Thursday, 28 April 2016

Chiffchaffs and Chocolate

Quite a bit of insect activity in the park this morning with several Syrphus hoverflies around a Horse Chestnut tree.  Also basking on the leaves was a mining bee I was not sure of but it turns out to be Andrena scotica - the Chocolate Mining Bee! This is my first ever and therefore a new bee for the patch.

Andrena scotica

Syrphus hoverfly

At the station there was a singing Chiffchaff which was good to hear as they seem a little thin on the ground in Monty this spring. This one might stay and breed. Also a Blackcap in song at the station.

Some flowers are now beginning to show - Red Valerian, Ivy-leaved Toadflax and Hogweed all noted this morning.

Ivy-leaved Toadflax

Red Valerian
I'm away for the next 10 days - email me with any sightings!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Park and station

In Montpelier Park this morning a Willow Warbler showed well. I guess it must have been another migrant recently arrived rather than the same individual I've seen on previous occasions. There was also a singing Blackcap nearby. At the station, two new butterflies for the year - a Small White and a couple of Large Whites! This brings the total of butterfly species seen at the station this spring to 5, which isn't bad! Also at the station were a pair of Robins carrying food into a nest hidden in the undergrowth!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Montpelier Station

On the wall along the main platform this morning I came across a small micro-moth which turns out to be Esperia sulphurella which I've never seen before. The larvae feed on rotting wood.

Esperia sulphurella

Also  a couple of Long-tailed Tits at the station.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016


My first Orange-tip butterfly of the year was flitting around the disused platform at the station this morning - a welcome sign of spring! A Coal Tit was calling in Montpelier Park.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Montpelier Park

A Willow Warbler singing and showing well in the park again this morning. Also what I thought at the time was a Tree Bumblebee but having looked at a terrible photograph I took it looks more like a Common Carder Bee!

A Wren was sat on a branch singing at the station.


Sunday, 17 April 2016

St Andrews Park

A beautiful sunny morning in the park and some suitably spring-like bird activity observed! The full list as follows:
Mistle Thrush - a nest was located (see Simon's photo) and at least one youngster was seen. Parent birds nearby. Excellent stuff!
Coal Tit - 1 in song
Blue Tit - a few heard and seen
Great Tit - several heard
Wren - heard several times
Robin - 1 or 2
Blackbird - several birds seen
Magpie - 1 or 2
Carrion Crow - a few
Goldfinch - still lots of birds singing from the trees
Collared Dove - 1 or 2 heard
Woodpigeon - a few
House Sparrow - a few around mainly in adjacent gardens
Jay - we watched a couple behind the pond trying to collect nesting material by breaking off twigs

Mistle Thrush and nest
 There was a mystery fish in the pond - looked a bit like a stickleback! Also a couple of Speckled Wood butterflies in the park - my first of the year.
Speckled Wood
Today I did my BTO Breeding Bird Survey around the patch and the numbers of each species are shown below. Notable are the Willow Warblers, with 3 singing in Montpelier Park and another at Albany Green!
 Lesser Black-backed Gull 5
Herring Gull 1
Feral Pigeon 14
Woodpigeon 12
Collared Dove 6
Magpie 2
Carrion Crow 6
Blue Tit 4
Great Tit 7
Coal Tit 2
Willow Warbler 4
Blackcap 1
Wren 6
Starling 1
Blackbird 13
Robin 5
Dunnock 6
House Sparrow 15
Goldfinch 7

At the top of St Andrews Road there was a Gwynne's Mining Bee Andrena bicolor basking on a leaf. I think it's the first I've ever seen, so a new record for the patch.
Andrena bicolor


Friday, 15 April 2016

Baby Blackbird!

At least one fledgling Blackbird being fed by a parent this morning at the station, and a couple of Long-tailed Tits and singing Coal Tit nearby.

'You ain't seen me, right?

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Montpelier Park

A singing Willow Warbler this afternoon and a Blackcap this morning in the park, plus lots of growing Green Alkanet and White Deadnettle on the slope.
Green Alkanet

White Deadnettle

Nearby at the station a Sparrowhawk flew over both in the morning and this afternoon! Also a Blackbird carrying food so likely to be young in the nest. A couple of Green-veined Whites on the disused platform and a Red-tailed Bumblebee.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Sparrowhawk and Willow Warbler

In Montpelier Park this morning there was a Willow Warbler and a singing Coal Tit. Nearby at the station a Sparrowhawk circled overhead.

A small spider was outside my bathroom window but evaded identification as I was unable to photograph or catch it.

Saturday, 9 April 2016


A dawn chorus walk on the reserve this morning produced Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps along with a probable Garden Warbler. We had good views of a pair of Grey Wagtails. Overhead were Mallards, Cormorant and Grey Heron. A Fox was seen in Mina Road before the walk.
Grey Wagtail
In Montpelier, a Willow Warbler was singing along Fairlawn Road. A 'willowchiff' was glimpsed briefly in Montpelier Park along with a Robin and a Blackbird.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Pale Mottled Willow

A Pale Mottled Willow moth was in the flat last night. The first moth of the spring for me!
Pale Mottled Willow

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Montpelier Station

Despite the chill in the air this morning there were signs of spring at the station with both Blackcap and Willow Warbler in song. The former was likely to be a genuine migrant rather than an over-wintering bird and the latter a definite migrant. Lots of Dunnock activity with several birds singing or calling and showing well.

Outside the front door there were 3 Goldfinches on the wires and also a pair of Blue Tits which seemed to be taking an interest in my nest box.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Montpelier Park

At least 5 Willow Warblers were still in the park this morning along with a singing Coal Tit, Blue and Great Tits, a calling Long-tailed Tit, a couple of Collared Doves, Woodpigeons, Goldfinches and a Blackbird.
Blue Tit

Willow Warbler

At Station Road a brief glimpse of a couple more warblers were less easily identified as Willows, possibly Chiffchaffs? Photo taken.

Monday, 4 April 2016

More Willow Warblers!

A whopping 5 Willow Warblers were feeding in the trees in the park this morning. Montpelier Park seems to be a magnet for this species in spring - I seem to record good numbers most years here. Also Great Tit, Robin, Collared Dove and Blackbird in the park.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Willow Warblers!

On Narroways this morning there were 2 singing Willow Warblers - my first of the spring and great to hear their lovely song! Also 2 Chiffchaffs, a singing Coal Tit, 1 Grey Wagtail, 3 Jays, 2 Chaffinches, a Greenfinch and a single Starling. Hoverflies included several Eristalis pertinax, 1 Eupeodes sp. and 1 Helophilus pendulus. A couple of Buff-tailed Bumblebee around too.

Helophilus pendulus

Buff-tailed |Bumblebee

Another Chiffchaff was showing well at Fairlawn Road.

At the station there was a bit of a butterfly fest with about 3 Green-veined Whites - my first of the year - plus 3 Brimstones and a Comma. There was also a Red-tailed Bumblebee.
Spot the Brimstone

Spot the Comma

A quick wander through St Andrews Park produced a Honey Bee and an Eristalis pertinax hoverfly, both near the pond.
Eristalis pertinax