Long Planned Walk

Migrant Hawker, Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Migrant Hawker, Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
When Toby decided he wanted to stay for the week we planned well in advance that him and I would have a long walk today, just the two of us (it's been nice spending some one on one time with him, something we don't get huge amounts of), the plan was for a wander around and see what we can find, so I prepared my old camera for Toby to use, and grabbed my gear and we set off early (it's always good to head out early after I've been on a night shift, stops me falling asleep. It also gave us a chance to count some shorebirds for World Shorebird Day (counts can be done Fri/Sat/Sun).

Early Bird Catches the Worm

We decided to head straight for the Manor Farm lakes and see what waders (shorebirds) were still about, and I have to admit a little disappointment, last night there was a whimbrel here, there was no sign today, in fact numbers were down we only found 3 Ruff, 1 Greenshank, 2 Common Snipe, 4 Green Sandpiper and a single Little Ringed Plover, the only other shorebird was Lapwing with a total of 581 birds counted.

On the plus side there was a Pintail feeding along the back edges of the complex and we stumbled across a stunning Wheatear initially on the farm buildings before moving along the fence separating the cattle fields.

Wheater (1st Winter) - Manor Farm, Milton KEynes
Wheater (1st Winter) - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes

Wheater (1st Winter) - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Wheater (1st Winter) - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes

Wheater (1st Winter) - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Wheater (1st Winter) - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes


Onwards and Upwards


leaving the wader spots behind we continued around the lake before crossing the millennium bridge for a jaunt into unknown territory (the other side of the Ouse!), and it was a really pleasant place for a wander, along with a singing Chiffchaff we found 2 Spotted Flycatchers but it was the insects that really came to the fore here, there were loads of Crickets singing around us including a new species for me a Long-Winged Conehead

Long-Winged Conehead - Cosgrove, Milton Keynes
Long-Winged Conehead - Cosgrove, Milton Keynes


But it was the discovery of the below pictured insect that really excited me, I've never seen something like this, and have yet to identify it but it looks like an Orange/pink Dock Bug?

Dock Bug (I think but Pink/Orange?) - Cosgrove, Milton Keynes
Dock Bug (I think but Pink/Orange?) - Cosgrove, Milton Keynes


We were also lucky to find loads of Hoverflies (Eristalis Horticola, Eristalis Tenax and Syrphus sp pictured) and their kin in this insect rich corner of the world seeing numerous species (and photographing a fair few too), as well as several nicely showing Migrant Hawkers, Common Darter and Common Blue Damselfly. all the while being surrounded by Large White and Small White and Speckled wood butterflies, other butterflies seen today were Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral.

Common Blue Damselfly - Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes
Common Blue Damselfly - Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes

Eristalis Horticola - Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes
Eristalis Horticola - Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes

Eristalis Tenax - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Eristalis Tenax - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes

Syrphus Sp - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Syrphus Sp - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes


Crossing back over


Crossing back over the river it was again insects that filled our imaginations with excellent views of mating Migrant Hawkers (and a lovely showing of one by itself, really well spotted Toby, he has an excellent eye for finding bugs of all kinds). But the star was a small Common Toad trying to find it's way across our paths and into the river.

Before heading under the cattle creep Toby was delighted to spot his first ever Kingfisher, although it gave only brief views, and just as I was telling him he had broken his Duck (and explaining the cricketing reference) we spotted a second bird darting up the river (Toby's response: "so now I have 2 points" I'm not sure he got my analogy).

Speckled Wood - Milton Keynes
Speckled Wood - Milton Keynes


The Old Locks


Our final stop was by the old lock on the Wolverton Mill side of the canal in search of migrants and yet again it was full of bird life, both Common Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat were on show along with several Blackcap and Chiffchaff and a lone Willow Warbler, a few Bullfinch were calling (mainly young birds seen) and 3 further Spotted Flycatchers feasted on the flying prey.

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


This all topped off a wonderful if quite long (5 hours) walk.


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