Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Monday, 9 January 2012

Willen Lake

I'll do this post for WBW too. A bit early, but a few things going on in my life at the moment, that I'd rather not be happening.


After topping up the seed at Caldecotte Lake this morning, I had a wander around one of our other lakes. It's the largest of the 11 balancing lakes in Milton Keynes. It does have a great selection of birds through the year; but it's also popular with the public.

It's split into two halves; north and south; one half, the south lake, is very busy, especially at weekends; the other, north lake, has a bird hide overlooking an island, a little quieter. Both halves can have a surprising number of birds.

The south lake has a bar/restaurant, a fitness centre, fishing,

water sports, rope climbing, crazy golf, boating,

a fun-fair at certain times of the year;

and still the birds come.

On the north lake, is the famous Peace Pagoda;

 (an old picture.)

and a bird hide.

The bird hide overlooks an island, that is home to a few goats. These make an excellent job of keeping some of the vegetation down.

After climbing the million steps from the car park, and watching the gulls settle on the grass by the Peace Pagoda for an early breakfast, I made my way towards the bird hide. It was a dull and cloudy morning; but dry.

Lots of Lapwing up in the air, Cormorants on the spit of land in front of the island, and plenty of Coots, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon and Gadwall on the water.

I wandered past the bird hide, and made my way towards the south lake.
Mute Swans, more gulls, and in the distance, some Goldeneye. A few males were showing off, (throwing their heads back), to the seemingly disinterested females out on the water.

The bar/ restaurant, was in the process of a facelift. Sadly this involved the destruction of the old nests of the House Martins that come here every year to raise their families, and then depart to Africa for the winter. Hard enough with a journey like that, but imagine finding your old home demolished when you come back.

A group of Lapwing were making use of the launch pads of the boats,

along with some Greylag and Canada Geese.

After watching the hopeful Goldeneye, and a few geese flying around, I made my way back towards the bird hide on the north lake.

A large flock of Lapwing were still airborne, flying over the island on the north lake.
It seemed such a lot of energy expended to me; but there must be a reason for it.
Across on the far shore, I noticed what appeared to be some Shoveler. I had to get closer, and hopefully some pictures.
After a long walk round, I managed to get a little closer, before they decided to leave.

Back to the hide; and a sit down, I watched the group of Lapwings still flying, a Little Egret over by the island, and a group of Grey Herons, already building nests.

An enjoyable morning, and as I made my way back towards the car park, the sun began to come out. Typical!!

A longer video than I'd usually do; but it's a big lake!

A full list of the birds seen this morning.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Gadwall [sp] (Anas strepera)
Common Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
British Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus)
British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
British Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos clarkei)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
British Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus)
British Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus obscurus)
British Great Tit (Parus major newtoni)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
British Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula pileata)

Total species  36 plus Calling Duck


  1. Beautiful pictures and a great selection of birds.

  2. A monster post. Really good.
    It is amazing that somewhere that is so tacky attracts such a wonderful variety and quantity of birds.

  3. always love to see those lapwings and your cute little robins, too.

    i hope whatever stress you're dealing with will be over soon!

  4. When you mention things going on in your life that you'd rather not be happening, my mind goes to Jim. I hope those things you'd rather not have happening are related to something else.

  5. The Pagoda is still there, well, would you believe it. The Lapwing seem to be showing off. Great blog.

  6. Thanks Gillian. It's an area that has a great variety of birdlife.

    Adrian, it never ceases to amaze me too.

    Thanks Theresa. Hopefully soon, yea.

    Thank you Linda.
    Jim is still unwell, but I think it bothers me more than it does him.
    A few other things too.
    I'll get there though.

  7. Thanks Bob. The Pagoda is a nice place to sit and think sometimes. :-)

  8. A long one today Keith, I really enjoyed the walk!

    Willen always has a good variety of birdlife, just a pity about the commercialism! but I guess it has to be somewhere it's good that most of it is centered on just one local lake...[;o)

  9. Hi Keith, I do hope all is well with both you, and your Jim.

    Why on earth can't people let nature be nature, this lake would be perfect with out all the man made 'attractions' when will the multitudes get the message? I discovered yesterday that they are beginning the building of a cafe at my local beach, they have already destroyed it enough, but, the humans have to have another blinking cafe!

    At least there are a few of us left who see the truth of beauty.

  10. You have some wonderful waters to view Keith..
    A lovely post to read and another great clip to watch.

  11. Well Keith a superb record of the location and bird life, you certainly had busy morning.

  12. Cheers Trevor. Yea, I might not be posting much this week.
    It amazes me that so many different birds still flock to such a commercialised area. I'm glad they do.

    Thanks Gemel. Yea Jim and myself battle on lol
    Sadly money seems to be 'everything' these days.

    Cheers Andrew. We have some fantastic lakes here, and a great variety of wildlife.

    Thank you Bob. Yea, I still didn't get right round the lake.
    One day lol

  13. Beautiful photos, Milton! You saw a ton of birds on that outing!

  14. What an amazing variety of birds! Fascinated by your video and the sightings in one particular morning.

  15. What an amazing variety of birds! Fascinated by your video and the sightings in one particular morning.

  16. My goodness ... what a rich area of wildlife! Love the pics!

  17. Great tour, and the birds are great. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  18. An interesting place to visit with all those activities for people and yet such a good list of birds. Great photos.

  19. Looks like you had a great birding day. I love all the birds and the photos are awesome. The Lapwings are gorgeous and I would love to see them someday.

  20. What an amazing list of birds you saw! Once again, I enjoyed my "walk" w/ you thru your beautiful photos.

  21. heyBJK, thanks. It was a good visit.

    Nature Rambles, thank you. There's always plenty to see there.

    Reena, thank you. It's a great place.

    Thank you Gary. I'll get the whole lake done one day. :-)

    Thanks Mick. It surprises me just tolerant of people some birds become.

    Thank you Eileen. Up close the Lapwings are very colourful.

    Thanks Shelley; glad you enjoyed it. :-)

    Mama Zen, thank you :-)

  22. It's good to have a place with so many birds.
    I think, I would stick to the North part of the lake most of the time ;-)
    Sad about the nests :-(
    Hopefully they find some new good places :/
    I saw Lapwings yesterday too. Weird to think that we have the same kind of birds :-D

  23. The north is my favoured area too Nicole lol
    I'm hoping the House Martins do rebuild their nests; they've nested there as long as I can remember in the 15+ years I've lived here.

  24. Great shot of the Lapwings Keith. A bird I cannot get close enough to photograph.

  25. So many birds all in one place. Must be a great place to hang out with camera (as you have shown).

  26. Great images! How wonderful to be in a place with so many birds.

  27. Thanks Trevor. They are usually a bit shy here, but at this particular spot of the lake, some have become very tolerant of people.

    Pieces of Sunshine, I'm fortunate to have a few lakes close to where I live, that have a great selection of birdlife.

    Thank you Liz. It certainly is.

  28. Lapwings are so pretty! There used to be many of them here, but they disappeared - seems that they moved to your place!

  29. Joo, we have a lot here sometimes.
    Maybe they like to visit :-)

  30. What a lovely day out. Glad I stopped by so I could come along. I am always so blown away at the different species of birds you have there, as evidenced by that lengthy day list!! Hope you enjoy more of the same in the new year! ~karen

  31. you did see that many birds? In one morning? Now I get envy. :(

    Looks like a great place for birding.

  32. The light on the Peace Pagoda is excellent. Hope you have a good new year.

  33. Excellent post Ken. For some reason I did not quite see this scene in my minds eye as you captured in your video. Funny how you fill things in from still pictures and prose. I was thinking I liked the conversational tone of your post so what a surprise to have your wonderful monologue with the video. That is some prosperous lake, I did not expect flocks like that!
    Cheers to you Sir!

  34. Very impressive list of birds and gorgeous pictures Keith. I love your lapwings ;-)

  35. I was thinking a version of 'and still the birds come' before you said it. And they are beautiful birds too.

    Hope the stuff you don't want happening quits happening soon. Thanks for the lovely post.

  36. Progress is sometimes cruel...I hope the martins will rebuild Im sure they will be disappointed tho...DO they like Gourds? Maybe some temproary housing can be provided...
    Love those lapwing shots such a fine looking bird..Hope you get all the worries sorted out--life is always a challenge to keep that balance we all enjoy.

  37. Quite a variety of birds there in your area as your great photos and list attest. Truly a birder's paradise!

  38. Thank you Karen, glad you enjoyed it all. :-)

    NatureFootstep, thank you. On a good day, I would have probably seen more birds lol
    It is a great place to visit at times.

    Thanks Laura. The day I took the Pagoda picture, a storm was brewing.
    Enjoy your new year too. :-)

    Thanks Dave. I'm lucky in having 11 lakes like this, all close to where I live.
    This is the biggest, but most support a great variety of wildlife.

    Thanks Chris. The Lapwings are lovely birds to hear and watch.

    Thank you Sallie.
    Life is slowly getting sorted. :-)

    Sondra, I think the martins will start to rebuild, and hopefully they'll be left to do it in peace. I'll remind the bar owners about the law protecting nesting birds, if I need to.

    Thank you raf, it certainly is. :-)

  39. GREAT POST, man. That is why I love your blog!

    Hope everything gets better in your life, OK?


  40. Such an amazing variety! I don't think I could identify that many species.

  41. Thanks Martha. I still find some I'm unsure of ;-)

  42. Lovely collection of birds makes this a comprehensive post...Thomas

  43. Maybe the local birder groups can petition for some ready made martin housing to be put up.I`m sure people would volunteer to help the martins if they only knew what happenned.
    Beautiful shots,as always.A robin perched on that sign???
    I pray for answers for you with whatever,I have alot of things going on also right now but am trying to hang on with my peace,phyllis

  44. Thanks Thomas. A bigger post than I'd normally do :-)

    Thank you Phyllis.
    I'm pretty sure that the martins will rebuild their nests when they come back. I just hope they are allowed to.

  45. Wonderful series of photos. This looks like such a great place to bird. I hope your life is settling down and what ever was happening has worked itself out. All the best to you! Love the lapwings!

  46. Thanks Kathie.
    It is a great place to visit; early, before the crowds. :-)
    Life is gradually sorting out.

  47. Amazing list of birds, HM. I'm glad you can see so much wildlife in the winter. I'm also glad the birds and the people can coexist--though I'm sorry to hear about the destroyed nests.

  48. Thanks JoLynne.
    A great place all the year round :-)

  49. I really enjoyed every moment of our walk around the lakes! Thank you!

  50. Thanks Ken. Glad you enjoyed it. :-)