• The Hide at RSPB The Lodge Reserve

    Many of our supporters have fond memories of the Meadow Hide and have been asking questions regarding it since the start of the pandemic. We wanted to update you all on our plans for the hide at The Lodge.

    Our much-loved hide at The Lodge has been closed since the first lockdown, following Covid-19 guidance from the government. Sadly, with many staff and volunteers no longer on-site, the hide became an easy target over the…

    • 3 Sep 2021
  • Pony poo for conservation!

    As you may remember reading in this blog, we’ve had plans here at RSPB The Lodge to have some new four-hooved team members join the reserve for quite some time. While Covid-19 put our plans for Spring 2020 on hold, we’re delighted to announce that six Dartmoor ponies joined our reserve this April and have set to work grazing the heath.

    Teaming up with the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust, the ponies, named Kevin…

    • 15 Apr 2021
  • Woodland management - Winter work update

     In January we had forestry contractors come onsite to carry out work to improve our woodlands, including working on areas of former pine plantations. Pine plantations are planted at high density and volume with the sole purpose of producing large volumes of timber for future harvesting. This is why, when you look at our woodlands which consist of areas of former plantations, they contain a dense number of pines. When…

    • 3 Mar 2021
  • Lockdown - Jan 2021

    In line with government guidance for lockdown, The Lodge and Fowlmere reserves remain open for local, essential, daily exercise only.

    The Lodge car park, trails and toilets remain open. The visitor centre, shop and hide are closed and no events will be running during this time.

    At Fowlmere, the car park and trails remain open. The visitor welcome and hides are closed.

    We strongly urge you to follow the legislation around…

    • 8 Jan 2021
  • Skylark Trail temporary closures

    What’s happening here?

    Our forestry contractors are onsite to carry out work to improve our woodlands, including working on areas of former pine plantations. Pine plantations are planted at high density and volume with the sole purpose of producing large volumes of timber for future harvesting. This is why when you look at our woodlands which consist of areas of former plantations they contain a dense number of…

    • 1 Jan 2021
  • Dartford warblers!

    After a 16-year absence since the last record of this species on our reserve, an overwintering female on the Old Heath, we are delighted that we have not one, but two Dartford warblers currently wintering on the site. 

    From a glance (which many a visitor has discovered, is quite often the only views you get), the Dartford warbler can appear as a small, brownish bird with a distinctively long tail. However, for those who are treated…

    • 8 Dec 2020
  • Crossbills

    What's that sound? Have you heard pine cones dropping when walking around the Buzzard Trail? Look up and you might be able to see crossbills!

    The flock of up to 20 birds can be seen flying between conifer trees on the Buzzard Trail and have a favourite drinking spot at a pond next to the path on the seasonal Heathland Trail. These noisy finches eat seeds from conifer cones with their specially adapted bills that give…

    • 11 Nov 2020
  • 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. There, RSPB manages farmland, woodlands, grassland and heathland for wildlife, and there’s an active sand quarry run by Tarmac that supplies most of the local area with sand for house…

    • 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