A Nature Reserve Walk with the Kids

A Nature Reserve Walk with the Kids - Young Goldfinch - Stony Stratford Nature Reserve
A Nature Reserve Walk with the Kids

Today I made a deal, A Nature Reserve Walk with the Kids, and I’d be nice to them for the afternoon. It wasn’t much of a deal on my part really, but they fell for it, and so it was that we headed off. Actually not in the morning, just after lunch for a walk around the West end of my patch. It’s an area I will visit more often in the summer as is good for butterflies but pretty poor for birds: Stony Stratford Nature Reserve.

A Nature Reserve Walk with the Kids

As is usual on these walks walking to the reserve and home from the reserve were much more enjoyable than the actual reserve. On the way we found a very young Goldfinch (it could barely fly) feeding on the grass beside the path, it wasn’t particularly scared of us and allowed some nice photos and the kids to get a really good look at one.

Young Goldfinch - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes
Young Goldfinch – Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes

 

At the Reserve

At the actual reserve apart from decent numbers of Migrant Hawkers, and Common Darters there was little else of note at all. A party of Mute Swans (2 adults and 3 Cygnets) was pretty much it for birds, and the wild flower strips have been cut down so not many butterflies (the wind can’t have helped here either).

Stony Stratford Nature Reserve
Stony Stratford Nature Reserve

 

Scorpion Fly - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes
Scorpion Fly – Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes

The Way Home

The walk home however was brilliant!

Not only did I see my first Brown Hawkers for my new patch, I’ll be back without the kids when school restarts to try and get photos. But the birds we saw at one small location were amazing.

Awesome Wildlife Encounter

Just up form the old mill buildings themselves (west I believe). I saw a bird flit off a bush over the river and instantly recognised it to be a Spotted Flycatcher. There were at least 4 all in one bush, and may have been more as they became quite mobile. But also in the same bush was a stunning male Common Redstart! Sitting in all its red, grey, and black glory. I usually only see females or youngsters of passage so this was a real treat. Again in the same bush was a Whitethroat and a chiffchaff (all I presume migrants).

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

 

Common Redstart (male) - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes
Common Redstart (male) – Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes
As I stood trying to get photos of the birds and thoroughly annoying the kids; and while swallows darted around us, down to mere inches at some times, trying to catch insects that were zipping around us. Some harsh screeching of the hirundines made me look up. There, above us, a wonderful Eurasian Hobby blasted through, at great speed, being harried by all the smaller birds.
Common Redstart (male) - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes
Common Redstart (male) – Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes

After this I decided the kids were probably bored enough, so started to head off. Only to stop a few metres further along to photograph the young swallows that were resting on the bushes. They were joined by 2 spotted flycatcher, one reason I suspect it may have been more than 4 birds.

I didn’t force them to wait too long and we quickly made our way home across the fields.

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

 

Young Swallows - Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes
Young Swallows – Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes

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