Wader Fest at Manor Farm

Pied Wagtail in Wolverton Mill area (small pond
Pied Wagtail in Wolverton Mill area (small pond)
The heavens opened in Milton Keynes at around 04:00 this morning (I know because I was disturbed by the rain on my velux window), and so I decided then and there I was going to get out to Manor Farm at some point today, and when zoe and Bo decided they wanted to have a restful morning I decided that and early jaunt (well I went out at about 08:30 so not really that early) would be in order, I knew there were already a few good birds out there so was hoping the rain had brought in more (I was dreaming of Glossy Ibis or Black winged stilt, oh well I can dream). Unfortunately due to the rain I haven't got many exciting photos, sorry.

Early Waders


Arriving at the West bridge (the best spot for viewing most of the water) and disturbed a Common Snipe from near by somewhere (a good start), there was also a Little Owl calling in the nearby trees but I never managed to spot it). On my first scan, I spotted a Garganey flying past (I counted two in the end), an excellent early bird. As my scan continued, there were at least 2 Green Sanpipers at the west end (I counted 4 in total) as well as a single Common Sandpiper.

It didn't take me long to spot the second target bird of mine, a Black-Necked Grebe diving up and down one the far side of the water (it followed me around while I was there as well). I then stumbled onto my first tricky bird (one I never fully identified if I'm honest), now I am going to put it down as a snipe, but when I first saw it it was hunkered up in a ver un snipe like pose, as it moved out to feed it still didn't look very snipe like to me, in fact my overall impression was of a dowitcher, now this is Milton Keynes, so this would be very unlikely (and rare) but the rain persisted and I only had my bins with me so I had to leave it as unidentified.

Pied Wagtail in Wolverton Mill area (small pond
Pied Wagtail in Wolverton Mill area (small pond)

Waders Continue


I quickly spotted some more waders at the East end, and so wandered down to the East Bridge to see what I was looking at, it was here that I spotted the Black-Tailed Godwit (seen earlier in the week) and 2 Ruff feeding in the muddy banks, I quickly added more green and common Sandpipers, a Greenshank a Redshank and a small wader (which I eventually put down as a Dunlin), added to this I could now see bot Garganey and the Black Necked Grebe still diving up and down from my new vantage point (I also saw Great Crested Grebe and Little Grebe from here giving me three grebe species for the Farm).

The waders were not done yet as I spotted a couple of Ringed Plover Sp. (I could not get them down to species level, but I assume LRP), and finally (this was actually on the North side of the area not on the main scrape) I added Lapwing, to top off an amazing wader fest at an inland location like this.

One Final Excitement


On my walk round Manor Farm, I was shocked to hear a Cettis Warbler singing in the area around the Deep Pond (an area I have just christened, near to the viaduct where there are loads of deep water signs). I'm not sure what was more shocking a Cettis warbler here or the fact it sang in late August!

Sand Martin, Wolverton Mill Area (heavy Crop)
Sand Martin, Wolverton Mill Area (heavy Crop)
I finally spent a few minutes trying to photograph the above Pied Wagtails (at a small pond just below the church at Old Wolverton/Wolverton Mill area), and the Sand Martins and House Martins that were chattering away above my head. While there a Redshank (maybe the same one from Manor Farm) attempted to land on the pond but was alarmed by my presence and flew around calling before heading off to Stony Stratford nature reserve area (I could have had it as an office tick if I had been sat in my office it came that close to my house), it returned a short while later and again tried to land before spotting me and finally disappearing off into the distance.

I arrived home a little damp but pretty happy to have seen so much (I really do love this new patch!)

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