It was still dry after a period without rain when around 25 members walked a route around Bury Common on the 10th May. Some of us walked through the paddocks down by the river – a permissive path, as the paddocks are owned by Mill House (I believe). This allowed us to get a rather distant view of the little owls in the willow which can be seen from across the first paddock. Little owls have been in this vicinity for years. It was probably a little early in the year to see the first damselflies although I have seen some since.
At the end of the paddocks, on reaching the lower meadow, and getting safely across the bridge with a rotten middle, we turned up left towards the main common and met up with those walkers who had avoided the stiles on the riverside path. We walked along the boundary between the upper and lower meadow. This field has not been fertilised nor grazed for many years now, and can be rich in plantlife. We walked around the lower meadow and the botanists amongst us were busy checking out plants.
I had hoped that the kestrel nest I had spotted and watched weeks earlier would have been inhabited but it had been abandoned for a while and was still abandoned although we saw the kestrels. However an eagle-eyed person spotted a large raptor nest on the other side of the river but visible from our path. At the time it was thought this was a buzzard’s nest as a black tail and brown upper body of a bird could just be seen. (However, photos I took a couple of days later revealed a red kite on the nest, and I also saw a kite perched nearby.) We paused at what is called locally ‘the beach’ to watch a number of silvery fish jumping out of the river.
It was a lovely evening with almost a mackerel sky some of the time, and larks were still singing as we walked the lower meadow. Finally, as we walked back to the car park through the “cut” (where the ‘railway-that-never-was’ was to be sited) we had a lovely sunset.
The Common is also known as Bury Field. There is an account of its history here: https://newport-pagnell.uk/history/bury-field/. And thanks to Mike LeRoy for letting us know of the much more extended account here: https://www.mkheritage.org.uk/nphs/bury-field-history-and-walk/ Thanks also to Martin Ferns, in particular for joining me on the recce, providing information on the site’s history and leading the non-stile route and keeping an eye on the rear.
I also wrote a small piece on Bury Common during the first 2020 lockdown which is available on the MKNHS site: https://mknhs.org.uk/spring-on-bury-common-ann-jones/
Bird list Bury Common 10 May 2022 (not necessarily comprehensive – just what was noted)
Swifts over Newport Pagnell town
2 Little Owls
Other sightings of interest
Hundreds of buttercups
Yellow iris in flower Iris pseudacorus
Great Burnet Sanguisorba officinalis
Red and Black Froghopper Cercopsis vulnerata
Common Frog (deceased)