Today was the second day in a row that it has been lovely weather and that I have managed to get out and about on the patch. The blistering sunshine brought out a good number of Odonata. Birds were in full song all over. All manner of beetles and bugs were foraging in the warmth. And there were even some mammals venturing out to enjoy the great weather.
But best of all though, today I managed to add a number of new species. A Couple of Firsts on the Patch (not birds, I’m still on 78 for the year there, although I did see some wonderful bird displays): A moth; a hoverfly; an amphibian; and a beetle! All new for me (well I’ve seen the amphibian before but not on the patch).
A Couple of Firsts on the Patch
After dropping Bo off at school I decided as I had nothing else to do that I would head out for a nature walk in the June sunshine. I really should be wearing my new hat in this weather, but I’m still not sure about it, it makes me feel old! And I was really pleased to get cracking straight into some wonderful species as I rounded the corner by the Chinese restaurant (the area is a really small rough patch but it is brilliant for small bugs of various types).
Sunning its self on the nettles was a stunning Common Blue butterfly, a real beauty shimmering in the sun, it was performing something I have never seen before where it was wiggling the lower wings one by one almost like it was stretching so it may well have been newly emerged? Also in amongst the nettles was a Sloe/Hairy Shieldbug, as well as a few ladybirds (mainly Harlequins) and ladybird offspring.
|Common Blue – Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes|
First new species
It was near here (opposite side of the path) that I had my first new species in the form of a Longhorn Moth, a Nemophora Degeerella to be precise, I saw two fluttering with a very odd flight in the rose hips, tantalisingly out of reach of my camera, I encountered 3 more later in the day as well, and managed one photo before they disappeared, unfortunately I had switched my flash off and the below image is the best I could muster out of my shambles.
|Nemophora Degeerella – Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes|
It seems that Azure Damselfly was in full force today, as they along with Blue-Tailed Damselfly dominated the odonata for the day, I did see a few Large Red Damselfly and Common Blue Damselfly (although not many) and again saw the female Broad-Bodied Chaser around the back of the small lake and saw my first Migrant Hawker of the year (all be it very briefly) along the river.
|Large Red Damselfly – Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes|
|Large Red Damselfly – Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes|
Hoverflies and other insects
The patch seemed to be alive with bees (which is great in a world where bees are really threatened and their loss could be catastrophic!), but intermingled with the bees were good numbers of other insects, especially hover flies, I only managed to capture a few (which means few ID’s) but did see my first Great Pied Hoverfly (Volucella Pellucens), as well as the common but stunning Helophilus Pendulus, and a couple of other common bugs such as the Red-Tipped Flower Beetle pictured below.
|Great Pied Hoverfly [Volucella Pellucens] – Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes|
|Helophilus Pendulus – Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes|
|Red-tipped Flower Beetle – Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes|
On my walk to Bradwell Abbey (I decided on a half patch walk today, no point pushing my back too far), I was delighted to encounter not one but two adult Foxes, one either side of the railway line, it is always nice to see one of these urban scavengers, especially during the day. These weren’t the only mammals I encountered, there were a couple of Rabbits hopping around (including the cutest baby you’ve ever seen) and even the Squirrels were out squabbling in the sunshine.
|Thistle Flower – Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes|
The Walk Home
After taking a slow walk to Bradwell Abbey, my walk home was somewhat quicker. I was getting hungry, and the wildlife often seems less prominent on the way home. But I stumbled across a rather interesting piece of coregated iron seemingly abandoned in the small paddock beside Dansteed in Wymbush. Written on it were the words – “Reptile Survey Please Leave” – I’d love to know who is carrying out this survey and what they have found so far, if anyone knows please let me know.
I must admit I did have a peek under the metal. Very slowly lifting it. I was greeted by a Common Toad, my first on the patch. A quick photo and then I returned the metal covering and left it in peace. I hope whoever left it there will not mind.
|Common Toad – Wymbush, Milton Keynes|
It is not often when walking through Great Holm itself that I find something new, OK I’ve had a fly over Red Kite or two; and last months Osprey But that is pretty much it until today when I spotted on some lavender, in someones front garden, the most stunning of beetles. A whole host of them in fact. It turns out these iridescent striped beetles are Rosemary Leaf Beetles. And they are wonderful, and my final first for the day.
this was the last of A Couple of Firsts on the Patch.
|Rosemary Leaf Beetle – Great Holm, Milton Keynes|
Finally on the duck feeding platform there sat a poorly looking (well it has a very deformed beak) Herring Gull.Hopefully it will be OK, it certainly is likely to get food sat there.
|Young Herring Gull with deformed bill – Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes|
After leaving the sickly gull, I was treated to a site that you don’t see often at Lodge Lake. Firstly a beautiful Swallow swooping down to take a drink on the wing (uncommon enough); but then a Swift followed the trend and did exactly the same. One of these days my luck will be to have the camera out and ready when this sort of action happens.
Anyway another lovely day done. I hope you’ve enjoyed my tale and the images, feel free to share the post or pin the images.
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