Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Montpelier Station

A Jay and a singing Blackcap both showed well this morning along with a sizable flock of House Sparrows.

Sunday, 28 April 2013


Today at least 4 Chiffchaffs (2 in Simon's Grove, 1 Lynmouth Rd allotments, 1 Stony path) a singing Willow Warbler in the community garden, also a Wren looking like it was nesting in the community garden and a Buzzard over Boiling Wells. A Grey Wagtail on the brook and a pair of Great Tits in stony path quite near a nestbox.
An Early Mining Bee Andrena haemorrhoa on the cutting, also a Common Carder Bee and a 'Syrphus' hoverfly.
Early Mining Bee
Lots of Garlic Mustard in flower along the path between the brook and Ashley Hill.
Garlic Mustard
At Fairlawn Road there was a Chiffchaff and a Blackcap in song and Cow Parsley was beginning to burst into flower.
Cow Parsley
At St Andrews Park, at least one of the Mistle Thrush chicks has fledged - it was 'parked' in a tree waiting for its parents to feed it. 
Juvenile Mistle Thrush
 A Coal Tit was calling at Station Road - will keep an eye out just in case it is nesting in last year's crack in the wall.

Saturday, 27 April 2013


The only birds of note today were a couple of  Blackcaps (at Fairlawn Road and the station) and a calling Chiffchaff at the former location.
Collared Dove, station

Thursday, 25 April 2013


A couple of butterflies at the station this morning - a Comma (pictured) basking on the station approach wall and a Green-veined White on the disused platform.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

A thrash around St Pauls

This morning in St Pauls Park there was a singing Goldcrest, 3 singing Greenfinches, a Blackbird, a Dunnock and a Robin. This evening in the cemetery an impressive count of over 20 House Sparrows together with 4 Starlings, a Goldfinch and a Robin.

House Sparrow

Monday, 22 April 2013

Birds and a bee

In St Andrews Park today there was an Early Mining Bee and a hoverfly which I think might be a Platycheirus species. Another of the latter was along the railway path in Montpelier. Not much else in the park apart from a Coal Tit and singing Mistle Thrush.
Early Mining Bee

Possible Platycheirus sp.

At the station it was interesting to see two male Chaffinches fighting it out - I never think of Chaffinches as aggressively territorial but I guess they must be. A Coal Tit was on the feeders nearby.

A Blackcap was singing at Fairlawn Road, also a Robin, single Long-tailed Tit and Dunnock there.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

St Andrews Park

The monthly bird walk produced the following:

Mistle Thrush - song heard and nest found. I wonder if the singing bird (which seemed to be coming from the other side of the park) was additional to the pair seen near the nest?
Mistle Thrush nest and young

Blackbird - several birds
Robin - 1 or 2
Dunnock - a couple of singing birds
Wren - at least 2 birds, 1 showing well near the bowling green
Blue Tit - a few around
Great Tit - 1 or 2
Coal Tit - at least 1 heard singing
Goldcrest - at least 2 birds
Woodpigeon - plenty seen
Collared Dove - 1 or 2
Carrion Crow - several
Magpie - 2 or 3 birds
Blackcap - 1 singing near the bowling green and seen by some may have either been a migrant or an overwintering bird
House Sparrow - a group of birds seen well
Chaffinch - seen and heard singing
Goldfinch - still plenty around the park
Greenfinch - 3 or 4 birds

At the pond there were a few Frogs around, many dead - not sure why there there is such high mortality. An Eristalis intricarius (bee mimic) hoverfly was basking on the Marsh Marigold flowers.
Eristalis intricarius
My BTO Breeding Bird Survey around Montpelier, St Pauls and St Andrews produced the following totals: Sparrowhawk 1, Lesser Black-backed Gull 5, Herring Gull 4, Feral Pigeon 11, Woodpigeon 14, Collared Dove 5, Magpie 4, Carrion Crow 6, Blue Tit 11, Great Tit 2, Coal Tit 1, Blackcap 1, Wren 2, Starling 1, Blackbird 15, Mistle Thrush 1, Robin 4, Dunnock 4, House Sparrow 27, Chaffinch 1, Goldfinch 10.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Montpelier Station

A brief visit this afternoon produced a couple of Willow Warblers busily feeding and fly-catching and a pair of Magpies tending to their nest. Only a couple of Starlings left by the look of it, plus a Goldfinch and Great Tit.
Magpie nest

Thursday, 18 April 2013


Spent an hour at the brook where I noted the following: Blackcap (pair), 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Jays, a Wren, a Robin, 2 Woodpigeons, a Magpie, a Blackbird, a Dunnock and a Grey Wagtail (heard). There was a Green-veined White butterfly and 2 probable Commas to boot.
Female Blackcap

At the stony path there was a Chiffchaff but interestingly it was the same individual as the one at the brook as it had a tar-like mark on the side of its crown - just goes to show that it is possible to overestimate bird numbers as otherwise I would have counted it twice! Also a couple of Long-tailed Tits at the stony path and a singing Blackcap at Simon's Grove.

Other inverts: A Nursery-web Spider Pisaura mirabilis and a Common Carder Bee B.pascuorum at the cutting and a 'Syrphus' hoverfly at the community garden.
Common Carder Bee
Syrphus hoverfly
Nursery-web Spider
At Fairlawn Road there was another Chiffchaff and nearby at Old Ashley Hill there was a singing Coal Tit.
Not much at St Andrews Park apart from a singing Coal Tit and a Mistle Thrush.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


A female Bullfinch on the feeders at the station today and a Willow Warbler showing well nearby.

At Fairlawn Road there were at least 2 Chiffchaffs, one singing and the other calling - plus 2 or 3 Long-tailed Tits.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Spring at last!

A Willow Warbler was singing at Fairlawn Road this afternoon and a party of Long-tailed Tits were calling nearby. A Jackdaw flew over and a Magpie was busy refurbishing its nest. A pair of Carrion Crows were copulating next to their nest in Old Ashley Hill and making a strange noise as they did it! At the top of St Andrews Road there was a large patch of Ivy-leaved Speedwell in flower.

Ivy-leaved Speedwell
In station Road there were prolonged views of a Goldcrest as it fed in the branches of the Silver Birch tree near the path to the station and a Coal Tit and Blue Tit were feeding with it.

Coal Tit
St Andrews Park produced little of note apart from a singing Coal Tit and handsome male Greenfinch.
 A Sparrowhawk flew over the flat this morning and the Blackbird pair in the garden were still carrying beakfuls of food.

Saturday, 13 April 2013


A Goldcrest singing from the Yew beside the church path and presumably the same bird singing from the conifer at the Mina Road end of Lynmouth Road allotments. Also at the allotments a pair of Jays again and a male Blackcap on the feeders. A Bumblebee species at the church field.
At St Andrews Park there was another Jay and 2 Mistle Thrushes were mobbing a Magpie suggesting a possible nest nearby. Also a Blackbird carrying food.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Willow Warbler invasion!

I thought I'd have a quick check of Montpelier Park on my way to catch the train and was delighted to see at least 8 Willow Warblers feeding in trees plus at least 1 Chiffchaff, a Coal Tit and 4 Goldfinches. Another Willow Warbler was singing sporadically at the station and a Jackdaw flew over..
Willow Warblers

Thursday, 11 April 2013


A brief view of a warbler in the scrub near the tunnel this morning - either a Chiffchaff or Willow Warbler but not sure which. A couple of displaying Dunnocks nearby. A distant Mistle Thrush heard singing from Richmond Road was unusual for this location.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Foxin' to die rag

Some very close views of a Fox on a wall outside the window this morning but sadly it didn't hang around to have  its photo taken. Looked in reasonable condition. Also a male Blackbird carrying food again.

Not a lot in St Pauls Park this morning - just lots of singing Greenfinches and the odd Blackbird. Nearby in the cemetery a singing Dunnock and Wren and several pairs of Herring Gulls on the roof opposite displaying to each other.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Singing Chiffchaff

A Chiffchaff was heard singing this morning outside the window - my first actual Chiffchaff song for the patch this year....ridiculously late in the spring for a 'first' but no less welcome.

The usual stuff at the station - still a few Starlings, Goldfinches and a Greenfinch near the feeders.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Blackbird, I'll 'ave ee

A male Blackbird in the garden this morning carrying food so there must be a nest with young somewhere. I just hope it's not accessible to the neighbour's cats....

Sunday, 7 April 2013


An Eristalis tenax hoverfly was basking in the (weak) sunshine this morning. Also at least 2 Jays seen and a Wren posed for the camera at the brook.
Eristalis tenax


A male Blackcap still showing at Montpelier Station. A pair of Blue Tits are nesting in a crack in the brickwork of the old Malt House at the top of St Andrews Road and another Jay was at Fairlawn Road..

Saturday, 6 April 2013

St Pauls Song Thrush

A Song Thrush was singing in St Pauls Park this morning. Very unusual to hear one at this location, but unfortunately I was in a hurry and couldn't locate the bird. Also 5 singing Greenfinches.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Montpelier Station

Still a male Blackcap this morning plus half a dozen Starlings, several Chaffinches and a Goldfinch on the feeders. Blue and Great Tits in attendance.

Monday, 1 April 2013

St Andrews Park

Still 3 Redwings and a Fieldfare in the park this afternoon, together with at least 1 Mistle Thrush (1 feeding on the grass and also 1 singing) and a singing Blackcap.

A female Blackcap was on the feeders at the station along with several Starlings and a Goldfinch. Nearby at Station Road there was a calling Chiffchaff. A few Coltsfoot flowers were reluctant to open in the overcast and cold conditions.

There was a Wren and a Robin in the garden today.