This blog is about all forms of wildlife I record around North Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes in particular. My main interests for 2012 will be looking for anything I've not seen before.

Monday, October 25

Linford Lakes at lunch time

Been a long time since I had a lunch hour at Linford, but was not missing much from other bird reports. A cold 8 oC with some frost still on the ground in places. Pleasant sun shine though. Highlights:
1 Marsh Tit, 3+ Song Thrush's on the berry bushes, 1 Common Darter, 1 Hawker sps but not seen well and 1 butterfly not seen well, suspect a Speckled Wood.
From Near Hide, 2 Little Grebe, 3 Snipe along the bund line, lots of ducks in and 8 Common Gull. No sign of last weeks Whopper Swan and not many geese in at all. 2 Grey Squirrels and a female type Stonechat along Swans Way rounded off a pleasant hour.

Sunday, October 24

Ivinghoe Beacon, Lapper, dip no. 2!

Mid morning I received a text from Mike Wallen that Dave Bilcock had located a new Lapland Bunting near the sheep pens below the beacon. So this time I tried again when I had a family free window mid afternoon. I also increased my chances by taking Nik and Rob N along. Dropping down the slope from the car park, towards the sheep pens we notched up at least 3 Bramblings feeding in one of the larger Whitebeams. As we approached the sheep pens we started scanning the stubble field looking for a needle in a stack of needles. We easily picked up the large Skylark flock which also contained lots of Linnets but failed to pick out the Lapland Bunting. Then to add insult another Lapland Bunting was reported from Dorney Lakes at the very south end of the county. Surely one or two of these little brown jobs must be up north and around Milton Keynes?

Saturday, October 23

Lodge Hill in the deep south, Lapper dip no. 1

Wow has it been over a week since my last post!
Well this morning I dragged Nik the 39 miles south to Lodge Hill Farm near Bledlow Ridge to try and refined the near week long Lapland Bunting found by Warren Claydon. After the hour long drive in bucketing rain we finally arrived at the parking area with the sun/light thinking about turning on. As forecast the rain had moved off by a 07:15, so we started our trek round to the farm and where the bird had been seen.
A mammal bonus was a pair of Roe Deer out in one of the open fields, these constituted my 31st mammal species for Bucks this year. I'd first seen this species in Cambridgeshire back at the end of January!
As I was speaking to Jim Rose to check we were in the right spot another birder appeared down the track and introduced himself as Warren Claydon (the finder of the Lapper on his local patch) So the three of us tried to locate this elusive bird in the stubble field before us. But alas no joy and with negative news from yesterday we gave up and headed back towards the car. I did however see a few Corn Buntings which were a 'tarty' year tick, but disappointed not to connect with the Lapland Bunting. Bet it's still there but the fields and site are massive.
Thanks to Jim and Warren for their help today.
A Bucks tick last week and a dip this week, I'll predict that we could be due some more Lapland Buntings before the years out...fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 12

Knot going to miss this one....

Oh the number of puns I could have used....
I had a text last night from Chris G at Manor Farm at 18:09, to say he'd found a KNOT feeding on the pools. It's a species of wader I'd never seen in Bucks in my brief time listing in the county. A call from Simon to advise he was going for a look made me drop everything...i.e getting the kids ready for bed etc and getting ready for my evenings football match. I informed the wife I would only be 30 minutes and back in time to continue with parental duties - I didn't hear any response as I ran out and slammed the door :-).
Now sunset was about 18:17 and it was already gone 18:30!
Normal ETA to The Manor is under 10 minutes and even with the evenings rush hour I pretty much did it in that, joyed by a call back from Simon along the way to say 'it's still showing, the main entrance gates are still open, you can use me scope'. Finally after a mad dash avoiding the cow pats I connected with Simon at the top of the slope and got my first views of the Knot. It was nearly 18:45 and getting really dark. Not the best views of Knot but really chuffed to finally bag this species in Bucks. Ahh the pleasure of deleting the species from my Bird Guides text list ;-)
Thanks to Chris for continuing with his 'patch' and Simon for the updates.
The birds still showing at Manor Farm today and hopefully some other Bucks listers will connect with this species today. The sites looking really good so who knows what else might get pulled in.

Sunday, October 10

NBBG visit near Brill

The North Bucks Bat Group attended a box check scheme near Brill this evening.
An email was sent around last week of some Leislers bats being found in the boxes, a species I've never seen before and really needed for my mammal list.
So of course I got a pass out and attended the early evening box check. With only 17 boxes to check it wasn't going to be a late night.
First up 3 Soprano Pips, closely followed by this handsome bat, a male Leislers Bat, as said, a first for me and my 30th mammal species in Buckinghamshire this year and my 43rd mammal for England.

He really was a very smart bat. After we'd finished the box checking we check out a Pipistrelle roost in one of the nearby buildings and amazingly found a Whiskered Bat hiding under a couple of planks of wood propped up again the side of a wall! We then detected Common Pips starting to feed and heard a probably Noctule fly over, but this could have been the male Leislers?
An amazing evening and good to catch up with everyone.
Many thanks to Hannah for organising the evening.

Friday, October 8

Shenley Wood

Not been out to my lunch time patch for the last few days. But back home, I've noted a singing Chiff Chaff along the side of Shenley Wood for the past two mornings. Plus in the evening the Jackdaw and Crow numbers are building nicely over the wood and sports field. Finally, a Pied Wagtail roost must be building up again in the city centre as a flock of 8 flew over the house the other evening, all heading in that direction.

Tuesday, October 5

Linford Lakes at lunch time

Still mild even though no sunshine. A small orange and brown butterfly was seen very briefly on the wing. Guessing it's far too late for Gatekeeper so presuming Small Copper (only think left really?).
Two Marsh Tit and 1 Chiff Chaff amongst the tit flock. 1 Buzzard mobbed by Crows and Jackdaws. 1 Little Egret in the Heronry. Finally at the end a Yellow Wagtail flew over the car park. Pretty quiet all round.

Monday, October 4

Tuesday evening talk.....

The local Milton Keynes Natural History Society has a talk by a good friend of mine tomorrow evening.
Ecological consultant Stuart Blair will speak about his work surveying all of the known badger setts in Milton Keynes. A bigger job than you may think!

For more details see -

Linford Lakes at lunch time

A pleasant visit to Linford this afternoon. It started with a Small White Butterfly near the city centre and then a mint condition Red Admiral at Linford, both enjoying the 16oC temperatures and the sunshine. Also at the reserve, numerous Migrant Hawkers and even teneral Darters. Plus a Little Egret, Cettis singing, 1 female Blackcap and a Stonechat in the brown field along the access track. Something had spooked all the Lapwings and Gulls from the bund as they were noisy and flying all over the place.

Sunday, October 3

Linford and Furzton

A dawn start with Rob at Linford in the rain today. Not a lot about, best spot was a Ruff on the bund which after a few minutes flew off as the rain started. A Kingfisher and Cettis Warbler were the only other birds of note. Not really that many ducks in either.

A mid afternoon drive by of Furzton Lake and the returning Yellow-legged Gull was out in the middle with numerous Black Headed Gulls surrounding it. Then followed by a quick stop off at CMK which didn't produce any birds.

Oh well slim pickings.

Saturday, October 2

Shenley Wood and it's star 'birds'!

What a glorious sunny morning. My eldest daughter had been banging on about a 'good stamp around the woods' so I didn't want to disappoint. I also wanted to have a look around and make sure the bat boxes were still hanging up.
Not long after entering our ride I picked up a large tit flock moving through and above, this contained a Marsh Tit (possibly the earlier Marsh Tit from next doors garden) a Coal Tit ( which is always nice as we have no pine in Shenley) Great Tits, Blue Tits, Long tailed Tits and a Treecreeper. I could also hear Greater Spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker.

Views down the main rides -
Main centre Oak - or 'Sally' Centre Oak if your 7 years old!

But the star 'bird' today was not a bird, but in fact an insect - ladybirds and 7 Spotted Ladybirds to be precise. In a 2 metre square patch alone my daughter and I fought over who could count the most. We gave up at 25+! It was amazing to see so many of these insects enjoying the daytime sun or coming out from within their overnight roost spots . Every leaf we up turned showed sheltering 7 Spots.

As we continued around the wood we estimated at least 150+ 7 Spotted Ladybirds showing along the low vegetation along the paths. So how many were in amongst the more sheltered spots?
Alas, I did find one Harlequin Ladybird (in a two spotted form) near the 7 Spots.

And this Shield Bug showed in it's autumnal attire -
We also spotted 1 Speckled Wood butterfly (my last butterfly of the year?) and a few mushrooms around the paths.
Plus interestingly, the previous Noctule Bat roost tree had a strange drumming noises coming from within it! Plus a Greater Spotted Woodpecker was tapping away nearby. So I predict a Woodpecker was actually inside the previous bat roost - lets hope it's just having a look round and tiding up!

Marshy's back !

Earlier in the week I thought I'd heard a Marsh Tit in Shenley Wood whilst packing the girls into the car for the school run. This morning I saw one leaving next doors Corkscrew Willow (which borders our garden) with a seed in it's beak and fly off towards the wood. This species previously over wintered in the woods and was a regular feeder to next doors garden. Can't ever remember it coming into our garden!
An early morning bicycle ride with my eldest this morning to collect the Saturday papers and still noted 4 Skylarks and 1+ Meadow Pipit in the small area of grass/park land that splits Oxley Park Plus 2 House Martins and a Swallow moving through.
Later in the backgarden I could hear a few Meadow Pipits moving overhead and a Migrant Hawker Dragonfly put in a brief appearance.

Friday, October 1

Bat photo's

Bechsteins Bat from our last trapping session of the year

This time on a tree looking a little more natural

And lastly a Brown-long Eared bat.