Rainy Days

Rainy Days - Lapwing
Rainy Days

Rainy days, like today, remind me that I am never one to be accused of being a fair weather birder.

As the rain steadily dripped down from the sparkling green leaves of the soaking wet trees, I headed out onto the patch to see what the overnight storms, and current constant drizzle, may have brought down onto the pits – I’ve found rain often brings migrants at this time of year.

DISCLAIMER: As you can probably imagine with the rain steadily falling, from dark clouds, today was not really a day for photography, (apart from a few from the hide) so this post will mainly be text.

Rainy Days

I headed straight for the main hide, figuring the most likely spots for migrants would be the fields as I approached or the muddy islands, and well let’s be honest I’d rather sit in a hide while the drizzle persists than stand in the open!

Walking the open fields the only migrants I encountered were a lone Chiffchaff singing away in the surrounding hedge and then as I approached the hide, opening the gate to the reserve, I heard the chattering call of a passing Swallow, closely followed by two more.

Entering the hide it became abundantly clear that the wet weather had not had the desired effect, the area was by no means dripping with migrants, in fact it took a few minutes before I was able to locate a pair of Little Ringed Plover, although I had heard them before hand, they do have a very interesting mating song. 4 Redshank, could be seen flying about the reserve amongst the displaying Lapwing.



Oystercatcher in Flight
Oystercatcher in Flight



Wagtails & Hirundines

As I sat in the hide contemplating heading out into the wet again; a White Wagtail (the European relative of our Pied Wagtail, of which there were a few flying about) popped in briefly before heading off across the scrub and vanishing. Another scan of the reserve turned up a solo Yellow Wagtail fly catching off the tip of one of the smaller islands, again though this soon disappeared.

Looking out over the reserve I spotted a large flock of mixed hirundines. Mainly Swallows but a few Sand Martin and House Martin mixed in. My first of the former species of the year and the first large flock of the summer.

More Migrants

The rain had finally ceased. Combined with a mournful call of a Little Owl it signaled time for me to move on. And so I headed off over the future site of the wild flower meadow; and under the aqueduct, to the old lock area. Hearing and seeing nothing of real note on my walk.

As I entered the old lock area though things changed. A couple of Chiffchaff could be heard calling nearby; and its very similar looking relation, a Willow Warbler, began singing in a blackthorn beside me. Giving me wonderful views (if only it hadn’t been a dull grey day I could have taken some lovely photos).

As I continued walking there were more Chiffchaff, more Willow Warblers and even a few Blackcap all in song throughout the area. A nice end to the day.

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  • Sarah | The Urban Wanderer

    Rainy days around Milton Keynes is certainly a lot more natural than in Manchester (where I am!), although we do get some Lapwing by the Farm Foods and the odd Sparrow Hawk and Heron along the canal.

    It is lovely seeing a Lapwing in a more appropriate setting. Do you know whether it is usual for them to rest in unusual places? (I wasn't sure whether to be concerned about it or not…) 🙂

    • AshleyBeolens

      Milton Keynes is a great town for getting into the countryside from, these photos are from a new nature reserve at the edge of town (for the moment but with expansions happening all the time who knows for how long).

      It's not usual for Lapwings to hang out at shops but I guess if here is grass nearby they may be there from that or if the car park looks flooded and it has just rained the bird may have come down to avoid the weather.

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