Environment Magazine

Tattenhoe Dragons

Posted on the 20 July 2017 by Ashley Crombet-Beolens @Fromanurbanlake
Tattenhoe Dragons
There are areas of Milton Keynes that I return to time, and time again, like Oakhill Wood, and just like that Tattenhoe Park is fast becoming one of those areas, it may not have muddy crapes for waders, or sweeping vistas to wonder over, it may not even have dappled light gently tumbling through golden leaves, but what it does have in abundance is Dragons. 
They may not be the fire breathing, armor scaled, beasts of legend, but they are still champions of the air, and as ferocious as any from the great tales of St George. 

Howe Park Wood Starter


As seems to be my usual I started out in Howe Park Wood, it is very convenient for busses, getting off the bus I was hit by the humidity and it didn't take much walking to build up a sweat. Wandering along the woodland edge I was sad to not be seeing many butterflies, a few Meadow Browns and the odd Gatekeeper but little else, a lone female Emerald Damselfly, caught my eye, and I in turn captured her photo (more further down), as she clung on to thick grass stalks.

Female Emerald Damselfly

Female Emerald Damselfly


Navigating passed the woods and as I approached Tattenhoe Church, a family party of Green Woodpecker, flew between trees, muddy brown and green speckled youngsters led the way, but an adult, kept close at hand following them on their early sojourns off into the wilds. Pausing briefly on a small tree, not always the most common place to see a Green Woodpecker oddly, I managed a lovely shot before bidding them farewell and heading off to the linear park.

Green Woodpecker hiding behind a tree

Green Woodpecker hiding behind a tree


Tattenhoe Dragons


Wandering through the tall, golden grass that edges some of the larger ponds, I needed to be careful where i trod, as dozens of crickets and grasshoppers leapt away from every brush of my foot, the cacophony of chirruping and hissing enough to drown out birdsong at times.

Meadow Grasshopper (?)

Meadow Grasshopper (?)


Meadow Grasshopper 2 (?)

Meadow Grasshopper 2 (?)


As I became more accustomed to what I was looking for I began to notice damselflies more, mainly Common Blue & Azure as the delicately flew through the grasses, but also regular Blue-tailed Damselfly as well as quite good numbers of Common Emerald. It always amazes me how these quite long creatures can navigate so seamlessly through what to them is a jungle.

Blue Tailed Damselfly (male)

Blue Tailed Damselfly (male)


Male Common Blue

Male Common Blue


Male Emerald Damselfly

Male Emerald Damselfly


Female Common Blue

Female Common Blue


Stopping to eat my lunch I began talking to another local wildlife enthusiast, Hi Harry, and it was interesting to hear about what he has been seeing regularly at the park, and the best places for certain species, certainly gave me some ideas of where to look from now on. It is always worth listening to locals as they will have way more insight than I to the area.
As the mornings humidity turned to light drizzle I began to walk through the linear park, heading in the general direction of home, albeit many miles away. And as I walked I enjoyed spectacular views of a female Broad-bodied chaser, several Common Blue butterflies, an amazing swarm of Honey Bee, and a quite spectacular Emperor Dragonfly as it finished off a snack.

Broad-bodied Chaser (female)

Broad-bodied Chaser (female)


Large Bee Swarm

Large Bee Swarm


Common Blue at Tattenhoe Park

Common Blue at Tattenhoe Park


Emperor Dragonfly finishing off a meal

Emperor Dragonfly finishing off a meal


Emperor Dragonfly

Emperor Dragonfly


Furzton & Teardrop Lakes


Eventually the linear complex runs into Furzton Lake, and so did my journey, walking through teh nature reserve area where I stumbled across a secretive Orange Ladybird, only the third time I have seen one, as well as a few more common Blue butterflies.

Common Blue

Common Blue


Last, but by no means least, I carried on to the Teardrop lakes complex, with the drizzle continuing and grass cutting in action there was little to see, until the very edge, just as I was about to leave the wild areas of Milton Keynes and head to teh rail station, when a black, red and gold Rove beetle of some kind dashed across the path in front of me, a stunning Platydracus stercorarius.

Platydracus stercorarius

Platydracus stercorarius


Platydracus stercorarius

Platydracus stercorarius


Other Photos


Mallard Preening

Mallard Preening


Close up of preening mallard

Close up of preening mallard


Art at Furzton Lake

Art at Furzton Lake


Peek-a-boo Emerald Damselfly looking around reeds

Peek-a-boo Emerald Damselfly looking around reeds


Emerald Damselfly, female, at Howe Park Wood

Emerald Damselfly, female, at Howe Park Wood


Common Darter

Common Darter


Small White

Small White


Small Skipper

Small Skipper


Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar 


Marbled Whit, side view

Marbled Whit, side view

 

Common Blue at Furzton Lake

Common Blue at Furzton Lake


I'm Walking 2500 miles in 2017 to raise money for Birding For All - Read about it here - Please consider donating through My Donate
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