Friday, 27 July 2012

Narroways butterfly feast

Six Spot Burnet Moth
Butterflies on Narroways today: Gatekeeper 5, Small Skipper 1, Speckled Wood 5, Brimstone 1, Marbled White 4, Ringlet 2, Meadow Brown 5, Large White 2. There were also 6 Six-spot Burnet Moths. Red-tailed, Buff-tailed and White-tailed Bumblebees were also noted.

Birds included Chiffchaff (stony path) Jay (cutting) and Raven (over).

Sphaerophoria hoverfly
Crab Spider

At St Andrews Park, Simon found a Banded Damoiselle which is an amazing discovery and a first for the park, while I just saw a Sphaerophoria sp. hoverfly and a Crab Spider Misumena vatia

In the flat last night was a Flame, a Swallow-tailed Moth, lots of Rush Veneer and a couple of Ermine species. A Harlequin Ladybird and a Birch Shieldbug were also attracted to the light.

Swallowtail Moth

Birch Shieldbug

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Montpelier Station

This morning a Jay flew across the allotment gardens and a Grey Squirrel was heard. About 5 distant Swifts noted feeding high.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Scarce Silver-lines

Last night I was delighted to find a Scarce Silver-lines attracted to my light. A local species in Avon, it is the first I've ever seen. Also a Flame and a Riband Wave.

Scarce Silver-lines
Yesterday at the station was a Ringlet and a veritable flock of 12 Swifts overhead - a good count.

Tonight there were fly-pasts by Pipistrelle spp. outside the flat at 2145, 2150, 2200 and 2210 at least.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Moth night

Last night the following moths turned up in my trap: a probable Uncertain, a Marbled Beauty, 2 Silver Y, a Swallow-tailed Moth, a Flame and the micro Udea prunalis and an Ermine sp. There was also a beetle I haven't yet identified.
The Uncertain
Marbled Beauty
Silver Y
Udea prunalis
The Flame
Ermine sp.
Beetle sp.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Summer has arrived!

On a warm sunny morning there were plenty of invertebrates to enjoy. At Fairlawn Road a Speckled Bush Cricket sat on a leaf (the first time I've seen one on the patch I think, although my bat detector often picks up their songs) and my first ever Xylota segnis hoverfly was nearby. Another hoverfly, Myathropa florea was also noted. A nice selection of butterflies here included a Holly Blue (scarce this year), a Speckled Wood and 2 Ringlets. A distant Swift was seen from Hurlingham Road.

Speckled Bush-cricket
Xylota segnis
Myathropa florea
At the station there was a Large White and a Ringlet. A Blackcap called.

A nice display of Maidenhair Spleenwort, Wall-rue and Hart's Tongue Fern on a wall in St Andrews Road.

Hart's Tongue, Maidenhair Spleenwort and Wall-rue

Friday, 20 July 2012

Montpelier Station

The only birds of note this morning were 3 Swifts overhead, 10+ House Sparrows (feeding on the ground in the allotment gardens) and a calling Coal Tit. Single Honey Bee and a Buff-tailed Bumblebee were nectaring on Buddleia flowers.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

A thrash around St Pauls

A lovely sunny morning - yes that's right, sunny - so I checked out St Pauls Park. Not much birdlife in evidence because the council were cutting the grass, but a Woodpigeon was strutting around on the green and a Wren was heard alarm-calling. In the grounds of the church were several flowers of Catsear (although by the evening they had succumbed to the mower. Why oh why are the council so obsessed with mowing everything in sight every 5 minutes?)

No much in Portland Square other than a juvenile Blackbird and parent.

In the cemetery there were several hoverflies around including Spahaerophoria scripta and Eristalis pertinax. Also a couple of Large Red-tailed Bumblebees and a Common Carder Bee along with several Honey Bees. Some Woodlice under some bark. The most unusual thing was a Yellow Dung Fly which I normally associate with cowpats!

Common Carder Bee

Yellow Dung Fly

Eristalis pertinax
Large Red-tailed Bumblebee 
Sphaerophoria scripta

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Currant Clearwing!

I visited St Andrews Park on the way to the shops and didn't expect to see anything special. I looked at the meadow area and spotted something sat on a leaf. To my utter delight it was a Currant Clearwing - a nationally notable moth with only a handful of Avon records in the last few years!
Currant Clearwing
Adult and juvenile Blackbird
The birds in the park were impressive too with lots of juveniles suggesting local breeding - young Goldcrest, Dunnock, Greenfinch and Blackbird noted, along with sightings of at least 1 House Martin overhead plus Robin, Chaffinch, Mistle Thrush, Coal Tit, Goldfinch and House Sparrow.

At the station a couple of alarm-calling gulls alerted me to a Common Buzzard flying low over nearby Montpelier Park and gaining height as it was mobbed. Nearby 5 Swifts high over the station.
Buzzard and a couple of gulls

Thursday, 12 July 2012


At least 1 Ringlet patrolling the disused platform at the station this morning in early sunshine. Not much else to report other than a singing Blackcap.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The future's bright. The future's Orange Ladybird

An Orange Ladybird in the flat this morning. It had probably been around since my last moth-trapping session as this species is often attracted to light.

Orange Ladybird

A mixed party of tits feeding in trees at the station this morning.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

St Pauls Park

Very little to report other than a fly-over Goldfinch and an alarm-calling Wren in the park this morning. Sadly it was too cloudy for any insect activity.

The Song Thrush was still audible from my flat this morning.

Monday, 9 July 2012

In search of the lost thrush

This morning I could hear a singing Song Thrush some distance away from my flat, so I wandered the mean streets of Monty trying to track it down, only to find that it was singing from trees along the railway near the tunnel down from the station. It was doing a duet with a Blackcap and both sang vigorously for the time of year. Even a Blackbird joined in. This hopefully means the nesting season is not yet over for the thrush.

Sunday, 8 July 2012


Spent a couple of hours on Narroways with Jon Mortin from BRERC this morning. Highlights were Meadow Brown 6, Ringlet 8, Marbled White 8, Large Skipper 1, Slow-worm - Jon found an individual on the path near the orchard which may have been shedding its skin. Other stuff: Common Red Soldier Beetles, Thick-thighed Flower Beetles, a 7-spot Ladybird, several Marmalade Hoverflies, an Eristalis hoverfly and an Ichneumon fly. Birds: Chiffchaff near Cutting, Jay and Blackcap at the Ashley Hill end of stony path, Bullfinch calling stony path.
Marbled White and Thick-thighed Flower Beetle
Large Skipper
Meanwhile, Harry saw 6 Marbled Whites in the Church Field along with a Meadow Brown and 2 Six-spot Burnet Moths. On Lynmouth Rd allotments 3 Jays, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Scarlet Tiger Moth not to mention the burgeoning wildlife in his new pond there.

Back in Monty, there was a Sphaerophoria scripta hoverfly at Fairlawn Road along with 3 Ringlets, several Marmalade Hoverflies and a new fly for the patch, Sicus ferrugineus, which apparently parasitise bumblebees. There was a copulating pair.  A Chiffchaff was calling nearby.
Sicus ferrugineus
Sphaerophoria scripta
It was good to see 5 Swifts over the station this lunchtime and there was a Riband Wave moth in the kitchen.
Riband Wave

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Comfrey corner

At the bottom of Station Road near the arches there is some Common Comfrey growing. This is in addition to the Tuberous Comfrey growing in the same road and discovered by Chris Rose a few years ago! Nearby were a couple of Yarrow flowers.

Common Comfrey
A moth discovered in the communal hallway of the flat this morning is a probable Common Pug, while in the bathroom there was a Mosquito sp.
Possible Common Pug

Mosquito sp.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Monty's first ever Broomrape!

I was excited to see a Broomrape species on the disused platform at the station this morning. My guess is it might be Ivy Broomrape but because it is inaccessible it's difficult to see any detail or what is growing with it. Still an exciting find after the recent discovery of Common Broomrape on Narroways.
Broomrape species
Also at the station was the first Ringlet of the summer and nearby was a Marmalade Hoverfly.
Last night in the moth trap were about 10 Rush Veneer, a probable Common Marbled Carpet (though it was so worn it was difficult to ID) and what I think must be the micro moth Bryotropha affinis. The larvae of the latter feed on mosses, of which there is plenty in Montpelier.

possible Common Marbled Carpet
Bryotropha affinis
A Blackcap singing in the garden this morning, another on the station.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Song Thrush Surprise

The Song Thrush was singing again, heard from the station, after a three-month break! This is good news and may be evidence that he has successfully bred and may even be raising a second or third brood. I would not have thought he would still be holding territory otherwise. Also at the station was the singing Blackcap, a Chaffinch and a Goldfinch. A Coal Tit was calling at the top of Station Road.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Montpelier Station

I don't expect to see Blackcaps at this time of year - they remain hidden by dense vegetation most of the time - but a male was sat in a dead tree this morning doing a Gene Kelly impression, singing in the rain. In the same tree was a Dunnock who seemed agitated by the Blackcap. A few moments late a Blackbird used the same tree and a party of Great and Blue Tits were feeding nearby. Four Starlings were also flying around. It would be nice if it stopped raining though....

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Moth with silly name in kitchen shock

Last night the kitchen light attracted a Bright-line Brown-eye - my first for a couple of years.

Bright-line Brown-eye

Today at the station there were several Moth Mullein plants in flower near the tunnel - they seem to be doing well here. At the other end of the platform a Great Mullein was just coming into flower.

Moth Mullein

Great Mullein
A few plants of Enchanter's Nightshade in the front garden.
Enchanter's Nightshade