April 03, 2006

The Lodge Grapevine

Today, the biggies finally dropped.

Katie had a singing Blackcap from her office window, a first for The Lodge this year, but despite being in exactly the spot she heard it no more than five minutes later, the bird had shut up. Another tick for K which I hadn't seen; to go along with the Tawny Owl and Peregrine she's seen from the grounds recently- not to worry, I'll catch up with them eventually.

Then, during my coffee break later this morning, I was out on The Plateau with colleagues when a raptor caught my attention flying away from us to the north-west: not easy but definitely not the usual Buzzards we see almost every day. This bird did not carry it's wings in a shallow 'V-shape' and when accompanied by a mobbing crow was clearly bigger than a buzzard. When the bird banked in an effort to avoid the crow, all became very clear; structure, underwing pattern and visible necklace confirmed it: Osprey. The third year in succession that I've seen the species in Bedfordshire. A Lodge tick for me but as it drifted off further, I wanted to get Katie and Mark onto the bird.

Mad dash to desk. Katie on voicemail, Mark on voicemail. Wankers!

But they aren't really wankers, they were in a meeting. Still, my two companions got a lifer and it transpired that the bird had been seen earlier by two other colleagues over The Lodge and was seen later in the day at nearby Southill.

This afternoon at around 4:30, Katie phoned. ''Ravens now over the carpark.''

Nice one K- the bird I most wanted to see at The Lodge.

Mad dash out of office back door and upward gazing begins; Buzzard, another Buzzard..........ah......Raven, another Raven............nice.......

At which point three colleagues were standing alongside me. The birds were drifting perilously towards the sun but thankfully, they all got onto the birds as they drifted off high to the west and before retinas were in danger of being singed. The Ravens were accompanied by an amazing six Common Buzzards (all carefully checked).

Clearly some serious raptor passage today......

Even the construction workers who are building on site came over and asked what we had been looking at and seemed genuinely interested. ''Bloody hell, Ravens and Ospreys..nobody told me!''

I'll make sure I give them a shout next time a Lodge mega turns up.

Species added today:
123: Raven

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