Saturday, 31 December 2011

Brief Encounter

Walking down Belvoir Road this afternoon I heard the unmistakable sound of a Carrion Crow making its gutteral alarm call just in time to see it chasing a Sparrowhawk overhead. The usual birds at the station - apart from the finches, sparrows and starlings there was a Dunnock and a few Great and Blue Tits. On paper that doesn't sound too exciting but there was lots of activity to keep me amused.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Monty mega-finch, a flurry of Fieldfares and Starlings soar

The station was brilliant this morning, with a female Bullfinch on the feeders. I've heard that this species is becoming more regular at feeding stations around the country and this seems to prove it. Never common on the Wild Monty patch, it was great to see one. Also at the station 4 Fieldfares flew SE and the Starling flock numbered 15 plus - a good count. A Greenfinch, a couple of Goldfinches and several Chaffinches also at the station.

Long-tailed Tits were seen outside the flat this morning.

Thursday, 29 December 2011


Very little to report in the last couple of days. Yesterday a Goldcrest was calling in the pine near the Old Vicarage and today in St Pauls Park there were just Woodpigeons and Collared Doves, a Blackbird, Dunnock and Robin and a few Goldfinches.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

I've been everywhere, man

An extended tour of duty taking in both St Andrews Park and Narroways produced the following birds:

Narroways: 2 Ravens flew over the Church Field, a Coal Tit called from the conifers at the climbing centre and a Blackcap was heard near the brook. Other birds seen and heard included a Grey Wagtail, Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Great Tits, 2 Song Thrushes (heard in the distance), 5 Greenfinches, and a couple of Chaffinches.

St Andrews Park: A Jay, a Mistle Thrush, 4 Blackbirds, several Goldfinches and Chaffinches, 10 Starlings and a Pied Wagtail.

Fairlawn Road: Several Long-tailed Tits and a Jay.

Station: 10 Goldfinches were notable.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

St Andrews Park etc

At St Andrews Park late morning there was a flurry of activity near the pond, with a Coal Tit singing at the top of a tree and showing well, 2 Blackcaps calling and 1 (a male) showing briefly, a Robin in the wildlife hedge and a gaggle of House Sparrows nearby. A few Goldfinches and Greenfinches around the park too.

The finch flock at the station was tremendous - I can't remember there ever being more. I estimated at least 50 birds, dominated by Chaffinches followed by Goldfinches and then Greenfinches. They were flighty this morning, commuting between the area near the feeders then flying to the park. Also 2 Grey Squirrels at the feeders and a Pied Wagtail nearby.

A flock of 15-20 Redwings flew over the flat this afternoon and there were 3 Blackbirds in the garden.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Thrushes again....

At the station this morning I was busily looking at a Grey Squirrel and a couple of Chaffinches on the feeders when I glanced up to see the tail-end of about 20 winter thrushes, almost certainly Redwings, fly south overhead. Only seconds before, I had heard what I thought was a Fieldfare calling - it's just possible that the flock contained the latter species as well as the Redwings. The usual collection of birds, including the regular Coal Tit, were still in and around the station.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

St Pauls Park

All quiet this morning - a Pied Wagtail, 3 Goldfinches, a Great Tit, 3 Blue Tits, a Collared Dove, 5 Woodpigeons and 3 Blackbirds.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Fly

What was a tolerable number of Bluebottles in the flat a week ago has now become a bit of an infestation. I will have to do some serious swatting.

The Blackcap was calling in the garden first thing this morning.

Nothing new on the station but a Starling flew over and a Great Tit was singing.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Montpelier Station

Once again, the finch flock at the station was mighty impressive this morning - the usual 3 species involved, and the total numbering over 20. Female Chaffinches appeared to dominate. Also good numbers of House Sparrows and the Coal Tit was again present along with Great and Blue Tits.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Green and Black

The female Blackcap was showing well in the garden again today, mainly eating Ivy berries and another (or the same) bird was calling at the station later on.

Also at the station were 3 Greenfinches, half a dozen Chaffinches, 2 Goldfinches, 4 Starlings, 5 Collared Doves, a Robin, 2 Blackbirds, a few House Sparrows, a Coal Tit, 2 Great Tits, a Blue Tit and a Dunnock.

A similar suite of species were at the railway path including Dunnock, Blackbird and Great Tits.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Slightly Foxed III

Hurrah! The first Blackcaps of the winter - a female in the garden this morning and another individual calling and showing briefly in St Andrews Park.

The Fox was at its usual spot along the railway path, also nearby was a Jay and a group of Great and Blue Tits.

A flock of about 20 Chaffinches in the station/allotment area.

Friday, 16 December 2011

A Mistle in Montpelier

A Mistle Thrush was singing strongly this morning - it seemed to be coming from somewhere between the station and the Arches but I could not see the bird. This species is quite unusual on this part of the patch and always good to see or hear. Nearby, lots of Chaffinches and Goldfinches, a Greenfinch, a Robin, a Dunnock and 2 Blackbirds on the station and a Grey Squirrel near the feeders.

There were 3 flies in the flat this morning, one of which fell under the hot water tap as I was running the bath. I rescued it but although it could walk around a bit, its wings were clearly damaged and it was unable to fly (a distinct disadvantage for a fly). At least one of the flies was a Bluebottle species.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

St Pauls - birding capital of Bristol

In St Pauls Park, a very agitated Great Tit was calling incessantly and hopping restlessly from branch to branch, presumably because it had seen a cat, while nearby a couple of Long-tailed Tits gave good views. The only other birds of note were a Pied Wagtail and singles of Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

In Portland Square there were just 2 Great Tits and a Blackbird, and there was nothing much in the cemetery because the Council staff were blowing leaves around, although I did hear House Sparrows above the din and a Herring Gull drifted over.

There is a Blow-fly or House Fly buzzing around the flat this evening even though it is rather cold and normally out and about on only the mildest of winter weather.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

St Pauls Park: Third Sequence

Still quiet but the blustery conditions were not ideal for birding. Blue Tits and Great Tits, a couple of Magpies, a Carrion Crow, a Blackbird, a Robin, 2 Herring Gulls and half a dozen Woodpigeons were the only birds of note.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Montpelier Park & Station

A Goldcrest was calling in the pine near the Old Vicarage this morning - the first for several months and no doubt recently arrived. A couple of Goldfinches and Chaffinches were also seen plus a Grey Squirrel.

There was a spectacular repeat performance from a female Sparrowhawk over the allotment gardens, at one point flying a couple of metres right over my head before heading towards Colston Girls' School - fabulous. At the station proper, Chaffinches dominated with about 15 birds, while the feeders had a Grey Squirrel, 6 Goldfinches, 2 Blue Tits, a Starling and a single Greenfinch. There were 2 Pied Wagtails trotting along the platform.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Montpelier Marauder and Mini Murmuration

A Sparrowhawk paid a visit to the station this morning, causing havoc among some Chaffinches and Blue Tits that had been on the feeders. The hawk then soared over the station mobbed by a Carrion Crow before drifting off over Cromwell Road.

In St Andrews Road, a flighty group of Starlings were investigating the gardens and rooftops - at least 10 birds were involved. Double figures at last!

Saturday, 10 December 2011


The quiet theme continued today on a bright crisp morning at Narroways. The highlight was the dependable Grey Wagtail on the brook plus up to 3 Jays and the odd Goldfinch nearby.

Nothing much to report in Montpelier other than a female Chaffinch and a couple of Blue Tits at Fairlawn Road

Friday, 9 December 2011

St Pauls Park: Second Sequence

The park was a little more lively than a day or two ago, with several Great and Blue Tits, a Chaffinch, a Goldfinch, a couple of Pied Wagtails, 2 Herring Gulls, a Carrion Crow , a Magpie, several Woodpigeons and a Dunnock.

My garden produced a Dunnock, 3 Blackbirds, 2 Great Tits, a Blue Tit, a Magpie and 2 Woodpigeons.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Montpelier Station

A few Starlings and high-flying Woodpigeons overhead, a Dunnock, 3 Carrion Crows, a Magpie, a single Coal Tit plus Great and Blue Tits were the only birds of note this morning. It can only get better.....

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

St Pauls Park

All rather bleak, the highlight being a group of 6 Blue Tits and a Great Tit. Other birds were a couple of Magpies and Woodpigeons, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Herring Gull and a couple of Goldfinches.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Coal Tit a-calling

A Coal Tit was calling in Richmond Road this morning and 10 Woodpigeons flew south. Nothing new at the station.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Montpelier Park

I chose to walk round the park later than usual to avoid the bloke with the bull terriers. There were 2 Pied Wagtails and a single Grey Wagtail feeding on the grass at the back of the park plus a Great Tit, a couple of Blackbirds, a Robin and the odd Chaffinch.

At the station the Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Greenfinches and House Sparrows were as conspicuous as always. A Dunnock was heard nearby.

Beyond the border in Kingsdown, a Jay was sat in a street tree in Dove Street South and a Jackdaw flew over.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Wagtails 'n' Long-tails

A couple of Pied Wagtails were seen around the industrial units at Station Road and a Goldfinch flew over. Further down the Road a party of Long-tailed Tits were calling and were seen later at the station itself, along with some Great and Blue Tits.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Slightly Foxed II

The same mangey Fox was in the same place as last week, again showing no interest in me other than a disapproving glance. Nearby in Fairlawn Road there was some Blackbird song no doubt encouraged by the mild sunny weather and, amazingly, a Buff-tailed Bumblebee was still out and about.

At St Andrews Park there were several Goldfinches and a 'flock' of Blackbirds along with a Jay all near the park-keeper's area.

The feeders at the station were busy with half a dozen Goldfinches and a similar number of Chaffinches plus 2 Grey Squirrels. There were 4 Starlings on the TV mast.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Montpelier Station

The usual Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Goldfinches and House Sparrows were evident this morning, plus a party of Long-tailed Tits and a Dunnock.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Thrush rush, Heron scare 'em

Winter has definitely arrived - 9 Redwings flew low over Old Ashley Hill this morning but I didn't see them settle. Nearby, a Grey Heron was being mobbed by a Herring Gull over St Andrews Road. A single Jackdaw flew over Fairlawn Road and there were a few Great and Blue Tits around the patch.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

St Pauls Park fails to deliver, shock!

The only birds of note in St Pauls Park this morning were a couple of Great Tits, a fly-over Goldfinch, a Blackbird, a few Woodpigeons, 2 Magpies, a Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Herring Gull. Nearby Portland Square could only manage a Carrion Crow and a fly-over Pied Wagtail.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Slightly Foxed

It took a while for me to notice this basking Fox near the railway path this morning. It certainly wasn't unduly perturbed by my presence.

Nearby were a couple of Blue and Great Tits.

And the sunshine enticed a rather moribund Common Wasp and a couple of Green Shieldbugs to appear.

It was rather quiet on nearby Narroways apart from a party of Long-tailed Tits and a brief burst of song from a Song Thrush. Lots of Woodpigeons flying south overhead.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Station airy

The usual birds at the station this morning but there were subtle differences in numbers, with Greenfinches seeming to outnumber Chaffinches and Goldfinches were also in evidence. More brief Blackbird song was heard today and the Starling flock numbered just 6. When they get to double figures I'll buy a round down the pub.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Do the Chaffinch cha-cha!

The allotment gardens near the station are often disappointingly quiet but this morning there was a nice little group of half a dozen Chaffinches of both sexes feeding on the ground, while another party of Goldfinches were flitting around the shrubs and trees at the back. A Robin also put in an appearance and a Wren was singing nearby. Blue and Great Tits were seen at the station proper.

Monday, 21 November 2011


Yesterday's strange little bug has been identified by a colleague at BRERC - it's a Springtail Orchesella cincta. This is the first I've ever seen in the flesh so I'm well pleased at a new Monty invertebrate record!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

St Andrews Park monthly bird walk

It was a quiet start to our monthly stroll round the park this morning and I did wonder if we'd see anything at all. However, we were later rewarded with superb views of sizeable Starling and finch flocks making it a spectacular end to this year's bird walks. The full list is as follows:

Starling - a notable and noisy influx of these birds, many no doubt arrivals from the continent.

Greenfinch - a good showing of 10+ birds

Goldfinch - I reckon up to 30 birds in the park

Chaffinch - 7 or 8 birds of both sexes feeding in the canopy

Blackbird - a veritable flock of up to 10 birds, some of which showed the dark bills associated with migrants of central European origin. Brief bursts of song also heard - unusual at this time of year.

Mistle Thrush - 2 rather antagonistic birds gave good views

Blue Tit - several seen feeding high in the canopy

Great Tit - odd birds heard calling

Coal Tit - 1 heard calling near the toilets

Wren - 1 gave good views as it sat on a fence near the bowling green

Robin - 2 or 3 birds singing and showing well

House Sparrow - a small group keeping well hidden in the shrubbery between the bowling green and the pond

Carrion Crow
- several seen and heard

Magpie - 3 or 4 birds

Jay - 1 flew over near the toilets

Woodpigeon - 5 or 6 birds

Collared Dove - seemed particularly common today, with 6+ birds seen and heard

Pied Wagtail - 2 or 3 birds flying over or running along the paths

Herring Gull - 1 drifted over the park

Lesser Black-backed Gull - a couple flew over near the pond

Back home in Monty, I saw this tiny bug outside the window - is it some sort of Thrip I wonder?

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Still summer....

A Buff-tailed Bumblebee was nectaring on Bramble flowers at the station at lunchtime. Also nearby were the 7 Starlings, several House Sparrows, 3 Goldfinches, a few Chaffinches and Greenfinches, a Grey Squirrel and groups of Woodpigeons flying south.

At St Andrews Park there was a Jay, a 'flock' of 5 Blackbirds together, a party of Long-tailed Tits, a Coal Tit plus several Blue and Great Tits


Friday, 18 November 2011


The last two days have been quiet at the station, with the Starlings now numbering 7 while at least 8 Greenfinches were among the finch flock. The mild weather and southerly winds mean that there is unlikely to be any major influx any time soon.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

St Pauls Park

Extremely quiet here today - a couple of Great Tits, a Goldfinch, a Wren, a Woodpigeon, a Blackbird and a few Herring Gulls were the only birds of note.

A Pied Wagtail flew over Richmond Road this morning.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Flocks away!

The finch flock at the station looked mighty impressive this morning - at least 30 birds involved, mainly Chaffinch and Greenfinch but at least 1 Goldfinch too. The 3 Starlings also flying around in the sunshine and the House Sparrows nearby - rather nice.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Narroways to St Andrews Park

On an extended tour of duty today, I noted the usual Grey Wagtail at the brook in Ashley Vale and a Jay near the Lynmouth Road allotments. There were occasional Chaffinches and Greenfinches flying over and Great Tits called from the trees. A couple of Black-headed Gulls drifted over at the Eastville end of the site. Invertebrates included a Harlequin Ladybird and the Muscid fly Phaonia rufiventris.

At St Andrews Park there were both Coal and Long-tailed Tits, a Jay and several Goldfinches and Chaffinches.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

A Red Admiral Day

Whilst I was away (sauntering along the Strawberry Line near Congresbury) today, Jim was watching 2 Red Admiral butterflies - one in the garden and the other on Narroways - and he took this fab photo. Also in his garden were Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Blue Tit and Great Tit.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Raven bonkers

A Raven soaring over the station this morning was the only bird of note.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Grey day brings Grey Wagtail

A Grey Wagtail landed on the roof of a house in St Andrews Road this morning and searched for invertebrates among the tiles.

At St Pauls Park it was very quiet apart from 2 fly-over Pied Wagtails, 2 Great Tits, a fly-over Chaffinch and Goldfinch, a Blackbird, a couple of Magpies and Herring Gulls and the odd Carrion Crow.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Darling Starlings

No less than 3 Starlings at the station this morning - new arrivals - eat your heart out, Somerset Levels! Also more Greenfinches than yestrday (at least 5) along with about 10 Chaffinches and the usual House Sparrows. Wren and Dunnock heard.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Finch numbers climb....

The change in the wind direction may have brought more Chaffinches to the station this morning, with over 10 birds evident among the trees and a fly-over Greenfinch also seen. Coal, Blue and Great Tits were feeding busily nearby.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

St Andrews Park and beyond

A nice collection of birds in St Andrews Park this morning, including a Goldcrest, a Coal Tit, Blue and Great Tits, a few Chaffinches, 2 or 3 Goldfinches, 5 Blackbirds and a Jay.

At the station there was a Robin, half a dozen Long-tailed Tits and several House Sparrows. Invertebrates were still in evidence in the warm sunshine including a few Harlequin Ladybirds, Eristalis hoverflies, Honey Bees and Wasps.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Jays R Us

Two Jays around Sevier Street/Sussex Place this morning and a Coal Tit calling at the top of York Road were the only birds of note.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Destination St Pauls Park

...on the way a few Long-tailed Tits at the bottom of Richmond Road. The park was quiet though - a Dunnock, some Great Tits and a Pied Wagtail the only notable birds.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

It's quiet....too quiet.

Montpelier Park tried its best but only produced a few Chaffinches and Great Tits, while the station played host to a couple of Greenfinches, some Blackbirds and the usual gang of House Sparrows. A group of 5 Magpies chasing a Carrion Crow over the station was just about the most exciting thing - it can only get better!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Nice one, squirrel

A walk around St Andrews Park produced several Grey Squirrels, one of which showed quite attractive reddish colouring around its head and ears - genetic variations in coat colour are common in this species. Also in the park were Long-tailed and Blue Tits and several Goldfinches.

At the station the ridiculously warm sunny weather brought out lots of Harlequin Ladybirds, many walking around on the foorbridge. Also Eristalis hoverflies and Honey Bees plus another Grey Squirrel.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Fox 0:1 Cat

This morning at 6 o'clock I let the cat out and just as I opened the door, a Fox was passing by. It stopped and stared at Tom for about 20 seconds before continuing its journey, whereupon Tom ran after it!

A Grey Wagtail flew over Brigstocke Road this morning.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Blackbird invasion!

....well, a bit of an influx at the station this morning plus the usual Chaffinches and House Sparrows. Otherwise all rather quiet despite cracking weather.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Winter thrushes?

This morning from the station, distant groups of what appeared to be winter thrushes were flying south - they may have been Redwings. Joining them were parties of Starlings, Woodpigeons and finches. Nearer to hand, Greenfinches and Chaffinches were in evidence at the station along with several Blackbirds, a Robin, a gaggle of House Sparrows and a Dunnock.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Ravens ahoy

This morning there were 2 Ravens on the TV Mast being mobbed mercilessly by Magpies and Carrion Crows. A couple of groups of Starlings, Chaffinches and Greenfinches passed overhead.

Late news from the weekend - a Badger seen briefly at the usual spot on Saturday evening and a Jay at the railway path on Sunday along with several adult Harlequin Ladybirds, a Green Shieldbug and lots of Eristalis hoverflies.