• Welcome your winter visitors

    With the weather feeling properly wintry and signs that this year we have a number of unusual extra winter visitors taking refuge in the UK, it's time for a quick recap on who they are and what you can do to help them in your garden.

    Waxwings - They are here in good numbers already, likely to be the result of a poor berry crop in Scandinavia. Whilst berries are going to be their main staple diet during their stay…

    • 9 Nov 2012
  • Octobers garden chores, have you ticked them off?

    Have you got your hands dirty to help wildlife during October? Some tasks can't really wait much longer so here is just a reminder of some of the things that you might need to do before we get into winter proper!

    • Cleaning nesting boxes. I did this a couple of weeks ago, I emptied all the material out, give it a wash and brush out, allowed to air-dry and then popped it back into position after a couple of tweaks…
    • 29 Oct 2012
  • Coming to a garden near you soon...

    I am of course talking about the sparrowhawk! This time of year sees this species spreading out across the UK from breeding ranges and also an influx of birds from the north and east, following the mass movements of other birds such as winter thrushes, starlings and finches.

    The autumn months are crucial for this years sparrowhawks who are now out on their own. Many won't make it through to next spring as the winter is…

    • 19 Oct 2012
  • The wildlife teams top tips for this weekend!

    This weekend will be the penultimate full weekend before the clocks go back and we lose an hour of evening light, shock horror! That to us is the call to get out and into the wilds and take full advantage of the extra daylight whilst we can, the weather is still half decent as well for some of us! So what can you do and what can you see? Here are some suggestions!

    Autumn migration - birds are moving all over the place…

    • 12 Oct 2012
  • The Daily Pigeon

    No, this isn't a new paper, this phrase cropped up when we were taking a training course at one of our regional offices. It seems to be a recurring theme across the RSPB that all the staff dealing with enquiries get at least one pigeon related query a day! Literally whilst writing this I had my 'daily pigeon'!

    The queries are pretty varied but the general theme is one of disdain for our most common Columbid…

    • 28 Sep 2012
  • Hot topics this September!

    Traditionally for us here in wildlife enquiries the autumn months see a lull in queries in comparison to the hectic spring and summer months and the busy winters. However, there are still loads of things that we have to keep tabs on, here are just a few of the topical queries we are getting and big issues that are keeping us busy at the moment;

    • Vanishing birds - As per usual, the normal changes in bird behaviour that…
    • 20 Sep 2012
  • Butterfly bonanza and back to bird feeding!

    September is a cracking month for observing butterflies! Many of the buddleias dotted around the gardens and wider countryside are a magnet for many of the autumn-flying species but also take the time to check out ivy for the second hatch of holly blues and any brambles with late flowers may still host some woodland species.  A question we have been asked recently, is it normal for butterflies to fly in the autumn, yes it…

    • 12 Sep 2012
  • Shifting seasons

    Is it really mid August already? Time is flying by this summer, so much so that it seems almost unbelievable to think that most of our swifts have already gone and many other species are heading south too. It does feel a bit more like summer now with the warmer temperatures finally prompting butterflies to get on the wing and the buzz of bees around most flowerbeds.

    So what should you look out for before summer fades…

    • 13 Aug 2012
  • Disappearing garden birds!

    Summer has finally arrived (for some), all be it late, birds have been struggling to raise their young in the wet, cold weather and now they have chicks it looks like they are disappearing from view. Where have they all gone and when will they return?

    During the breeding season, birds will hold their territories and attract their mates by singing and often physically defending their space. Often at this time of year…

    • 27 Jul 2012
  • Spotting wildlife in July

    Mid summer is a fantastic time to get outdoors and explore new places with wildlife of all shapes and sizes out there waiting to be discovered, so what to look for and where?

    Well, given all of the rain of late, lets start with wetlands! Ponds, riverbanks and marshes are all going to be brimming with life in July. Watch where you are treading though as some of that life includes tiny froglets which will be moving away from…

    • 18 Jul 2012
  • Gulls Galore!

    Here in Wildlife Enquiries it's prime time for Gull related enquiries. Not a day goes past when we don't get a call or e-mail regarding the welfare of Gulls that have taken residence on the roof of a building whether that be a house, factory or school. These roofs are the urban version of rocky outcrops and cliff tops and provide a safe and suitable place for the adults to make a nest. In fact our towns and cities in…

    • 5 Jul 2012
  • June update from Wildlife Enquiries

    June is typically our busiest time and this year has been no different! What with Springwatch, crazy weather and some crazy government ideas (yes I am referring to Buzzard-gate!) we've had loads to deal with on top of the normal workload. Here are just a few of the hot topics we've been handling of late:

    Cutting hedges and trees: Despite the lack of sun it hasn't stopped lots of issues with vegetation clearance…

    • 14 Jun 2012
  • Who's fledging?

    As we're approaching the end of May there are many birds that are close to fledging. You may have seen some already as the first brood of starlings, house sparrows, robins, wrens and blackbirds are already up and away in many places!

    Coming soon to a garden near you could be young jackdaws and crows, woodpeckers, blue tits, great tits and finches! Out in the woods you might be lucky to catch a glimpse of young tawny…

    • 31 May 2012
  • Cat Attack

    It's that time of year again when baby birds are springing out of nests all over the country putting themselves in all sorts of danger. It is quite natural for numbers of young birds to fall victim to predation, that is part of nature and the very reason why our smaller garden birds have such large broods.

    Unfortunately 'un-natural' predators are also lurking around the corner in the form of our domestic cats, and…

    • 18 May 2012
  • Soaked in spring - winners and losers

    The last few weeks have been pretty miserable weather wise for most humans in the UK, only the hardiest souls have braved the wet, windy and cold around the The Lodge. Have you braved the elements in the last few weeks, was it worth it? I've tried to get out and about in between showers and it has been rewarding with lots of passage wheatears (10 yesterday!) and some great views of a cuckoo, I think it's worth the…

    • 4 May 2012
  • Something to Stork About!

    The Stork is known throughout the world as a symbol of fertility, this is an ancient legend that evolved into the cartoon Storks you see today carrying babies and delivering them to parents, but one that everyone is familiar with. This familiarity has lead the Stork to be one of the most recognised birds in the world but in the UK it is one bird that is not often seen, the reason for that is simple....they dont reside…

    • 26 Apr 2012
  • Howdy!

    Hi, my name is Ben Andrew and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce myself. I am the newest member of the Wildlife Enquiries team and have been working here now for 3 weeks. I have a total love of wildlife and this began from a young age after visiting London Zoo and then going back to recreate my very own zoo in my sandpit! From then on I spent many hours watching David Attenborough documentaries and…

    • 20 Apr 2012
  • New kid on the block!

    Just thought I’d introduce myself as a new member of the Wildlife Enquiries team, here at The Lodge.

    I’ve always been interested in birds and wildlife and make the most of every opportunity to go out and see it, and occasionally get to photograph it! I used to work in the printing industry in a variety of jobs, from graphic design to printing, and a few other jobs along the way. A change in fortunes and redundancy…

    • 11 Apr 2012
  • Leave me alone!!!

    If baby birds could speak thats probably what they would say! Now that we are into April we are well on the way to baby bird season, time to put down the hedge strimmers and to enjoy the sights and sounds of our garden birds doing their very best to raise the next generation. Whilst this process is fraught with danger due to the natural hazards that await, predators, harsh weather, shortages in natural food etc, human…

    • 4 Apr 2012
  • Could I have seen a bird of prey in the garden?

    We occasionally get queries about birds of prey venturing into gardens often resulting in rather stumped observers who did not expect to see such creatures at such close quarters. Here are just a few quick fire questions and answers that we often encounter about birds of prey in the garden.

    What was it? Nine times out of ten the bird of prey responsible is likely to be a sparrowhawk. These relatively small and agile raptors…

    • 22 Mar 2012
  • We might need those April showers!

    The media has been full of articles about the drought conditions affecting parts of the UK, hose pipe bans may be enforced and we're being asked to take shorter showers! Now would be a great time to start thinking about how you are going to manage your garden this year with restrictions on water. There are some really useful tips for green living including water conservation here and here.

    However, we are trying to…

    • 14 Mar 2012
  • Signs of spring, what have you seen?

    Earlier this week when I was walking around the Lodge reserve a bumblebee flew straight into me, bounced off and carried on across the ridge, my first of the year, I hope it was able to find a few flowers to feed on! It has been noticeably milder this week and this change in temperature seems to have spurred many creatures into life. On looking at some Birdtrack records it appears that some swallows have been seen already…

    • 24 Feb 2012
  • Snow idea what that is!

    We've been inundated with reports of unusual garden visitors since the snow arrived. The ice, snow and general wintry weather that has finally arrived has covered much of the countryside making many natural food resources such as worms and seed on the ground impossible to reach. So what is a hungry bird to do when this happens? Well they either sit it out and make do with what they can access or they move. Many of the…

    • 8 Feb 2012
  • Belfast, Birdwatch and boxes for birds!

    It's been a busy time this past month in the wildlife enquiries team, Rich and I went over to see our colleagues in the Belfast office last week to deliver some wildlife based training. Great place to go to and great to meet the team over there, they were really helpful and good fun, plus the setting in Belvoir forest park is a really nice place to work! No red squirrels sighted but the starling roost under a bridge…

    • 26 Jan 2012
  • Spanish sparrows everywhere?

    Just thought i'd write a quick blog to say that we have had a number of reports of Spanish sparrows turning up around the UK after the news of a genuine adult male turned up in Hampshire. This has made the news in various places see here, here, here and here.

    However this little chap got here, most think that he arrived by boat, he has caused quite a stir. However, given the scarcity of such an occurence it is unlikely…

    • 12 Jan 2012