Frosty walk

Frost and mist at the Old Lock
Frost and mist at the Old Lock
Today was set to be sunny, sunny and bloody cold! 

The frost started around 03;00 this morning, I know because I was working, but I was not going to let coldness and tiredness stop me from heading out on the patch again today. 

I wanted to take some bird photos, and the light was likely to be good. So packing my long lens off I went.


Frosty Walk


I headed straight for the old lock area in the hope that yesterday's chiffchaff would still be hanging around performing well, alas there was no sign, there was however a wonderful flock of 13 Bullfinch, I don't recall ever seeing a flock like this before, so that was a very pleasant surprise, and so was the Siskin that flew over while I was watching them.

Carrying on down to the river I was really pleased to see three Goosander (the first of 15 or so birds) swimming along in the flow, the startled as I approached and flew off up stream but not before a quick photo op.

Male and Female Goosander - River Ouse, Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes
Male and Female Goosander - River Ouse, Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes
After a row with a pair of dog walkers who felt it was perfectly OK to allow one of their dogs to come charging at me barking, I headed off around the Manor Farm pits, following the rivers path.

River Birds

The first photo ops were of flying herons, firstly a Grey Heron that flew along the river and right past me, and then further down stream I flushed a Little Egret whose white feathers caught the golden glow of the winter sun beautifully as it flew away from me. I also saw a few more Goosander in flight here.

Grey Heron in Flight along the River Ouse, Milton Keynes
Grey Heron in Flight along the River Ouse, Milton Keynes

Little Egret in flight, catching the suns golden glow, Milton Keynes
Little Egret in flight, catching the suns golden glow, Milton Keynes
Continuing along the river but now leaving the campsite behind me I reached an area of flooded ground next to the path and was greeted by a lovely Grey Wagtail, picking his way across the ice, and allowing me some lovely photo moments, I also met a far friendlier dog owner whose dog was scared to pass me as he wasn't sure of the camera! A little further along I had a stunning back lit photo opportunity with  Goldfinch.

Grey Wagtail skating on thin ice, Milton Keynes
Grey Wagtail skating on thin ice, Milton Keynes

Grey Wagtail, Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Grey Wagtail, Manor Farm, Milton Keynes

Goldfinch, beautifully back lit, Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Goldfinch, beautifully back lit, Manor Farm, Milton Keynes

Canal Side


I decided to extend my walk today and rather than head home along the canal I headed back along the canal to the viaduct and heading up towards Stony Stratfford nature reserve, I'm getting ahead of myself though, the canal was frozen solid but it did mean that the local Moorhen were in a more unusual position and allowed a few nice images, as well as a confiding Robin.

Long-Tailed Tit
Long-Tailed Tit

Moorhen Skating across the Grand Union Canal, Milton Keynes
Moorhen Skating across the Grand Union Canal, Milton Keynes

Close Moorhen, Milton Keynes
Close Moorhen, Milton Keynes

Canal side Robin, Wolverton, Milton Keynes
Canal side Robin, Wolverton, Milton Keynes

Stony Ouse


The walk along the river towards Stony was pretty un-eventful, but there was the opportunity to photograph a rather common bird but in a setting that I don't often shoot them in, the bid in question was Mallard and the location was resting on the river.

Mallard (female) - River Ouse, Milton Keynes
Mallard (female) - River Ouse, Milton Keynes

When I reached the weir at Stony Stratford there were again a couple of Mallards offering me their modelling skills, this time the male took centre stage and looked stunning reflected in the mirror still water.

Mallard (male) - reflected in calm waters
Mallard (male) - reflected in calm waters

Mallard (male) - Stony Stratfford, Milton Keynes
Mallard (male) - Stony Stratfford, Milton Keynes

One Last Photo


I have one last photo to share and I think it may well be my best Robin photo to date, so I hope you like it.

European Robin - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes
European Robin - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes

Date: 23/01/2015
Distance: 8.86 miles
Time: 4 Hours 36 Mins

Full Species List


Species Count Comments
Greylag Goose X
Canada Goose X
Mute Swan 1
Gadwall X
Eurasian Wigeon X
Mallard X
Eurasian Teal X
Common Pochard 11
Tufted Duck X
Goosander 14 1 male 2 female on river
Great Crested Grebe 1
Great Cormorant 3
Grey Heron 5
Little Egret 3
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 3
Water Rail 1
Common Moorhen X
Eurasian Coot X
Northern Lapwing X
Black-headed Gull X
Common Gull X
Herring Gull X
Feral Pigeon 1
Stock Dove 1
Common Wood-Pigeon X
Eurasian Collared-Dove X
Common Kingfisher 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 2
Common Kestrel 1
Common Magpie X
Eurasian Jackdaw X
Carrion Crow X
Great Tit X
Blue Tit X
Long-tailed Tit X
Eurasian Nuthatch 1
Eurasian Wren X
Goldcrest 2
Robin X
Blackbird X
Fieldfare X
Redwing X
Song Thrush 1
Mistle Thrush 2
Starling X
Dunnock X
Grey Wagtail 1
Pied Wagtail X
Reed Bunting 3
Chaffinch X
Bullfinch 13 Flock of 13!
Greenfinch X
Siskin 1
Goldfinch X
House Sparrow X

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4 comments:

  1. Fabulous pictures as ever and I am very jealous of your flock of 13 bullfinches. We have a few of those here but I've not seen any for a while. I can however give you lots of Lapwings.

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    1. I'm used to one or two, sometimes even three or four but a flock of 13 shocked me too!

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  2. Wow incredible photos. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

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    1. Thank you, I do my best, and thanks for hosting.

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