Thursday, 28 December 2017


I depend on spiders for my invertebrate 'fix' in these dark winter days. Throughout the autumn I've been enjoying my Zygiella x-notata going about her daily business in my bathroom window, but in recent weeks I've worried that dropping temperatures would see her supply of prey dwindle and that she would die of starvation. I was therefore relieved to see her tucking into a big fat Calliphora sp. this morning - it must have flown into the flat seeking warmth only to be captured in 'my' spider's web. That should keep her going for a few weeks.....



Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Avon Winter Bird Survey!

I did an Avon Winter Bird Survey around Montpelier/St Pauls/St Andrews this morning and the results are as follows:

Herring Gull 4
Feral Pigeon 46
Woodpigeon 16
Collared Dove 3
Magpie 4
Jay 2
Carrion Crow 8
Raven 1
Blue Tit 1
Great Tit 2
Long-tailed Tit 2
Starling 2
Blackbird 2
Robin 9
House Sparrow 21
Chaffinch 2

Ideally I would have liked to have done the survey an hour earlier as there was quite a lot of traffic on the roads by the time I did it but I overslept!

Sunday, 24 December 2017


A Fox in the garden this morning but gone by the time I grabbed the camera. Maybe it'll be back.

On the roof below my window there's a little patch of flowering grass which is a Poa sp. by the look of it. It could be an obscure alien from a wild bird seed mix.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

St Andrews Park!

A quick visit to the park produced a pair of Blackcaps with bursts of sub-song from the male. Also lots of Blackbirds, a Robin and Blue and Great Tits.


Friday, 22 December 2017

Montpelier Station - the return!

This morning the station produced a male Blackcap, a Coal Tit, 2 or 3 Long-tailed Tits and a couple of Chaffinches.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Montpelier Station!

Superb numbers of House Sparrows this morning feeding in the scrub. I reckon there were 30, possibly more! Also a few Chaffinches, a group of Long-tailed Tits, a Blue Tit and a Goldcrest.

Monday, 18 December 2017

St Andrews Park!

I spent a nice hour or so in the park this afternoon - there was lots of common bird activity including a singing Mistle Thrush, 3 Redwings, 1 male Blackcap, 1 Goldcrest, 15 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Coal Tits, 2 Jays, 5 Chaffinches, 10 Goldfinches, a few Starlings, 5 Blue Tits, 3 Great Tits, a singing Dunnock, 3 Blackbirds, 3 Black-headed Gulls and 2 Herring Gulls.
Herring Gull

Female Blackbird



Black-headed Gull

Long-tailed Tit

Great Tit

In Montpelier Park this morning there was a sub-singing Blackbird, 3 Chaffinches, lots of Woodpigeons and some flowering White Deadnettle. Near the station there were 2 Green Shieldbugs basking in the winter sunshine. There were 5 Chaffinches near the feeders. Interestingly, a combined estimate of Grey Squirrels in Montpelier Park and the station came to about 8!
White Deadnettle

Green Shieldbugs

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