Butterfly and Dragonfly Walk

Butterfly and Dragonfly Walk
Butterfly and Dragonfly Walk

After a couple of tip offs of some great butterfly and dragonfly areas in areas I’ve not really walked before (or at least not for a very long time), I headed out to the North Bucks way, to explore Oakhill Wood and Tattenhoe Park on a great Butterfly and Dragonfly Walk, eventually ending up at one of my regular haunts of Howe Park Wood.

Butterfly and Dragonfly Walk

Attempting to make an early start, I headed to one of our local bus stops, only to have the bus be 5 mins late, that lateness had a knock on effect as it meant I missed my connecting bus, so my aim of being out in the field by 07:30 turned out to be nearer to 08:30, just as the school kids were filling the shops and blocking the paths!

With the sticky, early heat, of a typical British summers day, you know the ones, over cast, and so humid it feels like wading through toffee, I was soon in amongst the wildlife. small grassy meadows lined the path, fenced off from shorter grasses of the footpath verges, I watched as Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites flutter between flowers, tantalisingly out of reach behind the wooden barriers. Common Green Grasshoppers chirrupped from within the long grasses, hidden until disturbed by foot steps, when they leapt high and fast away from me.

Common Green Grasshopper
Common Green Grasshopper

Oakhill Woods

Entering Oakhill Woods along the, high hedged, North Bucks Way, was like entering a place separate from Milton Keynes, there was no sound of traffic, and barely any sound of human activity at all. Tall pines headed off to my right at first, but soon a mix of conifer and deciduous woodland stretched off down slope from me. In the thick bramble, hoverflies, bees and wasps buzzed about the light pink flowers, gathering sweet nectar as they flew. Yellow and Black Longhorn beetle flew passed, alien like in their appearance while in flight, one quickly landed on Cow Parsley, offering stunning views.

Yellow & Black Longhorn Beetle
Yellow & Black Longhorn Beetle

Speckled wood and Ringlet butterflies flitted about the areas of dappled light, while annoying Horseflies buzzed my face and attempted to feast off my arms and legs, an abundance of the latter seemed to follow me for much of my walk, frustrating me at times, I could have used the long brush like tail of my local Konik ponies to keep them at bay.

In a ride at the edge of the wood, fairly close to the large high security prison, I startled a Muntjac deer, or it startled me, as it dashed with ferocious speed across my path and off into the dense undergrowth. Large Skipper and Small Tortoise shell flew in amongst the Meadow Browns and Ringlets of before, and suddenly a large orange butterfly dropped from high in the canopy, floating in large wings, my first Silver Washed Fritilliary in the local area, alighted on distant brambles.

Large Skipper
Large Skipper

 

Silver Washed Fritilliary (very heavy crop)
Silver Washed Fritilliary (very heavy crop)

 

Small Tortoiseshell
Small Tortoiseshell

Views over buckinghamshire

I carried on along the woodland path, passing through wonderfully dappled trees, and on out of the wood into open countryside, at least off to my right, to my left, modern houses have sprung up, but in keeping with the country feel they have been thoughtful designed in rich brown stone, rather than the usual dull bricks of Milton Keynes housing estates.

Passing fields of wheat, growing fast and strong in the now beautiful sunshine, the Buckinghamshire countryside stretched off before me, rolling fields of greens and browns. Large wheels of hay, already baled by the farmers dotted the fields.

Buckinghamshire Countryside
Buckinghamshire Countryside

 

Bales of Hay
Bales of Hay

Tattenhoe Park

I soon arrived at Tattenhoe Park, a place I have visited just once before while on my 25 mile challenge walk earlier in the year, but an area I have heard good things about, especially when it comes to Odonata!

As I approached the largest of the linear complex of ponds, that make up Tattenhoe Park, I was astounded at the number of Dragonflies I could see hawking over the water, several blue and green Emperor Dragonflies commanded the skies, while dozens of 4 Spotted Chasers darted about all over the pond, Broad bodied chasers and Black tailed skimmers made up the rest of the numbers of the larger species.

In the margins Azure Damselflies mingled with Common Blue and Blue Tailed Damselflies, their various amounts of electric blue dazzling in the summer sunshine. Newly hatched Common Darter occasionally dashed out from the reeds into the long grasses; hiding in the shadows of a willow the metallic green and dusty blue of an Emerald Damselfly could be found, it was a truely wonderful place to spend an hour.

Emerald Damselfly
Emerald Damselfly

 

Common Blue Damselfly
Common Blue Damselfly

 

Four-Spotted Chaser
Four-Spotted Chaser

 

Common Darter
Common Darter

With the sun beginning to really heat up, the exposed banks of the Tattenhoe Park ponds was becoming a little too much, so I headed off, the breeze of walking and the occasional shade cooling me a little as I made my way through the park.

Howe Park Wood

The final stop on my whistle stop tour of butterfly and dragonfly sites of Milton Keynes, was Howe Park Wood. The area seemed quiet compared to the dragonfly extravaganza of Tattenhoe Park or butterfly rich Oakhill. But there were quite a few Comma flying about as well as some stunning Marbled White.

Marbled White
Marbled White

I ended my Butterfly and Dragonfly walk having seen 12 species of butterfly and 10 species of Dragonfly. A very successful walk.

Other Photos

Variable Longhorn Beetle (I think)
Variable Longhorn Beetle (I think)

 

Comma
Comma

 

Volucella bombylans
Volucella bombylans

 

Fly sp.
Fly sp.

 

Speckled Wood
Speckled Wood
Common Darter
Common Darter

 

Small Skipper
Small Skipper

 

Four Spotted Chaser head on
Four Spotted Chaser head on

 

Another Four Spotted Chaser
Another Four Spotted Chaser

 

Closer capture of Four Spotted Chaser (they liked this perch)
Closer capture of Four Spotted Chaser (they liked this perch)

 

Blue-tailed Damselfly mating
Blue-tailed Damselfly mating

 

Marbled White

 

Common Green Grasshopper (I think)
Common Green Grasshopper (I think)

 

Another Marbled White
Another Marbled White
Meadow Brown
Meadow Brown

The Butterfly and Dragonfly Walk Route

The route I took is available now on View Ranger.

For more great local walks be sure to check out my Milton Keynes Walks page.

Linking to…

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13 Replies to “Butterfly and Dragonfly Walk

  1. Again, you amaze me with your photos. You've definitely given me some inspiration to look for insects on my next walk. Is there a particular camera setting you use to photograph them? Thanks for joining us on #adventurecalling, I hope you can again tomorrow.

    1. Thank you, camera settings will vary depending on light, lenses used, depth I want to focus etc. but usually try to get at least an fstop of f/6.3-7.2 to get the majority in focus, and a shutter speed of 150+ to avoid blurring, which usually means I have to pump ISO & use flash.

      Oh and really sorry but accidentally deleted your other comment in my rashness to clear emails 🙁 Hit delete on the common not the email. But thank you for comenting on that post too, and I hope to have something for tomorrow's #adventurecalling

  2. There's been several occasions lately where I've spotted butterflies and other assorted creatures on my walks and wished that you were there to tell me what I'm seeing. I know the most common types, but at least by reading your posts and seeing your stunning photos I can teach myself and fill in the blanks. Thanks for sharing another great post with us #AdventureCalling

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