A Tale of Two Woods

A Tale of Two Woods - Howe Park Wood
A Tale of Two Woods

Wednesday 24th May I decided to go off my usual patch for a spot of searching for butterflies, the sun was out, the temperature is up and I thought it felt like a great day so off I headed to Howe Park Wood, but this is a tale of two woods, I hear you say, well yes, I visited Shenley wood after, you’ll see why.

A Tale of Two Woods

The sun was baking the earth nicely as I dropped the little lady off at school, macro in bag, I headed off to the woods, my goal was to see what butterflies were on the wing, it really felt like a butterfly day, although we are still a few weeks away from the real lepidoptery days summer.

Howe Park wood, a location I like to visit on occasion was my first port of call, I’ve not been here this year, well apart from as the start point for my epic 25 mile walk, so I was looking forward to seeing what would be about.

Large Daisy at Howe Park Wood
Large Daisy at Howe Park Wood

 

Howe Park Wood

There seems to be a much more commercial feel to Howe Park woods since the cafe went in, rather than just dog walkers and naturalists, as it used to be, the area throngs with buggies and toddlers, I’m not opposed to this, in fact I think it is great that people introduce kids to natural places like the woods, at a young age, but not sure the new play area was needed, anyway that is neither here nor there really.

I headed around the edges of the woods following the sun drenched rides, the greens of the grasses and trees glowing with golden halos in the morning sunshine, a few electric blue Azure Damselflies hovered like mini airships above the bramble, while a Large White butterfly flitted between daisy and buttercup.

Golden Green Ride at Howe Park Wood
Golden Green Ride at Howe Park Wood

 

Large White Butterfly on Buttercup
Large White Butterfly on Buttercup

 

Azure Damselfly
Azure Damselfly

Shade

Needing to seek a little shade I headed deeper into the woods, following the myriad of gravel paths and muddy bridal ways as they crisscrossed the semi ancient woodland. A few Speckled Wood butterflies gently drifted down from the high canopy before chasing around the damp ditches.

Speckled Wood
Speckled Wood

Sadly there were not many other butterflies, a couple of Orange tips, 1 Brimstone and 1 Red Admiral were all. There were a few interesting insects, a Red & Black Froghopper, a few bees and hoverflies, but really not much else.

Below the dappled canopy, the bluebells were fading and turning to seed, wood anemone have passed on and only a few ragged robin added colour to the shades of green and gold, until a spotted the spikes of two Orchids poking out of the long grass. I’m afraid I am not great with plants, so not sure which ones, if anyone can help out please comment below.

Unknown Orchid
Unknown Orchid

Other Howe Park Wood Photos

Large White Butterfly
Large White Butterfly

 

Large White
Large White

 

Red & Black Froghopper
Red & Black Froghopper

 

Common Malachite Beetle
Common Malachite Beetle

 

Speckled Wood
Speckled Wood

 

Red Cardinal Beetle
Red Cardinal Beetle

 

Bee Sp.
Bee Sp.

 

Bee Sp.
Bee Sp.

 

Path through the woods
Path through the woods

 

Golden Greens
Golden Greens

 

Howe Park Wood Wild Flowers
Howe Park Wood Wild Flowers

 

Dragonfly Pond at Howe Park Wood
Dragonfly Pond at Howe Park Wood

 

Shenley Wood

Disappointed in the lack of butterfly action I decided o walk to the next nearest woodland, Shenley Wood, it’s an area I spent quite a bit of time at a number of years ago, so was interested to see how things had changed.

A Ride in Shenley Wood
A Ride in Shenley Wood

Entering the woods, it seemed much denser than I remember, the canopy creating a cool shade to walk in, and as I wandered I cooled from the hot walk over. Sadly this wood was even more bereft of lepidoptera than the previous woods, I counted 7 in total through the whole woodland. There was little insect activity at all in the woods.

A few Ragged Robin, the same Orchids as in Howe Park Wood, and a few other flowers dotted the underbrush, but that was all. Leaving the woods once more I headed back home, disappointed in the lack of butterflies and other insects, but glad to have visited two special places in Milton Keynes.

Orchid Sp.
Orchid Sp.

 

Um… No Idea

 

Ragged Robin (I think)
Ragged Robin (I think)

 

There are loads of great walks in Milton Keynes, we are very lucky when it comes to our town, so much so that I am building a resource of walks in Milton Keynes on this site, be sure to visit the page to see them all.

I’m Walking 2500 miles in 2017 to raise money for Birding For All – Read about it here – Please consider donating through My Donate

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