A Grey Day at Willen Lake

A Grey Day at Willen Lake - Mute Swan - Willen Lake
A Grey Day at Willen Lake

As you may recall one of the top 5 birding locations in Milton Keynes is Willen lake. Well according to my post. And while it has not been producing like it used to, a combination of more people; more water sports on the south lake; less monitoring; and a sodding great road through the middle, it does sometimes turn up the odd good local bird. It was a long staying Slavonian Grebe that I went there to see, and attempt to photograph.

A Grey Day at Willen Lake

Arriving in the car-park beside the hotel, I was ready for my long search, only it wasn’t one! The Slavonian Grebe was feeding in the shallow water just beyond the pontoon, floating a few yards out from the hotel. Allowing me a few photos before it headed off into the middle of the lake. I couldn’t believe my luck. I don’t think I have ever found a target bird so quickly!

In terms of other local birds I was very pleased to have a Grey Wagtail land almost at my feet (very briefly), and managed to note a few winter ducks: Wigeon; Tufted Duck; and a lone Goldeneye some distance off.

And when a Kingfisher flew past my nose I knew it was a good day.

Slavonian Grebe (No crop) - Willen Lake
Slavonian Grebe (No crop) – Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
Photographed as soon as I got to lake.
Cormorant on Pontoon - Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
Cormorant on Pontoon – Willen Lake, Milton Keynes

Follow That Grebe

I decided rather than give up on the Slav grebe I would skirt around Willen towards the bandstand, in the direction the kingfisher had flown, and I am so glad I did, not only did I have more views of the kingfisher, but I heard Great-spotted Woodpecker and had amazingly close views of the grebe again (although only managing one photo of it at it’s closest I think you will agree it is a cracker!).

Slavonian Grebe (slight crop but much closer than above) - Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
Slavonian Grebe at Willen Lake
Great-Crested Grebe - Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
Great-Crested Grebe – Willen Lake, Milton Keynes

 

Black-Headed Gull (in flight) - South Lake, Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
Black-Headed Gull (in flight) – South Lake, Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
Grey Heron (flight) - Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
Grey Heron (flight) – Willen Lake, Milton Keynes

North Lake

After the grebe sailed off into the distance again I decided to take in the North lake, the nature reserve side of Willen, and no sooner did I have sight of the lake when a Cetti’s Warbler burst into song amongst the reeds, an amazing song and so, so loud.

Heading around to the hide (where I managed to warm my freezing hands) I was pleased to see a small party of Eurasian Teal in amongst the low reeds right in front of the hide, and along with the local Black-Headed Gulls and the resident (escaped or feral) Black Swan I was kept amused photographing a few birds I seldom get close to on the patch. I should note here also that there is an injured Cormorant on the North lake, who appears to have a seriously damaged right wing.

Black-Headed Gull (Flight) - Willen Lake North, Milton Keynes
Black-Headed Gull (Flight) – Willen Lake North, Milton Keynes

 

Black-Headed Gull on post - Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
Black-Headed Gull on post – Willen Lake, Milton Keynes

 

Coot Run - Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
Coot Run – Willen Lake, Milton Keynes

 

Eurasian Teal - Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
Eurasian Teal – Willen Lake, Milton Keynes

Peace Pagoda

I wandered off around to my pickup, passing the peace pagoda looking stunning surrounded in the autumnal trees, and cursed not having a smaller lens to capture it’s beauty, but I was pleased to hear a number of Water Rail and see quite a good number of Common Gull and a couple of Reed Buntings.

Reed Bunting - Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
Reed Bunting – Willen Lake, Milton Keynes

Hospice End

While awaiting my lift (thanks mum) I managed to spend a little time capturing photos and video of the lakes duck population. Managing to see and shoot Mallard, Wigeon, Gadwall and Shoveler all in one small area. Not bad for A Grey Day at Willen Lake.

Northern Shoveler - Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
Northern Shoveler – Willen Lake, Milton Keynes

 

Northern Shoveler - Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
Northern Shoveler – Willen Lake, Milton Keynes

 

Gadwall - Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
Gadwall – Willen Lake, Milton Keynes

 

Wigeon - Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
Wigeon – Willen Lake, Milton Keynes

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