• An introduction to the Skylark Trail on Sandy Heath, RSPB The Lodge

    Have you ever explored the Skylark Trail, part of RSPB’s The Lodge nature reserve?

    The land to the north of the B1042Potton Road running from the RSPB gatehouse all the way to the TV aerial at Deepdale is known to us as Sandy Heath. RSPB manages farmland, woodlands, grassland and heathland for wildlife, an there’s an active sand quarry run by Tarmac that supplies most of the local area with sand for house building…

    • 25 Sep 2020
  • Cuckoo bees and ruby-tailed wasps

    Ever noticed tiny holes in the sandy paths at The Lodge? RSPB looks after a diverse range of wildlife, including over 200 species of bees and wasps.

    Our local expert, Will George, took a closer look.

     ‘I noticed tiny insects flying around some holes at the edge of the bare ground, and after a few failed attempts, managed to catch one and take a closer look. I had caught one of the UK’s smallest bees!

     'It…

    • 12 Aug 2020
  • Have you heard a cuckoo yet?

    Have you heard a cuckoo yet? Or seen the swallows return? I heard the local swallows twittering above the garden at the end of April and was lucky enough to hear a cuckoo calling just outside the house on 7 May. I’ve heard that swifts are back too, though as of today I’ve yet to see or hear one. Although closed at present (14 May) due to the Covid19 crisis, this time of year sees most migrant back at The Lodge reserve…

    • 14 May 2020
  • Have you heard a squeaky wheelbarrow?

    There aren’t many British birds that like non-native conifers. To be honest, I don’t like them much either, yet this is one British bird that you might see or hear using a Leylandii hedge, or in the canopy of an otherwise silent conifer plantation.

    Let’s not hold this 'lack of taste' against them. They are such beautiful, tiny birds, feathered in green and gold (the strip of orange / gold on the crown of their…

    • 12 May 2020
  • Zooming?

    Facing another day of zoom meetings and missing the outdoors? We know the feeling... but what about still getting your nature fix whilst being in "meetings all day". 

    What’s more, while our reserve remains closed for the time being, you can even choose this lovely scene from our very own RSPB The Lodge as your background!

    Head over to https://bit.ly/rspbbackgrounds and start downloading for FREE!

    Don’t…

    • 7 May 2020
  • Birds in boxes

    Now is prime time to watch birds in boxes.

    We’re lucky: almost every year blue tits nest in the box in our garden, which we carefully placed out of the way of cats on the side of a shed.
    Early in the year we spot them investigating it, then later on taking in nesting material. Now (6 May) the blue tit parents are busy feeding their youngsters tasty (to them) caterpillars and bugs!

    Early this year we put up a…

    • 6 May 2020
  • Going for a song?


    Dunnock  - a common songbird in town and city gardens, image by Ray Piercy  

    Whether you are confined to your garden, or can take a walk or exercise nearby, April and May are the prime time for bird song, and Sunday 3 May 2020 is #DawnChorusDay … are you up for a challenge?

    I guess I’m lucky. I learnt bird songs over thirty years ago, and as warden and then site manager I’ve been able to brush up on these skills…

    • 28 Apr 2020
  • Gold at the bottom of the garden!

    Although the reserves are closed, there's plenty of wildlife to enjoy in our own gardens and on walks locally, and see, hear or even photograph.. 

    One of my favourites is the goldfinch, which is stunningly beautiful, dressed in gold, black, red and white. I can only describe the song as 'bubbly'. Check it out for yourself on the RSPB website: 

    https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a…

    • 22 Apr 2020
  • Why do I volunteer? - Tim, 40, writes about volunteering for RSPB at The Lodge

    I started volunteering for the RSPB about eight years ago while living in Eastbourne. I was in regional management for a large supermarket chain, worked silly hours, and took it all very seriously. It was obvious I needed something else to focus on - something for the good of my health. As I have always had a curiosity towards wildlife and birds, and been an RSPB member for a few years, they were an obvious choice. I…

    • 20 Apr 2020
  • How we popped back into shape! - Alan Kell, The Lodge warden.

    Our heathland supports a wide array of biodiversity including a host of scarce fungi, lichen, invertebrates and birds all dependent on this now rare habitat. Without constant effort by us the heathland would gradually return to woodland, which is easy to imagine when you count the birch saplings that grow on the heath each spring. To maintain this precious heathland wildlife we need to manage and control them.

    Every year…

    • 17 Apr 2020
  • Nick (RSPB Gardener at The Lodge) writes about the gardener's garden - 9 April 2020

    Finding myself confined to my house and garden I have been watching the comings and goings of the wildlife in my garden in more detail. Previously I have been aware of what is in my garden but not had a chance to watch them so closely. I started making a list of birds, which unsurprisingly didn’t differ much from my Big Garden Birdwatch list:  

    2 wood pigeons, 2 collared Doves, 2 Robins, 10  (approx.) House sparrows…

    • 16 Apr 2020
  • Bedfordshire bluebells

    Although The Lodge and Fowlmere nature reserves are closed to visitors at the moment, wildlife and seasons keep coming.
    Through Mid- to late April our native British bluebells are in flower, providing a valuable early nectar source for bumblebees and other insects.
    Some wild animals will eat them, but not many: the sap is poisonous to most. People used to use the sap as a source of glue, and reputedly as starch for stiffening…

    • 14 Apr 2020
  • Easter 2020 - The Lodge & Fowlmere reserves remain closed

    With #Easter approaching, we would like to remind everyone that in line with clear instructions from the Government for us all to remain at home (apart from a limited number of allowed activities), the reserve remains closed to visitors until further notice and our events are postponed.

    It is with great sadness that we ask people to continue to refrain from visiting us, but we must play our part to help restrict the…

    • 9 Apr 2020
  • A prickly pea!

    Although the Lodge is closed now, at this time of year we would expect to see lots of gorse in flower on the reserve. It's a great plant, and if you were to look closely at the flowers you might realise that this very pricky plant is actually a member of the pea family! Anybody want to hazard a guess as to what the flowers smell of? - it's quite surprising, unless you know!

    Here’s a photo from earlier in the year…

    • 30 Mar 2020
  • Reserves closed, but plenty of old pictures to share!

    Although The Lodge and Fowlmere nature reserves are closed to visitors at the moment, we’ve got a stash of inspiring images of wildlife and views taken previously.
    What would you like to see us share? We would love you to send those you have taken on past visits too.

     
    For now, here is a spring scene taken shortly before The Lodge was closed (c) Peter Bradley, Senior Site Manager.

    • 30 Mar 2020
  • The Lodge reserve: a reminder of better weather ahead...

    However grey the skies (and they are grey today) there will be more beautiful days at The Lodge ahead - bluebells around 20 April, Hobbies circling the pink-blossomed heath in August, toadstools poking through the dead leaves on crisp Autumn days. 
    Here's a photo by Ray Piercy to remind you of what the woods will look in just 8 weeks time...

    • 28 Feb 2020
  • Galley Hill, The Lodge reserve - a magnet for birds of prey

    Thanks to Rob Gilmour for this excellent image of a barn owl quartering the new heath on Tuesday 25 Feb 2020.


    Yesterday was a great day for birds of prey on the 'new heath' and Galley Hill.
    As well this beautiful barn owl, there were red kite, kestrel, sparrow hawk and a 'kettle' of five buzzards ( 'kettle' being the term for when birds of prey circle overhead).
    Galley Hill, the ancient hillfort…

    • 26 Feb 2020
  • The Lodge reserve will be closed from 1pm Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 February 2020 due to forecast 50-60mph winds

    Following quickly in the footsteps of storm Ciara which blew over several trees on the reserve, we now have a forecast of more high winds as storm Dennis menaces us over this weekend too. The reserve and shop will close at 1pm Saturday 15 Feb and stay closed until the end of Sunday.

    The Lodge has a lot of woodland, and deadwood and veteran trees support a host of wildlife, so wherever it is safe to do so we keep them…

    • 14 Feb 2020
  • RSPB The Lodge is removing feeders and bird baths until 1 March 2020

    Sadly we have had reports of birds with signs of Avian Pox at the Lodge.

    Avian pox is a viral skin infection that produces warty growths all over the body of birds. These can grow quite big but affected birds can still feed and move around. They only die if the pox 'warts' grow over their eyes and mouths making it harder to survive. Most birds continue to fare well despite the growths. It is impossible to treat wild birds…

    • 6 Feb 2020
  • Signs of Spring at RSPB The Lodge, 5 February 2020

    Today Spring arrived - there are hazel catkins, flowering broom, and drifts of snowdrops.
    Lots of birds seem to be pairing (raven, red kite); song thrush, dunnock, coal / blue / great tit and robin all singing.

     

    Snowdrops and dunnock: Peter Bradley, RSPB

    • 5 Feb 2020
  • RSPB Race for Wildlife, The Lodge reserve, 2 Feb 2020

    A great day, some great people running - well done everyone!
    We look forward to seeing you again next year...

    Images: Shannon Shaw

    • 4 Feb 2020
  • Race for Wildlife - 02/02/2020 at RSPB The Lodge

    On Sunday 02/02/2020 we held our third ‘Race for Wildlife’ event at RSPB The Lodge. It’s an exciting 10km (twice around a 5km figure of eight) run around the Buzzard and Woodpecker trails. It was a great day, with lots of very happy (albeit tired) runners. Thanks especially to Biggleswade Athletic Club and our own RSPB staff and volunteers for the wonderful marshalling and organisation of the race.

    • 4 Feb 2020
  • Race for wildlife at The Lodge, Sunday 2 February 2020 from 9 am to approx. 12 noon

    The Lodge Reserve’s 3rd ‘Race for Wildlife’ is taking place throughout Sunday morning (02/02/2020!!), and runners will be using all car parks at the HQ end of the reserve. Visitors to the reserve will still be able to park at the Gatehouse as usual, but vehicle access along the drive will not be possible at the time the runners congregate and start, from 9:45 to 10:00, and we will have marshals at junctions along…

    • 31 Jan 2020
  • Early blooms at The Lodge garden

    Spring is unfolding in the gardens at The Lodge.   

    • 30 Jan 2020