Other local sites

save Caldecotte lake logo

There are a number of other sites around my area that are also worth a visit if you are ever near by, here I plan to give a brief description of those sites and add some images of them and possibly the wildlife at them. They come under sub headings of: Lakes, woods and local nature reserves. As I`m sure you can tell these categories are exactly what you would expect, but bear in mind most of the nature reserves have lakes and most of the woods and lakes also have nature areas on them. This will not be a complete description, but you can follow the link to the Bucks bird club web page which has a much more accurate and complete list, with more detailed descriptions and location details. Or click on the site name for grid references.

Local Lakes

Caldecotte lake Caldecotte lake
This is Caldecotte lake (left) it is one of the largest lakes in the MK area. It is dissected in two by a main road and is situated just off the A5, The River Ouzel runs along side as well. This is one of the best places in MK to see water fowl and has produced many good grebes over the years, but does also turn up other things such as Snowbunting a few years ago and Cettis warbler last year (2002).
Birds of note:
Red necked grebe
Slavonian grebe
Cettis warbler
Snow bunting

There is also a very nice pub on the edge of the lake, designed to look like a windmill, so it is possible to have a summer drink while watching the birds. But be warned it is a popular place with families and for water sports activities, Although there is a nature area set aside that boats etc. are not allowed to enter.

coming soon Furzton lake
This is Furzton lake (left). Furzton is one of many lakes designed as balancing lakes/gravel pits for the river system running through Milton Keynes. It is primarily used by fishermen, but is slowly growing as a place for birds, and is starting to produce some good ones (this is mainly due to my competition with Simon Nichols who is the regular watcher of this lake).
Birds of note:
Red-rumped swallow
Ring-billed gull
Water rail

Like Caldecotte this lake also has a pub on its shores, however this is part of a small hotel complex. Also like Caldecotte there is a small area of the lake that has been set aside as a nature are and no fishing is allowed. The only draw back to this lake is that it is located right next to the Milton Keynes Bowl (our concert venue) Which can mean it is very busy with traffic on the surrounding roads.

Willen lake Willen lake
This is Willen lake (left). Located just off junction 14 of the M1, It is by far the best birding site in MK, and has held many national rarities as well as large numbers of local rarities. It is home to our most regularly watched gull roost (in the winter months) which usually produces Med and little gulls and has produced ring-billed and the odd white winged gull. As well as holding a large tern colony on the island.
Birds of note
Caspian tern
Whiskered tern (2 together)
Black winged stilt (attempted breeding)
Ring necked duck

The lake is again split into two sections by a large road, the south side being a nature reserve the North being mainly used for leisure activities (including a hotel, gym and bar complex). Most birds can be found on the nature reserve side but the gull roost is always on the North (which has also produced great shearwater, gannet and regular common scoter).

There are a few other lakes dotted around such as Mount farm lake (wryneck, white winged black tern) Lodge lake (no notable birds), Brick pits (Jack snipe, White winged gulls)and Great linford lakes(a fishing complex, no birds of note).

Local Woods

Brickhill woods Brickhill woods
The Brickhill woods (left) are the largest of the woods around Milton keynes and cover a huge area around Woburn sands, They are a mixed woodland of coniferous and deciduous trees, and is very pleasant place to walk, that can produce some good birds and animals. They are within easy access of the A5 and have plenty of places to park (although be ware some of the land is private and there are a lot of golf courses in the area).
Birds of note:
Lady Amherst pheasant
Goshawk (not in recent years)
Woodlark (not in recent years)
Nightjar (not in recent years)

It is one of the only sites in the country for "Lady A`s" but they are hard to find and one of their favoured haunts has been changed to a golf club in 2002. Deers roam the woods and can make a nice diversion to the birding.

coming soon Linford wood
Linford wood (left) is a remaining part of the ancient woodland that used to make up the area, It is a small relic of a once forgotten time. Located right in the heart of Milton Keynes it is criss crossed with paths, used by joggers and walkers alike. There are a number of nature trails running through this wood, which are a rich haven for most woodland species of bird and animal.
Birds of note:
Lesser spotted woodpecker
Great spotted woodpecker
Lesser redpoll

The area is used by most local schools as a way to teach children about how the British woodlands once were. With deer and foxes inhabiting the wood, it is a great way for people to get close to wildlife.

coming soon Stock grove country park
Stockgrove (left) is located on the opposing side of the A5 to the brickhills, and is a small country park (mainly woodland). There is plenty of parking here as it is a very popular destination for dog walkers, but don't let that put you off, it is just as friendly for Birders. There are even feeders put up to attract Tits. There is a small lake in the middle of the park (presumably an old boating lake) that is the home of Mandarin duck.
Birds of note:
Mandarin duck
Lesser redpoll
Willow tit

The wood also contains deer, foxes and rats (including at least 5 albinos last time I was there). There are plenty of benches spotted around, a small cafe (becomes a restaurant in the evenings) and some seating areas that dogs are banned from.

There are a few other wooded areas around MK including Shenley wood (part of the ancient woodland, like Linford wood) Salsey forest (a large forest not too far outside of town) and Little linford wood (no where near linford wood, but a good site for Lesser spotted woodpecker)

Nature Reserves

Collage lake College lake wildlife centre
College lake (pictured left) is a disused chalk quarry, now run as a nature reserve by Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire wildlife trust. It is home to a large variety of species of flora and fauna over 1000 in total, the lake especially being a wildfowl haven. It was designed with teaching and the disabled in mind so is a very good place for study.Part of the quarry is protected by English Nature as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its geological features. In the Arable Weed Project cornfield wild flowers are being cultivated using vintage agricultural machinery.

Linford ARC nature reserve Linford ARC
Linford ARC (pictured left)is a local nature reserve, It possibly the best area for birds in MK, as it has such varied habitat, it is surrounded by farmland and a large complex of lakes and has plenty of reeds and scrubby areas. It has turned up some good birds over the years including a singing River warbler and a Great white egret a few years ago. Unfortunately it is a members only site but most of the lake can be seen from a road running around the complex.
Birds of note:
Great white egret
Little egret
River warbler
Cettis Warbler

There are a huge number of lakes in this complex only a few of which are part of the nature reserve, but if something rare turns up they will usually arrange for access to the reserve for a nominal fee (its all in a good cause).

coming soonThe Ouse valley park
The Ouse valley park runs from Stony stratford to New bradwell through Wolverton and follows the River Ouse. The section of my patch along the Ouse is part of this large trail, It runs mainly through Grazing land but also includes small wooded areas. As you can imagine the bird life is varied, but can be very pleasing. National Cycle route 6 takes you along some of this trail.
Birds of note
Little egret
Little owl

With it being a river complex there are often fishermen along side who can be very aware of the wildlife around them. as my patch is part of this complex I am aware of most of the wildlife around it, and would advise looking at my wildlife page to get a good idea of the species involved.

coming soonStony stratford nature reserve
This nature reserve is part of the Ouse valley park complex (like my patch) and is situated in between Wolverton and Stony Stratford. It is a pleasant reserve with features including a small over grown (but in a good way) pond and a larger lake with wet grassland surround. It is the site of a few of the local areas nature walks held usually in the summer months and is often good for moths.
Birds of note
Grey wagtail
Little egret
Canada geese

There is plenty of parking and the paths a well maintained, along with the two hides. This site is vastly underwatched and should turn up more than it has at present.

This is by no means a complete list of all the birdwatching sites around MK, but it does show the varying differences and highlight the fact that some areas remain under watched. So remember there is always hope that a site is so under watched only you will go there, which means finding the birds yourself, which I find far more rewarding.