• Bare it all for bees and beetles!

    Every year we look to carry out some bare ground creation across our site and this year has been no different. Bare ground is an essential habitat for a host of invertebrates including beetles, spiders, solitary wasps and bees. These invertebrates often forage and make their homes by burrowing down into the exposed sandy soil, and these excavated burrows can be seen in abundance along the sandy trails across the reserve…

    • 29 Jan 2020
  • Its a three woodpecker day at The Lodge today... probably

    There were several woodpeckers calling and drumming along the aptly-named woodpecker trail (formerly the Sandy Ridge trail) at The Lodge this morning Friday 17 January. Green woodpecker 'yaffling', wrens, robins and coal tits singing, great spotted woodpeckers drumming, and... was it a lesser spotted woodpecker drumming too? 

    I was on the upper path near the woodpecker trail post No.2, above the group of oak and…

    • 17 Jan 2020
  • Carefully does it

    No-one likes to remove the top of an old tree. Wherever possible, and if safe to do so, we leave standing deadwood as it's a great place for wildlife.

    However, the very large Scot's pine on the path to the hide had just too many risk factors - too many rotten and broken bits to it - to leave it as it was.

    Following checks for bats by experts, the top sections were carefully removed by contractors today, above…

    • 13 Jan 2020
  • Sunny Friday lunchtime - 10 January 2010

    The new feeders at the visitor information have been great for close views of nuthatches.

    Today's reserve list included: red kite, woodcock, fieldfare and mistle thrush around the wind turbine field, green woodpecker, goldfinches.

    Over the last few days we have done a lot of bare ground works, including a new path loop by the natural play area (opening later in the year), and bare sandy patches scraped to provide homes…

    • 10 Jan 2020
  • Work to benefit woodland species, January 2020

    In the week commencing 13 January 2020 our woodland works start in earnest: This will improve the woods for spotted flycatchers, lesser-spotted woodpeckers and other species.

    Much of the work will be at the southern end of the reserve, below the HQ gardens, and from time to time it may be necessary to close parts of the trail network for safety. As well as the obvious risks from felling, there will be large vehicles taking…

    • 9 Jan 2020
  • Sightings at The Lodge 09/01/2020

    9 January 2020:

    Recently there have been lots of woodcock sightings, including a group of nine flying on the reserve at dusk.

    Ravens, red kite, buzzard have all been seen frequently.

    Over on the RSPB’s farmland north of the gatehouse three pairs of stonechat were seen Tuesday 7 January – this bodes well for them breeding on the new heath again in 2020.

    Feeders are now being put back up following an issue with…

    • 9 Jan 2020
  • Pony grazing coming to a heathland near you next spring!

    With Christmas quickly approaching it has been all go here at The Lodge and we just wanted to give you all an update on the ongoing work around the reserve. We will do this by uploading several blogs over the next few weeks each focused on an area of habitat management, with our first focusing on our plans for future grazing of the New heath.

    Grazing on the New Heath

    We are very excited at the prospect of welcoming 4…

    • 19 Dec 2019
  • 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