A Nature Reserve Walk with the Kids

Young Goldfinch - Stony Stratford Nature Reserve
Young Goldfinch - Stony Stratford Nature Reserve
Today I made a deal with the kids, we'd go for a walk around a local nature reserve and I'd be nice to them for the afternoon (wasn't much of a deal on my part really, but they fell for it), and so it was that we headed off (actually not in the morning) just after lunch for a walk around the West end of my patch (it's an area I will visit more often in the summer as is good for butterflies but pretty poor for birds) and Stony Stratford Nature Reserve.

On the Way


As is usual on these walks walking to the reserve and home from the reserve were much more enjoyable than the actual reserve. On the way we found a very young Goldfinch (it could barely fly) feeding on the grass beside the path, it wasn't particularly scared of us and allowed some nice photos and the kids to get a really good look at one.

Young Goldfinch - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes
Young Goldfinch - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes

At the Reserve


At the actual reserve apart from decent numbers of Migrant Hawkers, and Common Darters there was little else of note at all. A party of Mute Swans (2 adults and 3 Cygnets) was pretty much it for birds, and the wild flower strips have been cut down so not many butterflies (the wind can't have helped here either).

Stony Stratford Nature Reserve
Stony Stratford Nature Reserve

Scorpion Fly - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes
Scorpion Fly - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes


The Way Home


The walk home however was brilliant! Not only did I see my first Brown Hawkers for my new patch (I'll be back without the kids when school restarts to try and get photos), but the birds we saw at one small location were amazing.

Just up form the old mill buildings themselves (west I believe), I saw a bird flit off a bush over the river and instantly recognised it to be a Spotted Flycatcher (there were at least 4 all in one bush, and may have been more as they became quite mobile), but also in the same bush was a stunning male Common Redstart, sitting in all its red, grey and clack glory (I usually only see females or youngsters of passage so this was a real treat), again in the same bush was a Whitethroat and a chiffchaff (all I presume migrants).

Spotted Flycatcher - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes
Spotted Flycatcher - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes

Common Redstart (male) - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes
Common Redstart (male) - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes


As I stood trying to get photos of the birds (and thoroughly annoying the kids), and as swallows darted around us (down to mere inches at some times) trying to catch butterflies and dragonflies that were zipping around us, some harsh screeching of the hirundines made me look up and a wonderful Eurasian Hobby blasted through at great speed being harried by all the smaller birds.

Common Redstart (male) - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes
Common Redstart (male) - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes


After this I decided the kids were probably bored enough so started to head off only to stop a few metres further along to photograph the young swallows that were resting on the bushes (again joined by 2 spotted flycatcher, one reason I suspect it may have been more than 4 birds). I didn't force them to wait too long and we quickly made our way home across the fields

Spotted Flycatcher - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes
Spotted Flycatcher - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes

Young Swallows - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes
Young Swallows - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes


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4 comments:

  1. Lovely pics, Ash, wish I'd been with you all!

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  2. My WORD. I was very excited when I saw not one but two nuthatches this summer. I think I need to get out of big cities more. Although admitedly my main probem is probably that I am not a practiced bird spotter.

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    Replies
    1. The area seems to have hit a purple patch at the moment, up to 6 Winchat in the area now , another redstart, and more spotted flycatchers as well as passage Yellow Wagtails, it is a really great site and right at the edge of town :)

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