• Mark's last day

    Message from Mark at The Lodge

    Hi everyone,

    I've been writing the posts for The Lodge for many years, but this is my last one as I retire on Friday!

    Rebecca Shaw is the new Visitor Experience Manager at The Lodge, and Rebecca will be writing posts in the future to let you know all that's happenening and the latest news on the wildlife and birds that have been seen on the reserve.
    Welcome to Rebecca!

    I've really…

    • 30 Aug 2019
  • Emerald - green damselfly - first time at The Lodge

    A new species for The Lodge has been seen here today.

    Two pairs of willow emerald damselflies have been spotted on the pools beneath the hillfort, on the Buzzard trail by RSPB staff. Will George was one of the finders and he took this image at another site.

    It's quite difficult to add a new species to the long list of creatures already seen here over the last 50+ years, so a great find!

    • 23 Aug 2019
  • The Pantaloons on Sunday

    Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility    2pm and 7pm.

    The Pantaloons 2019 Outdoor theatre shows

    Sunday 25 August 2019 – Sense and Sensibility

    Two performances at 2.0 pm and 7.0 pm

    Elinor Dashwood has a lot of good Sense.

    Her sister Marianne Dashwood has an excess of Sensibility.

    Together they make a snappy title for Jane Austen’s classic novel of scandals, scoundrels and severely sprained ankles.

    This funny…

    • 20 Aug 2019
  • Monday reports

    As the new week starts and we head towards the end of August and the summer hols, at least three of the hobby family have been busy around the heath and the hillfort this morning, and the increasing sightings of raven continued with a pair also flying over the hillfort area.

    I'm still amazed at the amount of young blue tits around this year, the feeders are non-stop with them and I had a group of 20 in my garden over…

    • 19 Aug 2019
  • The new heathland viewing mound is open

    The new viewing mound giving raised views across the new heath at The Lodge is now open. RSPB Life Fellows John Hendry and James Taylor were the first visitors to go up on the mound after they had earlier been to see the hobbys.

    The entrance is signed just off the path near the Visitor centre, so take a look when you next come along.

    A pair of ravens have regularly been seen and heard over the new heath in recent days…

    • 12 Aug 2019
  • Last hobby chick has fledged!

    The last of the three hobby chicks fledged yesterday, so its great news that the birds were fully successful in raising their family.

    We still have a volunteer coming in today to run the hobby watch, but it will very much depend on the weather as to how long we stay out today, and we have cancelled tomorrow's watch as very strong winds are forecast.

    So today will be the last  official hobby watch of 2019!

    The hobbys…

    • 9 Aug 2019
  • Hitchin and Letchworth RSPB Local group - new season event

    Come and hear the first talk of Hitchin & Letchworth RSPB Local Group’s new season on Friday September 6th - ‘A Plague of Mice: Gough Island and the Tristan Albatross’ by Andrew Callender and Laura Beasley. We will hear how two of this remote island’s endemic species are threatened with extinction and the challenge of removing invasive, non-native species to save these birds. At The Settlement, Letchworth, SG6…

    • 8 Aug 2019
  • Second hobby chick fledges

    The second hobby chick has fledged today - and that leaves the third and final one in the nest and it looks very active, preening wing stretching and shuffling around, so it may well go from the nest tomorrow.

    We still have a hobby watch planned for tomorrow afternoon - 12- 3, and we'll see what happens after that, but we will probably continue at least until the weekend, as the hobbys will still be active in the general…

    • 5 Aug 2019
  • Second hobby chick fledges

    The second of the three hobby chicks has fledged today - the third and final one looks very active so may go tomorrow!

    • 5 Aug 2019
  • First hobby chick fledged!

    The first hobby chick fledged yesterday! I'll keep you posted with news on the hobby watch dates this week, as the other two chicks are likely to fledge before the weekend.

    Away from the hobbys; yesterday two ravens flew across the new heath 'kronking' away, a large group of swifts came down and fed over the new heath getting the attention of one of the hobby's which came over to investigate them, and two…

    • 5 Aug 2019
  • Special optics event this weekend 3 4 August 10am 4pm

    Pop along to the optics special event weekend at The Lodge shop, today or tomorrow between 10 am and 4 pm.

    The event runs from 10am – 4 pm on each of these days, when a variety of binoculars and telescopes will be on display for visitors to try out, as well as friendly, impartial advice from the knowledgeable and friendly team of staff and volunteers.

    Not just for wildlife experts, RSPB reserve shops stock a wide…

    • 3 Aug 2019
  • Next hobby watch dates

    Here are the next dates for the Hobby watches.

    Friday 02 August 11am - 4pm ...
    Saturday 03 August 11am - 3pm
    Sunday 04 August 11am - 3pm

    Monday 05 August 11am - 4pm
    Tuesday 06 August 12:00 - 3pm
    Thursday 08 August 1pm - 4pm
    Friday 09 August   11am - 4pm

    Saturday 10 August 11am - 3pm
    Sunday 11 August   11 am -3pm

    These are approximate times and depend on the weather- the volunteers won't be out if there is rain or strong…

    • 31 Jul 2019
  • Youngster with a good eye

    A young and very keen naturalist and photographer Sam Chatt visited the reserve with his nan Jennifer this week, and showed me a great selection of bird and wildlife photos taken on his travels in this country and holiday in France.

    Keep up the great work Sam!


    Red admiral at The Lodge. Image credit Samuel Chatt (age 10)

    • 26 Jul 2019
  • Next hobby watch dates

    Our volunteers will be here to show you the hobby's with their three chicks on the nest, on the following days and times (weather permitting).
    Follow the Buzzard trail along the path to Galley Hill, starting across the drive at the entrance, opposite the shop.
    The viewpoint is near the junction, signposted to Sandy, approx. 500m from the shop
    Friday     26 July 11am -1pm
    Saturday 27 July 10:30am - 3pm (rain…
    • 25 Jul 2019
  • Next hobby watch dates

    Hobby watch with the volunteers are planned on the following dates over the next week or so ;

    Saturday         20 July   11am - 2pm

    Sunday          21 July    1pm - 4pm

    Tuesday       23 July     11am -3pm

    Thursday       25 July     1pm - 4pm

    Saturday         27 July     11am- 3pm

    Sunday           28 July     11am - 4pm

    • 20 Jul 2019
  • Emperor butterfly - star of the week?

    The hobby watch is going really well, and plenty of visitors are getting views of the three chicks on the nest, with the adult birds zipping around - catching and bringing prey to them at times.

    Aside from the hobby action, it's getting a lot quieter on the bird front now, and with trees and shrubs in full foliage and birds stopping singing they can be difficult to see easily. The feeders are still popular though, especially…

    • 19 Jul 2019
  • Hobby watch 2019

    Our hobbies now have three white chicks on the nest, and we have set up a hobby watch on the following dates and times, when you can come along and we'll show you the falcons through the telescope.

    Follow the Buzzard trail from the shop, a sign will show you are going the right way!

    Tuesday 16 July 11am - 4pm
    Wednesday 17 July 11am - 1pm
    Thursday 18 July 1pm - 4pm
    Friday 19 July 1pm - 4pm
    Saturday 20 July 11am -…

    • 16 Jul 2019
  • Disruption at the hide 11-12 July

    The BBC are coming to The Lodge to film at the hide on Thursday and Friday this week, so we apologise in advance for the disruption this may cause.to your viewing

    Many thanks,

    The Lodge team

    • 10 Jul 2019
  • Purple emperor- first record for The Lodge!

    Rob Banbury who works in our reprographics dept. was taking his lunch-time stroll and came across  this female purple emperor, the first confirmed record for The Lodge!

    It was seen on the Buzzard trail, near the junction to Sandy (near last year's hobby nest area).

      Rob Banbury

    • 8 Jul 2019
  • Young cuckoo nearby

    Most of the cuckoo reports from The Lodge have come from birds heard calling just off the reserve this year, and Rob Gilmore saw and photographed this juvenile on a post in the field just before you reach the reserve, as he walked up from the station yesterday.

    Rob also got this cracking image of a treecreeper and a young robin just getting his/her red beast!.

    Thanks Rob!

    A good day for butterflies and dragonflies yesterday…

    • 8 Jul 2019
  • Latest images and news

    After a little lull, I've been sent an influx of recently taken photos.

    On the reserve, bird life is generally starting to quieten down now that most of the young have fledged - and birds start to go into moult and stop singing. Flocks of young tits and finches are foraging thought the trees and it seems to be a good breeding season for our common species.

    The hobby pair aren't so visible this year, we are deciding…

    • 5 Jul 2019
  • Ichneumon fly with prey at The Lodge this morning

    This Ichneumon fly with prey was filmed here by volunteer Karen Ashwell this morning.

    The hobby's have been seen on most days recently, but were not around their preferred site on the new heath this morning.

    The first flowering heather is already coming through, so the heath will be turning purple over the next few weeks, why not come along and take a look!

    • 2 Jul 2019
  • The Longest day...just around the corner.

    After the washed out days of last week it's good to be able to get back out again! it hasn't felt much like mid-summer recently, but there's still July and August ahead and we can hope for better weather ahead.

    Our hobby pair are doing all of the right things to suggest they will breed again, but sadly no nightjar or spotted flycatcher records on the reserve this year. We have had several night surveys when…

    • 17 Jun 2019
  • Bees and wasps at The Lodge walk

    Bees and wasps of The Lodge
    Sunday 23 June 1.0 pm – 3.0 pm

    The Lodge is home to an amazing variety of bees including cuckoo, honey and bumble bees, along with wasps and the other creatures that prey and parasite on them. Several other insects found here even mimic different bees and wasps.
    Ecologist Bex Cartwright from the Bee Conservation Trust is leading this walk to discover these often hidden, but truly amazing…

    • 9 Jun 2019
  • Stonechat breeding success

    It's that time again when lots of young birds are appearing around the reserve and keeping their parents very busy collecting enough food for their hungry bills. Visitor Mark Collins sent me the excellent shots of a whitethroat carrying food to its nest at the weekend.

       Image credit: Mark  Collins

     We had some great news when three stonechat fledglings were seen on the new heath! The adults have been keeping well out…

    • 4 Jun 2019