to have been lurking beneath the leaf litter, under which most of its body was still concealed, and grabbed the toad's right hindleg as it lumbered by. When the remarkable sight was pointed out to me by another member of staff, the hindleg was already well down the snake's gullet & it was gradually swallowing the other hindleg. The hapless toad made occasional attempts to escape but each time it was sucked in further & seemed to be weakening fast. After 20 mins, I had to return to my desk, by which time the snake's jaws were halfway up the toad's body. (Nigel Willits)
  • A pair of mistle thrushes on the meadow this morning by the HaHa. (Julia Mackay)
  • Female [Greenland-looking] wheatear still on Sandy Ridge, under the power lines. Juvenile mistle thrush begging loudly and still being attended to by parents on meadow. (Katie Fuller)
Saturday, 28th April

  • Came to The Lodge to try to find woodlark for the Beds bird-racers. No sign, but quite a lot of other stuff: fieldfare on the meadow; bullfinch calling from the old railway line, where two nightingales still singing on-and-off; two newly-fledged blackbirds being fed near Stratford Road; and a buzzard was being mobbed over Biggleswade Common. Lots of small, long-antennaed moths, Adela reaumurella, around in the trees.
  • There were two hairy dragonflies in action along Stratford Road by the bridleway gate and at Jack's Pond respectively; quite a few large red damselflies emerging from the pond on the heath, where a small grass-snake was hunting (newts?). Butterflies on the wing included holly blue, speckled wood, orange-tip, small copper and green-veined white. Predictably, photos are here: http://bogbumper.blogspot.com/2007/04/lodge.html (Katie Fuller)