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: (Katie Fuller)

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