Saturday, 28 April 2012


With so many migrants turning up on the coast in the last few days I really was hoping for at least some action on the patch, but sadly the only birds of note on Narroways this morning were 2 Chiffchaffs, 4 Blackcaps, at least 1 singing Song Thrush, 2 calling Bullfinches, a Jay, a few Long-tailed Tits and a Wren carrying nesting material at Boiling Wells.

Another Chiffchaff was at Fairlawn Road, while St Andrews Park produced a calling Coal Tit, a Mistle Thrush and a couple of Goldfinches.

At least 1 Blackcap still singing at Montpelier Station.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Montpelier Station

A singing Chiffchaff, 2 singing Blackcaps (including one sat on an exposed perch for several seconds) and 5 Starlings were the pick of the birds at the station this morning.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Curious Coal Tit

I was making my way to Montpelier Station this morning via the little windy path when I almost stepped on a Coal Tit that was hopping along the path and pecking at the brickwork, no doubt obtaining invertebrates or minerals. It was acting more like a Pied Wagtail than a tit species - very odd.

Two Mistle Thrushes were feeding on the grass in Portland Square this afternoon.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Baby Blackbird

A juvenile Blackbird has left the nest and was being fed by its father this morning outside the window. Note to self: must clean the window.

A female Blackcap was seen at the station and at least one male singing too. A Starling was also noted.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Long-gone Lizard

Guy has found a dead Common Lizard in Fairlawn Road! This is the first record I know of for Montpelier, although they do occur on nearby Narroways of course. The railway habitat might be just right for them, so I must keep my eyes peeled for them in the coming weeks.

Sunday, 22 April 2012


Very quiet this morning a male Grey Wagtail at the brook, a couple of Chiffchaffs (Simons Grove and Stony Path) and 2 Blackcaps (Stony path and near brook).
Saw an interesting fly Tachina fera (church field, top gate see pic) which I've only ever seen before in Avon Gorge. Also a Common Carder Bee (cutting) and the hoverfly Melanostoma scalare (orchard).

Tachina fera
Common Carder Bee
Melanostoma scalare

Quite a large patch of Bush Vetch in flower on the cutting.

Bush Vetch
 The rain prevented a thorough search of St Andrews Park but I noted a calling Coal Tit and a Mistle Thrush was feeding on the grass.

A couple of Goldfinches in the garden today - unusual for them to actually settle here.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Chiffchaffs everywhere

Chiffchaffs today included 1 at Fairlawn Road, 1 near Colston Girls School and at least 1 at Narroways. Blackcaps were singing at Narroways and Montpelier Station.

A couple of Jays were at Fairlawn Road and a Nursery Web Spider Pisaura mirabilis was basking nearby. Long-tailed Tits were calling at Narroways.

Pisaura mirabilis

Two Mistle Thrushes were seen at St Andrews Park along with good numbers of House Sparrows.

Mistle Thrush
Tuberous Comfrey was in flower at its traditional site in Station Road and Wild Garlic was in flower in a garden at the top of Station Road.

Tuberous Comfrey

Wild Garlic

Friday, 20 April 2012

Montpelier Station

A Chiffchaff and at least 1 Blackcap singing at the station this evening.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Garden birds

A Blackcap singing and showing well in the garden this morning along with a couple of Blue Tits, a Blackbird, 3 House Sparrows and a Dunnock and a Great Tit.

Not much at Narroways today apart from a couple of Chaffchaffs.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Two Blackcaps singing at the station this morning - one showing well and a very smart-looking bird it was too.

Nothing much at Montpelier Park other than a singing Wren and a couple of Blue Tits. A Coal Tit was singing at the top of Station Road.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Narroways and beyond

At Narroways there were ‎3 Willow Warblers, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps, a singing Bullfinch, a 7-Spot Ladybird, a Green Shieldbug, a Syrphus hoverfly, a Small White and several  Bulbous Buttercups in bloom today.

Small White


Bulbous Buttercup

Syrphus hoverfly

Meanwhile, in Montpelier, there was yet another Willow Warbler singing at Fairlawn Road, also a Jay and a singing Blackcap nearby. An Orange-tip butterfly was looking splendid along the verge.

 In St Andrews Park there was a Common Bee Fly visiting the flowers and lots of tadpoles in the pond.

Common Bee Fly


Monday, 16 April 2012

Montpelier Park

Not alot this morning - a Coal Tit, a singing Goldfinch and a Wren. There was a singing Chaffinch in the afternoon.

A female House Sparrow was gathering moss from the roof below my dormer window this morning for her nest.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

St Andrews Park

The monthly bird walk produced the following this morning:

Chaffinch 2 or 3 singing
Greenfinch 1 or 2 flying over
Goldfinch a few singing
Great Tit  several
Blue Tit lots heard and seen including courtship display
Coal Tit a pair spotted by Simon showed well
Long-tailed Tit heard near the pond but I failed to see them
Goldcrest at least 1 singing
Blackbird several seen and sporadic song heard
Mistle Thrush at least 1 seen well
House Sparrow 1 or 2 heard
Dunnock 1 or 2 heard
Carrion Crow several seen and heard
Magpie several seen including a possible pair near the pond
Woodpigeon several heard and seen
Feral Pigeon 4 or 5 near the cafe
Chiffchaff a tantalisingly brief 'hweet' call was heard but sadly we couldn't connect with the bird
Blackcap a brief call heard near the toilets
Robin seen well near the pond and song heard from maybe 3 birds

Meanwhile, my Breeding Bird Survey covering Montpelier, St Andrews and St Pauls came up with the following numbers: Lesser Black-backed Gull 1, Herring Gull 5, Woodpigeon 20, Collared Dove 11, Wren 6, Dunnock 3, Robin 11, Blackbird 13, Blackcap 1, Chiffchaff 1, Coal Tit 1, Blue Tit 10, Great Tit 6, Jay 2, Magpie 5, Carrion Crow 7, Starling 2, House Sparrow 18, Greenfinch 3, Goldfinch 7 and Feral Pigeon 25. 

Insects seen today included a Helophilus pendulus hoverfly, an Eristalis pertinax hoverfly and a Green Shieldbug at Fairlawn Road and a Buff-tailed Bumblebee in Station Road - the latter moribund and trying to warm up on a stone.

Helophilus pendulus

Eristalis pertinax
Green Shieldbug
Buff-tailed Bumblebee

Green Alkanet was in flower in Fairlawn Road.

Green Alkanet

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Brief encounters

I couldn't spend much time on the patch today, but there was a Chiffchaff singing and showing well in the ttrees near the TV mast in Station Road, and a singing male Blackcap, also showing well, at the station. The usual 3 Starlings were nearby.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

A thrash around St Pauls

In St Pauls Park this morning there was a singing Blackcap, 4 or 5 singing Greenfinches, a few Goldfinches, a couple of Blackbirds, a Robin, some Collared Doves and Woodpigeons and 3 Blue Tits.

In Portland Square the Alexanders were in bloom - I'm still pretty certain that this is the only place they grow in Ashley but I could be wrong.


The best birds in the cemetery were a bunch of House Sparrows. Otherwise very quiet apart from a Wren, a couple of Blackbirds, 2 Blue Tits and a singing Dunnock. A Herring Gull carried nesting material to a nearby rooftop. Some Viola sp. flowers in bloom among the headstones - maybe a cultivated form of Common Dog Violet.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Montpelier Park

Still quiet on the patch, with just a couple of Chaffinches and Greenfinches, a Long-tailed Tit with Blue and Great Tits and a couple of Blackbirds in the park. A Carrion Crow was seen to carry a twig from the station to a nest in the large pine at the back of the park - he or she has been doing this for the last few mornings, so nest-building is a rather leisurely affair! Still 3 or 4 Starlings at the station.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Wet-weather birding

Terry tells me that a soggy Sparrowhawk visited his Coburg Road garden today - raptors find it very difficult to hunt in wet weather. Meanwhile in St Andrews Park there was a Jay, a Coal Tit, a couple of Long-tailed Tits, several Blue and Great Tits, a Dunnock, 3 Starlings, a few Blackbirds and a Mistle Thrush.

A singing Blackcap and a confiding Jay were near the Royal Mail office in Station Road, and another singing Blackcap and a pair of Coal Tits were at the station, also a female Blackbird was seen carrying nesting material.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Montpelier Park

Not alot this morning - just a male Chaffinch, a couple of Blackbirds, 2 Collared Doves, a singing Wren, a Woodpigeon, a Great Tit and a Blue Tit. Nearby in Station Road there was a Coal Tit and a calling Jay.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Wagtails 'n' Willow Warblers

A pair of Grey Wagtails at the brook in Ashley Vale looked like they had a nest somewhere under the tunnel as they were seen to fly back and forth into it.

Male Grey Wagtail

Female Grey Wagtail

Elsewhere in the Narroways area there were 3 singing Blackcaps and 3 Chiffchaffs. At Fairlawn Road a single Long-tailed Tit was the only bird of note.

A Willow Warbler was hopping about in the trees near the tunnel at Montpelier Station although it didn't call or sing. Perhaps there will be more migrants in the next few days. Nearby there were 4 Starlings and a good count of about 15 House Sparrows.

Female House Sparrow

A pair of Blackbirds seem to have a nest in the garden, with the female feeding on mealworms which I put out and repeatedly disappearing into the ivy covering the wall.

Friday, 6 April 2012

The calm before the storm?

Strangely little evidence of migration so far on the patch - just a singing Chiffchaff at Fairlawn Road and a singing Blackcap at the station. Hopefully the coming weeks will see some interesting new arrivals.

The Song Thrush was still singing near the arches and the three Starlings were present on the station.

Invertebrates today included Common Carder Bee and Buff-tailed Bumblebee near Hurlingham Road, a spider sp. (probably a young Wolf Spider) at Fairlawn Road and one or two Drone Flies (Eristalis sp),


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

St Pauls Park

Nothing to write home about on a cold and drizzly morning . Several Greenfinches and Goldfinches singing, Great and Blue Tits, a Robin, a Wren, a Blackbird, 2 Feral Pigeons, 5 Herring Gulls, a few Woodpigeons and a Carrion Crow. Very very very distant Mistle Thrush song was heard.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Bullfinch back!

At the station this morning a Bullfinch was calling and then flew off over St Andrews Road - this is quite late in the year and so there is a possibility it might be nesting somewhere near - that would be rather exciting. Also the Song Thrush was still singing - good news. Other odds and ends at the station included the usual gang of House Sparrows, a couple of Dunnocks, a Robin and 3 Starlings.

Sunday, 1 April 2012


Lots happening on our local nature reserve today, including a singing Willow Warbler - my first of the year - 4 Chiffchaffs, 5 singing Blackcaps, a total of 9 Jays including a party of 5 together and another carrying nesting material and a calling Bullfinch.

Butterflies included an Orange-tip, 4 Speckled Woods, a Small White and a Comma. Other invertebrates were good too, with a Bee Fly Bombylius major, a 7-spot Ladybird and a Yellow Legged Mining Bee Andrena flavipes.

Speckled Wood

There were some Common Dog Violet flowers in bloom - the first I've seen on Narroways.

Back in Montpelier, there were two more Andrena species seen - an Ashy Mining Bee (Andrena cineraria) at Fairlawn Road and  Andrena clarkella - my first ever - at the community garden at the top of St Andrews Road. A Brimstone butterfly was seen briefly near Hurlingham Road and 2 Orange-tips were at the station.

Ashy Mining Bee Andrena cineraria

Andrena clarkella