It really is hard to believe it's still only February. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming and butterflies, bees and insects are on the wing on the bright sunny days we've had recently. I have seen reports of house martins arriving across the country - even in Scotland!... and numerous swallows arriving around the coast, especially in the South-West. Our regular visiting photographer Rob Gilmore has captured some great images of spring arriving on the reserve, along with some siskins that have arrived here over the last week after a very low numbers of them at The Lodge to date this winter.

We had a very creditable report of a lesser-spotted woodpecker on Saturday, but despite searching we didn't locate the bird again. It was seen and heard just off the bridleway between the drive and Biggleswade Common, along the Nuthatch trail at the back of the gardens.

On Saturday late afternoon I was in the main car-park at HQ getting ready for our volunteer social event and two crossbills flew over the pines calling, heading down towards the steps, or beyond to the hillfort.

Is the buzzard  pictured carrying a stick already starting preperation for nest building?

  red admiral and snowdrops; Rob Gilmore

   Greylag goose over the gardens  Hoverfly on the snowdrops

  Siskins feeding on pines Rob Gilmore