This Site of Special Scientific Interest is the headquarters of the RSPB, set in a reserve with woodland and heath and artificial ponds. The habitats are varied with mature deciduous woods, plantations of fir and open pinewoods, birch scrub and bracken-covered slopes. The remnant heathland is important as this is virtually the only remaining example of this habitat north of the Thames. It is located near Sandy in Bedfordshire, England.
Many species of woodland bird breed including Tawny Owl, European Nightjar and Stock Dove, all three British woodpeckers, Eurasian Nuthatch and Common Treecreeper. In addition there are six species of tit, various warblers, thrushes and finches and European Turtle Dove. Tree Pipit nest in the more open woods and Firecrest has bred.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk often hunts over the reserve and both species of partridge occur on local farmland.
Common Moorhen, Common Kingfisher and Grey Heron are frequently seen at the ponds with the occasional Green or Common Sandpiper on passage. Common Crossbill, Lesser Redpoll and Eurasian Siskin regularly visit in winter.
Birds you can see here include:
Grey Heron, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Red-legged Partridge, Grey Partridge, Common Pheasant, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Woodcock, Stock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, Tawny Owl, European Nightjar, Common Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Common Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, European Stonechat, Common Redstart, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Willow Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Common Treecreeper, Common Jay, Common Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Eurasian Linnet, Common Redpoll, Lesser Redpoll, Common Crossbill, Common Bullfinch, Hawfinch, Yellowhammer
Mammals found on the reserve include Red Fox Vulpes vulpes, Stoat Mustela erminea and Weasel Mustela nivalis, and also the local Yellow-necked Mouse Apodemus flavicollis. Introduced Muntjac Muntiacus reevesi are commonly seen.
Common Lizard Lacerta vivipara occurs as well as newts, Common Frog Rana temporaria, Common Toad Bufo bufo and there is a population of the rare Natterjack Toad Bufo calamita, the result of an introduction in 1980.
Insects of interest include moths such as the local Pine Hawkmoth Hyloicus pinastri as well as Cream-spot Tiger Arctia villica, Emperor Moth Saturnia pavonia and the rare Rosy Footman Miltochrista miniata. Butterflies include Comma Polygonia c-album, Painted Lady Cynthia cardui and Holly Blue Celastrina argeolus and several dragonfly species occur over the pond.
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
The reserve has an information centre and shop, nature trails and hides and can be reached from the B1042 Cambridge road, 3km east of Sandy in Bedfordshire.
Grid Ref: TL191485
Content and images originally posted by Steve
Well managed reserve. Good hides and feeding stations, offering good views of local birds. Excellent RSPB shop
- Great advertisment for RSPB Headquarters
lark o'dell's review
very good area for woodpeckers and treecreepers, also nuthatches, feeders are good and so is the hide, very good shop
- heath land
- trees too close together