An Unexpected Dragon

Azure Damselfy, Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
Azure Damselfy, Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
The sun was shining but there was a cool wind and I had limited time today (I had to be back for viewings on the house we currently rent), so I didn't hold out much hope on today's walk being very productive but I did know it would give me another opportunity to get out an play with the new camera so I was happy to be out anyway.

The Lake


I started, at the lake, not really knowing what I was out to photograph but ready for macro work (with the big lens in the bag) and so it was that I wandered aimlessly around the small lake snapping off photos of random bugs and damselflies, nothing hugely unusual (although one of the bugs was rather impressive, see below). Although it was pleasant seeing a female Fox (vixen) wander down beside the lake (not with my camera at the ready though).

Chrysopilus cristatus (Black snipefly) - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
Chrysopilus cristatus (Black snipefly) - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes

Yellow Dung Fly - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
Yellow Dung Fly - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes

Miris striatus - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
Miris striatus - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes

Wasp sp - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
Wasp sp - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
After photographing the bugs I continued on stopping to check the Mute Swan nest (it is still diligently being sat on, but I have little hope of young, they should have hatched by now, but you never know. I then went to check the orchid I had photographed on my previous walk after being advised to smell it to see what species it is, if it is pleasant then Fragrant is most likely if it smells foxy then pyramidal. A bit in trepidation I tested its odour and was pleased so I can assume it is a Fragrant Orchid.

Coot - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
Coot - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes

The River Valley


I carried on my walk along the river valley (Loughton Valley Park) knowing I wasn't going far, and it wasn't long before I swapped lenses and was targeting birds (video and still), in fact it was a very confiding Pied Wagtail (actually 2) that convinced me to swap.

Pied Wagtail - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes
Pied Wagtail - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes


But while filming the wagtail I also watched a feeding Grey Squirrel, that I couldn't resist attempting to film (I think this post may be a bit video heavy, the joys of the 70D!), oh and some Wood Pigeon, also feeding in the grass.

 

The Hills & Hollows


leaving the river side just after passing under the A5 I headed around the grassy fields, again looking for odonata but not seeing much, before moving into the area known as the hills and hollows, I have a favourite spot in there that is a small glade, with a couple of dead trees near by that reminds me of being somewhere in the Med, the trees look ideal for bee eaters and I can always imagine I can hear hoopoe calling while I'm in there, I will never see or hear either but I do love the spot.

In here I was treated to three Buzzards flying over, at three different ranges and some wonderful views of Magpie posing for my camera.

Magpie - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes
Magpie - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes

Shock of the Day


It was in here that I had a shock though, I spotted a large dragonfly hawking over the grass and teasels which at first I took for a Southern Hawker (having seen one earlier in the day not too far away), noticing it drop down I cautiously approached, and could not see my quarry for a good while (even though I was mere feet from the landing spot) and then suddenly I spotted him, a stunning Emperor Dragonfly, nestled in the short grass. I have chased odonata for a coupe of years and have seen a few Emperors but they NEVER land, so to have this one at my feet was a chance I was not going to miss.

Emperor Dragonfly - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes
Emperor Dragonfly - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes

Emperor Dragonfly - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes
Emperor Dragonfly - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes

Emperor Dragonfly - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes
Emperor Dragonfly - Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes

After having my fill of this huge beast of a dragonfly I headed home pleased to have captured an unexpected addition to my Dragonflies of Milton Keynes page.

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