Wednesday, 21 December 2016


A Sparrowhawk flew over the station this morning pursued by a Magpie. In the buddleia by the footbridge there was a party of feeding Long-tailed Tits. Apart from that, all rather quiet apart from a Blackbird, Robin and the usual House Sparrows. The pair of Ravens were on the mast yesterday morning.

Monday, 19 December 2016


A brief visit to the reserve this morning produced 10 Long-tailed Tits and a couple of Blue and Great Tits, a Collared Dove, 6 Redwings flying over the hill, 2 calling Wrens, 5 Blackbirds 2 Chaffinches, 1 Jay, a few Goldfinches, a Greenfinch - quite a local rarity these days - and several Robins.
Female Blackbird



More Long-tailed Tits were feeding in Fairlawn Road.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Winter Bird Survey!

I did the first of two winter bird survey visits in the kilometre square covering Montpelier, St Pauls and St Andrews this morning. The species and numbers of birds are as follows:
Robin 12
Woodpigeon 20
Carrion Crow 9
Herring Gull 12
Feral Pigeon 49
Raven 2
Redwing 2
Pied Wagtail 1
Magpie 10
Collared Dove 5
Jay 1
Blue Tit 4
Great Tit 2
Coal Tit 1
Long-tailed Tit 3
House Sparrow 21
Blackbird 3
Starling 1

Surprisingly, no finches were recorded, although I did see some distant unidentified ones.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

St Andrews Park

A stroll round the park this morning produced lots of Goldfinches, a Mistle Thrush, a Pied Wagtail, a fly-over Grey Wagtail, singing Dunnock and Great Tit and about a dozen Starlings. A Grey Squirrel was very confiding.

Grey Squirrel

In Montpelier, the 2 Ravens were much in evidence, flying round and settling briefly on a tree in Montpelier Park.

Friday, 9 December 2016


Two Ravens sat on the TV mast along Station Road and doing occasional circuits around Montpelier this morning. Sadly I didn't have my camera on me!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Montpelier Park

Plenty of birds around this morning, with a soaring Sparrowhawk, a Pied Wagtail (on the basketball court), a Jay, 5 Goldfinches, 6 Blackbirds (one singing), a couple of fly-over Chaffinches, 1 or 2 Collared Doves and Woodpigeons, a couple of Great Tits, a Robin, a Dunnock, a singing Coal Tit and 2 Carrion Crows. A Grey Squirrel was also around.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Narroways and St Andrews Park

Today on Narroways Nature Reserve: 1 Grey Wagtail, Blackbirds everywhere on the reserve - 30 plus, very impressive numbers and probably an influx from the continent. Redwing - 5 flying SE,  20+ Long-tailed Tits, 5 Blue Tits, 5 Great Tits, 2 Goldcrests, a Dunnock, a Jay, 3 Goldfinches, 1 Chaffinch, Magpies allopreening on the hill/Simon's Grove - sweet! Robin, Wren, Herring Gull, Carrion Crow and Woodpigeons all in good numbers. I Grey Squirrel, ash wood.
Grey Wagtail

At St Andrews Park there was just 1 Redwing, a Mistle Thrush, 10+ Starlings, 2 Jays, several Blackbirds (including 1 singing briefly), a singing Coal Tit and Great Tit a few Goldfinches.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Montpelier Park

Plenty of hot bird action in the park this  morning, a Goldcrest being the most notable as it's the first I've seen on the patch since last winter and is probably a new arrival. It showed well but sadly evaded my attempts to photograph it. Also in the park was a Jay, a mixed party of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, a few Chaffinches and Goldfinches, 2 Blackbirds, a Wren, a Robin, 3 Woodpigeons and 2 Carrion Crows. Non-bird attractions included a Grey Squirrel and a Harlequin Ladybird.
Leaf with Harlequin

Graffiti with Robin

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Montpelier Station

Things are hotting up on the bird front - an influx of Starlings (15+) and Chaffinches (10) plus a Robin and a party of Great and Blue Tits near the feeders. Three Ravens flew high over the station.

Friday, 25 November 2016

St Andrews Park

Birds are starting to move into the park by the look of it - a couple of Redwings were a welcome sight - they have recently arrived from Scandinavia. Also a couple of Jays, a few Starlings, a party of Long-tailed Tits, a few Goldfinches and Chaffinches, Robins, Blackbirds and Wrens plus a Herring Gull.


Insects were attracted to a sunny and warm spot near the pond - a couple of Marmalade Hoverflies, a few Common Wasps, a Green Shieldbug and a couple of Harlequin Ladybirds.
Marmalade Hoverfly

Green Shieldbug


A mixed party of Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits were feeding in the trees at Fairlawn Road.

Last night I was woken by a barking dog Fox!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Montpelier Park

At least 1 Long-tailed Tit feeding in the trees in the park this morning and 5 fly-over Chaffinches.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Birch Shieldbug

A few weeks ago I saw a Birch Shieldbug in my bath, but today there was another one on the wall at the station. I think it is still quite mild so some insects are still out and about.
Birch Shieldbug

Monday, 7 November 2016

St Andrews Park

It was very quiet in the park this afternoon apart from a couple of Goldfinches, a pair of Blackbirds, a Jay and a Robin.

Monday, 24 October 2016


A Skylark over Richmond Road this morning. Occasionally these birds pass over built-up areas on their way to winter feeding areas, often near the coast.

Sunday, 23 October 2016


Today on the reserve: Grey Wagtail, Jay, 3 Stock Doves over the hill, 1 Jackdaw over Simons Grove, mixed party of Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits (stony path) 1 Starling over hill, 1 Chaffinch over cutting. Several Wrens, Robins and Blackbirds.

Insects: Twin-spot Centurion soldierfly, Syrphus hoverfly, Phaonia sp. fly, Several Harlequin Ladybirds, a Green Shieldbug, a Dock Leaf Bug. A very active Common Wasp nest along the path at Simons Grove.

Dock Leaf Bug

Phaonia sp.

Twin-spot Centurion

Wasp nest

At Fairlawn Road, Montpelier there were some feeding Long-tailed Tits and a fly-over Jackdaw.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Buzzard and Chiffchaff

A Buzzard drifted over the station this morning mobbed by half a dozen Carrion Crows and a Chiffchaff called from the trees. Hoverflies on the ivy included a Syrphus species and a Myathropa florea.

Myathropa florea


Yesterday there were 2 Jays in Montpelier Park.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Birds! Real birds!

Seems ages since I've been able to report a selection of birds on this blog as they seem to have been very thin on the ground, but at Montpelier Station this morning there was a soaring Sparrowhawk overhead mobbed by a Carrion Crow, Blue and Great Tits in the trees, a couple of Woodpigeons, a singing Coal Tit, calling Dunnocks and singing Wren and Robin. A Chaffinch and a Greenfinch flew over, my first for ages, sad to say.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Winter Thrushes?

This morning I saw a very high-flying group of about 10 thrushes over the station. I only had a glimpse but the underwings looked white-ish, so they may well have been Fieldfares or even Mistle Thrushes. Strangely they were flying NE.

My pet Zygiella x-notata spider was performing well this evening! 
Zygiella x-notata

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Montpelier Park

There were a couple of Harlequin Ladybirds today, and one of them had a deformed/missing elytra but it seemed to be able to move OK but obviously couldn't fly.

A Grey Wagtail flew over, calling.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

St Pauls Park

A sunny morning brought out a couple of hoverflies - a Myathropa florea and a Syrphus sp. A Wren, Great Tit, Robin and Blackbird were heard and a Lesser Black-backed Gull seen. The churchyard had lots of Annual Mercury growing in profusion.
Annual Mercury

Myathropa florea


Friday, 30 September 2016

Montpelier Station

A bit more bird action this morning - 2 Jackdaws flew over, a Grey Wagtail was on the platform near the tunnel and a Jay showed well in the trees. A Chiffchaff called briefly.

On the ivy near the footbridge was a Red Admiral, several Common Wasps and at least 1 Eristalis tenax hoverfly. There were still some Moth Mullein plants in flower.

Eristalis tenax

Moth Mullein

Red Admiral

Wednesday, 28 September 2016


A Sparrowhawk flew over the station this morning harassed by a Carrion Crow. Judging by the size, it looked like a male. An Eristalis hoverfly basked briefly on the ivy at the Cromwell Road end of the footbridge and there were half a dozen Common Wasps too.

Common Wasp

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


A pair of Ravens were on the TV mast this morning and a few minutes later one of them flew over the station - it's been a while since I've seen them locally. Also at the station were a few calling Great Tits. A ladybird pupa was on the wall, probably a Harlequin Ladybird.
Harlequin pupa


Monday, 26 September 2016


A spider in the flat this evening looks like our old friend the Missing Sector Orb-web Spider Zygiella x-notata. I've had many generations of these over the years and they are rather cute.
Zygiella x-notata

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

St Pauls Park

I've neglected this lovely little park in recent months so I had a quick look round this morning on my way to work. There was a group of feeding Great and Blue Tits and a singing Coal Tit, 3 or 4 Goldfinches, 5 Woodpigeons, a coup!e of Feral Pigeons and a juvenile gull, probably Lesser Black-backed.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

St Andrews Park

A lunchtime stroll produced a few invertebrates enjoying the sunshine - a few Eristalis pertinax (Drone flies), a Xylota segnis hoverfly, a Small White butterfly, several Honey Bees and a Garden Spider. A Great Tit was singing and a Jay called. A Robin was active near the bowling green and a Grey Squirrel posed for the camera.
Eristalis pertinax

Small White

Grey Squirrel

There was a Melanostoma hoverfly nectaring on a sowthistle flower along the rainbow bridge at the Fairlawn Road end.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Springtail at the Station

I was attracted to a small insect on the wall at the station this morning which puzzled me. It had very long antennae and a long body. After much thought I decided it must be a springtail, and have discovered that it is called Pogognathellus longicornis. I don't see many springtails on the patch so was very pleased to find this one! Nearby was a Green Shieldbug.
Pogognathellus longicornis

Green Shieldbug

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Bugs in the bath

Last night I found a Birch Shieldbug in the bath! I've only recorded a couple of these before on the patch.
Birch Shieldbug

At the station this morning another Jay was heard and a Red Admiral and Small White were seen. On the wall was an interesting long-legged fly which looked like one of the Dolichopodidae.

Nearby, a Coal Tit was singing in the park.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Montpelier Station

There were a couple of noisy Jays flying around this morning plus singing Wrens and Robins. A Large White butterfly was flying around. A Green Shieldbug was on the wall along the platform.

Last night a Harlequin Ladybird was on a neighbour's house wall.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Montpelier Park

Every year the Horse Chestnut trees in Montpelier Park get a right old battering from this pesky critter, the Horse Chestnut Miner moth Cameraria ohridella . It was first observed in Macedonia, in northern Greece, in 1985 and the first time it was recorded in the UK was in 2002 in Wimbledon of all places. Now it has spread throughout England and into Scotland. Studies are ongoing to assess just how serious this tiny moth is proving to be to our Horse Chestnuts. I took these photos this morning in the park - there are absolutely swarms of the little buggers - they are very attractive when you get a close look at them, but they make a right old mess of the leaves.
Horse Chestnut Miner

Juvenile Woodpigeon

Also in the park were a couple of juvenile Woodpigeons in what looked like a family group.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Birds on the move!

Evidence of birds moving through Montpelier this morning was provided by a Blackcap which called briefly then flew between the trees and a calling Chiffchaff, both at the station. Also a singing Great Tit and Coal Tit and a Jay. Strangely, a Blackbird sang briefly - unusual at this time of year. Nearby a Garden Spider and an Eristalis hoverfly together with a Large White butterfly and a Cluster Fly.

Large White

Cluster Fly

At St Andrews Park there were several Green Shieldbugs, a Groundbug species (possibly Nettle Groundbug?) and a Leaf-cutter Bee. A Juvenile Blackbird was a surprise - obviously from a late brood - and a couple of Jays were flying around.
Juvenile Blackbird

Leaf-cutter Bee

Green Shieldbug

Groundbug sp.
Yesterday a Sparrowhawk landed briefly on the roof of the neighbours opposite but it didn't stay to be photographed.