Category Archives: Society News

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.

Grey Heron by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 19 April 2016

MKNHS Photo Exhibition at Howe Park Wood Visitor Centre

If you missed our wonderful photographic exhibition at MK Library earlier this year, fear not – you have another chance to see it in all its glory! The fabulous banner, displaying beautiful photographs taken by many Society members, is now on display at The Parks Trust’s Howe Park Wood Visitor Centre.

The exhibition will be housed here until at least January 2018 and hopefully beyond. The Visitor Centre and café are open 9am-3pm on weekdays and from 9am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

BBOWT 2017 AGM and conference - featured image

BBOWT 2017 AGM and conference

BBOWT 2017 AGM and conference

BBOWT 2017 AGM and conference

This Saturday 14th October I attended the BBOWT AGM and conference in Oxford. The AGM in the morning was, as is usual for these events, not particularly exciting but after an excellent lunch there was a very good debate about The Future of Food, Farming and Nature.

Prof Dieter Helm from Oxford chaired the debate, which included speakers from conventional (NFU deputy president) and conservation farming, a former civil servant who worked in Brussels and The Wildlife Trusts representative. It was an extremely interesting couple of hours which allowed for plenty of input from the audience. I won’t even try to summarise the discussion here, but I was very glad that I made the effort to go and would recommend the day to members in future years. You don’t have to be a member of BBOWT to attend the afternoon conference.

The following videos were played during the conference:

Our fantastic year 2016-2017
Highlights of the year 2016 – 2017

Julie Lane

HRH Prince Cambridge visits MK exhibition

HRH Duke of Cambridge meets MKNHS

On 26th September 2017 His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge paid a visit to the Milton Keynes Rose in Campbell Park, as part of a special visit to celebrate the city’s 50th birthday.He met a number of community leaders before joining a ceremony at the Milton Keynes Rose which for those of you who don’t know features a calendar of days important to local people represented by 105 pillars arranged in the geometric design of a flower.

The Duke made a short speech before unveiling a new pillar to celebrate the city’s founders. However before the ceremony the Duke attended a festival zone in the park showcasing the city’s innovations, diverse communities, cultural aspirations and green heritage. And MKNHS was one of the organisations that was invited to welcome him! Myself, Joe Clinch and Tony Wood arrived in the early morning mist to set up our display.

We were one of four organisations in the green zone alongside The Parks Trust, The Canal and River Trust and the new electric car system that is due to operate from the Train Station in the not too distant future. We had our new information boards on display showcasing the work of the society and whilst the Duke spent only about a minute with us talking about the the society, he commented in particular on the large amount of green space in the city and also the importance of involving and enthusing the younger generation, which I assured him was one of our priorities.

It was a privilege to be part of the occasion and is perhaps a reflection of the importance that the city places on its natural history and the reputation of MKNHS itself.

Click on any of the pictures for a larger image.

Words and photos by Julie Lane

HRH Prince Cambridge visits MK exhibition

HRH Prince Cambridge visits MK exhibition

HRH Prince Cambridge visits MK exhibition

HRH Prince Cambridge visits MK exhibition

 

 

Field Guide to Trees of Britain and Europe Paperback – by Alan Birkett

Field Guide to The Trees of Britain and Europe by Alan Birkett


I’m delighted to announce that our resident tree expert, Alan Birkett has published a Field Guide to The Trees of Britain and Europe.

The ISBN is 9781921517839. The book is available on-line from Waterstones or Amazon UK or from any bookseller quoting the ISBN above.

The ever-popular subject of trees is covered in this fantastic field guide which includes more than 150 species that are likely to be encountered in Britain and elsewhere in northern and central Europe. This includes native species such as Hawthorn, Wild Cherry, English Elm and Sessile Oak together with trees which have been widely introduced from other parts of the world. The book’s USP is its ingenious set of identification keys at the start of the guide, which cover broadleaf and conifer leaves, buds, cones, catkins, flowers, fruit and bark and cross reference with the tree species and families in the main sections of the book.

The guide is suitable for beginners and more knowledgeable readers and the text has been written in an easy-to understand style while there is a detailed glossary at the end of the book to explain any technical terms. Each species account covers a spread and includes a photo of the whole tree together with close-up detail of other features such as leaves, bark and so on while the accompanying text describes key characteristics for identification, including a useful ‘Quick ID’ section.

In short this is a wonderful new field guide. The author, who has also taken all of the images himself, has been working on the idea and format for many years and is confident that the title offers something new in this market and that the book will be among the very best available in its category.

Alan has also produced an app for the iPad “Tree Guide UK” which is available from the Apple app store in Standard and Premium editions.

Field Vole ©Julian Lambley, Edgewick Farm 1 August 2017

Changes to News section on our website

Society Posts sidebar

Society Posts sidebar

We are keen to receive more articles on natural history.

We have made changes to the Milton Keynes Natural History website To place more emphasis on members’ contributions:

We have split news in the sidebar and new menu into:

  • Society News, and
  • Other News

We hope this will encourage you to send articles or links to items of interest to info@mknhs.org.uk

Society Posts menu

Society Posts menu

Loughton Brook - Briefing in the car park

Trip Report – Loughton Brook – 22 August 2017

With only two weeks remaining until the Society returns to its traditional home at Bradwell Abbey, we made a premature visit for the start of our latest summer walk, meeting at the upper car park. There was a distinctly autumnal feel to this walk – both sun and rain flirted with us but most of the walk took place under heavy cloud. However, there was still plenty of flora and fauna to enjoy.

Walking south from the car park, we took our time at the edge of the Loughton Brook. The water here is very clear in places allowing good views of the gravel beds. For once we were able to concentrate on fish, with large shoals impressing us with their speed and coordination. We saw Minnows, 3-Spined Stickleback, Rudd, Perch and Common Dace – and probably several other species which we couldn’t identify! But it was a good indication of just how much life small watercourses like this can support.

Few birds were seen (the stretch is particularly good for kingfishers) but a Little Egret flew overhead and large parties of Long Tailed Tits delighted us as they moved along the hedgerows. We heard, but did not see, a small party of Bullfinches.

Among the plants growing along the brook were Knotgrass, Purple Loosestrife, Marsh Woundwort, Himalayan Balsam and Meadow Cranesbill. We crossed the brook and walked through an area of old ridge and furrow grassland where we added Agrimony and Lady’s Bedstraw to our list.

The return leg took us along the course of the railway, through some flower rich areas and scrubby woodland. Roy pointed out some attractive ferns on the railway bridge. As the skies darkened, we began to find Mother-of-Pearl moths in good numbers and then, as dusk closed in, the bats appeared. Both Common and Soprano Pipistrelles were flying around us on the edge of Bradwell Village and were easily identified with bat detectors.

The finale was a walk through the somewhat atmospheric railway tunnel over the brook. Here we saw lots of Spiders on the walls (which, illuminated by the tunnel lights, looked superb) and a good number of impressive Old Lady moths clustered on the brick work. We arrived back at the car park just as it began to rain but before we left there was one more highlight, as a pair of Brown Long-eared Bats started hunting along the fence line of the pony paddock.

It was nice to see some new faces among the 28 people who attended this meeting. Everyone agreed that it had been a different sort of evening and we had seen an interesting variety of habitats and wildlife.

Text by Martin Kincaid
Photographs by Peter Hassett

Click on any of the pictures for a larger image.

Briefing in the car park

Briefing in the car park

Looking for fish in Loughton Brook

Looking for fish in Loughton Brook

Spleenwort in wall of old railway bridge

Wall Rue growing in old railway bridge

Wall Rue growing in old railway bridge

Old Lady moth (Mormo maura) ©Julie Lane, Loughton Brook 23 August 2017

Old Lady moth (Mormo maura) ©Julie Lane, Loughton Brook 23 August 2017

Toadflax growing beside the railway line

Toadflax growing beside the railway line

Wood White ©Paul Lund, Bucknell Wood, 8 July 2017

Trip Report Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017

Bucknell Wood, just to the north of Silverstone, is a relic of the once extensive Whittlewood Forest. Owned and managed by the Forestry Commission, it is reputed to be one of the best butterfly sites in Northamptonshire and certainly lived up to this reputation when 16 MKNHS members and one other visited last Saturday. Following Martin’s request, members car shared as much as possible, but it was still something of a squeeze in the car park.

We were blessed with blue skies and warm conditions as we met at 11am. Even as we assembled in the car park, we were treated to views of White Admiral and Silver Washed Fritillary butterflies drifting around.

Butterflies were certainly the main focus of the walk and before long we had added the common browns, whites and skippers as well as a number of purple hairstreaks who would occasionally descend from the high oaks to tantalise us with brief views.

Martin had mentioned how long the wood white butterflies were lasting and sure enough, one appeared before long. These dainty little butterflies are currently the subject of a three year habitat restoration project in the Silverstone woods and as is so often the case, this individual led us a merry dance as it flitted along the main ride but refused to alight on any plants.

We eventually saw four or five wood whites and Paul Lund was lucky enough to see a female egg-laying on one of its food plants, meadow vetchling and get some fine shots. These late wood whites were the last of the brood which began way back in April and it will be interesting to see if the warm summer weather triggers a rare second brood this year.

The stars of the show though were the Silver Washed Fritillaries, of which we saw dozens in including several pairs in cop. Few of us had seen this many before.

Marsh Tit and Coal Tit were both heard calling and brief views were obtained with 2 Buzzards and a Red Kite soaring over the wood. A Common Lizard was glimpsed as it scuttled across a fallen branch.

A surprising sighting enjoyed by a few was a Bank vole which was climbing along a blackthorn branch. We all had fantastic views of Emperor dragonflies and Brown and Southern Hawkers were also on the wing.

Early July is usually the best time to see the elusive Purple Emperor butterfly, but they had emerged in the third week of June this year so the chances of seeing a male low down were slim. We had to settle for a brief view of one soaring regally over the oak canopy and of course more Purple Hairstreaks. A lucky view got a very close look at a White Letter Hairstreak on bramble flowers before a thuggish Ringlet chased it off.

We were joined by a local butterfly enthusiast Kevin Boodley, and he was a great help in spotting some of the more unusual species. The last target before we left was the rarer Valezina form of the Silver Washed Fritillary and Kevin said he has seen several earlier in the day moving between two large bramble patches in a large clearing.

We searched and searched but got no more than brief views of a single Valezina female. However, we did see her ovipositing low down on an oak. There were many more White Admirals in this area too.

We made our way back to the car park at about 2.15pm, a little weary but delighted with what we had seen. Those who had visited Bucknell Wood for the first time were keen to re-visit.

Click on any of the pictures for a larger image. You will find more pictures from the field trip on our Members’ Photos page.

Text by Martin Kincaid.

Photos from top to bottom:

Members of the Society enjoying the walk©Peter Hassett  

Members of the Society enjoying the walk©Peter Hassett

Wood White in flight ©Paul Lund

Wood White egg laying ©Paul Lund

Wood White egg ©Paul Lund

White Admiral ©Paul Young

Silver-washed Fritallary (male) ©Paul Young

Ringlet ©Paul Young

Purple Hairstreak underside ©Paul Young

Large Skipper ©Paul Young

Gatekeeper ©Paul Young

Silver-washed Fritillary (valezina form) ©Kevin Booden

Emperor Dragonfly (male) ©Peter Hassett

 

Members of the Society ©Peter Hassett enjoying the walk in Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Members of the Society ©Peter Hassett enjoying the walk in Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Wood White in flight ©Paul Lund, Bucknell Wood, 8 July 2017

Wood White egg ©Paul Lund, Bucknell Wood, 8 July 2017
White Admiral ©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Silver-washed Fritallary (male)©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Ringlet ©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Purple Hairstreak underside ©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Large Skipper ©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Gatekeeper ©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Silver-washed Fritillary (valezina form) ©Kevin Booden, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017

Emperor Dragonfly (male) ©Peter Hassett Bucknell Wood, 8 July 2017

Paul Young has provided this amazingly comprehensive species list from our visit to Bucknell Wood:

Species Common name Taxon group
Stachys officinalis Betony flowering plant
Bombus (Pyrobombus) hypnorum Tree Bumblebee insect – hymenopteran
Satyrium w-album White-letter Hairstreak insect – butterfly
Myodes glareolus Bank Vole terrestrial mammal
Lomaspilis marginata Clouded Border insect – moth
Milvus milvus Red Kite bird
Apatura iris Purple Emperor insect – butterfly
Gonepteryx rhamni Brimstone insect – butterfly
Periparus ater Coal Tit bird
Zootoca vivipara Common Lizard reptile
Centaurium erythraea Common Centaury flowering plant
Pyronia tithonus subsp. britanniae Gatekeeper insect – butterfly
Rhagonycha fulva Common Red Soldier Beetle insect – beetle (Coleoptera)
Aeshna grandis Brown Hawker insect – dragonfly (Odonata)
Phylloscopus collybita Chiffchaff bird
Thymelicus lineola Essex Skipper insect – butterfly
Anax imperator Emperor Dragonfly insect – dragonfly (Odonata)
Thymelicus sylvestris Small Skipper insect – butterfly
Vespa crabro Hornet insect – hymenopteran
Leptidea sinapis Wood White insect – butterfly
Sylvia atricapilla Blackcap bird
Potentilla anserina Silverweed flowering plant
Favonius quercus Purple Hairstreak insect – butterfly
Ochlodes sylvanus Large Skipper insect – butterfly
Columba oenas Stock Dove bird
Buteo buteo Buzzard bird
Filipendula ulmaria Meadowsweet flowering plant
Pieris napi Green-veined White insect – butterfly
Prunella modularis Dunnock bird
Troglodytes troglodytes Wren bird
Vanessa atalanta Red Admiral insect – butterfly
Turdus merula Blackbird bird
Limenitis camilla White Admiral insect – butterfly
Prunella vulgaris Selfheal flowering plant
Maniola jurtina Meadow Brown insect – butterfly
Stachys sylvatica Hedge Woundwort flowering plant
Sitta europaea Nuthatch bird
Pieris brassicae Large White insect – butterfly
Aphantopus hyperantus Ringlet insect – butterfly

Linford Lakes Development – Letter of Objection

Below is the draft letter which Milton Keynes Natural History Society is sending to Milton Keynes Council in objection to the proposed housing development, adjacent to Linford Lakes Nature Reserve,  we need to encourage as many people as possible to fight this development and  to write to Paul Keen at MK Council. They can either email him at paul.keen@milton-keynes.gov.uk or send a letter to the Civic Offices. It is important that the Ref No. 17/01937OUT is quoted in all correspondence.

Please use as much info in this template as possible but please put things in your own words as much as you can. I have been advised that the deadline for comments is 15th August 2017

Dear Mr Keen 07.08.17

Ref: Planning Application 17/01937/OUT Land at Linford Lakes, Milton Keynes

We are writing to you with reference to this proposed development of up to 250 hours. We wish to express our deep concern about this proposal on behalf of the members of Milton Keynes Natural History Society, an action supported by our committee on 31/07/2017.

The land in question forms part of an Area of Attractive Landscape in the Milton Keynes Local Plan (2001-2011). The Society has commented with respect to Policy SD10 in the recent Draft Plan:MK Consultation that “the Society strongly endorses the policy statement relating to the Linford Lakes Area. It forms a key component of the Ouse Valley extended linear park and wildlife corridor as well as an ‘ecological resource’ in its own right. This is undoubtedly one of the most biodiverse areas in Milton Keynes and its importance cannot be overstated. Any development next to Linford Lakes is likely to have a detrimental effect on its biodiversity”.

The proposed development is immediately next to Linford Lakes Nature Reserve, owned and managed by The Parks Trust. This area of lakes, species-rich grassland, scrub and wet woodland is arguably the most important ecological site in Milton Keynes. Established as a wildfowl centre in the early 1970s, the site is now known to local bird-watchers and naturalists for its biodiversity. Among the many protected species which thrive here are otter, water vole, hedgehog, barn owl, cuckoo, great crested newt and at least eight species of bat. All of these are nationally rare and/or declining. No other single site in Milton Keynes can match this in terms of rare species. Twenty three species of butterfly and over 400 species of moth have been recorded in the past three years. A botanical survey in 2016 listed over 240 plant species.

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve and its Study Centre are open to the public on an annual permit basis. This means that everyone who visits the site has bought a permit and has a vested interest in the flora and fauna the site supports. It is one of the very few locations in Milton Keynes where cats and dogs do not visit and to some extent this explains the abundance of wildlife.

The site also has long been used as a centre for environmental education, originally by Milton Keynes Council and latterly by The Parks Trust who purchased the nature reserve in 2015. Generations of local school children have enjoyed education sessions here, learning about the natural environment and the variety of wildlife on their doorstep. Again, low visitor numbers and the absence of dogs make this site ideal for this purpose.

In my opinion, if this development goes ahead, there will be enormous and irreversible damage to this very important ecological site and the surrounding landscape. We can expect many of the vulnerable species to decline or disappear due to disturbance from humans and pets. Additionally, the site will lose its value as an education resource as visitor numbers increase and habitats are damaged. Fragmentation of landscape and habitats are a major cause of the decline in UK wildlife. Currently, the land in question is attractive to wildlife but the construction of houses here would leave many species isolated.

The Environmental Impact Assessment that the developer was obliged to carry out concluded that there would be a ‘significant negative effect on biodiversity at a county level’. The survey concludes that the zone of impact that the development would have could extend to 2km, which would of course include the nature reserve.
We can think of nowhere in Milton Keynes less suitable for housing than this site. If biodiversity has any future at all in our city it is vital that this development is not approved.

Yours sincerely

Julie Lane, Joint Chairman Linda Murphy, Joint Chairman

Martin Kincaid, Vice President

Milton Keynes Natural History Society

Field Vole ©Julian Lambley, Edgewick Farm 1 August 2017

Trip Report – Edgewick Farm 1st August 2017

Field Vole ©Julian Lambley, Edgewick Farm 1 August 2017

Field Vole ©Julian Lambley,

The farm was a former dairy farm now maintained for local people. To find out more about this site, please visit our Wildlife Sites page.

Today members met in the town car park and, before reaching the farm fields, swifts were in the eaves of the local chapel.

Viola led the walk and was not hopeful of seeing lots to interest us. Wrong! Before long, in the second field visited, a Purple Hairstreak butterfly was seen, captured, viewed by all and then released. Several oak tree surrounded the field. After a few minutes a Short-tailed (=Field) Vole was seen taking a stroll through the short grass. This, too, was captured, viewed and released. How lucky was that!

Birds that took our interest were House Martins, Swallows and a Kestrel. Plants in flower were few – like Nipplewort, Birds’-foot Trefoil and Shepherd’s Purse. Immature Grasshoppers and Shield Bugs were plentiful but not able to be identified to species level.

Further into the site a wet area (erstwhile a pond) was encountered with Lesser Spearwort (evidence of the acid conditions). Leaving the fields we continued the walk along the adjacent footpath. Here a few brave souls were encouraged to take a quick nibble of a small bit of a leaf of Water-pepper. Within a short time the strong flavour was evident – not to be forgotten.

Time then to return to our cars by following the footpath and pavements between the houses. At one point along the path was a memorial seat behind which was the “flower of the evening” – Elecampane – a rare plant in Bucks. Thanks Viola for a good evening .

Article kindly supplied by Roy Maycock

Trip Report – Rushmere Country Park 18 July 2017

No less than thirty society members turned up for this walk which was led by Gordon Redford together with Ian Richardson of the Greensand Trust. The threatened rain and thunderstorms held off for the walk although the storm later in the evening was quite spectacular.

Ian gave us a brief introduction to Rushmere Country Park standing on the viewing deck at the Visitor Centre. Here we had great views of the lake and heronry. Although most of the herons fledged some time ago, there were one or two late nests.

We had a fairly brisk ninety minute walk around the woods and meadows. Among the highlights were a Slow Worm, spotted by Harry Appleyard as it crawled through the leaf litter, calling Goldcrests, a Spotted Flycatcher and Purple Hairstreaks flitting around mature oak trees in the late
evening sunshine. We also saw a couple of tiny Common Toads and Brown Hawker dragonflies around Black Pond. Along the way we nibbled the leaves of Wood Sorrel (very tasty) and listened to grasshoppers singing. Towards the end of the walk we stopped in an area of acid grassland with lots of Ragwort plants. Some of these were covered in the distinctive larvae of the Cinnabar moth whilst other plants had already been stripped of their leaves. We netted a Lesser Marsh Grasshopper for a closer look and heard, but did not see, Dark Bush-Cricket.

A big thank you to Gordon for stepping in to lead this walk and to Ian Richardson for his time.

Text by Martin Kincaid
Photos ©Harry Appleyard:

Click on any of the pictures for a larger image.

Society members viewing the heronry and ©Harry Appleyard, Rushmere Country Park 18 July 2017

Society members viewing the heronry and ©Harry Appleyard, Rushmere Country Park 18 July 2017

The Black Pond ©Harry Appleyard, Rushmere Country Park 18 July 2017

The Black Pond ©Harry Appleyard, Rushmere Country Park 18 July 2017

Slow Worm ©Harry Appleyard, Rushmere Country Park 18 July 2017

Slow Worm ©Harry Appleyard, Rushmere Country Park 18 July 2017

Wood White ©Paul Lund, Bucknell Wood, 8 July 2017

Trip Report Bucknell Wood – 8 July 2017

Bucknell Wood, just to the north of Silverstone, is a relic of the once extensive Whittlewood Forest. Owned and managed by the Forestry Commission, it is reputed to be one of the best butterfly sites in Northamptonshire and certainly lived up to this reputation when 16 MKNHS members and one other visited last Saturday. Following Martin’s request, members car shared as much as possible, but it was still something of a squeeze in the car park.

We were blessed with blue skies and warm conditions as we met at 11am. Even as we assembled in the car park, we were treated to views of White Admiral and Silver Washed Fritillary butterflies drifting around.

Butterflies were certainly the main focus of the walk and before long we had added the common browns, whites and skippers as well as a number of purple hairstreaks who would occasionally descend from the high oaks to tantalise us with brief views.

Martin had mentioned how long the wood white butterflies were lasting and sure enough, one appeared before long. These dainty little butterflies are currently the subject of a three year habitat restoration project in the Silverstone woods and as is so often the case, this individual led us a merry dance as it flitted along the main ride but refused to alight on any plants.

We eventually saw four or five wood whites and Paul Lund was lucky enough to see a female egg-laying on one of its food plants, meadow vetchling and get some fine shots. These late wood whites were the last of the brood which began way back in April and it will be interesting to see if the warm summer weather triggers a rare second brood this year.

The stars of the show though were the Silver Washed Fritillaries, of which we saw dozens in including several pairs in cop. Few of us had seen this many before.

Marsh Tit and Coal Tit were both heard calling and brief views were obtained with 2 Buzzards and a Red Kite soaring over the wood. A Common Lizard was glimpsed as it scuttled across a fallen branch.

A surprising sighting enjoyed by a few was a Bank vole which was climbing along a blackthorn branch. We all had fantastic views of Emperor dragonflies and Brown and Southern Hawkers were also on the wing.

Early July is usually the best time to see the elusive Purple Emperor butterfly, but they had emerged in the third week of June this year so the chances of seeing a male low down were slim. We had to settle for a brief view of one soaring regally over the oak canopy and of course more Purple Hairstreaks. A lucky view got a very close look at a White Letter Hairstreak on bramble flowers before a thuggish Ringlet chased it off.

We were joined by a local butterfly enthusiast Kevin Boodley, and he was a great help in spotting some of the more unusual species. The last target before we left was the rarer Valezina form of the Silver Washed Fritillary and Kevin said he has seen several earlier in the day moving between two large bramble patches in a large clearing.

We searched and searched but got no more than brief views of a single Valezina female. However, we did see her ovipositing low down on an oak. There were many more White Admirals in this area too.

We made our way back to the car park at about 2.15pm, a little weary but delighted with what we had seen. Those who had visited Bucknell Wood for the first time were keen to re-visit.

Click on any of the pictures for a larger image. You will find more pictures from the field trip on our Members’ Photos page.

Text by Martin Kincaid.

Photos from top to bottom:

Members of the Society enjoying the walk©Peter Hassett  

Members of the Society enjoying the walk©Peter Hassett

Wood White in flight ©Paul Lund

Wood White egg laying ©Paul Lund

Wood White egg ©Paul Lund

White Admiral ©Paul Young

Silver-washed Fritallary (male) ©Paul Young

Ringlet ©Paul Young

Purple Hairstreak underside ©Paul Young

Large Skipper ©Paul Young

Gatekeeper ©Paul Young

Silver-washed Fritillary (valezina form) ©Kevin Booden

Emperor Dragonfly (male) ©Peter Hassett

 

Members of the Society ©Peter Hassett enjoying the walk in Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Members of the Society ©Peter Hassett enjoying the walk in Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Wood White in flight ©Paul Lund, Bucknell Wood, 8 July 2017

Wood White egg ©Paul Lund, Bucknell Wood, 8 July 2017
White Admiral ©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Silver-washed Fritallary (male)©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Ringlet ©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Purple Hairstreak underside ©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Large Skipper ©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Gatekeeper ©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017
Silver-washed Fritillary (valezina form) ©Kevin Booden, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017

Emperor Dragonfly (male) ©Peter Hassett Bucknell Wood, 8 July 2017

Paul Young has provided this amazingly comprehensive species list from our visit to Bucknell Wood:

Species Common name Taxon group
Stachys officinalis Betony flowering plant
Bombus (Pyrobombus) hypnorum Tree Bumblebee insect – hymenopteran
Satyrium w-album White-letter Hairstreak insect – butterfly
Myodes glareolus Bank Vole terrestrial mammal
Lomaspilis marginata Clouded Border insect – moth
Milvus milvus Red Kite bird
Apatura iris Purple Emperor insect – butterfly
Gonepteryx rhamni Brimstone insect – butterfly
Periparus ater Coal Tit bird
Zootoca vivipara Common Lizard reptile
Centaurium erythraea Common Centaury flowering plant
Pyronia tithonus subsp. britanniae Gatekeeper insect – butterfly
Rhagonycha fulva Common Red Soldier Beetle insect – beetle (Coleoptera)
Aeshna grandis Brown Hawker insect – dragonfly (Odonata)
Phylloscopus collybita Chiffchaff bird
Thymelicus lineola Essex Skipper insect – butterfly
Anax imperator Emperor Dragonfly insect – dragonfly (Odonata)
Thymelicus sylvestris Small Skipper insect – butterfly
Vespa crabro Hornet insect – hymenopteran
Leptidea sinapis Wood White insect – butterfly
Sylvia atricapilla Blackcap bird
Potentilla anserina Silverweed flowering plant
Favonius quercus Purple Hairstreak insect – butterfly
Ochlodes sylvanus Large Skipper insect – butterfly
Columba oenas Stock Dove bird
Buteo buteo Buzzard bird
Filipendula ulmaria Meadowsweet flowering plant
Pieris napi Green-veined White insect – butterfly
Prunella modularis Dunnock bird
Troglodytes troglodytes Wren bird
Vanessa atalanta Red Admiral insect – butterfly
Turdus merula Blackbird bird
Limenitis camilla White Admiral insect – butterfly
Prunella vulgaris Selfheal flowering plant
Maniola jurtina Meadow Brown insect – butterfly
Stachys sylvatica Hedge Woundwort flowering plant
Sitta europaea Nuthatch bird
Pieris brassicae Large White insect – butterfly
Aphantopus hyperantus Ringlet insect – butterfly

MK50 public walk at Willen North Lake

Walk, Willen Lake 4 July 2017

Briefing before we set off for the walk

On Tuesday 4th July 2017 a large crowd of society members were joined by a few members of the public and one small dog for a beautiful walk around the lake at Willen. It was a lovely sunny evening and there was so much on the wing both on the lake and in the meadow near the hide that it took over an hour to reach the hide (and that was all of us not just Roy!!). However the consensus was that it was such a glorious evening that we should press on and do the whole lap of the lake. Arriving back at the cars as the sun was setting we all agreed that it was one of the best outings this summer. Thank you to Martin for doing the introduction.

Walk, Willen Lake 4 July 2017

Sunset over Willen Lake 4 July 2017

Butterflies: Essex Skipper, Small Skipper, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Peacock larvae

Moths: Brown Plume Moth, Cinnabar, Shaded Broad Bar, Smoky Wainscot, Silver-y, pupae of Burnet moths.

Other insects: Roesel’s bush-crickets, meadow grasshoppers, Emperor dragonfly, Brown Hawker

Flowers: Agrimony (v. common), Perforate St.John’s Wort, Marsh Woundwort, Lady’s Bedstraw, Hedge Bedstraw, Flowering Rush, Yellow Water Lily, Purple Loosestrife, Ox-eye Daisy.

Walk, Willen Lake 4 July 2017

The  bird hide,  Willen Lake 4 July 2017

Birds: Little egret, Grey heron, Ringed plover, Common terns with young and at least two Artic Terns, Black headed gulls, Reed bunting, Reed warbler, Sedge warbler, Cettis warbler, Lesser whitethroat, Cormorant, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, a flotilla of Coot, Tufted duck, Great crested grebe, lots of Mute swans on the lake.

Photographs and text by Julie Lane

Milton Keynes Natural History Society – new logo

Milton Keynes Natural History Society logoWe hope that you like our smart new logo which we will be using on our website, display boards and posters.

We ran a competition inviting our members to design a new logo. Paul Lund come up with the winning design.

Out thanks are due to Paul Lund for creating the design and Ian Saunders for working his magic in Photoshop.

 

Introduction to Bird Song

Song Thrush by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 30 April 2016

Song Thrush by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 30 April 2016

In recent years, a number of Society members have expressed an interest in learning how to identify bird species by sound. Here at last is the opportunity!

A three-part introductory course aimed at Milton Keynes Natural History Society members in April/Mary 2017. Each session will be based at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve and we will also include a visit to nearby Little Linford Wood. By the end of the course attendees should be able to:

• Recognise up to 20 bird species by song alone.
• Distinguish between full bird song and other vocalisations.
• Improve their listening skills.

The course will be delivered by Society Members Peter Garner and Martin Kincaid. There will be no charge for this training course. To reserve a place, or for more information, please contact Martin at mkincaid1971@outlook.com

“What’s About” is now “Recent Sightings”

Recent Sightings graphicSince the website was launched, we have posted details of recent sightings of wildlife in the Milton Keynes area. These sightings have been published as weekly news items called “What’s About”.

Our members have said that they would prefer a single page with all sightings, rather than the individual weekly news items.

From January 2017, we have introduced a new page on the website called “Recent Sightings”. You can access the page from the menu at the top – choose “News”,  then “Recent Sightings”. There is also a quick link in the right hand sidebar under the Magpie logo called “Click Here For Recent Sightings”.

Sightings are listed in date order with the most recent at the top of the list.

We hope you like this change. Please send your sightings and photos to sightings@mknhs.org.uk so that we can share them with everyone interested in wildlife in the Milton Keynes area.

The new sightings mailbox has been added to the contact form on the contact us page.