Sometimes Planning Pays Off

4 Cygnets - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
4 Cygnets - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
I made a couple of plans (in my head) for today they were to target the mute swans (well the Cygnets) and to head off patch to the Teardrop Lakes in search of White Legged Damselfly (one of the remaining un-photographed Odes on my Dragonflies of Milton Keynes page), it was those in mind that I packed up my bag for a light run out(only my bins, camera, flash and 100mm macro lens oh and a drink, it was a hot day today and hydration is vital!).

Mute Swans


I arrived at the lake and could see the Mute Swans on the other side but I guessed (rightly) that if I were to wait at the edge the curiosity (and habitual want of food) would bring the pair and their offspring to me, and so it did. I was a little disappointed to only count 4 youngsters (a discussion with another local confirmed there had been 5 but must have lost one, such is the life of a cygnet), and I prepared to take some photos. It was at this point I realised there was no memory card in my camera! I'd left it in the computer from yesterday's set. Thankfully I had a spare (it always pays to carry a few), and so started shooting.

The cygnets quickly became very confiding and allowed me wonderful views, but alas my elevated position didn't make for the photos I wanted (it's always nice to shoot birds at eye level), but fortune follows the brave and the swans followed me around the lake to the first bridge where I was able to position myself closer (almost too close for the female at one point who came too close to focus - 31cm).

Mute Swan Cygnet - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
Mute Swan Cygnet - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes

Mute Swan Cygnet - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
Mute Swan Cygnet - Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes

Teardop Lakes


After quite a quick walk through Loughton (one of the more classy estates in Milton Keynes, that took over what was a beautiful village, and houses the pub where I spent much of my youth and met both the mothers of my children!!) I arrived at the Teardrop lakes full of anticipation on what I would find.

The lakes are more flood defences set in between the lakes at Furzton and my own patch Lodge Lake, they are so called due to their shape.

cow vetch (Vicia cracca) - Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes
Cow Vetch (Vicia cracca) - Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes

I must admit I was a little disappointed as last time I came there was a wonderful area between the lake and the A5 that was full of long grass and was great for odes and other insects, however it had recently been mown (I do wish our parks trust would leave more rough grass like this it is much prettier than short landscaped lawns that we have everywhere). Anyway it wasn't long before I was in amongst the nettles and other "rubbish" plants growing beside the lakes.

Brown knapweed - Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes
Brown knapweed - Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes

Odonata


I am pleased to say that the odonata were out in force today, it did take me a while to find my quarry, but eventually I located lots of White Legged Damselfly, and set to photographing them (see below), but it was not just the White Legged, there were loads of Azure Damselfly, Common-Blue Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly. Later I also managed to watch two hawking Southern Hawkers as they zipped over the thistles, a couple of Brown Hawkers alluded my lens (still need photos for my dragonflies page) by always remaining over the water, a few Common Darters hunted the reed edged lake and I even saw a Banded Demoiselle on my return walk, all in all a great day for dragonflies.

White-Legged Damselfly (Male) - Teardrop Lake, Milton Keynes
White-Legged Damselfly (Male) - Teardrop Lake, Milton Keynes

White-Legged Damselfly (Male) - Teardrop Lake, Milton Keynes
White-Legged Damselfly (Male) - Teardrop Lake, Milton Keynes

White-Legged Damselfly (Immature) - Teardrop Lake, Milton Keynes
White-Legged Damselfly (Immature) - Teardrop Lake, Milton Keynes

White-Legged Damselfly (Immature) - Teardrop Lake, Milton Keynes
White-Legged Damselfly (Immature) - Teardrop Lake, Milton Keynes

Azure Damselfly (Female) - Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes
Azure Damselfly (Female) - Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes

Other Wildlife


As always once I'm down and dirty in the nettles I like to take photos of everything else I find and today was no exception, although only a mile or so from my patch things feel different (maybe as there is less human traffic around these lakes, not being bordered by houses but an industrial estate makes a huge difference?), there seemed to be different hoverflies for a start and I managed a few shots of some interesting (and as of writing unidentified) insects.

Parhelophilus sp either Frutetorum or Veriscolor
Parhelophilus sp either Frutetorum or Veriscolor (can't split from the photo) - Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes

Froghopper sp? - Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes
Froghopper sp? - Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes

Small Tortoiseshell - Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes
Small Tortoiseshell - Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes

Chrysopilus asiliformis - Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes
Chrysopilus asiliformis - Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes

The bird life is similar in terms of waterfowl, although no geese, mute swans with four cygnets (much more advanced), Mallard, Coot and Moorhen, there seemed to be more finches around well Goldfinch anyway, I was greeted by a laughing Green Woodpecker but for me best of all there were so many more Swallows, I've no idea why Lodge Lake lacks them, but it is nice to hear them chattering over head.

Video


I took a couple of videos today (should have brought my monopod for stability), nothing great but I'm still enjoying taking these. If you like them please subscribe to my YouTube channel (I just love followers lol).

White-Legged Damselfly


Mute Swan




Mating Common Blue Damselfly



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