Milton Keynes Natural History Society Blog: Local Wildlife in Late Spring
Late spring is a time of feverish activity amongst our local wildlife with Milton Keynes’ resident birds already beginning second broods in some instances as well as rearing their already fledged youngsters. Our summer migrants are still arriving, though favourites such as Swallows are not here yet in the numbers we would expect at this time of year. It is at this time of the year when our wildflowers and herbs begin to truly emerge and show their wonderful blooms and foliage; trees are now in full leaf in some cases and we have seen many of the natural spaces in our region transformed as bright green, soft leaves and flowers appear as if by magic, cloaking the boughs and twigs of Willows, Oaks, Poplars and Birches with a fresh green mantle boding well for the summer ahead.
Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Butterflies are now numerous and on the wing, many having survived and flown from their winter hibernation sites such as the stunning, multi-coloured Peacocks, the Commas with their raggedy wings and distinctive white ‘comma’ marking outstanding on their otherwise dark underwings whilst genuine early risers from overwintering pupae such as Brimstones and now - just - male Orangetips showing their gorgeous colours as well as tiny, pale blue Holly Blues darting and cavorting amongst Holly and Ivy leaves.
Our reptiles are also on the move now, Common Lizards and Grass Snakes are being seen all around Milton Keynes, basking in sunnier spots and building up the energy required for seeking out mates and breeding. The Adder, perhaps our rarest local reptile is found nearby and males have been emerging from their winter shutdowns since mid-March. You can find out what’s been seen locally by going to the sightings section of the Milton Keynes Natural History website.
Grass snake (Natrix helvetica)
The members of the Milton Keynes Natural History Society are also emerging from their own winter hibernation, from meeting on Zoom on Tuesday evenings now into a season of walks led by experienced naturalists from within the society’s own diverse membership.
So, on nearly every Tuesday evening between now and late summer, there is a walk somewhere within the Milton Keynes area organised and making maximum use of our members’ expertise and local knowledge as well as some of the truly wonderful open spaces we are so fortunate to have literally on our doorsteps. The MK Natural History Society hold walks on many Saturdays and Sundays too which often cover areas not immediately within the environs of Milton Keynes. These are not strenuous route-marches but are designed to make the most of the members’ abilities as well as to see as much of our wildlife as possible - so they are neither too long nor difficult, terrain-wise with the emphasis firmly on enjoyment and participation.
If you’d like to join the Milton Keynes Natural History Society, please go onto their website to check out their upcoming programme. Make yourself known to the designated walk leader upon your arrival and then simply immerse yourself in the friendly, welcoming atmosphere these occasions engender…you really will not be disappointed!