Monday, 27 April 2015

Montpelier Park

Not an awful lot to report this morning other than an active Carrion Crow nest near the Old Vicarage, a Long-tailed Tit, a Robin, half a dozen House Sparrows and a Blackbird.
Crow's nest

Friday, 24 April 2015


10.15 to 12.15 today on the reserve: 3 Chiffchaffs, 4 Blackcaps, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Jay and a Greenfinch.

Hoverflies: Rhingia rostrata (not too common - first of the year), Syrphus sp., Melanostoma scalare and Eristalis pertinax. Other insects included Common Carder Bee and a Buff-tailed or White-tailed Bumblebee.

Hedgerow Cranesbill

Melanostoma scalare

Rhingia rostrata

Plants in flower included Common Comfrey, Lords and Ladies, Jack-by-the-hedge, Common Vetch and Hedgerow Cranesbill.

Another Chiffchaff was singing alongside Hurlingham Road, and St Andrews Park produced a Mistle Thrush and a Greenfinch.

A Plume Moth was in the kitchen his morning.
Plume Moth

Thursday, 23 April 2015

St Pauls Cemetery - dead good!

Popped into the cemetery this afternoon where there were a few House Sparrows and Goldfinches knocking around along with the usual gulls on the surrounding rooftops.
Insect-wise there were 2 goodies, both true bugs and within a few inches of each other - a Hairy Shieldbug and a Rhopalus subrufa! I thought the latter species was a 'first' for the patch but I searched this blog and discovered that I saw one in June 2012. Elsewhere there were a couple of Eristalis hoverflies plus an interesting bracket fungus.
Hairy Shieldbug

Bracket fungus

Rhopalus subrufa
This morning at Montpelier Station the only birds of note were a group of feeding Long-tailed Tits and a Jay.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Montpelier Park

Half an hour in the park this morning produced a pair of Blackcaps, a Coal Tit, a Woodpigeon and a Blackbird carrying a beakful of worms so no doubt feeding young. At least 1 Grey Squirrel was seen.

Insects in the park included a Bee Fly, a Syrphus hoverfly, a Common Carder Bee, and my first Small White butterfly of the year. There was also a tantalising glimpse of what I think was a Red Mason Bee - the only photo I was able to take was a poor one as it didn't hang about.
Spot the Red Mason Bee

Common Carder Bee

Bee Fly

Syrphus hoverfly

There was a Speckled Wood butterfly in Station Road and the station itself produced another Syrphus hoverfly and a Green-veined White butterfly. A Blackcap was also singing.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

St Andrews Park

A quiet day in the park bird-wise, with the cool wind and low temperature possibly suppressing bird activity. There were some interesting moments, though. The full list as follows:
Robin - just 1 or 2 seen and heard

Blue Tit - a few heard and seen
Great Tit - 3 or 4 chiming away and seen feeding
Coal Tit - 1 seen visiting a garden feeder and then entering a nest cavity in a house opposite the park. Luckily, a member of our group lives in he house in question so the bird's protection is assured!
Carrion Crow - rather thin on the ground today
Magpie - just a couple seen
Woodpigeon - a few
Feral Pigeon - a few flying around
Dunnock - 1 heard singing near the pond
Blackbird - several seen and heard
Mistle Thrush - 2 birds at least seen, although the nest found by Simon recently appeared to be abandoned
Lesser Black-backed Gull - a few drifting overhead. Distant views of 2 Herring Gulls failed to qualify for inclusion in this list
Chaffinch - at least 1 singing and 1 or 2 seen
Goldfinch - several birds
Greenfinch - several birds singing
Wren - 1 or 2 heard singing
House Sparrow - several seen near the pond and also observed collecting nesting material from a mysterious grassy structure halfway up a tree near the café!
Collared Dove - 1 observed by at least 1 member of the group.

Earlier, I did my first BTO Breeding Bird Survey of the year around Montpelier, St Pauls and St Andrews. The best birds were a Grey Wagtail in Milverton Gardens and several Blackcaps. The full list is as follows:

Lesser Black-backed Gull 7    
Herring Gull 4    
Feral Pigeon 68    
Woodpigeon 21    
Collared Dove 6    
Magpie 5    
Jay 2    
Carrion Crow 6    
Blue Tit 10    
Great Tit 1    
Chiffchaff 1    
Blackcap 4    
Wren 6    
Blackbird 12    
Robin 10    
Dunnock 1    
House Sparrow 24    
Grey Wagtail 1    
Chaffinch 1    
Greenfinch 4    
Goldfinch 10 

Two other items - a Goldfinch was in the garden this morning and a Common Buzzard drifted over the top of St Andrews Road.

Spot the Buzzard!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

St Pauls Park

Not a lot as far as birds were concerned this morning, just a couple of Greenfinches, a few Collared Doves and 3 Starlings were highlights.

Insect-wise, there was a tiny greenish bee which is likely to be Lasioglossum morio along with a couple of Syrphus hoverflies and a probable Melanostoma hoverfly. I took a photo of some flowers I assumed to be Spanish Bluebells but this proved controversial on Facebook, with some people wondering if they were actually Hybrid Bluebells. I don't think anyone actually concluded with a definite ID.
Lasioglossum morio

Spanish/Hybrid Bluebells

Syrphus hoverfly

Probable Melanostoma

Monday, 13 April 2015

At last! Willow Warblers!

Montpelier Park was the place to be this morning with 3 plus Willow Warblers showing well as the fed in the trees - such a great bird to see locally as they do not stick around long. Also a couple of male Blackcaps, a Wren, a Jay, several Blackbirds, Blue and Long-tailed Tits. Finally, a Common Buzzard drifted overhead mobbed by gulls.
Willow Warbler




Plants in flower including Charlock, White Deadnettle and Petty Spurge.
White Deadnettle

Petty Spurge


Great to see some Ashy Mining Bees in the park too.

Ashy Mining Bee

Sunday, 12 April 2015


Today on the reserve: 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps, a singing Song Thrush, a Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, 3 Greenfinches at least singing and a Jay.
Great Tit
 Insects included a Tawny Mining Bee, a couple of other unidentified Andrena (mining bee) species, a few Honeybees, a Common Carder Bee, a Bee FlyMelanostomaSyrphus, Eristalis pertinax and Cheilosia hoverflies. Also 2 Nursery-web Spiders, a Comma, a Speckled Wood and several 'white' butterflies.

Bee Fly

Honey Bee

Common Carder Bee




Nursery-web Spider

Tawny Mining Bee
Wild Garlic was just coming into flower and lots of Common Dog Violets around.

Wild Garlic
In Montpelier there was lots of Ivy-leaved Speedwell and Herb Robert in flower.

Herb Robert

Ivy-leaved Speedwell
St Andrews Park produced a Mistle Thrush and an Eristalis pertinax hoverfly. 

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

St Pauls Park

A long overdue visit to the park this morning produced several Blackbirds, 3 Starlings, 2 Blue Tits, a Great Tit, a couple of Long-tailed Tits, several singing Greenfinches, a couple of Robins, 3 Dunnocks, 2 Collared Doves, 3 Woodpigeons, 2 Herring Gulls and a Wren. Nearby in the church grounds some nice Wood Forgetmenot was growing (I think it was the garden form). A hoverfly in the park may have been Melanostoma.

Garden form of Wood Forgetmenot




Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Bees and Bluebells

These Spanish Bluebells were growing on the disused platform at the station this morning. Nothing much in Montpelier Park other than a singing Great Tit and a Blackbird.

This evening, a queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee flew into the flat.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Midge Magnet

At the station this morning there were lots of midges near the wall along the platform. Occasionally they perched and I was able to take a shot, but I'm not confident I can ID them!


Also at the station was a Robin, a couple of Great Tits, a Dunnock, 1 or 2 Blackbirds, a briefly singing Blackcap and a Long-tailed Tit.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

St Andrews Park

I was pleased to see a Wren carrying nesting material near the park-keepers' compound this afternoon, so nesting is underway. Also nearby was a Dunnock, several Blackbirds, a couple of fighting House Sparrows, good numbers of singing Greenfinches and Goldfinches and a singing Chaffinch and Coal Tit.


Birds in and around the garden today included a Coal Tit (unusual here), 3 Goldfinches, 3 Blue Tits, 2 Great Tits, a Blackbird, a House Sparrow and at least 2 Woodpigeons one of which was a juvenile.

Lots of moss outside my window including what I've discovered is Bryum capillare.

Bryum capillare