MKNHS: Summer 2023
Summer is a great time to get outdoors in search of wildlife in Milton Keynes in the many parks and nature reserves throughout the city. Many wildflowers are in full bloom at the moment and insects such as butterflies and dragonflies are on the wing. Many birds have raised their first brood and are rearing the second, but there is still plenty of birdsong to listen out for.
Stonepit Field, near Great Linford Manor Park, is a great site to visit in summer with its various habitats, including ponds, woodlands and meadows. On a warm Summer’s day, the meadow will be buzzing with insects and grasshoppers will serenade you, along with a supporting cast of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Song Thrush in the wooded areas, while Swifts and Swallows fly above. You can find Pyramidal and Bee Orchids in the meadow area alongside many other plants. Butterflies such as Small Blue can be seen flying on the site on sunny days and may be found roosting among the grass at other times.
Small Blue Butterfly at Stonepit Field (Photo ©Janice Robertson)
Milton Keynes Natural History Society spent an evening at Stonepit Field recently recording species to compare with previous years. They were pleased to add Wild Liquorice to the list and to find Common Blue Daisy (Globularia vulgaris) commonly called Globularia growing in the sparsely vegetated Scrape area of the site. This is not a native British wildflower. It is found in continental Europe in rocky calcareous habitats. How did it arrive in Stonepit Field?
Globularia Flower at Stonepit Field (Photo ©Julian Lambley)
Ancient Woodlands, such as Howe Park Wood are also well worth visiting in the summer. The shade may be welcome on hot days, and you may see several species of Butterflies, including the Beautiful Silver-washed Fritillary.
If you’d like to identify what you see when you visit the parks, there are plenty of sources of information available, but nothing beats going for a walk with someone who can point things out.
Milton Keynes Natural History Society meet at different wildlife sites most Tuesday evenings through the Summer. They welcome visitors who would like to find out more about the wildlife in and around the city. The locations are often sites managed by us or The Wildlife Trusts. If you’d like to come along during July and August, have a look at the programme on their website.