Joel (Birds magazine designer) and me have many of our best ideas for the magazine during our lunch breaks when we take a walk around the beautiful Lodge nature reserve. Today has been a particularly good day for coming up with some great new feature ideas for the next few issues - the sun has definitely helped to inspire us!

It was 28 degrees here in Bedfordshire today, which for Summer 2012 is an absolute scorcher.

As we walked past the old heath, RSPB Youth Magazine Editor Derek Niemann and his wife, RSPB Conservation Communications Officer Sarah (you may have seen their feature in Birds Winter 2011 on cuckoos), called us over to ask if we'd like to see the natterjack toad tadpoles in one of the ponds.Sarah and Derek monitor the Lodge natterjacks (and have special licences that allow them to do so). They had seen several newly-laid strings of spawn  in the pond yesterday evening.

Peering in to get a good look, I likened the strings of spawn to to the bullet belts worn across the chest in the 'Wild West'. We also got a real bonus in the form of a 'toadlet' walking around on the mud at the edge -such a cutey with his oversized alien-like head. He'll grow up to look like this one taken by RSPB photographer Andy Hay: