Category Archives: Expired

Winter wildfowl at Foxcote Reservoir 14 January 2018


Teal by Koshy Koshy

Sun, 14/01/2018 – 10:00am12:00pm

Our annual winter bird watching event at Foxcote Reservoir. A great opportunity to visit this permit only site to enjoy watching the comings and goings of migrating wildfowl in this quiet corner of Buckinghamshire.

Refreshments will be provided. Please come dressed for the weather with suitable footwear. If you have binoculars please bring them with you.
Booking not required – Just turn up and learn about the birdlife found at this fantastic naature reserve.

Click on the link for more information: Winter wildfowl at Foxcote Reservoir | Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust

MKNHS is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites. You should check details of any events listed on external sites with the organisers.
Robin by Peter Hassett, College Lake 29 December 2016

Merry Christmas Sightings

Please remember to submit your local sightings to and to look at the Recent Sightings in the News section. There are some fabulous pictures of otters in a member’s garden.

Many thanks to our Co-chair Julie Lane for these seasonal sightings:

On the day before Christmas Eve whilst cycling around Emberton Park I met

One raven cawing
Five goosanders fishing
A kingfisher piping and green woodpecker laughing
Three snowy egrets roosting
And a great spotted woodpecker in a poplar tree

Happy Christmas to you all.

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 17 December 2017

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve showing observation deck by Peter Hassett

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve showing observation deck by Peter Hassett

Open Sunday 17 December 2017

10am -3pm

In view of the cancelled Open Sunday last week-end due to the adverse weather conditions it has been decided to hold a modified Open Sunday this coming Sunday (17th Dec).

Andy Harding will be conducting his monthly duck count in the morning of 17th. Andy is willing to take interested visitors with him to the hide and assist with bird identification. Please join Andy at the Centre for 10:30am.

This can be a great time of year for spotting some of our winter visitors, who can turn up in good numbers to rest up and feed.

The Open Sunday will conclude at 3pm on this day, due to the short daylight hours at this time of year.

The Centre will be open for hot drinks and homemade cakes. Xmas crafts and Calendars on sale for those last minute gifts. Get your bargain holiday read from our second-hand books on sale.

Family and friends welcome.

Please note there will be NO CHRISTMAS WREATH MAKING TODAY.

Public Inquiry.

The Public Inquiry relating to the development at Linford Lakes is on-going. The Investigator has adjourned the Inquiry which will meet again on 26th Jan and if required again on 2nd Feb. Decision 4-5 weeks after that.


Winner. Hoverflies by Mark Strutton. 3 July 2016

Annual Photographic Competition 23 January 2018

Following the success of last year’s competition with a large turnout and many high quality prints submitted I hope we can do as well this year. To remind you of the rules:-

Prints only can be entered.

Maximum size of prints A4 (210x297mm)

Each member may enter a maximum of 2 prints per category. (That’s 8 prints in total). Prints must be unmounted.

The four categories are:-

  1. Birds
  2. All other animals, including mammals, fish, insects etc.
  3. Plants and fungi.
  4. Habitats, geological, astronomical.

Domestic animals and cultivated plants are not eligible.

People must not be a major subject of any photograph.

Pictures must be handed to Julie Lane, Linda Murphy or Jean Cooke by the end of the 16 January 2018 meeting.
You can see the winners of previous competitions in the gallery section of the website. You can see the winner of last years competition –
Hoverflies by Mark Strutton at the top of the page.

May the best photograph win! It could be yours!

Paul Lund



Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 10 December 2017

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Open Sunday.

10 December 2017. (note not third Sunday

10:00- 16:00hrs

With Xmas Craft Making Event.

Suitable for people of all ages, each session includes full tuition

and all materials to enable you to make and take home traditional

Christmas Decorations, using natural materials.

 The Christmas Craft sessions will run from

11am to 12.30pm and from 1.30pm to 3pm

 The Christmas Craft Sessions cost £10.00 each, £15 for family.

No booking required.

 Please note Children under 16 are welcome,

must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

There is also the usual Open Sunday opportunities.

Andy Harding may be recording his duck count this morning.

He is willing to take a group along. Please meet at 10:00 in the centre.

You can enjoy a walk and spend time in the hides watching our winter wild fowl and other seasonal visitors.

If you fancy some warmer wildlife watching, then why not use  the viewing gallery in the Centre, where you will also find:

Crafts, Gifts, Second-hand book stall, bird seed for sale and warming refreshments including mince pies and home-made cakes.

 Family and friends welcome.

MKNHS Society walk by Ann Strutton, Willen Lake 26 November 2017

Trip report – Willen Lake 26 November 2017

Sunday 26th November 2017 saw the first of our Society winter walks. 15 hardy souls braved the icy winds at North Willen Lake and were well rewarded.

We met at the Willen Pavilion car park on the west shore of the lake and began by looking at the veteran ash tree near the lake edge. Martin Kincaid explained how The Parks Trust has managed the decline of this tree and the recent discovery of bats roosting in it.

We then walked clockwise around the lake, stopping at times to look at the many species of duck among the huge group of coots (cootarium!) on the water. A single female Scaup, among a group of Tufted Ducks, was probably the pick, with good numbers of Teal, Mallard, Wigeon and Gadwall also spotted. We also found some nice specimens of the fungus Clitocybe geotropa on the grassy banks. When we reached the Flood Control structure, Mark Strutton shared his experiences of seeing otters here on several occasions in 2016. The animals are still active here and we were able to pick out a track from the lake edge, across the redway and down to the River Ouzel where we also found several piles of otter spraint and a slide down into the river!

At the bridge between the north and south lakes, we added 4 Little Grebes to the list and a Kingfisher was spotted shooting low across the water. We also admired a very tame Little Egret roosting in willow at this point. Ann Strutton managed to spot a group of 6 Goldeneye bobbing about on the South Lake at this point, and we did our best to see them between their frequent dives.

On the approach to the bird hide we spotted a Chiffchaff (there seem to be more than ever around this autumn) and hazel catkins. Form the hide itself we added Pochard and Shoveler to the wildfowl list bringing our duck total to nine species. However, waders were thin on the ground with just a single Lapwing observed. A single Greylag was the only goose we saw – obviously there were easier pickings on the South Lake.

The main target for today’s walk was the starling murmuration and we quickly marched around towards the Peace Pagoda to take position and wait. The first group of about 50 starlings appeared right on queue at 3.50pm and within five minutes they were swarming over the lake. Although there were probably no more than 2,000 birds (a pretty modest number) they put on a fine display as the sun set and for those who had not witnessed a starling murmuration before it was a memorable experience. A singing Cetti’s Warbler was a bonus at this point. The starlings finally settled in the reed beds at around 4.15pm at which point we said our goodbyes and retired for the evening, happy but in need of thawing out!

Starling Murmuration by Ann Strutton, Willen Lake 26 November 2017

Starling Murmuration by Ann Strutton, Willen Lake 26 November 2017

Report by Martin Kincaid

Number 1 hide, Floodplain Forest NR

Water Quality Survey, September 2017

This project was part of the ‘Clean Water for wildlife survey’ run by the Freshwater Habitats trust’s “people Ponds and Water Project”.

Phil and I had 5 testing kits and we set off to find 5 different water bodies, to test for Nitrates (ppm) and Phosphates (ppm). Our test sites were:

  1. Pond in Little Linford Wood (SP 8285 4550) 21/09/17
  2. River Great Ouse, Stony Stratford (SP7875 3965) 22/09/17
  3. Calverton Brook (SP 78095 3861) 22/09/17
  4. Pond, High Street, Stony Stratford (SP 7840 4080) 24/09/17
  5. Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve (SP8112 4220) 24/09/17

The test results showed that the water quality around MK is generally pretty good, with low levels of both Nitrates and Phosphates. Phil researched the net to try and establish an ‘acceptable’ level for nitrates for ‘environmental Water’ and the International Consensus is less than 5ppm.

So how did our 5 sites compare?

Site Nitrates Phosphates
Little Linford Wood less than 0.2 ppm less than 0.02ppm
River Great Ouse 0.5 – 1ppm less than 0.02 ppm
Calverton Brook 1-2ppm* less than 0.02ppm
Pond, High Street: less than 0.2ppm Less than 0.02ppm
Floodplain Forest NR less than 0.2ppm 0.02 – 0.05ppm

* indicates the higher level of Nitrates. This brook runs through farmland, which might account for it.

These figures need to be taken with a pinch of salt as the colour of the water in the test kit was assessed against the colour on the recording chart.

I wonder if there were there any other results to compare locally? Please send your results to

Mary Sarre, November 22nd, 2017

Starling by Harry Appleyard, 20 April 2016

Starlings – love them or hate them?

Worldwide range of the common starling with natural populations in blue and introduced populations in red

Worldwide range of the common starling with natural populations in blue and introduced populations in red

I read a warning on an Australian website asking for all sightings of starlings to be reported, not because they were concerned about the welfare of the birds, but because”

The common starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is one of the most invasive bird pests worldwide, having established populations in many countries outside its natural range.

You can read more of the Australian Government’s warning here.

In England, Starlings are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take a starling, or to take, damage or destroy an active nest or its contents.

The Starling is on the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern.

I will let you draw your own conclusions.

RSPBNBLG Talk – Tales from the Urban Jungle 9 November 2017

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are hosting a talk:

“Tales from an Urban Jungle” – David Lindo, the Urban Birder
Location: The Cruck Barn, City Discovery Centre, Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes

Postcode: MK13 9AP (Google map)

We’re very pleased to welcome David Lindo back for a return visit to our Group – since he last visited us, David has been as busy as ever, writing, broadcasting on TV and radio, leading bird tours … and travelling far and wide.

David has visited over 270 cities worldwide in search of urban birds. During his travels he has found a surprising number of committed conservationists, interesting birding locations and, importantly, many birds. Join him on his journey in and around some of the world’s best urban birding areas. Sure to be an entertaining and informative evening.

Time: Doors open 7.15pm for a prompt 7.45pm start, ends at 10pm

Price: Group members £3, Non-group members £4, Children £1

See the RSPB North Bucks Local Group website for more information

MKNHS is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites. You should check details of any events listed on external sites with the organisers.

Programme Change 7 November 2017

The originally planned presentation by Caring for God’s Acre, has been rescheduled to April 2018.

We are now delighted to announce that Jeff Blincow is now coming to tell us about “Conservation Projects at Yardley Chase”. This is a completely new talk he has not yet given elsewhere.

‘Field and Stubble’ Exhibition – 12 November 2017

‘Field and Stubble’, an Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings showcasing the latest work by the renowned local wildlife artist Kate Wyatt

The exhibition focuses on the wildlife and landscape of the Milton Keynes area

The exhibition is at All Saints, Lathbury, North Bucks on 11th and 12th November 2017 from 10-5pm.