We list wildlife sightings on these pages to enable people to learn about and enjoy Bedgebury’s wonderful array of fauna. It is vital that the habitat and habits of our wildlife are not disrupted by inconsiderate human activity. Please help us to ensure that Bedgebury's wildlife is protected for everyone to enjoy.
This year join the #BigForestFind by recording the wildlife you discover on the free iNaturalist app too!
Whenever possible we will report sightings of wildlife here when they are reported to us. Please note that these sightings are posted in good faith but are often unverified by experts. We reserve the right to withhold the location of any vulnerable species on site if we feel there is a risk to their habitat.
12th April 2019
Today's family birdwalk enjoyed pleasant and dry weather, if a bit on the cold side. The highlight of today's walk had to be the female crossbill seen near the Visitor Centre. One of the the attendees on the walk also managed to get this lovely image of it. Other species spotted were:
Blackbird, blackcap, blue tit, buzzard, canada goose, carrion crow, chaffinch, chiffchaff, coal tit, common crossbill, coot, goldcrest, goldfinch, great spotted woodpecker (heard only), great tit, green woodpecker, greenfinch, herring gull, house martin, little grebe, magpie, mallard, moorhen, nuthatch (heard only), pheasant, pied wagtail (yarrellii), robin, siskin, song thrush, swallow, tufted duck, woodpigeon, and wren.
5th April 2019
Bedgebury bird-ringer, Christine George and a friend enjoyed a walk at Bedgebury today; to prepare for the Friends’ event Chris is leading next week, and in the hope that an elusive lesser spotter woodpecker would make an appearance. They were unlucky with the latter, but did see a good selection of birds, the highlight being a pair of firecrests in the Pinetum.
Grey heron 1, swallow 1, song thrush 3, robin 10+, blackcap 4, chiffchaff 5+, coot 2, carrion crow, blackbird 10+, tufted duck 2, blue tit 10+, coal tit 5+, great tit 2, wren 10+, moorhen 4, stock dove 1, wood pigeon, siskin 5+, greenfinch 2, chaffinch 3, goldfinch 8+, herring gull, nuthatch 4, canada goose 2, mallard 5, goldcrest 2+, firecrest 2, green woodpecker 2, raven 2, mistle thrush 2, pied wagtail 1, little grebe 1 and a least a couple of drumming great spotted woodpeckers.
3rd April 2019
A lovely wildlife encounter for one of the Bedgebury team early this morning - a young roe deer near the Walled Garden!
A regular visitor also popped in to tell us that they'd seen their first swallow of the season near the Visitor Centre. This sighting was corroborated by regular birdwatchers, Eric, Lynne and Liz, who managed to get a lovely photograph. They also reported: Canada goose, mallard, teal, buzzard, pheasant, coot, moorhen, stock dove, woodpigeon, green woodpecker, pied wagtail, dunnock, robin, mistle thrush, song thrush, blackbird, chiffchaff, goldcrest, firecrest, great tit, blue tit, coal tit, long tailed tit, nuthatch, carrion crow, raven, chaffinch, goldfinch and siskin. Thank you Eric for the photos of the swallow and the female teal.
30th March 2019
A glorious sunny bird-ringing session this morning closed the ringing season. Christine George, Bedgebury's ringer said:
"Spring was definitely in the air for the ringing session this morning, superb weather made ringing very pleasant indeed.
There were obvious signs of breeding all around us. Great spotted woodpeckers were drumming, and a lovely chorus was heard from birds such as chiffchaff, goldfinch, robin, blackbird, nuthatch and blackcap to name just a few. Both the female siskin we trapped had well-developed brood patches showing that Bedgebury is a favoured site for their breeding.
After many finches moult (replacing all their feathers, mainly in late summer in the UK), they have dull tips to some of their feathers, particularly those found on their heads. These dull tips gradually wear off over the winter so that by spring the birds are at their brightest. This was very obvious on the chaffinch we ringed.
The oldest bird we re-trapped today was a dunnock which had been ringed on 03/12/15. the average lifespan for a dunnock is 2 years, however the maximum age noted from ringing recoveries is a bird that reached the grand old age of 11 years 3 months, perhaps this dunnock will exceed that, only time will tell.2
Below is today's summary of ringing and sighting totals.
Blackbird – 4 (2 captured / released), blackcap – 1 (seen / heard), blue tit – 9 (2 captured / released), buzzard -1 (seen / heard), carrion crow – 3 (seen / heard), chaffinch – 2 (1 captured / released), chiffchaff – 3 (seen / heard), coal tit – 2 (seen / heard), dunnock - 1 (captured / released), goldfinch – 5 (seen / heard), great spotted woodpecker - 4 (1 captured / released), great tit – 5 (captured / released), green woodpecker -1 (seen / heard), mallard – 5 (seen / heard), marsh tit – 1 (seen / heard), nuthatch – 1 (seen / heard), pheasant – 3 (seen / heard), raven – 1 (seen / heard), robin – 2 (seen / heard), siskin – 4 (3 captured / released), woodpigeon - 3 (seen / heard), wren (seen / heard).
30th March 2019
Thank you to Rachel who hopped off her bike to follow her 'slithery friend into the trees to get a pic. Not the best pic, but he was pretty fast!'. And he's also well camouflaged! She said: 'I seem to spot them in the same place, on the path near the top of the car park.' A lovely sighting of one of Bedgebury's grass snakes.
20th March 2019
There is lots of bird activity in the Pinetum at present as evidenced by yesterday's birdringing report and also by bird sightings from regular watchers, Eric and Liz. Today they sighted 36 species including four firecrest and two treecreeper.
Their complete list was as follows: little grebe, canada goose, mallard, buzzard, pheasant, coot, moorhen, stock dove, woodpigeon, green woodpecker, great spotted woodpecker, pied wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, song thrush, blackbird, chiffchaff, goldcrest, firecrest, great tit, blue tit, coal tit, long tailed tit, nuthatch, creeper, magpie, jay, carrion crow, jackdaw, raven, chaffinch, lesser redpoll, goldfinch, greenfinch and siskin.
Oh... and lots of rabbits too!
19th March 2019
Christine George was bird-ringing on site today and said of the session:
"What beautiful weather we had for the ringing session this morning. The session was fairly quiet bird-wise as it is likely that birds were taking advantage of today's good weather to claim breeding territories. Winter may have loosened its grip, but a spell of cold weather could still send birds flocking back to the feeders.
The dunnock we caught today was not showing any signs of breeding as yet, however it won't be long. Dunnocks are starting to have breeding on their minds, chasing each other around with males singing their beautiful sweet warbling song from many a dense hedge or shrub. In dunnock-land anything goes and courtship behaviour is much in evidence for a prolonged period. Females will normally build the nest and then bring up the young by herself.
We also caught a male and female great spotted woodpecker today. They are much more faithful to each other and will soon be busy excavating a hole together. In many bird species only the female will incubate, however, with great spotted woodpeckers, the male and female take turns. Often the female will do the day shift and the male the night shift. Once the young hatch, both will feed the young at first but once the young fledge the nest the male may well find himself bringing up the 'teenagers' by himself.
Our bird sightings were higher than usual today as you will see from the bird list. There is plenty of bird movement around at the moment and that will increase over the next few months."
Birds reported at today's session were: blackbird – 3 (seen/heard), blue tit – 2 (captured & released), buzzard -1 (seen / heard), carrion crow – (seen / heard), chaffinch - 2 (seen / heard), chiffchaff – 1 (seen/heard), coal tit – 3 (captured & released), common crossbill – (seen/heard), dunnock - 1 (captured & released), goldcrest -2 (seen/heard), goldfinch – (seen/heard), great spotted woodpecker - 3 (seen/heard), great tit – 2 (captured & released), green woodpecker -1 (seen/heard), herring gull - 2 (seen/heard), jay – 1 (seen /heard), lesser redpoll- 100+ (seen/heard), magpie – 1 (seen /heard), mallard – 6 (seen/heard), mandarin duck - 2 (seen/heard), marsh tit – 1 (seen/heard), mistle thrush – 1 (seen/heard), nuthatch – 1 (captured & released), pheasant – 1 (seen/ heard), pied wagtail -1 (seen/heard), raven – 1 (seen/heard), robin – 2 (seen/heard), siskin – 6 (1 captured & released), woodpigeon (seen/heard), wren (seen/heard).
15th March 2019
Volunteer David reported the following today: A chiff chaff singing its heart out near Marshal’s Lake and lots of goldcrest and the odd firecrest too. He also spotted some marsh marigold the other side of the Marshal’s Lake bridge.
9th March 2019
A huge thank you to Tom who visited again today from Stevenage with family and friends. He was able to spend some time with a fellow birder in the group often enough to record the following sightings and take the stunning picture of a redpoll shown here.
1 raven (a single bird seen overhead 3 times), 1+ firecrest (heard a bird singing briefly from a large holly near to where the Gruffalo statue was last year - after 10 minutes of trying, I got a brief view to be doubly sure of ID - and shortly thereafter caught a brief glimpse of two crest-sized birds flitting around same holly bush), 20+ mixed flock of siskin & lesser redpoll feeding together, 1 sparrowhawk, 2+ buzzards, 1 tufted duck & 1 little grebe (on the lake by the café).
5th March 2019
Thank you to Joel who reported the following sightings between 10.30am and 1.30pm today:
4 siskin, 3 bullfinch, 8 chaffinch, 4 longtail tits, 6 coal tits, 2 pheasant, 2 raven, 1 jay, 5 goldcrest, 3 robin, 5 buzzard, 20+ lesser redpoll.
1st March 2019 (Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant - St David's Day)
A huge thank you to Dan and his family for these lovely photographs taken today. They were visiting from Wales and spent their St David's Day exploring the Pinetum. In just a couple of hours they spotted 27 species including a pair of kestrels, a couple of greater spotted woodpeckers and numerous goldcrests.
28th February 2019
A gentleman popped into the Visitor Centre today and reported seeing: 1 crossbill (near Reflection's Lake), 3 marsh tits (in the car park), 1 raven as well as chiff chaff, redpoll, siskin and nuthatch. A tawny owl was also heard.
27th February 2019
The following birds were sighted today by Liz, Lynn and Eric: mallard, red kite, buzzard, pheasant, coot, moorhen, stock dove, woodpigeon, green woodpecker, pied wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, song thrush, blackbird, goldcrest, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, magpie, jay, carrion crow, jackdaw, raven, chaffinch, brambling, lesser redpoll, goldfinch, greenfinch, siskin, and crossbill.
Thank you to Bedgebury volunteer Eric, for getting in touch with his sightings and sending us these stunning pictures of a male and female crossbill in the unseasonal but rather glorious warm spring sunshine!
16th February 2019
A good mix of resident and visiting birds were spotted today - 34 species in total:
Grey heron, mallard, tufted duck, coot, moorhen, woodpigeon, black headed gull, green woodpecker, greater spotted woodpecker, pied wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, redwing, song thrush, mistle thrush, blackbird, goldcrest, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, nuthatch, magpie, jay, carrion crow, raven, chaffinch, brambling, lesser redpoll, goldfinch, greenfinch, siskin, bullfinch, crossbill.
Birds reported by regular birders: Liz, Lynn and Eric. Thanks to Eric for the photos.
15th February 2019
More early sightings today of butterflies: We saw six individual male brimstone butterflies flying around the sunny bank alongside Park Lane where heather is in full bloom right now. David, a visitor experience volunteer also spotted 2x brimstone at Marshal's Lake and a red admiral flying around a rhododendron in flower.
14th February 2019
We've had our first butterfly sighting of 2019! The unseasonably spring-like warm weather today most likely contributed to a brimstone being seen flying around close to the bridge over the stream near the dwarf conifer collection. Bright yellow brimstone butterflies can overwinter as adults, so it's possible that this is one that has woken up from its winter slumber. Along with the red admiral, peacock, small tortoiseshell and speckled wood, they are one of the earliest emerging butterflies.
11th February 2019
Wow! A positive sighting of a barn owl! This picture (right) is a little grainy as it's been taken from a short video recorded by Bedgebury's Ranger Stuart Sutton at 7am. Stuart says he felt very privileged as the barn owl was hunting right in front of him and caught two small rodents in the long grass - probably field voles, their favourite meal. The last official barn owl sighting at Bedgebury was around 6 years ago, again just after dawn, when it flew over someone's head in the Pinetum!
9th February 2019
The windy weather wasn't ideal for bird-ringing today so the team lead by Chris George was extra vigilant at checking the mist nets regularly. Five species were captured during the morning: dunnock, (retrap), robin, (retrap), coal tit (5x new and 1 retrap), blue tit (7x new and 2 retraps), great tit (2x new and 2 retraps) making a total of 21 birds. Other birds seen or heard in the vicinity were: 6x blackbird, 1x buzzard, 1x carrion crow, chaffinch, 1x great spotted woodpecker, mallard, pheasant and raven.
8th February 2019
A visitor reported seeing a kingfisher at Marshal's Lake - a rare occurrence here as the usual place they are seen is Stone Hole, just north of Louisa Lake in the forest.
27th January 2019
Ecologist Simon Ginnaw and a colleague sighted the following birds at roosting time today. The weather was cold, wet and windy: 6 brambling, 6 raven (probably not 6 separate birds), 5 lesser redpoll, 10 siskin, goldcrest (lots), coal tit (lots), 1 common buzzard, 1 marsh tit, 1 nuthatch.
We also hosted a winter bird walk today, led by Christine George, the site's birdringer. The group sighted: 3 blackbird, 2 brambling, carrion crow, 10 coal tit, 10 fieldfare, 1 greenfinch, 1 lesser redpoll, 1 mistle thrush, 2 raven, woodpigeon, 2 blue tit, 1 buzzard, 100 chaffinch, 2 coot, goldcrest, herring gull, 21 mallard, 4 moorhen, 1 robin.
24th January 2019
Birdringer Chris George reported on the day's ringing session:
What a beautiful day it was for the ringing session today. Chilly yes, but no wind and a blue sky.
We arrived just as dawn was breaking and whilst putting up the nets, small flocks of finches were flying overhead. These birds were in all likelihood leaving their roost sites, presumably on the Bedgebury site somewhere and included thirteen common crossbill, twelve lesser redpoll, twenty siskin and a single hawfinch and a bullfinch.
We had five visitors to the ringing session today and all appeared to greatly enjoy the session. A steady supply of a good variety of birds provided opportunities to look at how we collect data and the interesting features of the birds before releasing them unharmed to continue with their daily task of finding food.
Blue tits and the conifer specialists, coal tits dominated the ringing session but each bird is slightly different close up and fascinating to see. It was good to see so many birds that had been born last year, implying a good breeding season for tits in 2018.
The bird list for the session was as follows: blackbird – 6 (1 captured & released), blue tit – 22 (captured & released), bullfinch – 1 (seen/heard), buzzard -1 (seen/heard), carrion crow – 1 (seen/heard), chaffinch - 6 (seen/heard), coal tit – 14 (captured & released), common crossbill - 13 (seen/heard), dunnock - 2 captured & released), goldcrest -2 (captured & released), great spotted woodpecker - 2 (capt & released), great tit – 6 (captured & released), green woodpecker -1 (seen/heard), greenfinch - 4 (seen/heard), hawfinch – 1 (seen/heard), herring gull - 4 (Seen / heard), jay – 1 (Seen / heard), lesser redpoll- 12 (Seen / heard), long-tailed tit – 4 (seen/heard), magpie – 1 (seen/heard), mallard – 5 (seen/heard), marsh tit – 1 (seen/heard), mistle thrush – 1 (seen/heard), nuthatch (see photo) – 3 (captured & released), pheasant – 1 (seen/heard), raven – 2 (seen/heard), robin – 1 (captured & released), siskin – 20 (seen/heard).
16th January 2019
IIt was a wet and cold day for the Friends' winter walk through the Pinetum with birdringer, Chris. The following birds were seen: 2 tufted duck, woodpigeon, blackbird, mallard, 100 chaffinch, goldcrest, 2 mistle thrush, 2 robin, 2 lesser redpoll, 15 coal tit, blue tit and 1 brambling.
14th January 2019
Birdringer, Christine George, walked around the Pinetum today at roosting time and reported the following birds: 11 blackbird, 4 brambling, carrion crow, 20 coal tit, 1 dunnock, 3 goldfinch, 1 green woodpecker, 20 lesser redpoll, 5 moorhen, 2 raven, about 40 siskin, 1 stock dove, wood pigeon, 10 blue tit, 3 buzzard, 100+ chaffinch, 1 coot, 2 goldcrest, 2 great tit, 2 jay, 10 mallard, 2 pheasant, 2 robin, 2 song thrush, 2 tufted duck.
9th January 2019
A birding enthusiast reported seeing a hawfinch in "the usual place" today. 4 siskin, 2 redpoll and quite a few brambling were also reported.