Saturday, 31 May 2014

Insects everywhere

In Fairlawn Road this: a few Green Shieldbugs, an Xanthogramma hoverfly, a Myathropa florea hoverfly, a Nettle Tap Moth, a 7-spot Ladybird and lots of Harlequins, several Tree Bumble Bees, an Early Bumble Bee, a Common Carder Bee and a Buff-tailed Bumble Bee, a Thick-thighed Flower Beetle, a Honey Bee and a fly that might be a Cabbage Root Fly - will get it identified. Birds included a Jay and a juvenile Blackbird.

Juvenile Blackbird

Possible Cabbage Root Fly


Myathropa florea

Nettle Tap


Tree Bumble Bee

Thick-thighed Flower Beetle

In St Andrews Road a Rose Chafer was exploring a lily in one of the gardens. Lots more Tree Bumble Bees on the approach to the station around the bramble flowers. 
Rose Chafer

Friday, 30 May 2014

St Pauls Park

Lots of rather annoyed birds in the park this morning, making various alarm calls, no doubt because there was a cat around or something. Those joining in the peeved chorus included Robin, Wren, Magpie and Blackbird. Other birds in and around the park included a couple of Herring Gulls, a Carrion Crow, a Blue Tit, a Great Tit, a Woodpigeon and the odd Goldfinch.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Montpelier Station

Bird highlights at the station this morning included a single Swift, a family of young House Sparrows being fed by a parent and about 20 Starlings including young birds. An impressive count.
Juvenile House Sparrow
There was quite a bit of Cuckoo-spit on some flowers, mainly on Wood Avens and a small fly (possibly some sort of Muscid) braved the cool overcast conditions. Several probable Pill Woodlice were also out and about.

Wood Avens

Possible Muscid fly

Probable Pill Woodlouse

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Eat your heart out, Springwatch.....

Jim has sent me pics from his nestbox cam of Robins sitting on 4 eggs in Montpelier! Brilliant stuff! Hopefully there will be updates on the family in due course so watch this space...

Monday, 26 May 2014

Bird survey - today's results

Did my BTO Breeding Bird Survey this morning in St Andrews, Montpelier and St Paul's, and recorded the following totals:

Lesser Black-backed Gull 8
Herring Gull 1
Feral Pigeon 22
Woodpigeon 10
Collared Dove 5
Swift 4
Magpie 9
Jackdaw 1
Carrion Crow 6
Blue Tit 9
Great Tit 2
Wren 8
Starling 5
Blackbird 11
Mistle Thrush 1
Robin 13
Dunnock 4
House Sparrow 22
Chaffinch 2
Greenfinch 4
Goldfinch 12

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Swifts ahoy!

Two Swifts were flying over the station this morning and a further 10 to 15 were seen in the distance beyond the TV mast. This is a good count these days, and I'm hopeful numbers have slightly recovered from previous years. They really are one of my favourite birds. Also at the station plenty of noisy Starlings - I'm pretty sure some youngsters were amongst them but I didn't get a good look.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

St Pauls Park

Every time I visit the park the park-keepers are making a racket with their grass-cutters so it was not a successful visit this morning. There was a Blackbird, a Dunnock and a couple of Goldfinches but not much else bird-wise. There were a couple of flies (possible Tachinidae) which looked distinctive enough for me to think I might be able to ID them - white dusting on the thorax a particular feature. I will update this if I can get an ID. In the church rounds quite a lot of Dove's foot Cranesbill (later cut by the park-keepers - rather depressing). UPDATE! The fly is a Anthomyia species hurrah!
Dove's foot Cranesbill

Anthomyia fly

This evening 2 adult Blackbirds in the garden were mobbing a Magpie so they obviously have a nest nearby. They actually physically struck the corvid several times as they dive-bombed it.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

More tits!

Jim kindly sent me these pics of his nesting Blue Tits in his Montpelier garden. Thanks Jim!

A couple of Swifts over the station this morning - good to see. Also what I think is likely o be Charlock in flower on the disused platform.

Monday, 19 May 2014


I took a couple of shots of my Blue Tits this morning but when an adult visited the nestbox with a caterpillar he or she did not actually enter the nest. I wonder if the brood has fledged? I couldn't hear the youngsters chirping when the food was brought to them.

Nearby there were flyovers from 2 Swifts and 6 Starlings.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

St Andrews Park

Beautiful weather this morning but few surprises as regards the birds although there was plenty of song. List as follows:
Mistle Thrush - a pair were watched feeding, but there was no evidence they were feeding young
Robin - 1 seen
Blackbird - a few
Starling - 2 seen from the cafe area
Feral Pigeon - just 1 seen
Woodpigeon - a few
Collared Dove - 1 or 2 noted
Blue Tit - 1 heard
Dunnock - at least 1 seen and heard
Chaffinch - several birds seen and lots of song heard
Goldfinch - a few heard
House Sparrow - a few heard chirping
Carrion Crow - several throwing their weight around
Magpie - several seen including attendance near a nest
Coal Tit - 1 heard
Wren - 2 or 3 singing and 1 seen by a member of the group
Long-tailed Tit - 1 or 2 noted
Lesser Black-backed Gull - seen drifting overhead as usual

A Grey Squirrel sat motionless on a branch for many minutes allowing some decent photographs.
Grey Squirrel

In Fairlawn Road this morning there was a Large White butterfly and a Large Red Damselfly. At the station there were at least 3 Rosechafers on the disused railway platform, 2 Thick-thighed Flower Beetles, 1 Green Shieldbug, a Holly Blue butterfly and a Brimstone butterfly. A moth seen briefly was possibly a Common White Wave. Birds of note at the station were 4 Starlings and a Greenfinch.
Large Red Damselfly

Large White


The Blue Tits using my nestbox now have young - they can be heard clearly and the adults are feeding regularly. Another pair of Blue Tits are once again nesting in a crack in the veranda of a house in Leopold Road - I've seen them use this site in past years.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Swifts are back!

One of the highlights of the birding year is witnessing the return of Swifts to the patch. They seem to get later and fewer every year, but at least I saw a nice group of 9 over the station following a rain shower and another singleton passing over shortly after. Wonderful stuff. Also 2 Jackdaws overhead.

Monday, 5 May 2014

My Blue Tit's back!

In the last week or two my garden nestbox has been visited by adult Blue Tits with food. This is about the 4th or 5th year the nestbox has been used, yet because it has a fixed roof I haven't been able to clean it out each autumn, so God knows what state it must be like inside! Perhaps I'd better replace the box before next year.

This morning a Jackdaw flew over Richmond Road and a Large White butterfly was patrolling the disused platform on the station.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

St Andrews Park

A bird walk as part of Our Neighbourhood Festival produced at least one surprise this afternoon - a couple of juvenile Robins! We also noted Mistle Thrush, Long-tailed Tit and good numbers of House Sparrows. Insects included a Holly Blue near the pond and a bee - sadly my photo is too poor for ID but it might be a Nomada species. Update: I'm now wondering if it's a Digger Wasp and not a bee at all.....
House Sparrow

Bee (or possibly Digger Wasp) species

Juvenile Robin

Saturday, 3 May 2014


On the reserve this morning were 3 Blackcaps (Lynmouth Rd, gasometer and Simons Grove) 2 Chiffchaffs (gasometer and stony path). Insects as follows: Holly Blue 1 at gasometer, Speckled Wood 3 (stony path). Hoverflies (mostly cutting/stony path area): 1 Syrphus sp., 1 Pipiza sp., 1 Eristalis pertinax, 1 Syritta pipiens. Other flies: a couple of Yellow Dung-flies and a Tachina fera. Bugs: Cercopis vulnerata and a few Green Shieldbugs. Bees: 1 Buff-tailed Bumble and 1 Common Carder Bee, 1 Andrena sp. (mining bee). A couple of 7-spot Ladybirds and an Ichneumon sp.
Cercopis vulnerata

Holly Blue

Osmia rufa

Pipiza sp.

Syritta pipiens

Tachina fera
Andrena sp.

Back in Montpelier, Fairlawn Road produced a Holly Blue and a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, several Harlequin Ladybirds, a few Nursery-web Spiders, a number of of Green Shieldbugs including a mating pair, an Osmia rufa mining bee, my first Large Red Damselfly of the year and a Eupeodes luniger hoverfly. 
Large Red Damselfly

Small Tortoiseshell

Eupeodes luniger

Two Speckled Wood butterflies were having a territorial dispute this afternoon in Richmond Road.