Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Montpelier Station

Early sunshine coaxed out a Harlequin Ladybird and a Speckled Wood butterfly in the lush vegetation, plus this snail which I'm wondering might be a Glass Snail sp. (and it might not even be at home!)

Speckled Wood
Possible Glass Snail sp.
Birds included a calling Coal Tit and 2 adult Goldfinches, one of which was begging food from its mate.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Badgers behaving badly

Some lovely and often quite noisy play-fighting among Badger cubs this evening - a fellow watcher who'd already been there some time counted a total of 8 animals, presumably both adults and cubs. Nearby my bat dtector picked up brief signals of Pipistrelle and Noctule bats.

This morning at the station the Chiffchaff was singing again as was a Blackcap. Still several young Starlings seen and about 8 Swifts distantly overhead..

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Slightly Foxed

I did my Breeding Bird Survey in the Montpelier/St Andrews/St Pauls areas this morning and the highlight was not a bird at all but 2 Foxes on St Barnabas playing field! They had been mobbed by Magpies and trotted to the opposite side of the field, where one remained sitting for several minutes waiting for the Magpies to calm down. I don't take my camera on surveys so wasn't able to snap it. The full results of the survey are as follows: Lesser Black-backed Gull 4, Herring Gull 3, Woodpigeon 10, Collared Dove 4, Wren 5, Dunnock 1, Robin 8, Blackbird 7, Mistle Thrush 1, Blackcap 2, Long-tailed Tit 3, Blue Tit 6, Great Tit 1, Magpie 16, Carrion Crow 11, Starling 7, House Sparrow 15, Chaffinch 3, Greenfinch 2, Goldfinch 11, Feral Pigeon 5.

Non-survey highlights included singing Chiffchaffs at Fairlawn Road and Station Road - these are presumably holding territory as it is now a little late for migration I would have thought. A family of about 8 Long-tailed Tits were feeding among the trees at Fairlawn Road and a couple of Swifts were soaring overhead. Goldfinches were seen at Station Road and the station itself and a Coal Tit was singing at the latter location.

Juvenile Long-tailed Tit

On the invertebrate front, the Fairlawn Road verge produced a Green Shieldbug, a Honey Bee, a Marmalade Hoverfly and a Speckled Wood butterfly. A Large White butterfly was nectaring on Red Valerian in Fairfield Road and a Light Brown Apple Moth was basking in the sun at the station.

Large White
Light Brown Apple Moth
Lots of Wood Avens on show at the moment and Broad-leaved Willowherb was in flower along Station Road.

Broad-leaved Willowherb

Saturday, 26 May 2012


A Swallow flew over Hurlingham Road this morning - quite late in the spring for this migrant to be passing through. Also a Blackcap singing nearby and a couple of distant Swifts.

At the station an Orange-tip butterfly was flying up and down the disused platform and at least 1 Rose Chafer was also seen.

A group of about a dozen Starlings - a family party or two - was flying around the St Andrews Road area and 'my' Blue Tits are still feeding young - they can now be heard inside the nest. Long-tailed and Blue Tits passed through the garden this afternoon and a Comma butterfly was a surprise fly-by.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Bugs in da house

Last night I ran my moth trap on the windowsill for an hour and caught a Brimstone and Common Marbled Carpet. Also in the trap was a Harlequin Ladybird and my first ever Birch Shieldbug - a 'first' for the patch.

Common Marbled Carpet
Birch Shieldbug
Brimstone moth

On the station this morning I saw my first Rose Chafer of the year on a Hogweed plant on the opposite platform (seen through binoculars - my eyes aren't that good!)

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Montpelier Station

At the station this morning I was able to count at least 3 juvenile Starlings and there were a couple of Swifts overhead. At the same location this evening there were lots of Harlequin Ladybirds basking on leaves. The nesting Blue Tit flew out of the nest box as I left for work this morning.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

St Pauls Park

Highlights in the park this morning included 3 Greenfinches, a Robin carrying food, a Dunnock, a Wren, 5 Blackbirds and a party of Long-tailed Tits. A Harlequin Ladybird was basking among the shrubbery.

More Long-tailed Tits in the garden this evening.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Early morning butterflies

As it was warm and sunny before 9 am, there were butterflies already flitting around at the station this morning, including the first Green-veined White I've seen on the patch this year along with a Holly Blue and a Large White. Nearby a Harlequin Ladybird was out and about. Birdlife on the station was quiet apart from a Coal Tit, a couple of Starlings and 6 Swifts. Another couple of Swifts screaming over Richmond Road this evening.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Blue Tits in residence

Blue Tits are feeding young in my nestbox - this has happened on and off for the last 10 years or so. I've no idea how old the chicks are and when they will fledge, but adults are visiting the nest every minute or two. Since the felling of the Ash tree adjacent to the nestbox just a few days ago, I'm a little concerned about where the young will be able to hide after leaving the nest while dependant on the parents. We shall see...

Outside with food....

....popping in....
....and out for more!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

St Andrews Park

The monthly bird walk in the park produced the following:

Blue Tit - seen and heard in ones and twos
Great Tit - 1 or 2 singing birds
Coal Tit - 1 bird calling
Collared Dove - 1 or 2 around
Woodpigeon - several birds seen
Lesser Black-backed Gull - at least 1 drifting over
Carrion Crow - a few
Magpie - at least 1 nesting pair near the pond
Jay - 1 seen well on the yarn bomb tree
Mistle Thrush - the stars of the show. Two birds feeding on the grass and carrying food, so they almost certainly have a nest with young. Seen to chase off Blackbirds feeding nearby
Blackbird - around 6 birds seen and heard
Chaffinch - at least 1 bird hear singing
Starling - 4 or 5 birds
Robin - 1 or 2 birds seen and heard
Dunnock - good views of 1 or 2 birds
House Sparrow - heard chirping from houses along Effingham Road

After I left, I heard singing Goldcrest and Greenfinch near the play area.

Mistle Thrush

Friday, 18 May 2012

Fairlawn Road bugs

It was a classic morning for invertebrates at Fairlawn Road, including two new species for the patch - a magnificent Wasp Beetle and a 14-Spot Ladybird! There were lots of Harlequin Ladybirds - maybe 10 or so - plus as many bright blue-green Phyllobius sp. beetles. A single Large Red Damselfly, a Eupeodes luniger hoverfly, several Dock Leaf Bugs and Green Shieldbugs and a Flesh Fly were other highlights. Nearby a Chiffchaff was singing and 3 Swifts were hunting.

Wasp Beetle

Flesh Fly
14-Spot Ladybird
Phyllobius beetles
On Narroways today there was a Slow-worm under the the slow-worm hide on the hill while on the cutting there was a Red Mason Bee, a Soldier Beetle Cantharis rustica, a Muscid fly, lots of Oedemera flower beetles, a Yellow-kegged Mining Bee, a Common Carder Bee, a Tachina fera fly and several Honey Bees. There was a single Goatsbeard in flower also on the cutting.

Soldier Beetle

Birds on Narroways were quiet apart from Chiffchaffs at the brook and Simons Grove, a Blackcap at the Ashley Hill end of the stony path, a single Grey Wagtail on the brook and nearby Long-tailed Tits.

At Station Road Montpelier there was a group of about 7 Starlings at least some if not all being juveniles by the sound of it and the Coal Tit was still around.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


A sunny morning on Narroways brought out my first Common Blue butterfly of the year along with a couple of Speckled Woods. Also nearby was a Large Red Damselfly, a Yellow-legged Mining Bee, a Marmalade Hoverfly, a Picture-winged Fly, a Tenthredo sawfly, two Adela reaumurella micro-moths, a Common Carder Bee and several Oedemera beetles.

Large Red Damselfly
Tenthredo sawfly
Yellow-legged Mining Bee
Adela reaumurella

Picture-winged Fly
Not much in the way of birds on Narroways other than a calling Bullfinch, a Dunnock, a Chiffchaff and a few Long-tailed Tits.  A Great Tit was gleaning insects from the brickwork of the tunnel at the brook.

At Fairlawn Road there was a Large Red-tailed Bumblebee and a larva of a Dark Bush Cricket.

Dark Bush Cricket larva
The only birds of note at St Andrews Park were a Mistle Thrush and a Starling.

Mistle Thrush
Two Blue Tit nests were noted today - one in a crack in the brickwork of the Malt House and another in the wooden verandah of a house in Leopold Road.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

From St Werburghs to St Andrews

The lovely sunshine today encouraged some nice butterflies on the patch - a Small White at the railway path and Orange-tip, Brimstone and Large White at the station.

The Scrapstore car park in Sevier Street was full of flowers attracting a Buff-tailed Bumblebee and a flower beetle (probably Oedemera sp.) plus a micro-moth that evaded attempts to photograph it. At Fairlawn Road there were about 5 Harlequin Ladybirds and a Green Shieldbug.

Probable Oedemera sp.
t St Andrews Park what looked like my first ever Tawny Mining Bee was sat on the ground near the bowling club. UPDATE: This was in fact a Red Mason Bee Osmia rufa.

Red Mason Bee
 It was quiet bird-wise, the highlights being 5 Swifts distantly from the station, a juvenile Blackbird on St Barnabas School playing field, a gaggle of Starlings at Cobourg Road, Blackcaps at Fairlawn Road and the station and a Chiffchaff at Fairlawn Road. Coal Tit and Mistle Thrush were heard at St Andrews Park.

Thursday, 10 May 2012


The novelty of Swifts has not worn off yet - about 5 over the station this afternoon - lovely stuff. Also at the station were a couple of Greenfinches, a singing Blackcap and 5 Goldfinches. As far as invertebrates are concerned a Marmalade Hoverfly was sat on a leaf - the cloudy conditions not to its liking I'm sure.

Marmalade Hoverfly

Yesterday, a Grey Squirrel was chsing around on the wall of the winding path to the station - seemed to linger near the Coal Tit nest - I hope it was not successful in predating any young ones. A Long-tailed Tit was seen nearby.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Screamin' Swifts

Two Swifts were screaming at roof-height over Richmond Road this morning - fabulous.

Not much to report in St Pauls this morning - just a few singing Greenfinches and Goldfinches in the park and a healthy gaggle of House Sparrows in the cemetery.

Just beyond the patch there was a Peregrine and 2 Ravens on Castlemead Tower this morning and the Ravens had relocated to the roof of Gardiner Haskins in the evening!


Monday, 7 May 2012

Wet wet wet

The inclement conditions meant I had little chance to make any observations today apart from noting that there was at least 1 Chiffchaff singing at the station along with 2 Blackcaps. A male Chaffinch and 4 Collared Doves were seen near the feeders. 

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Hobby over Monty

A Hobby over Hurlingham Road this afternoon - the first for the patch although it was always on the 'likely' list. Nearby 2 Jays and a Chiffchaff.

Invertebrates were good today - at Fairlawn Road there was a Tachina fera fly, a Small White butterfly, several mating Green Shieldbugs and both Nursery Web and 'Xtycus' Crab Spiders.

Green Shieldbugs

Xtycus Crab Spider

Small White
At St Andrews Road the invertebrate highlights were a couple of Ashy Mining Bee (Andrena cineria) and a new species for me, Gooden's Nomad Bee (Nomada goodeniana) which I think is a Cuckoo bee that parisitises mining bee nests.

Gooden's Nomad Bee (Nomada goodeniana)

Ashy Mining Bee (Andrena cineraria)
In the garden, House Sparrows were seen collecting nesting material.

House Sparrow

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The magic of migration

A new species for Narroways this morning - a Reed Warbler singing in scrub between the stony path and the railway line! Also a Willow Warbler in the huge tree at the hollow showing well. Two Sparrowhawks - a big female over Lynmouth Road and a male sat in a tree at Stony path (see photo) - possible pair? 2+ Chiffchaffs (Lynmouth Road and Simons Grove, a couple of singing Blackcaps, a couple of Long-tailed Tits in the Orchard, Jays at the community garden and the stony path, a Great Tit carrying food at the stony path.

There was another Chiffchaff and a singing Blackcap in Fairlawn Road. At the station there were 2 singing Willow Warblers, a singing Blackcap, and a couple of Starlings. The Coal Tits were feeding young in the nest at Station Road.  The cool weather dissuaded many invertebrates from appearing although there were a couple of Honey Bees on dandelions at the station. A Jay was heard near the arches in Cheltenham Road.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Willow Warbler

A Willow Warbler was singing at the station this morning and nearby a Collared Dove was repeatedly gathering nesting material from the trackside and flying up to the trees. A couple of Starlings were still around and at least 1 Blackcap was singing..

At the nearby allotment gardens this evening, a Carrion Crow appeared to raid a nest (couldn't make out the species) because there was much anguished crying from the smaller birds. The Coal Tit was seen and heard at the top of Station Road.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Swift ahoy!

Terry tells me that a Swift arrived in his friend's nestbox in Cobourg Road at 8pm on Monday evening during a rainstorm! This is 6 days earlier than last year! A female Chaffinch was on Terry's garden feeder.

Female Chaffinch (photo by Terry)

This morning I saw a Coal Tit appear from a hole in the wall in Station Road - presumably a nest -  and 2 Blackcaps were singing at the station.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Another Ashy Mining Bee

An Ashy Mining Bee (Andrena cineraria) was feeding on blossom in Montpelier Park this evening - also what looked like a sawfly species but unfortunately I didn't have my camera on me.

Elsewhere, a Chiffchaff and Blackcap singing at Fairlawn Road and another Blackcap and 3 Starlings at the station.