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Remarkable Year for Rare Bird Nesting in Milton Keynes

19th December 2017

Records kept by The Parks Trust show that 2017 has been a very good year for rare and declining bird species nesting across its sites.

A particular highlight has been the successful nesting of a pair of Spotted Flycatchers in Howe Park Wood.

Possibly the only breeding pair in Milton Keynes currently, this fantastic result is thanks to the hard work of the Trust’s volunteers, who installed open fronted nest boxes for flycatchers at Howe Park Wood in 2015.

Furthermore, the Barn Owl has enjoyed its most fruitful breeding season yet in Parks Trust land, with 12 young owlets ringed by a local specialist. Nest boxes were occupied at several locations in Ouse Valley Park.

Meanwhile, Tawny Owls nested successfully at Howe Park and Shenley Woods and the Common Tern had its best breeding season in 20 years at Stony Stratford Nature Reserve, with at least six nests spotted.

The Grasshopper Warbler, one of our rarer warbler species has also been enjoying a good year in Milton Keynes, with reports of the bird being spotted at five different sites across the city. The rapidly declining Cuckoo also had a successful year with breeding confirmed at Floodplain Forest and Linford Lakes Nature Reserves.

Martin Kincaid, our Biodiversity Officer, commented: “This year has been a fantastic one for the rare and declining bird species that live in our city. One reason for this is weather related; 2017 has been an exceptionally dry year that followed a very warm and dry winter.

“This meant climatic conditions in spring and early summer were favourable for the majority of nesting birds, with good growth, early foliage and critically, healthy insect populations.

“Additionally, our work to provide bespoke nest boxes for certain species has clearly been effective. These were used across the city by birds including Barn Owls, Tawny Owls, Kestrels and Spotted Flycatchers.

“To further explore the bird numbers in Milton Keynes, we will undertake full Common Bird Census surveys in all three of our ancient woodlands, beginning with Shenley Wood in 2018. We will also be carrying out more thorough surveys at Floodplain Forest and Linford Lakes Nature Reserves.”

The Parks Trust 2017 Highlights

13th December 2017

As we approach the end of 2017 we wanted to look back and celebrate our highlights during the year.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has worked with us and supported us throughout the last 12 months. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! View our What's on guide for 2018 here

MK50

We organised a whole series of events and activities to celebrate the city’s 50th birthday. We also established a way-marked 25-mile challenge walk through our glorious parkland, which is already being well used by local charities and good causes for sponsored walks.

Splash 'n' Play

We invested £2.8million into Willen Lake and opened Splash ‘n’ Play, one of the UK’s largest outdoor splash parks with over 70 water features.

Konik Ponies

Four wild Konik ponies were introduced to the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve in May to graze the area and help maintain a diverse landscape.

Three members of the Operations team celebrating 25 years at The Parks Trust

Three members of our Operations team; Rob Riekie, Colin Savage, and Mark Colton celebrated 25 years at The Parks Trust.

30-metre-long fish refuge

We partnered with the Environment Agency and Wild Trout Trust to create a 30-metre-long refuge in times of flood for fish along the River Ouzel at Woughton.

Festival of Nature

We worked with Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust and Milton Keynes Natural History Society to present the city’s first ever week-long Festival of Nature.

Green Flag Award

In July, we received the prestigious Green Flag Award for all of the parks, woodlands and lakes we manage across Milton Keynes.

MK Hindu Association Mela

Community groups from across the city used our parkland for a variety of diverse events, including MK Hindu Association’s Mela, African Diaspora Day and Filipino Festival.

The Duke of Cambridge visit

The Duke of Cambridge visited Campbell Park in September, seen here with our Chairman and Landscape & Operations Director, as part of a special visit to celebrate the city’s 50th birthday. 

John Muir award winners

Our Outdoor Learning Team worked with around 6,000 schoolchildren throughout the year, and we now offer the John Muir award to groups across Milton Keynes.