Category Archives: Expired

Scarlet Tiger moth ©Paul Lund, Flitwick Moor 25 June 2019

Trip Report – Flitwick Moor 25 June 2019

Flitwick Moor is an SSSI managed by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust. It is a former mire in the valley of the River Flit which rises in the Chiltern foothills (and a tributary of the River Ivel which in turn flows into the Great Ouse). It is an uncommon habitat for southern England with areas of peat fed by iron rich acid springs (chalybeate) from the Greensands. This was extracted up to 1960 (the peat was used in the purification of natural gas and the chalybeate was sold in the 19thcentury as a cure-all tonic!). Alders predominate in the lowest areas of peat extraction: birch and oak (Quercus rober) in the higher. Woodland clearings offer habitats of sphagnum mosses, bracken, sedges, reeds and cotton grass. The slightly higher ground consists of a rough meadow dotted with ant hills.

It rained heavily on the day of the visit and although the rain had stopped by 19.00 it was still damp and murky: not ideal conditions for a wildlife amble. Nevertheless 18 members turned up for the evening which produced a good showing of plants and several invertebrates of interest.

The routetook us first through the wet woodland area of peat extraction. The plant life off the path and in the managed clearings included Rough Chervil, Small Balsam, Foxglove, Honeysuckle, Bracken, Common Polypody (a fern), Broad Buckler-fern, Soft Rush, Remote Sedge, Pendulous Sedge, and Cotton Grass (the latter much less in evidence compared with the Society’s last visit in 2016) all acid tolerant or acid loving. A total of 17 bird species were noted, by far the highlight being an Oyster Catcher which was heard calling as it passed over shortly after the walk started. Most of the other birds were common woodland species including Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Songthrush, given away by their songs and calls from the dense canopy.

Six-spot Burnett ©Paul Lund, Flitwick Moor 25 June 2019

Six-spot Burnett ©Paul Lund, Flitwick Moor 25 June 2019

The meadow area is rough grazed with scattered bushes and the mounds of the Yellow Meadow Ant. Here the plant life included Pendulous Sedge, Wavy Bitter-cress, Yellow Iris, and Horsetail at the soggy edges, and Lesser Stitchwort, Tufted Vetch, Meadow Vetchling, Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Lady’s Bedstraw, Scented Mayweed, Common Mouse-ear and Yarrow in the drier areas. Invertebrates included Marbled White and Six-spot Burnet.

A short diversion along the side of one of the ditches off the meadow yielded dense Russian Comfrey, Marsh Thistle and Hemlock (one specimen at over 3 metres!). The Scarlet Tiger (photo at top of page) was the invertebrate highlight here.

Thanks to Roy Maycock and Harry Appleyard, who were kind enough to accompany me on exploratory visits and for putting together checklists of plants and birds/invertebrates for participants, and to Paul Lund for the photographs.

Joe Clinch, Leader for the evening

Barn owl feather ©Sue Hetherington, Floodplain Forest NR 17 July 2019

Feather identification

Many thanks to Colin Dockety for leading tonight’s (16 July 2019) field trip to Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve. With my “birders” hat on, my attention was quickly drawn to a pile of feathers on the very first field leading down to the reserve proper.

I find feathers quite tricky to identify – identification is so easy when a whole bird is seen but individual feathers are another matter. The whole group looked at the feathers, but it was Ayla Webb who knew what they were – a barn owl.  We wondered what on earth could have led to the demise of this bird?

Ayla pointed out that the barbs towards the bottom of each feather were much more downy than in other birds’ feathers – this being an adaptation that allows the barn own to fly silently.

I checked this id when I got home using a free website.  This is the website of Michel Kleeman, here http://www.michelklemann.nl/verensite/start/

Sadly, I agree that a barn owl had perished recently on that field. Note that birds are arranged in this database by scientific name and this the barn owl is listed as Tyto alba.

I’ve included this link to the feather id database as I thought that it could be of interest to other members.

Text and photo by Sue Hetherington

Nick Baker Milton Keynes Festival of Nature 2019

Book now for Return to Nature with Nick Baker 4 July 2019

As part of the Festival of Nature week, Nick Baker, TV presenter, naturalist and Vice President of the Wildlife Trusts will be giving a talk:

Professional naturalist and TV presenter Nick Baker has travelled to every corner of the globe while following his passion for the natural world. Now, Nick uses his lifetime of experience and lifelong love of science and nature to provide some insight of how to reconnect with the wildness that lives within us all.

Click here for more information and to book your tickets: Return to Nature with Nick Baker | Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust

Festival of Nature 2019

MK Festival of Nature 29 June – 7 July 2019

It is that time of year again! For the fourth year running The Parks Trust and BBOWT (Wildlife Trust) in conjunction with MKNHS are putting on a magical week of wildlife events.

This year the week includes a ‘Return to Nature’ talk by Nick Baker, a Bioblitz event at Howe Park Wood, a Family bat and moth night, a Teens go Wild evening and of course it culminates with the wonderful Nature Day at Howe Park Wood.

To see a full programme of these events and to book go to MKfestivalofnature.org

Help wanted!

As a society we are particularly involved in the Teens go Wild event on Thursday 4th July 7-9pm at Linford Lakes Education Centre (Linford Lakes Nature Reserve) and the Nature Day at Howe Park Wood on 6th July. If you are happy to help for an hour or two at either of these events then please contact me Julie Lane at silverteasel@hotmail.com

Buff-tip moth © 2019 Gordon Redford 24May19

Moth Notes 28 May 2019

The photographs above are shown by way of an update on the progress of the Emperor Moth caterpillars that hatched on 4thMay and were then about 2mm in length (See previous Moth Notes 9thMay).  They are now close on 20mm long and have undergone at least one skin change since then.

The last set of Moth Notes were written on 9th May and since then 1,138 moths of some 90 species have passed through my hands, been identified and then released unharmed to do what they have to do, which is to find another of the same species, mate and then to get the eggs laid.  These moths were attracted to moth traps set at Goosey Bank, near Olney on 2 nights, at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve on 13 nights and in my garden in Newport Pagnell on 18 nights.

It has not been easy to select from the 90 species which to include in these notes.  I think they are all beautiful and special.  Moths look at their best just after emergence from the pupa and this White Ermine is one such.  It is a common moth whose caterpillars feed on a range of plants including common Nettle and Docks. The English name “ermine” comes from the winter fur of the stoat which is white with a black tip to the tail.

Clouded Border, ©Gordon Redford 19May19

My second selection is also a freshly emerged specimen and this is a Clouded Border.  The caterpillars feed on Aspen, Willows, Poplars and Sallows.   The moths are on the wing May and June and often again in August as they are able to produce 2 generations of in a year.

Buff-tip moth © 2019 Gordon Redford 24May19

Number 3 goes to the unmistakeable Buff-tip.  When at rest, as in the photograph, the moth resembles a broken birch twig.  This moth is on the wing late May to July and the caterpillars feed on Sallows, Birches, Oaks and many other trees. 

Chamomile Shark, moth ©Gordon Redford 18May19

My fourth moth for these notes was a new one for my garden list and was recorded on 17th May. The Chamomile Shark is one of 9 moths that form the Cucullinae or Shark family.  The moth rests with wings closed tightly against the body, with collar raised into a pointed projection like a shark’s dorsal fin.  Caterpillars feed on Chamomile, Scentless Mayweed and Feverfew. All previous records for this moth in North Bucks were recorded by George Higgs in his garden at Willen in 2006.

Ancylis badiana Moth © 2019 Gordon Redford Linford Lakes NR 24May19

To round off the May selection there is a splendid micro-moth.  It does not have common English name so is known by the Latin name of Ancylis badiana.   There are about 1700 micro-moths in Great Britain and Ireland and far outnumber the macro-moths of which there are about 900. The caterpillar of Ancylis badianafeeds on peas, vetches and clovers and this specimen was recorded at Linford Lakes on 23 May.

Text and photos kindly supplied by Gordon Redford. Click here to read the previous edition of Moth Notes

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Changes to the website

A couple of changes have been implemented on the website:

Contact us

There is now a Contact Us link in the sidebar. Clicking on this link will generate a blank email addressed to the Society.

Other Events

Local wildlife events being run in the Milton Keynes area were shown as Other News items.

To make them easier to find, they are now shown as Other Events in the sidebar. The most recent upcoming events will appear in the sidebar. There is a new page called Other Events in the News menu showing all upcoming events.

RSPBNBLG Nature photography event, College Lake 29 May 2019

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are leading a field trip to:

Location: College Lake, near Tring
Meet in car park (£3 suggested donation) signed off B488 ¼ mile north of canal bridge, Bulbourne. SP 936 138, HP23 5QG
Postcode: HP23 5QG (Google map)

NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY – COME AND TRY IT!
Ever wanted to try wildlife photography, but put off because it seems too technical or expensive? Here’s your opportunity, even if your only camera is your ‘phone!
If birds seem too challenging, College Lake has plenty of flowers and insects. We have the hide for an initial meet-up, and afterwards a chance to compare notes in the cafe. Most paths are accessible to wheelchairs – Mobility scooter available for hire – please contact the reserve in advance on 01442826774.
Event Leader : Paul Young

Time: 10 am to 1 pm

Price: Free event – Parking donation to support the Wildlfe Trust

Read more at https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/groups/northbucks/events/#DyfQO641kuyGlqHy.99

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.

 13 – 17 May 2019 Invasive Species Week

During Invasive Species Week, organisations across the UK, Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are working together to raise awareness and ask everyone to help prevent their spread to protect the environment and recreational spaces for future generations to enjoy!

Click here for more information.

Talk Butterflies of Milton Keynes 8 May 2019

Red Admiral: ©Janice Robertson Linford Lakes NR 16 March 2018

Red Admiral: ©Janice Robertson Linford Lakes NR 16 March 2018

Talk “Butterflies of Milton Keynes” on Wednesday 8 May 2019 at Linford Lakes NR

19.00 – 20.30 hrs

Presentation in the Centre by Martin Kincaid, Senior Biodiversity Officer at The Parks Trust.
Cost: £2 per adult, £1 for children – payable on the night.

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 19 May 2019

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 10:00 – 16:00hrs

Tea and coffee, craft stall and home-made cakes available.
Second-hand books on sale as well as many other items.
“Warbler walk”. Meet at the Centre at 08:00 – 08:30 hrs. Open to everyone.
Bring friends and family to enjoy the reserve at this special time of year.

Change to programme 23 April 2019

Unfortunately, Dr Marc Bellamy is unable to give his scheduled talk.

Our very own Mick Jones has kindly agreed to step into the breach. Mick will tell us about his experiences of Chasing Butterflies from The Chilterns to the Caucasus.

Aerial view of Linford Lakes Study Centre

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve Open Day 18 April 2018

Come to Linford Lakes Nature Reserve to explore this usually permit only Parkland.

A hidden gem, Linford Lakes is buzzing with wildlife. With lots of hands on activities for all ages, this is a free opportunity to explore and learn about the Reserve from Parks Trust staff and the Friends of Linford Lakes Nature Reserve.

Please note that, due to the sensitivity of wildlife on the Reserve, dogs are not permitted on site.

Click here for more information.

Wildlife Trust Logo

HS2 Vegetation Clearance at Calvert – Steeple Claydon: meeting 27 February 4pm to 8pm Calvert Green Community Hall

The following email will be of interest to members of the society:

Many members will have heard that HS2 is about to start clearing a huge area of approx 200 hectares on which the maintenance depot will be built if HS2 actually goes ahead. This is approx 500 acres, 2 square kilometres or 200 Twickenham Stadiums.The Calvert Jubilee Reserve will also be affected by clearance of an approx 75 metre strip along the eastern side for an access road, precisely the area with the best nesting habitat, and in which turtle dove and nightingale have been recorded in recent years. The plan by Fusion acting for Keir and HS2 is total clearance of all vegetation including mature trees, bushes and an estimated 19 kilometres of hedgerow. This is a prime area for all the hairstreaks too. What happens here is likely to set the pattern for the massive clearance that will be associated soon with the new Expressway in the Growth Arc across Oxfordshire, Bucks and Bedfordshire, with its plan for one million new houses.

Please make your feelings known to the local MP john.bercow.mp@parliament.uk and the minister for HS2 nusrat.ghani.mp@parliament.uk and come to Calvert on 27 February.

Please ask:

Calvert to Steeple Claydon: What is the plan? What area is being cleared? What are you doing to preserve natural features like trees and streams? Why are you planning to do this as the bird nesting season is starting? Where are you going to provide replacement areas in mitigation?

Calvert Jubilee Reserve: is it just an access road up the east side of the existing railway? How wide? How long? Is it necessary when the main works are the other side of the railway? What happens after it is no longer needed? Why precisely as the nesting season starts – is this legal on a nature reserve?

What are you doing to minimise damage to orchid rich turf, mature trees and scrub that are essential for butterflies and birds including nightingale and turtle dove?

Has statutory public notice been given – where and when?

Needless to say, BBOWT is taking steps but needs your support. The Trust is fortified by a favourable judgement yesterday in its fight to have the Expressway route revisited as the developers (the government) disregarded the law in making their decision.

Richard Birch, BBOWT Chilterns Group. Tel 01296 624511

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 17 February 2019

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 10:00 – 16:00hrs (hides to close at 15.30)

The reserve is open to friends and family,
Bring the neighbours too.
Stop off at the centre for a fresh cuppa and a piece of home-made cake.

If you would like to accompany Andy Harding on his Wildfowl Count walk around the Reserve, be ready to meet at the Centre at 10:00hrs.

Programme Change 12/19 February 2019

Unfortunately, David Sharp cannot make his slot “Acoustics by the sea” for this coming Tuesday 12 February 2019 so I have agreed to move it back to Tuesday 19 February 2019 Mary Sarre has agreed to bring forward the Summer Planning to next Tuesday 12 February 2019.

RSPBNBLG Walk – College Lake 10 February 2019

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are leading a field trip to:

College Lake Nature Reserve (Near Tring). Meet in reserve car park (£3 suggested donation) signed off B488 ¼ mile north of canal bridge, Bulbourne. SP 936 138.
Postcode: HP23 5QG (Google map)

This flagship BBOWT reserve has a fine visitor centre, toilets and cafe. The flooded chalk pit always holds a good range of birds (we have recorded 50+ species on some of our previous visits). Paths mostly good, and Mobility Scooter can be booked ahead on 01442-826774.

Walk Leader : Pete How

Time: 10 am to 12.30 pm

Price: Free event

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.

World Wetlands Day 2 February 2019

Today is World Wetlands Day (02 February 2019), and a timely reminder of how paramount wetlands conservation is in our fight against climate change and the risk of natural disasters.

Organised by the Ramsar Convention, a treaty bringing together 170 countries committed to conserving these precious habitats, World Wetlands Day is a chance to raise the public profile of this important habitat.

Click here to read the rest of the article.: World Wetlands Day and waste exports – Defra in the media

RSPBNBLG Talk – Wildlife Down Under (Part 2) 14 February 2019

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

Location: The Cruck Barn, City Discovery Centre, Alston Drive, Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes
Postcode: MK13 9AP (Google map)

Some of you will remember Chris’ talk last season – Part 1 of this “mini-series”. Part 2 will bring you lots more on his memorable three month Australian trip. Highlights include whale watching in Queensland, Sydney and the Blue Mountains in New South Wales and a Northern territory adventure visiting Kakadu National Park and other locations near Darwin. Images of iconic mammals and birds, plus some spectacular landscapes as well. Great photographs and an entertaining 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.
Brimstone nectaring on Sanfoin, Pitstone Quarry, 28 May 2017

Annual Photographic Competition 22 January 2019

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:-

All entries must be handed to Martin or Lewis by the end of the January 15thmeeting.

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. May the best photograph win! It could be yours!

RSPBNBLG Walk – Willen Lake 1 January 2019

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are leading a field trip to:

Location: Willen Lake – Meet in Parks Trust car park (free) off V11 Tongwell St, just north of Pineham (V11/H5) roundabout. SP 883 404

IMPORTANT
Please use ONLY the above car park. The reference to PAVILION CAR PARK in our printed programme was a mistake – apologies for any confusion caused.

Our ever-popular New Year perambulation of this local gem. Expect a range of water birds, including possible rarities (43 bird species seen last year … 44 if that really was a Redpoll)! Toilets at some distance (cafe on south lake). Most paths accessible, but some wet and muddy bits. Well-behaved dogs (must be on short leads) are welcome on this walk only.
Walk Leader : Chris Ward

Time: 10 am to 12.30 pm

Price: Free event

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.

RSPBNBLG Quiz Night 23 November 2018

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

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE FUN QUIZ NIGHT
Location: Wicken Sports Club, Wicken, Milton Keynes
Postcode: MK19 6BU (Google map)

Our Annual General Knowledge Fun Quiz Night

Teams of up to FIVE people – bring your own team or come along and join up with others.
£4 per person and a prize for each member of the winning team.
Extra “Spot round” in the interval for £1 – with an individual prize.
Wicken Sports Club will sell refreshments: tea, coffee and a bar.
Please book in advance by Friday 16 November
To Ann Davies e-mail: AnnRSPBNBucks@hotmail.co.uk

Time: Doors open 7.30pm for a prompt 8pm start

Price: £4 per person for main quiz, £1 per person for interval “spot” round

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.

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 18 November 2018

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 18 November 2018 10:00-16:00hrs.

The reserve is open to friends and family, bring the neighbours too.
Stop off at the centre for a fresh cuppa and a piece of home-made cake.
Buy a unique pre-Christmas gift and some bird-seed too.

Also, Andy Harding, the County Bird Recorder, will be taking his monthly wildfowl count this morning. He is willing to take a group along to the hides and will help with identifying ducks and other birds. Please meet at 10:00 a.m. at the Centre.

Book sale icon

Book Sale Tuesday 30 October 2018

If you have any natural history books you no longer need that can be sold to raise funds for the MK Natural History Society, please bring them to Tuesday’s meeting (30th) as soon as you can after 7.30pm. We aim to sell them that evening.

BNHS 2018 Insect Conference 17 November 2018

More Neglected Species 2018 conference

More Neglected Species 2018 conference

The third Bedfordshire Natural History Society Insect Conference will be held on Saturday 17th November 2018. The programme of speakers comprises:

  • Craneflies – John Kramer
  • Dolichopodidae – Long-legged flies or ‘Dollies’ – Martin Drake
  • Sciomyzidae – Snail-killing flies – Stuart Ball
  • Ladybirds – Peter Brown
  • Scarabaeids – Scarab Beetles – Darren Mann
  • Ichneumons – Gavin Broad
  • Scale Insects and Mealy Bugs – Chris Malumphy

Venue: The Forest Centre, Millenium Country Park, Marston Moretaine, MK43 0PR
Fee: £20 for BNHS & Bird Club members, £25 for non-members.
Entrance by ticket only. To book please complete and return this form:.docx .pdf

Bucks Fungus Group walk – Ivinghoe Common 23 September 2018

Orange Peel Fungus by Jason Hollinger

Orange Peel Fungus by Jason Hollinger

Dear member(s),
Herewith your last minute reminder for our coming visit to Hodgemoor Woods on Saturday September 15th. The following weekend we visit Ivinghoe Common (part of Ashridge) on Sunday September 23rd. For full details go to www.bucksfungusgroup.org.uk/events.html
Due to the extremely dry period over the last few weeks and months in our area it has to be said that fungi-hunting at the moment is somewhat disappointing to say the least! I hope this won’t deter you from joining us but if you’re coming please don’t be surprised if finding beautiful specimens proves a bit of a challenge. We badly need a prolonged spell of rain in the Chilterns to get things moving.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Best wishes,
Penny

Bucks Fungus Group walk Hodgemoor Woods 15 September 2018

Orange Peel Fungus by Jason Hollinger

Orange Peel Fungus by Jason Hollinger

Dear member(s),
Herewith your last minute reminder for our coming visit to Hodgemoor Woods on Saturday September 15th. The following weekend we visit Ivinghoe Common (part of Ashridge) on Sunday September 23rd. For full details go to www.bucksfungusgroup.org.uk/events.html
Due to the extremely dry period over the last few weeks and months in our area it has to be said that fungi-hunting at the moment is somewhat disappointing to say the least! I hope this won’t deter you from joining us but if you’re coming please don’t be surprised if finding beautiful specimens proves a bit of a challenge. We badly need a prolonged spell of rain in the Chilterns to get things moving.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Best wishes,
Penny

FSC Learn to love Beetles course – 8 September 2018

We have 4 spaces on our Learn To Love Beetles course at @FSCAmersham on Saturday with @KatyPottsEnto . bookings have now closed online but you can still grab a space by calling our bookings team on 01743 852100.

This is a very good way of starting to look at beetles and very good value at only £5. Any question, please contact the FSC Biolinks team on the number above.

Best wishes

Neil

Neil Fletcher
Environmental Support Officer (Part-time, Tues-Thurs)
Historic and Natural Environment Team
Transport Ÿ Economy Ÿ Environment

Bat and Moth Evening – Linford Lakes NR 6 September 2018

Members of the Society mothing by Julie Lane. Linford Lakes NR 9 July 2016

Members of the Society mothing by Julie Lane. Linford Lakes NR 9 July 2016

Batty about bats and mad on moths?

Thursday 6th September 2018.
Doors open at 19:15 hrs.

Come and find out about the bats and moths here at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve.

Event starts prompt at 19:30hrs.

The evening will start with a presentation about bats followed by a walk with bat detectors and finishing with an insight on catching and identifying moths.

£3:00 per adult (£5 per couple), £2 for children
(All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult – event not suitable for children under 10 years old)

Friends and family welcome.

Please note, no dogs allowed on site.

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.
For the birds event ©Julie Lane, Linford Manor Park 22 July 2018

For the Birds event

For the birds event ©Julie Lane, Linford Manor Park 22 July 2018

For the birds event ©Julie Lane, Linford Manor Park 22 July 2018

For the birds event ©Julie Lane, Linford Manor Park 22 July 2018

For the birds event ©Julie Lane, Linford Manor Park 22 July 2018

Julie Lane has recommended “For the Birds”, part of the Milton Keynes International Festival:

I thought I should draw peoples attention to a wonderful lighting and sound installation called ‘For the Birds’ taking place this week at Linford Manor Park as part of the MK International Festival. It is a truly magical experience and great fun and for anyone who is interested in birds it would be a pity to miss out on it. Quite what the local wildlife makes of it is a different matter but it is well worth a visit. Tickets are £15 available from the Box office 01908 280800 and it is on in the evenings Wed 25th – Sat 28th July.

Julie has also provide some videos:
Video 1 (24 seconds)
Video 2 (18 seconds)
You can find more information on The Parks Trust website.

Butterfly Walk North Bucks Way 14 July 2018

White Admiral by Harry Appleyard, North Bucks Way, 8 July 2016

White Admiral by Harry Appleyard, North Bucks Way, 8 July 2016

Saturday 14th July 2018: 10.30am

North Bucks Way & Oakhill Wood, Milton Keynes, Bucks

A walk of about 2.5 miles along the North Bucks Way to look for White Admiral, Purple Emperor, various Hairstreaks and other summer species of butterfly.

Meet at Shenley Wood car park SP824356.

Leader and contact: Martin Kincaid 01908 235632 or mobile 07768 146232

Click here for more infrmation.

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.
Milton Keynes Festival of Nature Poster 6-15 July 2018

Milton Keynes Festival of Nature 6-15 July 2018

Organised in partnership with The Parks Trust and Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust and MK Natural History Society the Festival of Nature is a celebration of the fascinating and varied nature that can be found across the city.

There is a wide-ranging programme of activities available for people of all ages, located in areas across MK.

Full details about each activity can be found in the MK Festival of Nature booklet and please go to The Parks Trust website for booking events (please note that the Teens Go Wild event is taking place at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve not MK Museum as advertised in the booklet).

If anyone is happy to help us run the Teens go Wild event on 14th July or help with our activities at the Nature Day on 14th July please contact Julie Lane at silverteasel@hotmail.com Your help would be very much appreciated.

Mystery Solved

Julie Lane asked for assistance in identifying the objects in these photos.

Found on a Devon coastal road (one during the evening and one in the daylight) near East Prawle on 5th June.  It rolls into a ball like a pillbug when alarmed.

I’m delighted to say that Ayla Webb has identified the mystery object as the larvae of a Bloody-nosed beetle Timarcha tenebricosa

Briefing at start of the walk ©Peter Hassett 5 June 2018

Trip Report – Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

This week’s meet took place at Rushden Lakes in Northamptonshire, a large reserve of lakes, woodland and flower meadows owned by The Wildlife Trusts. While this site is somewhat further afield from many of our previously-visited sites, like many of our more familiar parks and reserves in Milton Keynes, it is a mere stone’s throw away from a large retail park which continues to grow day by day. Such a busy urban setting might put a casual wildlife enthusiast off from the area but as we gathered from our visit, this is an incredibly rich and diverse area in terms of both habitats and species.

As usual for our outdoor meetings, our walk began around 7pm, led this time by Reserve Ranger Toni Castello and three of his volunteers from The Wildlife Trusts. For much of the day, the weather was dull and overcast but fortunately as we made our way there, the low-level cloud cleared, bringing warm sunshine and a mostly clear sky for the rest of the evening, ideal for finding basking insects and bird-watching. After a brief introduction to the site, its history and its management, our walk began, passing by two of the lakes, the Nene Valley River and into two of the meadows.

While the breeze on the surface of the lakes prevented us from seeing the clouds of damselflies Toni and his volunteers claimed to see frequently there, we found no shortage of them basking along the waterside vegetation, two of the most numerous being the Red-eyed Damselfly and the stunning Banded Demoiselle. Male Banded Demoiselles were frequently popping up from the nettles and bushes as we walked by, with a few females and a mating pair among them also. While we were stopped next to one of the lakes, we also spotted many freshly-emerged damselflies with their exuvia in the reed-beds including Common Blue and Azure Damselflies.

Much of the discussion from Toni and the volunteers went into the making and management of various parts of the reserve, including the man-made lakes, one of which was said to be far more productive and beneficial for wildlife having been dug to various depths, rather than a mere large hole in the ground filled with water.

Fellow society member Mary Sarre wrote about the meadows and their rich diversity of flora:

“The large meadows we saw had never been ploughed and there were cattle grazing. There are two meadows, both categorised as MG4 (Lowland Meadow), the western one drier, and the eastern one wetter.

The western meadow had a range of tall grasses, and Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis) in flower, and earlier in the year the Cuckoo flower, Ladies bedstraw, Birds foot Trefoil, and Meadow Vetchling would be showing.

The eastern meadow is wetter, with wet flushes containing Yellow flag Iris, soft rush and Water figwort. A Thalictrum sp was mentioned by the guide, but not seen.”

While the densely covered trees and hedgerows prevented us from seeing many of them, it was a great evening for birdsong and observing several species around the lakes. Several Black-headed Gulls were seen over the lakes, with Cormorants and Grey Herons passing over. Just before the walk began, a distant Cuckoo was heard from the circular walk and warblers were singing constantly through the evening, including 5 Garden Warblers, Reed Warblers, Willow Warblers as well as 3 Song Thrushes. This year’s unprecedented lack of hirundines was unfortunately apparent here also but a group of at least 10 Swifts could be seen over the lakes.

This trip was a satisfying and educational end to what started off as an otherwise dull day, at a site that I’m sure many of us will visit again in the future to find out more. It is apparently a notable site for waterfowl in the winter, so a recommendation for local bird-watchers for sure.

Article by Harry Appleyard and Mary Sarre
Click on any of the pictures for a larger image.

Pictures from top to bottom:
Briefing at start of the walk ©Peter Hassett
Female Banded Demoiselle ©Harry Appleyard
View over the lakes ©Harry Appleyard
Nene Valley River ©Harry Appleyard
Blue-tailed damselfly ©Julian Lambley
Meadow ©Harry Appleyard
Male Banded Demoiselle, ©Harry Appleyard
Lakeside view ©Harry Appleyard
Lakeside Trees and Reeds ©Harry Appleyard
Female Red-eyed Damselfly ©Harry Appleyard
Black-headed Gull ©Peter Hassett
Kingfisher Carving ©Harry Appleyard

Briefing at start of the walk ©Peter Hassett 5 June 2018

Female, Banded Demoiselle ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

View over the lakes ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Nene Valley River ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Blue-tailed damselfly ©Julian Lambley, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Meadow ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Male Banded Demoiselle, ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Lakeside view ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Lakeside Trees and Reeds ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Female Red-eyed Damselfly ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Black-headed Gull ©Peter Hassett, Rushden Lakes, 5 June 2018

Kingfisher Carving ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

 

 

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 15 April 2018

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 15 April 2018 10:00-16:00hrs.

Tea and coffee, home-made cakes available.

Second-hand books on sale as well as crafts and bird seed.

Great views through the new windows.

Here’s hoping for some warmer dryer weather as this can be a busy time on the reserve with lots of new arrivals. Birds singing and nest building, bees a buzzin, crickets chirping and butterflies and flowers too.

Come and enjoy the reserve a new, now we are free of any current building plans to spoil our enjoyment.

50th anniversary celebration badge label in golden color

Parking for 50th Anniversary Meeting at Chrysalis Theatre, Willen

There are about 70 parking spaces outside The Chrysalis Theatre so most people should be able to park here. Otherwise, please park at the Peace Pagoda car park, opposite Camp Hill off the V10. Note that parking charges will not apply on the evening. It is a short walk from this car park over a bridge to the venue, and parking marshalls will direct you. Can we also ask members to car share on the evening to reduce the number of cars on site

50th anniversary celebration badge label in golden color

Special Anniversary Event: Join us to celebrate 50 years of MKNHS!

Aerial photograph of Bardsey Island, Llyn Peninsular, Gwynedd, North Wales.

Bardsey Island, Llyn Peninsular, Gwynedd, North Wales..

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of Milton Keynes Natural History Society.

To celebrate this special occasion, the Society is delighted to present a talk by

Patrick Barkham on the subject of Islanders: an exploration of some of Britain’s smaller islands

When: Tuesday 27th March 2018 at 7:30pm
Where: Chrysalis Theatre, Japonica Lane, Willen Park South, Milton Keynes. MK15 9JY
Parking: There are about 70 parking spaces outside The Chrysalis Theatre so most people should be able to park here. Otherwise, please park at the Peace Pagoda car park, opposite Camp Hill off the V10. Note that parking charges will not apply on the evening. It is a short walk from this car park over a bridge to the venue, and parking marshalls will direct you. Can we also ask members to car share on the evening to reduce the number of cars on site
Tickets: £5 (Society members and under 18s free)

Click here to book your tickets. Book cover of Islander by Patrick Barkham

Patrick Barkham is a well-known natural history author and writer for The Guardian. His books include “The Butterfly Isles” and “Badgerlands”. Recently he has published “Islander: a journey around our archipelago”, an exploration of eleven of the smaller islands of Britain which will be the focus for his talk.

Do join us for this special evening!

Walk icon

Floodplain Forest NR walk on 4 March 2018 is going ahead

Walk iconMeet at 2 p.m at the Manor Farm Car Park, MK12 5NN. Leaders – Martin Kincaid and Joe Clinch

3 March 2018 update – the walk is NOT CANCELLED but please take extra care if travelling by road.

Martin Kincaid had advised that “the road up to Manor Farm is pretty clear now. We should be able to park up a the car park just off Old Wolverton Road if not the one at the farm buildings. I will wear a Hi-Vis jacket so that people can see me as they turn in off Wolverton Road. Forecast for tomorrow is much warmer, with temperatures up to 8C.”

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 18 February 2018

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 18 February2018 10:00-16:00hrs.
Tea and coffee, home-made cakes available.
Second-hand books on sale as well as crafts and bird seed.

Wader Quest.
Rick Simpson will be at LLNR on Sunday 18th Feb.
Rick and Elis Simpson run a charity, Wader Quest, to help conserve waders around the world.
As part of their fund-raising Rick and Elis will be at LLNR selling
Raffle tickets for a unique oil painting. The draw for the winner is to take place at the end of April.

Robin by Peter Hassett, College Lake 29 December 2016

Merry Christmas Sightings

Please remember to submit your local sightings to sightings@mknhs.org.uk 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 info@mknhs.org.uk

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.