We rely on reports from visitors and our own sightings to populate this page. You can also read more about Bedgebury's wildlife on our wildlife and wildflower blogs.
A beautiful, crisp and clear winter day brought out many twitchers to Bedgebury who reported seeing lots of migrant birds! Graham Barker spotted several hawfinch coming to roost in the trees where the Gruffalo statue is situated, then at least 60 brambling, 3 redpoll in the Golden Larches at the top of the sunken path, Siskin, fieldfare, chaffinch and redwing. You can find out more about these winter migrants on our latest wildlife blog by clicking on the tab top left.
Yesterday's species sightings were supported by the monthly finch roost survey which took place today. The results are pretty spectacular in terms of numbers:
Other species noted: 44 fieldfare: 3 green woodpecker, 1 redwing, 2 raven, 1 starling, 2 marsh tit, 1 greater spotted woodpecker, 1 tawny owl, 2 sparrowhawk.
A regular birder reported sightings of a hawfinch at the usual roost site, loads of bramblings, siskin and redpoll.
The hawfinch continue to come - a local RSPB group reported about 35 birds coming in to roost today. The high numbers of hawfinch this year have not been seen in Kent since the 1980's, especially so early in the season!
Firecrest sighted in the pines at the top of Hill's Avenue close to the Glory Hole.
The regular spot for hawfinch has now had a good hit. More than 10 were sighted in the afternoon at the Thuja collection. Also sighted during the afternoon a tree creeper by Marshal's Lake, a kestrel and a coal-tit. Carrion crow and green woodpecker were heard.
Also heard over the last few days, a very loud owl, possibly a tawny, near the Visitor Centre and car park.
Hawfinch have been reported in the in the Pinetum over the weekend coming to roost. Watch out for them on the Autumn Trail between between markers 13 to 18.
Also sighted plenty of chaffinch, brambling, goldfinch, siskin...a tawny owl, raven, fieldfare and redwing.
The first of the finch roost surveys took place last night and the following were reported:
Total Finch Roost Counts:
51 siskin, 16 redpoll, 1 greenfinch, 290 chaffinch, 74 brambling, 1 hawfinch.
Also noted were:
3 raven, 8 common buzzard, 3 marsh tit, 1 kestrel 3 sparrowhawk, 2 nuthatch, 2 tawny owl, 2 treecreeper, 51 redwing, 2 fieldfare, 3 starling, 1 woodcock
Sightings of hawfinch continue to be reported - the latest one was spotted in the plantations - the part of the Pinetum that lies across from Park Lane. Also reported were a sparrowhawk and a raven.
Today's star attraction at the birdringing session was a nuthatch.
Birders reported the following later in the morning: firecrest by the toilet block, a flock of around 30 fieldfare feeding on holly berries near the path leading towards the Gruffalo's Child, around 10 siskin at the back of the Visitor Centre Lake, a pair of buzzards near the walled garden and a fly past by sparrowhawk and kestrel.
The albino squirrel was spotted in the Forest near Louisa Lake. If it is our only one then it has done remarkably well to have survived the year so far as usually they are attacked and killed off by other squirrels. Or do we have more than one? Keep the sightings coming in please, and a photo would be awesome!
An elusive hawfinch sighted and caught on camera (thanks to Eric Barlow) who, along with Liz Anderson, also reported the following sightings today: little grebe, mallard, tufted duck, kestrel, pheasant, coot, moorhen, black headed gull, woodpigeon, great spotted woodpecker, green woodpecker, pied wagtail, wren, robin, blackbird, mistle thrush, redwing, goldcrest, long tailed tit, blue tit, coal tit, great tit, nuthatch, carrion crow, jackdaw, jay, magpie, raven, chaffinch, greenfinch and siskin.
More hawfinch sightings reported in the Pinetum over the weekend. Please keep the sightings coming with details of location and, if possible, a photo.
There has been a high influx of hawfinches in Southern England over the last two weeks and up to 200 have been recorded in one day in some areas. In the Pinetum, 10 were spotted flying over. Such huge numbers are raising hopes that it will be a good winter for seeing them at Bedgebury.
The finch roost at Bedgebury seems to be very strong at the moment, with well over 500+ chaffinches, 200+ siskin, 100+ redpoll, 22 greenfinch, 12 brambling, and 6 goldfinch. Also sighted were 60+ redwings and 8 fieldfare flying over.
We've been waiting patiently for the elusive hawfinches to return to Bedgebury for the Autumn/Winter and it sounds like they may be here! The first report of their call from visitors was at the weekend and again today we believe we heard one calling at lunchtime in the area above Leaky Lake. If you do see these shy birds please do make a note of the time and location and if possible email us a photograph to email@example.com so we can keep track of them.
And an update on our albino squirrel! It was spotted again today hanging out in the trees around Louisa Lake. Keep those sightings coming in!
It was a beautiful morning for the ringing session which started with a redwing. Redwings are winter migrants and from ringing recoveries we know that those we see in the south-east are normally from Scandinavia and Russia. These birds arrive mainly during October and initially they like to feast on fruits like berries and apples. Once the fruits run out they change to foraging on the ground for soil invertebrates. Ringing recoveries have also shown that these birds are not faithful to a single wintering area. One year they may be in the south-east of Britain and the next year they may spend the winter in Greece.
Other birds ringed included: great spotted woodpecker, wren, dunnock, robin, blackbird, song thrush, goldcrest, coal tit, blue tit and great tit.
The unseasonably warm spell today brought out lots of fantastic insects! Seen over at the far side of the visitor centre lake in just half an hour were: 2 red admiral butterflies, 6 common darters, 2 male common hawkers and a yellow-ringed dragonfly. Also spotted at the same time were two ravens flying overhead, a jay and a group of chatty long-tailed tits flitting from tree to tree around the lake edge.
Talking of goldcrests, six of them were ringed at today's birdringing session along with 2 dunnocks, 1 blackcap, 1 marsh tit, 2 coal tits, 7 blue tits and 7 great tits. Of these, one marsh tit and one blue tit were re-rings (ie. they have been ringed at Bedgebury in previous years).
The first bird out of the net was a blackcap and although this is a fairly common bird on migration they are not widespread at Bedgebury. As they are preparing for migration they like to feed on sugar rich berries to build up fat, this gives them the energy reserves to migrate. This bird had obviously found some food sources as it scored fat 4 on a scale of 0-8.
From ringing recoveries blackcaps appear to have distinct populations. Our breeding birds will on the whole migrate to North Africa for the winter, and some birds from the North-east Europe, i.e. Scandinavia will pass through Britain on their way to Southern Europe / North Africa. Surprisingly some birds in Central Europe will migrate to spend their winter with us and it is these birds that people are most likely to see in their garden in winter.
It was good to get 6 goldcrests. Although most of these will be resident at Bedgebury it is possible some of them could be migrants from Northern Europe.
Other birds sighted or heard during the session when things weren't too busy were: 2 blackbirds, 1 buzzard, 1 great spotted woodpecker, 2 mallard, 1 pheasant, 1 raven, 3 robins, 1 sparrowhawk and several woodpigeons.
16th October 2017
We are lucky enough to have goldcrests here at Bedgebury! This morning this one got a little confused and flew into the windows of the Atrium, but thankfully was unharmed and after a few minutes flew off.
12th October 2017
Over at Louisa Lake in Bedgebury Forest we came across this amazing looking caterpillar. Before it eventually turns into a pale tussock moth this larvae will munch its way through a staple diet of oak, birch and lime leaves.
As part of the 'Bird Ringing Presentation and Guided Walk' event with local bird ringer, Christine George, we spotted/heard the following 31 species in the Pinetum:
Blackbird, buzzard, blue tit, black-headed gull, carrion crow, chaffinch, coal tit, coot, dunnock, goldcrest, goldfinch, great tit, great spotted woodpecker, greenfinch, jay, kestrel, lesser redpoll, little grebe, long-tailed tit, magpie, mallard, mistle thrush, moorhen, nuthatch, pied wagtail, raven, robin, starling, tawny owl, woodpigeon and wren.
5th October 2017
An ordinary day in the Pinetum for birdwatching with pretty much all the usual suspects for this time of year - a short walk elicited 20 species:
1 blackbird, 1 buzzard, 1 chaffinch, 1 coot, 2 jay, 1 little grebe, 1 magpie, 1 moorhen, 3 pheasant, 4 robins, 1 blue tit, 2 carrion crow, 2 coal tits, 2 goldcrests, 2 kestrels, 1 long-tailed tit, 4 mallard, 1 nuthatch, 1 raven and 3 woodpigeon.
4th October 2017
Keep an eye out in the long grass for this brightly coloured hairy caterpillar - but it's best to not touch them as the hairs could irritate your skin. This beauty will eventually become a knotgrass moth.
1st October 2017
Leaky Lake is still a hive of activity for dragonflies - we spotted a female common hawker oviposting (egg laying) into the long reeds there around the lake edge. An amazing spectacle! Also at the same spot was a rather faded male ruddy darter.
7th September 2017
This amazing looking beetle was spotted on a leaf close to our dwarf conifer collection in the Pinetum. This is a common sexton beetle and it's carrying some luggage too - mites!
Although Autumn is upon us, we still have dragonflies on the wing; here is a male ruddy darter, seen basking in the sunshine at Black Pond - a great hangout for these beautiful insects.
2nd September 2017
Bedgebury's trees and waterways are a real attraction for the bats and seven different species of bats have been identified across the four batwalks we have held this summer:
Long brown eared
20 August 2017
The rare albino squirrel (snow white in colour) showed up again to the amazement of walkers.... keep the sightings coming!
5th August 2017
Today's wildlife discovery walk swept through the knapweed meadow at the back of the Visitor Centre Lake. The morning started once more with an examination of the moths caught overnight. This was followed by a sweep of the meadow with nets.
The following insects were netted:
Common blue butterfly
Meadow brown butterfly
14-spot ladybird (see image)
Common green shieldbug
Harvestman spider (Opiliones)
Hairy shieldbug (see image)
Fruit fly (Tephritidae) including Acinia Corniculata which is nationally rare! (see image)
Tachinid fly (Eriothrix rufomaculata) (see image)
Solitary wasp (Ichneumon)
3rd August 2017
The following report came into us from a Bedgebury visitor:
'I was on my mountain bike approx. halfway between the top of ‘Cardiac hill’ and the fire-road, and I saw a completely white squirrel being chased by a standard grey squirrel. Having never seen a white squirrel in my life (it was completely snow white in colour), I did an online search and apparently it’s a rare albino squirrel - there are only a handful in the country.'
If anyone else comes across this albino squirrel please do let us know by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
15th July 2017
At our wonderful wildlife discovery event, the following species were seen:
In addition to the 20 plus species of moths we looked at from the moth traps first thing (highlights including elephant hawk-moth, poplar hawk-moth and birch tip), bugs caught during Saturday’s meadow-sweeping included:
Common red soldier beetle
Flower beetle (Ischnomera cyanea)
Froghopper species (Philaenus)
Cluster fly species (Pollenia)
Solitary wasp species (Ichneumon)
Gnat species (Chironomidae)
Fruit fly species (Tephritidae)
Plantbug species (Miridae)
Hoverfly species (Syrphidae)
And a Common Frog!
20th June 2017
White legged damselflies (Platycnemis pennipes) have been reported on the Leaky Lake. Although a rare species in the UK, they seem to like Bedgebury and some are sighted most years.
14th June 2017
Bedgebury's nightjar have returned and numbers of roding woodcock remain high, retaining Bedgebury Forest as the number one spot for these birds in Kent.
3rd June 2017
Amazingly, a flyover today, by an osprey! Usually they are spotted going north around March-April. The sighting was corroborated by further sightings in Kent so at least one bird spend the day in the area today, going steadily north.
16th May 2017
The first sighting of a painted lady butterfly feeding on the bluebells that currently carpet the Pinetum.
11th May 2017
Over 34 different species of birds were heard during yesterday's birdsong session and the dawn chorus walk today, We also had excellent sightings of a juvenile kestrel, greenfinches, red poll, a great spotted woodpecker in flight, a buzzard being mobbed by a pair of ravens along with all the usual suspects including goldcrest and firecrest. A truly lovely dawn chorus!
1st April 2017
First orange tip butterfly of 2017 spotted today in the Pinetum. This is a good find as it is the first genuine butterfly of spring (ie it doesn't hibernate over winter) and quite early - they usually emerge in April. Last year was a very bad year for this species and they did not emerge until late April/May. So to see one on 1st April is really encouraging. It was a male, (orange tipped wings) - females emerge about a week later.
13th February 2017
The hawfinches continue to be elusive but regularly spotted - one tantalising bird was spotted in the thuja collection.
5th February 2017
An enjoyable birdringing session where a treecreeper was a lovely find and coal tits were by far the commonest bird. Blue and great tits were very conspicuous by their absence. These birds seem to have had a very poor breeding season last year and very few young from last year are in evidence. No great tits were caught in this session and the only two blue tits to be caught had been born in or before 2015 .
Thanks to all those present a substantial species list was built up during the session with 26 species being seen or heard. Highlight of this was a pair of crossbill landing in a tree in the car park as the ringing session was being cleared away. Sadly they appeared a little to late for some of the visitors to the session.
2nd February 2017
The winter bird walk with resident birdringer, Chris George, yielded 25 different bird species in the space of an hour. The highlight of the walk had to be a solitary brambling among a flock of chaffinches (15+). Other noteworthy birds spotted were 3 mistle thrushes together, about 8 fieldfare and lots of redwing. A green woodpecker and a great spotted woodpecker were heard.
31st January 2017
About 2.00pm certainly seems to be the witching hour for hawfinches at the thuja collection. Two, possibly three, were spotted along with a small flock of redpolls.
23rd January 2017
A couple of hawfinches spotted in the late afternoon around the area where the Old Man of Kent used to stand.
15th January 2017
Despite the rain, one regular birdwatcher spotted 2 hawfinches, 20+ redpolls, at least 7 siskin, and lots of coal tits and goldcrests in the Pinetum.
10th January 2017
A nuthatch turned up at this week's birdringing session. They are fairly common at Bedgebury. They are very resident and territorial birds with their staccato call and trilling song often being heard. It is also possible to hear them tapping on branches as they hunt for food.
With good views male and female birds can be easily told apart. The males have a lovely rich chestnut colouration on the underside of the their tails and also down the sides of their bodies (flanks). The females are a warm buff in this area. In addition there tends to be a definite demarcation between the buff and the white on the cheeks in a male. In a female the white and buff usually blend into each other.
Click here for lists of species spotted in previous years: