In Search of Autumn

In search of Autumn
In search of Autumn
I'm trying to rest my back a little this week, so today instead of packing up all my gear in my big rucksack (or even my small shoulder bag) I decided to head out light just me, my bins and my camera with the 100mm macro lens, slung over my shoulder, oh and a flash in my pocket (to be fair the light was pretty poor anyway so wouldn't have had much luck with my long lens anyway) my aim was to try and photograph some signs of autumn, my real hope was to find some stunning fungus, toadstools or mushrooms, and so my search for Autumn began.

I Search of Autumn


Another new decision today was to head into a small field that is between the large cattle fields below the church and Wolverton House pub. I've seen a few dog walkers using the field so assumed it was OK, a quick circuit revealed very little except a rather unusual Kingfisher flying over the grass. What I did discover was a lovely little area that looks superb for warblers, I'll be checking here next spring for sure.

The field exits into the fields just above the old mill buildings, currently housing sheep but often home to an odd woolly cow. and the bushes here were alive with thrushes, mainly Redwing but with several Mistle Thrush and Blackbird and the odd Song Thrush thrown in for good measure (I'll be back with my long lens on a sunny day I think) still no fieldfare though.

Autumn Berries
Autumn Berries

Rose Hips
Rose Hips


River Ouse


Arriving at the River Ouse (the spot I saw spotted flycatcher and redstart in the early spring) I was greeted by a stunning male Grey Wagtail circling around me and landing in the long grass only a few feet away. I decided to scan the large fields opposite and was greeted with a few Pied Wagtails and the usual corvids when I was suddenly shocked to hear a calling Water Rail in amongst the thick reeds along the river (alas no sighting) my 105th species for the patch and one I really wasn't expecting, it is wonderful how a regular patch walk throws up unusual birds every so often.

Overflying Skylarks


One thing that stood out for me on this walk was the huge number of Skylarks that were flying over I had reached well into double figures when I saw my largest flock on the patch as 14 flew over together, they continued passing over all through the walk, a wonderful passage. I also had a number of other pass over birds my ID skills were not on huge form as at least three went unidentified one being a bunting of some kind that I just couldn't place.

Purple Flower Colour in Autumn
Purple Flower Colour in Autumn


Old Locks


Wandering up the old locks area the only really interesting bird was the resident Common Buzzard, but I was wonderful to see all the teasels quivering in the light wind. And there were stunningly still a number of insects hanging around, a few flies mainly but I spotted a distant moth (no ID sorry), which is always nice. Still no Toadstools mind you.

Teasels
Teasels

Seed head
Seed head

Late Autumn Colour
Late Autumn Colour
Harlequin Ladybird Larva
Harlequin Ladybird Larva

Harlequin Ladybird Adult
Harlequin Ladybird Adult


Manor Farm Pits


After stopping to photograph a few Harlequin Ladybirds (in various stages of their life) on a gate near the Galleon pub I headed into the Manor Farm complex only to find there is still on going workings (this time the East end) so didn't walk to far, however it was nice to see 2 Green Sandpiper as well as the usual Wigeon, Grebes, and Lapwings, I also found my first (and only) toadstools here, a shot or two below.

Toadstool
Toadstool

Hawthorn Shieldbug - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Hawthorn Shieldbug - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes

Hawthorn Shieldbug - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Hawthorn Shieldbug - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes

Hawthorn Shieldbug - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Hawthorn Shieldbug - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes


Ladybirds and Lichen


Packing up and walking back I spotted, on the old wall near the church in old Wolverton, a number of Harlequin Ladybirds, and when I say a number they were all over the long wall in amongst the striking lichen there must have been hundreds of them, plenty of adults and lots of youngsters, this invasive species is obviously liking this time of year, and as much as I know I shouldn't like them they do create some lovely photo opportunities (as you can see from all the images below).

Harlequin Ladybird (two spot) - Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes
Harlequin Ladybird (two spot) - Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes

Three Harlequin Ladybirds - Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes
Three Harlequin Ladybirds - Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes

Harlequin Ladybird and Lichen - Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes
Harlequin Ladybird and Lichen - Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes

Harlequin Ladybird
Harlequin Ladybird

Harlequin Ladybird
Harlequin Ladybird


Another successful day out on the patch it's always a good day when you add a new patch tick.

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