|Magpie (or Black-billed Magpie) - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes|
As has become my norm, I headed straight for the Old locks area (you need to walk down the path or the sun is in your eyes) in search of migrants, I'm not sure why I always head this way, I've seen migrants all over the patch, but the old locks area just feels like one day it will turn something really special up (well that is my hope). My real aim today was to find bird species 100 for the patch, but I'm going to spoil the tale for you now and tell you it didn't happen (I'm more convinced now it will be either a redwing or a fieldfare, their winter return approaches).
I was a little disappointed in the birds along the lock (actually in the birds on the patch in total) today, a couple of Chiffchaff calling and a few fly over Skylark were the only highlights, although I did have a few butterflies (Painted Lady, Small copper, Red Admiral and Small White).
|Grey Heron stood on the Iron Trunk Aqueduct - Wolverton, Milton Keynes|
Photographing the Aqueduct
After spotting a miss placed cow (it was between the aqueduct and the cattle fields in an area fenced off, so who knows how it got there?) I headed through the cattle creep, and pausing only to photograph a Grey Heron perched on the water bridge (see above), I set up to try and capture a decent photo of the Iron Trunk Aqueduct, using my tripod and a couple of graduated filters (I'm no expert but I have some idea what I'm doing) I managed to take the below photos, I'd love to hear your thoughts on them (like I say landscape is a genre I struggle with).
|Iron Trunk Aqueduct, Wolverton, Milton Keynes|
While waiting for people to cross the bridge or clouds to release the sunlight (these things take time) I was very pleased to be joined by a passing Grey Wagtail as it journeyed down the Great Ouse, it paused briefly allowing rushed photos at distance which didn't come out well! (It was actually one of many seen today, or the same one seen all over the shop).
I then headed off down river myself, pausing to try and turn a distant Common Buzzard into something more exciting (it appeared quite long tailed and thin winged, but I couldn't make it a honey buzzard), and watching a Sparrowhawk effortlessly soar higher and higher until it was a distant spec. actually as an aside I also collected a large white feather, that I think may be a Little Egret feather!
The footpath that follows the river is a great spot for dragonflies at this time of year, it is only really two species, Migrant Hawker and Common Darter, but the area is alive with them, the former filling the sky with their acrobatic displays, the latter lifting off the path inches for my feet every few paces, it is wonderful to see so many. One of the Migrant Hawkers was resting on a small tree beside the river in exactly the same spot I photographed one earlier in the year when out for a walk with Toby (long planned walk), anyway it was still precarious to get macro shots with the 100mm lens so using the 400mm I manged the below.
|Migrant Hawker (cropped) - Manor Farm, Wolverton, Milton Keynes|
Not long after this I found my second or third Painted Lady of the day, this one as with the others wouldn't allow close approach but again using my long lens it did allow this photo:
|Painted Lady - Manor Farm, Wolverton, Milton Keynes|
Manor Farm Pits
It seems of late the wader scrapes are dead, the goose numbers are down (a few Canada Geese today) , there are very few waders (just one Green Sandpiper today), duck numbers are OK, but still down and even Cormorants are not there in large numbers. I'm not sure why this would be, maybe it is the loud bangs coming for the recycling centre (actually sounds like gun fire I assume designed to scare the birds) or if I am just arriving after the birds have been put up but it is a real shame.
I finished the walk along the canal, not seeing much and suffering with my back, neck and shoulder, but every walk is worth the effort in my opinion.
|Manor Farm Buildings, Wolverton, Milton Keynes|
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