Saturday, 30 June 2012

A Blast of Blackcaps

Blackcaps are still in song - yesterday 2 were singing quite near each other at the station and today 1 was singing at Fairlawn Road along with a Chiffchaff. There was also a Coal Tit and a Jay nearby.

Invertebrates along the verge at the latter location included adult, larva and pupa stages of Harlequin Ladybirds, a couple of Honey Bees, a 'Syrphus' hoverfly, a Marmalade Hoverfly, a Merodon equestris hoverfly, a Large Skipper butterfly and a Sawfly. It was good to see a Nursery Web Spider Pisaura mirabilis carrying her egg coccoon in her jaws.

Large Skipper

Nursery Web Spider

Merodon equestris

Syrphus hoverfly
Lots of Hedge Woundwort in flower near the junction with Ashley Hill.
Hedge Woundwort

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Like a Rolling Stonecrop

I explored a disused car park in Wilder Street this morning and found a couple of patches of Biting Stonecrop - always nice to see this attractive flower. I'll have to check Chris Rose's records to see if it has been seen on the patch previously. Nearby outside Circomedia lots of Selfheal in flower, not common in the Wild Monty area. In St Pauls Park a Goldcrest and Greenfinch were singing.

Biting Stonecrop
This morning the juvenile Blackbird was outside the window. Last night in the kitchen a Harlequin Ladybird was attracted to the light and what might be a Mouse Spider was walking along the wall - never seen one before.
possible Mouse Spider

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Sterling moths

In the trap last night there were 4 Heart and Dart, a Brimstone, a Garden Carpet, a Flame Shoulder, a Codling Moth and about 7 Rush Veneer. There were a couple of additional micros I haven't been able to ID as yet.
Codling Moth
Garden Carpet
Heart and Dart
Rush Veneer

Monday, 25 June 2012

Red Admiral

A Red Admiral was nectaring on bramble flowers on the disued platform this morning - is this the first of the year on the patch? Can't remember.. Lots of Honey Bees on bramble flowers near  Period Fireplaces. At least 1 juvenile Blackbird heard calling nearby and the Chiffchaff was still singing.

Red Admiral

Occasional Swifts heard screaming outside the window this evening.

Saturday, 23 June 2012


During a work party on the reserve today between us we saw  Marbled White, Common Blue, Meadow Brown and Large Skipper. A probable Azure Damselfly and some Thick-thighed Flower Beetles were also seen. The most exciting sighting was of a couple of Common Broomrape flowers - I think this may be a first record for Narroways. Other flowers of note included Sainfoin and Grass Vetchling. Some Nail Galls on lime leaves were noteworthy.

Common Broomrape

Nail Galls
Back in Monty, some Feverfew flowers were seen along the railway path and Common Chickweed along the bridge. A Chiffchaff and a Blackcap were singing at the same location and lots of Harlequin Ladybirds were sitting on bramble leaves along Fairlawn Road.

Common Chickweed
Another juvenile Blackbird heard in the garden area - could this be a third brood of the summer? - and a Robin seen.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

St Pauls Park

The park produced a Digger Wasp species this morning - very attractive.  Lots of Turkey Tail and a couple of King Alfred's Cakes fungi on the logs in the park.

Digger Wasp

Turkey Tail fungus

King Alfred's Cakes
Birds included a singing Goldcrest in the park and at least 1 Mistle Thrush in nearby Portland Square.

Last night in the flat there was a Flame moth and an Ichneumon which might be in the Netelia family.

The Flame


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Spider for breakfast

I was making my coffee this morning when this chap descended from the kitchen ceiling. I'm wondering if it's a Long-jawed Spider (Tetragnatha sp.) I may have picked it up after a walk on the Downs a day or two ago as the favoured habitat is low-growing vegetation and water nearby (not that the Downs has any water).

Monday, 18 June 2012

A new bug for Monty!

There's a scruffy patch at the junction of St Andrews Road and Station Road that, despite its size, seems to produce interesting plants and animals. This time it revealed a new bug for the patch - Rhopalus (Rhopalus) subrufus which is a bit like a slimmed-down shieldbug. There was also a Pyrausta aurata moth and a possible Ichneumon which didn't hang around to photograph. An Oedemera nobilis was also present - it seems a particularly good summer for this beetle. Not an awful lot at the station other than some Tree Bumblebees and some noisy Starlings on the feeders. Needless to say, the Chiffchaff was still singing!

Rhopalus (Rhopalus) subrufus

Pyrausta aurata

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Montpelier Station

Cinnabar Moth that flew past the platform but disappeared from view so couldn't be photographed. The only butterflies of note were Large and Small Whites. What looked like another colour form of Merodon equestris (var. validus)  was sat on a leaf - each colour-form of this hoverfly mimic specific bee species, this one resembles a Red-tailed Bumble Bee. Amazing. Despite looking nothing like the ones i saw a couple of days ago in St Andrews Park and St Werburghs, the wing venation points to this species.

Merodon equestris var. validus
Two or three Oedemera nobilis beetles were seen along with a Rose Chafer and a few Tree Bumble Bees. I think a woodlouse crawling up the wall on the platform might be a Pill Woodlouse.The Chiffchaff was heard again and a Greenfinch flew over.

possible Pill Woodlouse

Oedemera nobilis

Thursday, 14 June 2012


Three hours on the patch produced loads of invertebrates. At Narroways, the first Marbled White of the year and a couple of Common Blues were the pick of the bunch, but there was also a Burnet Companion moth.

Common Blue

Marbled White
There were both Myathropa florea and Helophilus pendulus hoverflies and a new fly for Narroways I think - a Scorpion Fly. The Soldier Fly Chloromyia formosa was a nice find and there were good numbers of Honey Bees, Buff-tailed Bumble Bees and one or two Tree Bumble Bees. A few Harlequin Ladybirds were around, predictably.

Soldier Fly

Scorpion Fly
Also in St Werburghs, at the Scrapstore car park, there was a new hoverfly for the patch - Merodon equestris - a convincing bee-mimic that had me fooled for a while. Other invertebrates included a Crab Spider (probably Xysticus sp.) plus what I think is the hoverfly Metasyrphus corollae and, best of all, a Wool-carder Bee - a first for me. Lots of large ladybird larvae at this site - presumably those of Harlequins.

Metasyrphus corollae

Wool-carder Bee

At Fairlawn Road there was a Phyllobius beetle and masses of Harlequins along with a pair of mating Green Shieldbugs. A Chiffchaff showed well and a party of Long-tailed Tits also flaunted themselves shamelessly.

Long-tailed Tits

At St Andrews Park, a Grey Heron flew over chased by gulls and a Coal Tit was heard. On the pond were Azure and Large Red Damselflies and the micro-moth Small China-mark. Another Merodon equestris and a couple of Red Mason Bees were basking around the periphery of the pond.

Small China-mark

Merodon equestris

In the garden, a Wren was agitated by the presence of a cat.


Wednesday, 13 June 2012


The afternoon sunshine brought out some good insects at the station including plenty of Tree Bumble Bees, Buff-tailed Bumble Bees, Honey Bees, a Seven-spot Ladybird and a Marmalade Hoverfly. There was also a mystery bee species I am trying to get identified.

It was good to see many plants of Hedge Woundwort near the tunnel - this attractive plant seems to be spreading on the railway embankment. Nearby was a single Creeping Cinquefoil flower.

Hedge Woundwort

Creeping Cinquefoil
 All quite on the bird front apart from a Robin in the garden and a calling Coal Tit and singing Chaffinch in Montpelier Park.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


A brief look at the station revealed 2 or 3 Buff-tailed Bumble Bees, an Early Bumble Bee and a Tree Bumble Bee (that's the English name for Bombus hypnorum).

Early Bumble Bee
 Also a Marmalade Hoverfly nearby. The Starling flock numbered some 15 birds again and the Chiffchaff was heard.

Yesterday there were 4 Magpies feeding outside the window including a couple at least of juveniles.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Harlequin invasion

Harlequin Ladybirds have had a good spring and at Fairlawn Road this afternoon there were up to 20 basking on bramble leaves along the verge. Nearby there was a Sawfly species, a possible Solitary Wasp species, 3 Marmalade Hoverflies, a Dark Bush Cricket nymph, 2 Speckled Woods and 5 Bombus hypnorum Bumble Bees. A leaf mine on Hogweed appears to be the work of Phytomyza spondylii/pastinacea which I think are flies. I'm no good at molluscs but I'm wondering if the snail I saw (among many other species enjoying the damp conditions) might be a Strawberry Snail.There was at least 1 Chiffchaff calling nearby - possibly 2 so that would point to a breeding pair. At nearby Fairfield Road there was a Large Red Damselfly.

Sawfly species

possible Solitary Wasp species
Possible Strawberry Snail
Leaf  mine of Phytomyza spondylii/pastinacea
Large Red Damselfly
The other Chiffchaff was still singing at Station Road and 3 Jackdaws flew over the top of St Andrews Road. In the grass at the latter location, Dove's Foot Cranesbill was in flower. In St Andrews Park at least 1 Mistle Thrush was heard.

Dove's Foot Cranesbill
No sign of my Blue Tits today - hopefully they have flown rather than perished.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

New bumble bee for the patch!

Having spent the morning with some fellow naturalists in Arnos Vale where we saw several individuals of Bombus hypnorum, I saw one in Monty after minutes of getting off the train - it was in Station Road near the Period Fireplaces workshop. This bumble bee was first seen in Britain in 2000 but has spread north and west since then, often choosing urban habitats.

Bombus hypnorum

As for the Blue Tits, the parent was visiting the nest this morning but I didn't see any visits this afternoon. Have the young flown?

The Chiffchaff still singing near the Royal Mail office in Station Road.