Late Spring at the Floodplain Forest

Late Spring at the Floodplain Forest - Kestrel
Late Spring at the Floodplain Forest – Female Kestrel.

Spring has seemed very late this year, late snow, lots of rain, and cold temperatures have kept it at bay. But this weekend it seems we have seen a late spring at the Floodplain Forest nature reserve. Over the weekend, Greenshank, Ruff, Redshank, Little Ringed plover and a plethora of martins.

Late Spring at the Floodplain Forest

Arriving as the sun was still just birthing light across the Ouse Valley. I settled into the Iron Trunk hide, and began my first scans of the waters. A few coot, back lit by the rising sun; the off Mallard dabbling in the margins; a Great Crested grebe, neck down, and full of alarm call; The carrot orange bill of an Oystercatcher emerging from the scrubby edges. But little else.

Late Spring at the Floodplain Forest
Dawning light over the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve in Milton Keynes
Common Coot swimming in the golden light of Dawn.
Common Coot swimming in the golden light of Dawn.

Winter Has Left

For the first time in an age there was no mournful whistle from the local Wigeon. No piping from the tiny Teal. No Graceful Goosander snaking through the cold waters. The skies were clear of chacking Fieldfare. It’s clear winter has been replaced by spring.

Sadly although we are seeing signs of a late Spring at the Floodplain Forest Nature reserve, it was not showing today. The Ruff, Green shank and Redshank had all moved on. I guess that is part of the problem with spring migration, they just don’t stick. Autumn is much better for the birds to hang about.

The only exception was the Little Ringed Plover. As I encountered two on my walk. Although they were both mobile. Sadly that seemed the story of the day. Despite walking up to the new workings and back, there was very little to see.

Kestrel MATING

As I left the Farm Hide, for the second time, the air was filled with the screeching sound of a bird of prey. Scanning the surrounding area I spotted a female Kestrel sat on the bare branches of the nearby trees.

Her noise continued until her mate arrived. Swooping in the action suddenly became X-rated!

It was lovely to watch as they paired up in the old, ivy covered tree. Presumably the ponies being in the field mean disturbance is at a minimum. There are more images of the pair at the end of the post.

A Pair of Kestrel (Female top left, male bottom right) - Looks better large.
A Pair of Kestrel (Female top left, male bottom right) – Looks better large.

Warbler Action

As I made my way home, disappointed that the Late Spring at the Floodplain Forest seemed already to have passed, and annoyed at the lack of promised sun, damn you BBC weather app! I was pleased to bump into a small gathering of warblers. Great new spring birds.

Stopping by the aqueduct, after hearing the briefest of Cetti’s Warbler song, I began looking through the willows across the river. The first bird I spotted was a striking Lesser Whitethroat, quickly replaced by a Blackcap, and then joined by a Willow Warbler. Three new year birds in such quick succession is always amazing. and as I stood trying to grab a photo I was surrounded by Chiffchaff song.

Blackcap (male)
Blackcap (male)
Willow Warbler (also male, I know because he kept singing).
Willow Warbler (also male, I know because he kept singing).

I made my way home from here, happy to have had a last sprinkling of late spring birds. Making up for the earlier annoyances.

Other Photos from Late Spring at the Floodplain Forest

Coot in the early morning
Coot in the early morning
Another coot in the early morning
Another coot in the early morning
Little Egret stalking the banks
Little Egret stalking the banks
Female Kestrel
Female Kestrel
A different shot of the female Kestrel
A different shot of the female Kestrel
The male Kestrel
The male Kestrel
Fighting Ponies
Fighting Ponies
Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler

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