Wednesday, 30 April 2014

At last - a Willow Warbler!

Willow Warblers are almost guaranteed on the patch in early April, and I've been very puzzled, not to say miffed, by their non-appearance this spring. Imagine my relief when I heard one this morning on the station, hidden deep among the Sycamores. Great stuff! Also a Blackcap singing nearby and a Coal Tit in song near Station Road. Also around the station half a dozen Starlings and several Goldfinches.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Bird survey

I did my BTO Breeding Bird Survey this morning. I haven't had time to upload and collate the results as yet so will do this and post the results in the next couple of days. Highlights included a good showing of Blackcaps and a flyover Jackdaw.

Before starting my first transect a Raven flew over Richmond Road and between transects a Cormorant flew over Ashley Hill and a Mistle Thrush was noted once again on St Andrews Park.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

St Andrews Park

Well, with overcast skies and a chilly easterly it felt more like November than April but the birds obviously knew it was spring as we saw some signs of nesting. The list is as follows:
Mistle Thrush - 1 singing and another seen carrying food so there must be a nest nearby. We didn't find it but it'll be worth keeping an eye on.
Blackbird - several birds seen
Robin - 1 or 2 seen and heard
Chaffinch - a female feeding on the ground near the Effingham Road entrance and a male 'fighting' with his own reflection in the wing mirror of the park-keeper's truck. The bird repeatedly hovered in front of the mirror pecking at it.
Greenfinch - 1 or 2 singing
Goldfinch - about half a dozen birds
Starling - just 1 bird seen
Wren - 1 singing near the play area
Woodpigeon - several including an individual building a nest
Collared Dove - 1 or 2
Magpie - a few including a nest-building pair near the pond
House Sparrow - a few birds seen
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1 or 2 overhead
Herring Gull - at least 1 overhead
Carrion Crow - 2 or 3 including nestbuilding
Great Tit - a few singing
Blue Tit - 1 or 2 seen and heard
Long-tailed Tit - a few seen
Coal Tit - a pair were displaying in a tree near the top of the park as I left after the walk

Saturday, 19 April 2014


Today on the reserve:: Blackcap at the gasometer site, Simons Grove (female) and Stony path, Chiffchaff gasometer, Stony path and Boiling Wells, Song Thrush Boiling Wells, Linnet 1 over gasometer site, Greenfinch 1 over cutting, Jay and Grey Wagtail near the brook, Coal Tit climbing centre, Great Tits everywhere. Also Speckled Wood stony path, 1 or 2 Buff-tailed Bumblebees around.

Grey Wagtail
At Fairlawn Road there was an Andrena sp. (mining bee) and an Eristalis pertinax hoverfly. 
Mining Bee
Eristalis pertinax

Friday, 18 April 2014


An Orange-tip butterfly was new at the station this morning - I had hoped to see one here as they are one of my favourite spring butterflies. Also at the station was a Brimstone, a couple of Small Whites and a Speckled Wood. Two Ravens also flew over and a Blackcap was singing.

Fairlawn Road produced a couple of Harlequin Ladybirds, a Green Shieldbug, a Nursery-web Spider, a Helophilus pendulus hoverfly, a Speckled Wood and a probable Platycheirus hoverfly. A Chiffchaff and a Blackcap were singing nearby.

Harlequin Ladybird

Helophilus pendulus

Probable Platycheirus hoverfly

Nursery-web Spider

Green Shieldbug
It's been a very disappointing spring for bird migrants on the patch so far - lets hope for better things in the next few weeks! 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


A Sparrowhawk seen from the station this morning heading in the Redland direction. The Blackcap still singing vigorously, a House Sparrow with a caterpillar in its bill and a Wren were the other highlights.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Speckled Wood

My first Speckled Wood butterfly of the year was basking in the warm sunshine at Fairlawn Road this morning and nearby was a rather flighty Peacock. A Common Bee-fly put in an all-too brief appearance on the Hurlingham Road end of the iron bridge so I couldn't photograph it. A Raven was the only bird of note here.
Speckled Wood
Small Tortoiseshell

At the station there was a Small Tortoiseshell and a 'white' butterfly on the disused platform and a Harlequin Ladybird on the footbridge. A Jay, a male Blackcap and 5 Starlings were the birds of note. A Coal Tit was singing in Montpelier Park.

Friday, 11 April 2014

St Pauls Cemetery

Convinced that St Pauls would deliver the goods this morning, I visited the cemetery. Unfortunately it was all a bit quiet, just a few Blackbirds and Goldfinches, House Sparrows, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a singing Wren.

Never mind.

Herring Gull

Thursday, 10 April 2014

St Paul's Park

I always seem to visit the park when they are cutting the grass and I can' t hear any bird calls! Never mind, I did see a Jay, a couple of Great Tits, 4 Blackbirds, a Robin and a couple of Goldfinches this morning despite the racket.

Sunday, 6 April 2014


Narroways in the rain this afternoon produced a Sparrowhawk over the hill, a female Bullfinch (Simons Grove) a Chiffchaff (cutting) a very confiding Goldcrest near the climbing centre/community garden and a party of Long-tailed Tits and a sub-singing Blackcap near the brook. Also a few Greenfinches and Great and Blue Tits around.

St Andrews Park (also in the rain) was quiet apart from a couple of Long-tailed Tits, a Dunnock, several Goldfinches and one or two Blackbirds.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Sparrowhawk spectacular!

Two Sparrowhawks drifted over the top of St Andrews Road this morning and there was another sighting of a single bird over the station about an hour later. Also at the top of St Andrews Road were 2 Jays and a fly-over Jackdaw. Fairlawn Road produced a male Blackcap and a singing Chiffchaff. There was some Cow Parsley in flower - my first of the year - and also some Ivy-leaved Speedwell.

Cow Parsley
Ivy-leaved Speedwell
Other birds at the station included another flyover Jackdaw, a Great Tit, Blue Tits carrying nesting material and a Wren. A couple of Starlings and half a dozen House Sparrows were near the feeders along with a couple of Grey Squirrels.
Great Tit

Thursday, 3 April 2014

A bee in my bath

Last night I found a bee in my bath (there was no water in it) which looks like a mining bee Andrena. I was able to release it without too much trouble.

At least 1 Blackcap at the station this morning plus about 8 Goldfinches.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Great Spotted Woodpecker

A Great Spotted Woodpecker calling at the station this morning but sadly it remained hidden from view. I looked for it again this evening but no luck. Also at the station was a male Blackcap and a singing Chiffchaff.