Monday, 31 December 2012

Who do you finch you are?

The Montpelier Station finch-fest continued today with a gorgeous male Bullfinch on the feeders. There was at least 1 Greenfinch among the Chaffinch flock. Plenty of Blackbirds (an influx in recent days) and 4 or 5 Collared Doves nearby.

Sunday, 30 December 2012


A Brambling was hanging around the feeders on the station this morning among 15 or so Chaffinches and about half a dozen House Sparrows.

I was amazed to see a flowering Lesser Celandine at Fairfield Road - by far the earliest I've ever seen.

Lesser Celandine
In nearby Fairlawn Road there was a Coal Tit and some Long-tailed Tits and a fly-over Chaffinch. At the top of St Andrews Road there were 4 Goldfinches, a Coal Tit and a Blackbird in the same small tree.

A Grey Wagtail flew over near the Cheltenham Road arches and a Jay was near the Royal Mail office in Station Road.

At St Andrews Park a 'flock' of 9 Blackbirds was notable plus a few Goldfinches, a Chaffinch and a Greenfinch.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Hot Rats

At the station this morning the Chaffinch flock numbered an impressive 20 or so, with similar numbers of House Sparrows and half a dozen Starlings. Also a couple of Pied Wagtails overhead, 2 Dunnocks and 6 or 7 Long-tailed Tits. A Brown Rat was looking a bit intimidated by a Magpie beneath the feeders.

At Fairlawn Road another bunch of Long-tailed Tits accompanying some Blue and Great Tits were the only birds of note, while at the top of St Andrews Road a Coal Tit sang from the top of a tree.

Headless Long-tailed Tit

In St Andrews Park I had a chance to note 2 Herring Gulls and a Pied Wagtail before rain stopped play.

Herring Gull

Pied Wagtail

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas Cormorant

A Cormorant flew west over the station this morning. Other fly-overs included both Grey and Pied Wagtails. Nearby there were 8 Starlings, half a dozen Chaffinches, 6 or 7 House Sparrows, a Great Tit and a Grey Squirrel.
Female Chaffinch

At Fairlawn Road there was a pair of Blackcaps, 6 Goldfinches and 2 Greenfinches.
Female Blackcap

Friday, 21 December 2012

I'm still here!

Please forgive the lack of posts recently but I've been quite busy with work and trips to the BRI for physio, x-rays and hydrotherapy following my fractured arm. All going very well (and as regards hydrotherapy, swimmingly) so well done the NHS for really looking after me. On the days when I haven't been quite so busy, it's been raining. Typical, isn't it!

Happy Christmas and new year to my reader.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

St Andrews Park

Highlights in the park this morning included a Coal Tit, 5 Greenfinches, a Chaffinch, several Goldfinches heard, a fly-over Jackdaw heard, at least 1 Jay, a couple of Pied Wagtails, 2 Dunnocks plus Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Station Starlings Hit Double Figures Shock

At least 10 Starlings at the station this morning along with a couple of Chaffinches and Goldfinches and the usual House Sparrows. Nearby at Fairlawn Road there was a party of Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits and a Grey Squirrel. A Coal Tit was showing well in Balmoral Road.

Grey Squirrel
A Raven did 3 or 4 circuits of St Andrews Park, also a Pied Wagtail in the park.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Fox News

I must be a very light sleeper because once again I was woken up by a barking dog Fox last night. It continued on and off for 10 or 15 minutes as the Fox moved about.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Montpelier Station and Park

I'm a little disappointed that the colder weather hasn't brought in any new birds - the station was very quiet other than a couple of Chaffinches, a Robin and a singing Coal Tit together with a Grey Squirrel while the nearby park had a Blue Tit, a Blackbird, a Chaffinch and 2 Pied Wagtails.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

St Andrews Park thrush thrash

Today and yesterday I've been trying to get good views and photographs of what is almost certainly a Song Thrush in the park. It is very flighty and easily spooked by dogs so it's all been a bit frustrating. If I'm right, this will be the first I've ever seen in the park. Watch this space! Also in the park was a Coal Tit, 2 Pied Wagtails, a Chaffinch and several Goldfinches among the common birds.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Wear the fox hat?

I was awakened in the small hours by a barking dog Fox outside the flat. It was obviously on the move, barking every 30 seconds or so as it made its way along the road.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Fieldfare over Fairlawn

A Fieldfare flew over Fairlawn Road this morning, also a Grey Squirrel,  Dunnock, Jay and fly-over Grey Wagtail nearby. The winter sunshine was strong enough to bring out a Green Shieldbug and some Smooth Sow-thistle was in flower near the bridge.


Smooth Sow-thistle
The male Blackcap was at the station frequenting the feeders along with the Chaffinch flock, a Greenfinch, several House Sparrows and 8 Starlings.

A party of Long-tailed Tits were feeding in Richmond Road.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Kingsdown Chiffchaff

A Chiffchaff calliing and showing well in a tree along Dove Street South this morning.

At the station today were the usual Chaffinches (including a nice male), a Blackbird, 5 Starlings, 10 House Sparrows, a Pied Wagtail, a Blue Tit and a Grey Squirrel. At Montpelier Park there was a party of Long-tailed Tits.

Friday, 30 November 2012


A male Blackcap at the station today in a Cotoneaster bush near the footbridge - the first of the winter. Chaffinches dominated the nearby feeders, at least 10 birds I reckon.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Montpelier murmuration and memorable Mistles

At the station this morning there was evidence of some new arrivals probably due to the colder weather. The Starling flock numbered at least 9 - double figures may yet be achieved before the winter's out! An impressive 20+ Chaffinches, mainly females, were feeding in the treetops and a brief visit from 3 Mistle Thrushes was a big surprise. Other birds of note were a Pied Wagtail, a Coal Tit and a Blue Tit plus 4 fly-over Greenfinches.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Close encounters of the Fox kind

For the second time in a couple of years, a Fox happened to pass the front door just as I was letting the cat out at some ungodly hour. The two mammals did their stare-out competition for about 20 seconds after which the Fox continued on its way, leaving a very bemused-looking cat.

Sunday, 25 November 2012


A Sparrowhawk soared over Fairlawn Road this mornng, also a mixed tit flock (including Long-tailed Tits), a Robin and 3 Chaffinches.

At St Andrews Park the Starling flock numbered 30, plus similar numbers of Goldfinches in the trees at the main Effingham Road entrance. Also in the park was a Mistle Thrush, 5 Blackbirds, a  fly-over Pied Wagtail, a few Chaffinches, Great and Blue Tits, 2 Coal Tits and a Robin. A Carrion Crow was seen with nesting material, probably just a refurbishment of an existing nest rather than serious building.

At Montpelier Station the feeders produced House Sparrows, a Starling, a Collared Dove, a few Greenfinches, 3 Chaffinches and Blue and Great Tits.

Greenfinches, House Sparrow, Starling and Chaffinch

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Livin' in a Fox

A Fox was mooching around a St Andrews Road garden this morning at 10 o'clock. Looeked in good condition.

An influx of Starlings in St Andrews Park at lunchtime plus good numbers of Goldfinches.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Even wetter

Despite the horrible wind and rain this morning, the Chiffchaff on the station was actually singing again!

The Zygiella spider first noted in the bathroom a few weeks ago made another appearance this morning.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


The Chiffchaff was still at the station this morning, calling rather than singing. Nothing else to report on a wet and miserable morning.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Singing Chiffchaff chuffed chuffed

A singing Chiffchaff at the station this morning, showing briefly. This is the latest I have ever heard one sing, as they should either have migrated by now or if staying, over-wintering birds do not normally sing. Also a fly-over Raven, 10 Long-tailed Tits and a few Blue and Great Tits. Nearby in the Colston Girl's School car park, 6 Magpies and a Jay were noisily mobbing a Grey Squirrel.


Grey Squirrel
At Fairlawn Road a female Dark Bush-cricket was basking in the sun and 3 Green Shield Bugs were nearby.

Dark Bush-cricket
In St Andrews Road, the ivy-covered wall attracted a couple of Honey Bees, a few Common Wasps, a Marmalade Hoverfly and several Eristalis hoverflies.

The monthly bird walk in St Andrews Park produced:

Chaffinch - a few flying over or seen in the trees
Greenfinch - 1 or 2 flying over
Goldfinch - a small group seen
Robin - several birds around, at least 1 seen well and vigorous song heard
Wren - 1 near the toilets. We don't always see or hear this species.
Coal Tit - 2 were seen well, feeding in the trees
Blue Tit - 4 or 5 seen
Great Tit - 2 or 3 seen or heard
Carrion Crow - a few
Magpie - plenty of birds throwing their weight around
Woodpigeon - several
Blackbird - 6 or 7 seen - back with a vengeance after a couple of months of scarcity in the park
Dunnock - at least 1 bird near the pond
Mistle Thrush - seen feeding on the grass

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

St Andrews Park

The park was buzzing with common birds this morning, the highlights being 3 Mistle Thrushes, 6 Long-tailed Tits, a few Great and Blue Tits, 2 Chaffinches, 6 Goldfinches, a Greenfinch, 2 Blackbirds, a Jay, at least 1 Goldcrest, a Dunnock, 6 Starlings, a fly-over Pied Wagtail and a Robin.

At Fairlawn Road there was a party of Long-tailed Tits, a Goldcrest, several Great and Blue Tits and a Jay.

Two more Jays were in a garden in North Road while more Long-tailed Tits were feeding along Station Road and also the station itself. Two Ravens were sat on the TV mast. 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Odds and ends

Nothing much to report in the last couple of days - 6 Long-tailed Tits, a Great Tit, a Blackbird, a Dunnock and a Robin in the garden yesterday while today at the station a couple of female Chaffinches were on the feeders and there was a fly-over Pied Wagtail

Friday, 9 November 2012

Mistle Thrushes

The only birds of note today were 2 Mistle Thrushes over Leopold Road - these may have been the St Andrews's Park birds.

Well away from the patch, Jim sent me this lovely photo of 2 Tawny Owls he spotted at Prior Park.
Tawny Owls, Prior Park (photo courtesy Jim)

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Gorgeous Goldfinches

While I've been indisposed today, Jim has told me about the birds he's seen in his garden and sent this fab photo.

Goldfinches (photo courtesy Jim)
There were 4 Goldfinch, 4 Greenfinch, numerous Blue and Great tits, a Robin, a pair of Dunnock, at least 2 Chaffinch (male and female), 2 Blackbird, 2 Woodpigeon and a Magpie around the feeders. A superb collection of garden birds!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Wild Monty first team hit by injury problems shock

Having broken my arm on Thursday evening, I'm not able to be as active on the patch as I'd like to be at the moment. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Today, a Redpoll flew quite low over Richmond Road, circling a couple of times before continuing its journey. Usually they fly high and fast overhead on migration - this one was much more leisurely.

Yesterday, there was a Goldcrest calling from the front garden of a house in Burghley Road and a Jackdaw flew over.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

'ello 'ello ''s a birding bobby!

Whilst watching a party of Long-tailed Tits in St Pauls Park this morning I heard a voive say 'ah, Long Tailed Tits' and when I turned to see who it was, I was surprised to see a police constable! He turned out to be a very knowledgeable birder and had not arrived to arrest me as I'd feared. We spent 10 minutes or so chatting about the urban birds he sees on his beat. Also in the park were a Goldcrest calling from the fir trees, a Pied Wagtail, a Chaffinch, a fly-over Goldfinch, 25 fly-over Starlings, a Blue Tit, a Blackbird, a Dunnock, a Wren, 3 Robins, 3 Woodpigeons, a Herring Gull and a Carrion Crow.

Just outside the patch, a Peregrine was sat on the Castlemead Tower.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Chick or Tweet

Not much to report from the station this morning, although a flock of 10 finches overhead was rather intriguing - they didn't call (or I'm going deaf and didn't hear them) so I couldn't ID them - very frustrating. A Pied Wagtail also flew over and there was still a small group of Greenfinches around plus a calling Wren.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


A late Chiffchaff was calling from trees near the TV mast this morning. Nearby, 6 Greenfinches and a singing Coal Tit were notable at the station.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Bring me sunshine

Some good birds at Fairlawn Road this morning - 6 Long-tailed Tits, a Coal Tit, a Goldcrest, a couple of Blue Tits, a Jay and 10 fly-over Starlings. Invertebrates along the verge included a Dark Bush-cricket, a Nursery Web Spider and 5 Green Shieldbugs.

Dark Bush-cricket

The ivy-covered wall along St Andrews Road was absolutely swarming with Honey Bees, Eristalis hoverflies, various other flies and a presumed Common Wasp. Nearby a Garden Spider partook of its prey and a Red Admiral basked in the warm sunshine.

Garden Spider

The station feeders attracted a female Chaffinch, a Greenfinch, a Carrion Crow, 3 or so Magpies and a Grey Squirrel. A Great Tit was seen nearby.

Not much to report from Montpelier Park other than a party of Long-tailed Tits and a singing Coal Tit.

Yesterday a group of 15 Starlings flew over Richmond Road.  

Saturday, 27 October 2012


Quiet on the reserve today apart from the Grey Wagtail on the brook, a singing Coal Tit and 5 Blackbirds at Lynmouth Road allotments and fly-over Chaffinch, Greenfinches and Goldfinches.
Grey Wagtail
A Nursery-web Spider Pisaura mirabilis and a Flesh Fly were also seen.

In Fairlawn Road there were plenty of invertebrates, including 2 or 3 Nursery Web Spiders, a Dock Leaf Bug, a Red Admiral, a Yellow Dung Fly and what I think must be a Grey Damsel Bug Himacerus major - a 'first' for Montpelier. A Green Shieldbug was near Hurlingham Road. Long-tailed Tits were calling nearby.
Red Admiral
Grey Damsel Bug
Nursery-web Spider
Dock Leaf Bug
Green Shield Bug
More Long-tailed Tits were heard at Station Road, and a Robin was in the garden. At the station there were several birds at the feeders - a couple of Greenfinches, a Chaffinch, 2 Starlings, 2 or 3 House Sparrows and a few Collared Doves.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Morning Thrush Hour

About 10 Fieldfares over the station this morning were my first winter thrushes of the year. An influx of Blackbirds too, with several calling from the bushes and 5 or 6 flying overhead - all thrushes flying SE.

The bathroom was a wildlife haven today, with a Zygiella spider and a Twenty-plumed Moth present!

Zygiella spider

Twenty-plumed Moth
Just out of the area the Pied Wagtail roost at the M32/House of Fraser numbered 50+ birds I reckon - very impressive.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Montperegrine 3: Skyfall

The female Peregrine was back on the TV mast this morning. She was preening and being mobbed by a pair of Magpies and a Carrion Crow. You could see she wasn't going to put up with the harrassment for long and after a few stretches of her wings she flew off chased by the corvids. Three Starlings also nearby but not much else to report.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

St Andrews Park

Today's monthly bird walk produced the following:

Redpoll - 1 flew over the bowling green
Goldfinch - present in small groups
Chaffinch - 1 or 2
Greenfinch - 2 or 3 birds believed to be this species high in the treetops with Goldfinches
Great Tit - 2 or 3
Blue Tit - heard briefly near the pond
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1 or 2 drifting over
Woodpigeon - several seen
Collared Dove - at least 1 bird noted
Feral Pigeon - 3 or 4 seen
Robin - 4 or 5 birds heard singing or 'ticking'
Dunnock - 2 birds heard calling
Goldcrest - up to 2 birds seen near the pond
Blackbird - 1 or 2. They seem quite scarce in the park at present
Starling - 4 flew over
Magpie - a few
Carrion Crow - a few, including a plastic bag-wielding individual apparently
Jay - seen once or twice during the walk

In the flat this morning was a Tortrix moth which I think was probably a Light Brown Apple Moth.

Probable Light Brown Apple Moth

Thursday, 18 October 2012


Today in and around Narroways: a Peregrine on the climbing centre, also a Sparrowhawk over the hill, a Jackdaw over the stony path, a Grey Wagtail over stony path, Jay near church field, Pied Wagtail over the hill, 2 Greenfinches and 2 Chaffinches over the cutting, Coal Tit at Lynmouth Road.


Invertebrates enjoying the sunshine included 5 Myathropa florea hoverflies fighting and perching on the bridge over the brook, 1 Eristalis hoverfly and a Green Shieldbug on the cutting.
Green Shieldbug
Myathropa florea hoverfly
At Fairlawn Road there was a Small White butterfly, a Harlequin Ladybird and a Green Shieldbug.

Small White
The ivy-covered wall halfway down St Andrews Road was buzzing with Honey Bees, Eristalis hoverflies and at least 1 Syrphus hoverfly.

Syrphus hoverfly

A Raven flew over the station and 2 or 3 Greenfinches were on the feeders. No fewer than 9 Magpies were feeding on the allotmant gardens. Yesterday at the station the Starling flock had reached the dizzy heights of 6 birds.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Red Admiral

A brief visit to the station revealed a Red Admiral, a fly-over Greenfinch and a couple of Starlings this morning.
Red Admiral

Monday, 15 October 2012

Narroways and St Andrews Park

On Narroways today: 27 Jackdaws (1 group of 6 and another of 21) flying SW over the hill, 1 Sparrowhawk over hill, 1 Jay (stony path) 1 Mistle Thrush (Ashley Hill end of stony path), 1 Grey Wagtail over stony path, 1 Pied Wagtail over church field plus a few fly-over Chaffinches and Goldfinches.
Spot the Mistle Thrush
In St Andrews Park: 1 or 2 Goldcrests, a Dunnock and a Blue Tit  at the pond and a Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch and several Goldfinches elsewhere in the park.

A Coal Tit was calling in Richmond Road and 2 Jays were in a neighbouring garden.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Jackdaw Jackpot Roll-over!

A flock of 80 Jackdaws flew SW over Leopold Road this morning - an incredible sight and by far the largest flock I've seen over the patch. Another 2 Jackdaws flew over St Andrews Park where there was also a Pied Wagtail, a Blackbird, a few Goldfinches and a Coal Tit.

At Fairlawn Road there was a Comma butterfly, a Yellow Dung-fly and a couple of Dock Leaf Bugs.


At the station there was a Zebra Spider (Salticus scenicus) hunting near the footbridge plus a Speckled Wood and a Large White butterfly.

Zebra Spider

A party of Long-tailed Tits were feeding in Montpelier Park.

Saturday, 13 October 2012


Birds noted while bashing brambles on the reserve this morning: 4 Jackdaws, a party of Great and Blue Tits, fly-over Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Goldfinch. A Harvestman species was also noted.

At Fairlawn Road there were about 10 Green Shieldbugs, a Phaonia sp fly, a Dark Bush-cricket and a Dock Leaf Bug. A Pied Wagtail flew over.

Dark Bush-cricket

Green Shieldbugs
At the station there was a Common Darter dragonfly basking near the footbridge - I think this is my first ever for Montpelier. Also 7 Large White butterflies and an Eristalis hoverfly plus a Grey Squirrel.

Common Darter
A Jackdaw flew over Richmond Road this morning.

Friday, 12 October 2012

St Pauls Park

Birds this morning included a couple of Dunnocks, a singing Wren, 2 or 3 Goldfinches, a couple of Blackbirds, 2 Robins, a Blue Tit, a fly-over Pied Wagtail and 2 Woodpigeons. A Grey Squirrel was also present together with 5 or 6 Harlequin Ladybirds enjoying the sunshine.
Harlequin Ladybird

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Caddis Fly!

I don't know much about caddis flies as I've never knowingly seen one before and I thought they would never end up in my kitchen, but last night a Limnephilus lunatus turned up! Described in the books as being common and breeding in 'all kinds of water', I guess this one could have originated in a garden pond somewhere, but it is still a big surprise. Also a Common Marbled Carpet in the flat.

Limnephilus lunatus

Common Marbled Carpet
There were groups of Woodpigeons flying SW over Richmond Road this morning - about 20 or 30 involved. At the station a Sparrowhawk was soaring - the first I've seen locally for months, and 4 or 5 Goldfinches.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Finchey central

A small influx of finches was evident at the station this morning with 2 or 3 Chaffinches, a couple of Greenfinches and several Goldfinches knocking about. Also a party of Blue and Great Tits busily feeding.

This evening, a few Pied Wagtails at Portland Square and about a dozen around the House of Fraser/M32 roost nearby.

Sunday, 7 October 2012


Today 1100 - 1300: 1 Redpoll over cutting, 1 Siskin over Ashley Hill end of stony path, 2 Ravens over hill, 3 Jackdaws (1 over community garden, 2 over hill) 1 Chiffchaff (cutting) 2 Jays (1 cutting, 1 stony path) Grey Wagtail over Lynmouth Road, 1 Pied Wagtail over Church Field plus Dunnocks, Goldfinches and Robins sprinkled throughout. 
Yellow Dung Fly
Phaonia sp.
Insects included Yellow Dung Fly (stony path), several Eristalis hoverflies (cutting and stony path) and a Phaonia sp. fly.

Another couple of Jackdaws over Leopold Road and a Jay over Richmond Road.

Butterflies today included 4 Large Whites and a Red Admiral at the station and 1 Large White and 1 Red Admiral at Fairlawn Road.
Red Admiral - station
Large White - Fairlawn Road

Friday, 5 October 2012

St Pauls Park

The usual suspects in the park this morning: a calling Chiffchaff, 2 Dunnocks, a Robin, a Wren, a pair of Blackbirds, a couple of Blue Tits, a Woodpigeon, half a dozen Goldfinches and a Carrion Crow.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Jackdaw jackpot

Another Jackdaw this morning, this time over Station Road. Nothing much else other than the flock of House Sparrows, some of which were feeding on the allotment gardens, a Blackbird and a fly-over Greenfinch at the station.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Carnival of Corvids

I always like to see Jackdaws on the patch as they are by no means common here - this morning 3 flew south over Richmond Road and another one flew in the opposite direction an hour later. Meanwhile the corvid theme continued at the station with no less than 9 Magpies feeding on the track towards the arches and a couple of Jays nearby. Two or 3 Carrion Crows completed the set.

Thre were 2 or 3 Large White butterflies at the station along with 1 or 2 Small Whites. A couple of Grey Squirrels too.

Sunday, 30 September 2012


Today on Narroways there was a dead Frog or Toad on the path going over the Church Field - on its back - I was too queasy about turning it over to ID it.

Three Swallows flying SE over the Church field, a Grey Wagtail on the brook, 7 Starlings on the church tower, a Coal Tit near the brook and a Grey Heron over the hill.

The only insect I saw was a Myathropa florea hoverfly.
Grey Heron
In St Andrews Park there was a calling Goldcrest, a juvenile Woodpigeon and 4 Blackbirds, one of which showed signs of a heavy moult!
Juvenile Woodpigeon
Some nice autumn colour from the Guelder-rose in Hurlingham Road and a Coal Tit calling nearby in Balmoral Road.
Not much at Montpelier Station today - just a Blackbird and a Grey Squirrel on the feeders. Nearby, a Jay flew over the flat this afternoon.