Saturday, 16 December 2017

Another Blackcap!

Another Blackcap at the station this morning, this time a female which spent time near the feeders. Also a couple of Dunnocks, a Chaffinch, a few Starlings, a Great Tit and a Robin nearby.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Montpelier Station!

I'd hoped the cold weather might have brought some interesting birds to the feeders but they were being hogged by a Grey Squirrel. A flyover Sparrowhawk and a couple of Long-tailed Tits were the only birds of note.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

St Andrews Park!

A stroll round the park on a cold but sunny morning  produced several Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, 15 Goldfinches, 20 Starlings, a Goldcrest, a couple of Chaffinches and a Blackbird. A Grey Squirrel was walking on the frozen pond!
Blue Tit


There were also a couple of Long-tailed Tits in the garden and a party of 10 of them halfway up Richmond Road. A Jay was calling near Fairlawn Road.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Blackcap and Redwings!

My first wintering Blackcap of the year - a male - was at the station this morning. I normally see my first ones about now. Also 10 Redwings flew over - they might have been the St Andrews Park birds on an awayday. Other birds included a Great Tit, a Chaffinch and a sub-singing Blackbird.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Montpelier Station!

This morning there were a couple of Long-tailed Tits, 3 or 4 Chaffinches, a Dunnock, a Robin, 6 Collared Doves and lots of House Sparrows feeding on Old Man's Beard seeds!

House Sparrows female and male

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Montpelier Park!

A nice collection of common birds in the park this morning - a singing Coal Tit, 4 or 5 Collared Doves, 3 Woodpigeons, 2 Chaffinches, a Robin, a Wren, a flyover Pied Wagtail, a party of Blue and Great Tits and a Goldcrest.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

St Andrews Park!

A quick wander through the park on my way to the shops revealed a bunch of 15 Redwings flying over, half a dozen Starlings, 2 Great Tits, a couple of Blackbirds, a Chaffinch and a fly-over Raven.
Male Blackbird

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Montpelier Station!

A flurry of activity in the trees this morning - half a dozen Long-tailed Tits plus Blue and Great Tits, a female Chaffinch and 2 Blackbirds. Most entertaining.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Great Spotted Woodpecker!

A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was playing hard to get at the station this morning - I first saw it near the feeders, then it flew towards the allotment gardens, then back to the area near the feeders before flying off towards Cromwell Road - maybe to visit St Andrews Park. Also in and around the feeders were a Dunnock, a Robin, a Great Tit, a calling Wren, several Collared Doves, about 4 Chaffinches and a gang of House Sparrows. Up to 4 Grey Squirrels were very much in evidence!
Great Spotted Woodpecker


Saturday, 11 November 2017

False Widow!

A False Widow spider (Steatoda sp.) was in the bath this morning. A very young one, not much bigger than a money-spider. They seem to turn up at regular intervals but I've not found them anywhere else in the flat.

Thursday, 9 November 2017


I scanned the sky from the railway bridge this morning and saw between 20 and 30 thrushes flying west. Judging by their stocky appearance and size they could only have been Fieldfares - a couple of smaller birds flying with them were no doubt Redwings. Great to see these visitors from Scandinavia gracing our skies. A group of Chaffinches also flew over and another couple more of these finches were feeding in the treetops on the disused platform along with Blue and Great Tits. A Dunnock and a couple of Blackbirds were also noted nearby.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Montpelier Park

Very quiet this morning, just a Carrion Crow, 2 Jays, a fly-over Chaffinch, a Blue Tit and a couple of Woodpigeons and Magpies.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Montpelier Station

Good to see a small party of Long-tailed Tits feeding in the treetops this morning. Also 2 Chaffinches flew over. The bird feeder opposite the main platform was visited by a Carrion Crow. At nearby Montpelier Park there was a Blue Tit, several Collared Doves and Woodpigeons and 3 or 4 Magpies. Lots of White Deadnettle in flower and a Harlequin Ladybird pupa also seen.
Harlequin Ladybird pupa

White Deadnettle

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Red Admirals everywhere!

Two Red Admirals in the garden nectaring on Ivy this morning and another at the Cromwell end of the railway footbridge, again on Ivy. I've seen loads of these beautiful butterflies in the last few days when I've been out and about - they've had an excellent year I think. Also an Eristalis tenax hoverfly, a Harlequin Ladybird and a Wolf Spider nearby.
 Red Admiral in garden

Wolf Spider

Eristalis tenax

Harlequin Ladybird

Another Red Admiral

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Montpelier Park

A nice selection of common birds in the park this morning including Great and Blue Tits, a Wren, 6 Collared Doves, 2 or 3 Woodpigeons, several Magpies, a calling Jay and a Blackbird.

Blue Tit

Great Tit


At the station just one Ivy Bee seen and lots of Common Wasps on the Ivy.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017


This morning on the station I saw a Fox wander out of the undergrowth and sit on the railway track near the tunnel. It spent awhile grooming itself and only moved when the train came out of the tunnel. It's just typical that this was the one time I didn't bother to bring my camera and so had to use my phone. It was a youngster by the look of it - maybe a sub-adult born in the spring. Tomorrow I'll bring my camera but the Fox probably won't appear.....

Monday, 23 October 2017

Spiders and Chaffinches!

In Montpelier Park this morning there was a female Chaffinch feeding in the treetops. Chaffinches are sadly a rarity in Montpelier in the summer nowadays but in autumn and winter they tend to gather in good numbers so we'll see more of them in the coming months, hopefully. Checked the wall for spider webs and saw a few, probably made by an Amaurobius species.
Amaurobius web

At the station another spider, this time a tiny Philodromus or Running Crab-spider was on the handrail of the footbridge. Nearby Harlequin Ladybirds were in evidence and plenty of Common Wasps and a Honey Bee on the Ivy. On the wall at the station was a juvenile snail - very pretty and likely to be a young Cepaea species - surrounded by what look like Springtails! Also a tiny Ichneumon nearby.



Cepaea snail and Springtails

Sunday, 22 October 2017

St Andrews Park

Not much to get excited about in a blustery park this morning: a couple of fly-over Ravens harassed by Carrion Crows, the odd Robin, a Jay, a couple of Blackbirds, calling Coal Tit and Great Tit plus Magpies, Starlings, House Sparrows, Woodpigeons and Feral Pigeons was about it.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Bugs still around!

I looked at an Ivy bush near the station this morning and there were still a couple of Ivy Bees around. I lined up a shot of one basking on a leaf and a wasp grabbed it! Also a couple of hoverflies - a Syrphus ribesii female and a Myathropa florea.
Myathropa florea

Ivy Bee


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Jackdaw invasion!

A group of 10 Jackdaws flew SE over Richmond Road this morning and another single bird flew over the station. These could be birds moving from northern upland areas to the south for the winter.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

More Ivy Bees!

I had a look at the Ivy patch at the Cromwell Road end of the station footbridge this afternoon and it produced 3-4 Ivy Bees plus several Honey Bees, Common Wasps, a Syrphus hoverfly and an Eristalis pertinax hoverfly. Also a couple of Harlequin Ladybirds on the bridge and a Hawthorn Shieldbug on the wall together with several Zygiella spiders. There was a Dung Fly (Scathophaga) species near the tunnel and a Chiffchaff was calling.

Harlequin Ladybird

Hawthorn Shieldbug

Ivy Bee

Eristalis pertinax



Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Ivy Bee!

An Ivy Bee Colletes hederae this morning on an Ivy patch near the station. This is the first time I've seen one in Montpelier but they have spread pretty widely since they were first discovered in Dorset in 2001 so I may have overlooked them. The next few weeks is their peak flight period so if you have any Ivy in your garden (and you know every garden should have Ivy) keep your eyes peeled for this lovely bee. Also on the same patch was an Eristalis hoverfly (flew away before I could ID it), a couple of Honey Bees, a Common Wasp and several Green Shieldbugs.
Ivy Bee

Honey Bee

Green Shieldbug

Common Wasp

Friday, 29 September 2017


A couple of  hours on the reserve today produced some good sightings. Highlights were a couple of Common Lizards, one with a stumpy tail.

Also a Hawthorn Shieldbug, a Green Shieldbug, the hoverfly Eristalis tenax, a Harlequin Ladybird, a Cranefly sp., a Common Darter dragonfly, a Speckled Wood butterfly, a Red-tailed Bumblebee and several Garden Spiders. Also a Metellina sp. spider. It was also nice to see a Twin-spot Centurion soldierfly.

Hawthorn Shieldbug

Twin-spot Centurion

Eristalis tenax
Common Darter

Mouse-eared Hawkweed flowers were still out.

Birds included a fly-over Swallow, a Raven, a couple of calling Chiffchaffs, 2 Jays, a fly-over Jackdaw and a few Great Tits, Robins and Blackbirds.

At Hurlingham Road at least 15 Long-tailed Tits were flying from tree to tree - very impressive numbers - and a Jay was calling. a Ladybird larvae, probably a Harlequin, was on the prowl.
Ladybird larva