Friday, 31 August 2012

St Pauls Park

The early sunshine brought out a couple of Speckled Wood butterflies, a Tree Bumblebee, several Harlequin Ladybirds and an Eristalis hoverfly. There were huge numbers of midges flying around in the sun. Birds included a couple of Jays, a calling Chiffchaff, a Goldfinch, a Robin, a Wren and an impressive 6 Blackbirds.

Speckled Wood

Tree Bumblebee
A Wren showed briefly in the garden this evening.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


The House Sparrows at the station were on good form this morning, a flock of about 20 feeding among the brambles near the footbridge.

House Sparrows
Also a Chaffinch, a Dunnock, some Blue Tits and a couple of Greenfinches around. A Red Admiral posed nicely on the wall near the allotment gardens.
Red Admiral

Sunday, 26 August 2012

I need a hover with a slow hand

I have to get my hoverfly fix every week or so, and today I found two new species for Montpelier - a Rhingia sp. (either Rhingia campestris or R. rostrata) identified by its long snout - and an Eristalis intricarius - a new species for me personally and one I've always wanted to see. It is a bee mimic. Both were at Fairlawn Road/railway path.
Eristalis intricarius

Rhingia sp.
Also nearby were a couple of Myathropa florea, some Helophilus pendulus, an Xanthogramma sp., many Eristalis spp., a few Green Shieldbugs, masses of Dock Leaf Bugs and 2 Speckled Wood butterflies. A Chiffchaff was calling at the same location.

Dock Leaf Bugs
At the old Fairfield School there was an extensive patch of Mayweed (I sniffed the leaves and they were faintly aromatic which suggests Scented Mayweed but I can't be certain) and also some nice Michaelmas Daisies.


Michaelmas Daisies
A single Raven flew over Richmond Road this morning.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Montpelier Station

This morning there was a party of Long-tailed Tits feeding in the trees, 4 Goldfinches sat on the dead tree and a couple of fly-over Chaffinches. Two Large White were the only butterflies of note, but it was good too see 4 or 5 Cinnabar Moth caterpillars on a Ragwort plant. A Common Carder Bee also seen nearby.
Cinnabar Moth caterpillar

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Montpelier Park - corvid capital!

In the park this morning there were no less than 6 Magpies feeding among the litter in the basketball court, 2 Carrion Crows on the play area and 3 Jays flying over! Also a Blackbird, a calling Coal Tit and a couple each of Collared Doves and Woodpigeons.

From the train there was an impressive display of late summer flowers near Narroways including masses of Wild Carrot, Hemp Agrimony, Rosebay Willowherb and Large-flowered Evening Primrose.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Puttin' on the tits

Seven or eight Long-tailed Tits together with a couple of Great Tits passed through the garden this morning. A single Greenfinch flew over the station.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Montpelier station

A brief visit this morning produced a distant hirundine - either a Swallow or House Martin. There was also a calling Blackcap in the bushes and a Cinnabar Moth caterpillar on some Ragwort.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Insect inspiration

Fairlawn Road was amazing this morning - the stretch of verge producing a variety of great invertebrates. There were at least half a dozen Dark Bush Crickets basking on leaves - the largest number I've ever seen plus a single Speckled Bush Cricket.

Dark Bush Cricket
Speckled Bush Cricket
Three species of spider were represented - a Nursery Web Spider Pisaura mirabilis, a couple of Garden Spiders and a Crab Spider Misumena vatia. Hoverflies included a Myathropa florea, several Helophilus pendulus, an Xanthogramma sp. and lots of Eristalis spp.

Myathropa florea
Helophilus pendulus

Xanthogramma sp.
Bugs included a Green Shieldbug and a couple of Dock Leaf Bugs. At least one Bombus hypnorum was among the bumble bees. Not to be outdone, the beetles offered a Common Red Soldier Beetle and some tiny black Pollen Beetles Meligethes - attractive little things.
A Chiffchaff and a Dunnock were calling nearby.

In the garden were a couple of Large White butterflies and a Vollucella zonaria hoverfly.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

St Pauls Park

Nothing much to report this morning in the park other than 3 Blackbirds (a male and 2 females), a Wren, a Goldfinch, a couple of Robins, a Blue Tit and a Woodpigeon.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


A Jay at the station this morning doing some unusual vocalisations including some squeaking and piping noises which I couldn't recognise until I saw the bird fly across the railway line! Near the tunnel a Large-flowered Evening Primrose was in flower - not as common here as they were although plenty of them are growing further along the line at St Werburghs and Stapleton Road.
Large-flowered Evening Pimrose

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Montpelier Station

Two Swifts seen distantly today from the station - good to see they are still around even though it is getting quite late for them now. Also a Chaffinch, a Goldfinch and a mixed party of Great and Blue Tits.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Naturally nocturnal

Last night I had the following moths attracted to my light : Copper Underwing sp. 3, Grey/Dark Dagger 1, Marbled Beauty 1 and Flame 1.

Copper Underwing

Grey or Dark Dagger
 This evening there was lots of Pipistrelle bat activity at Lynmouth Road, St Werburghs (9.30pm) and at Fairlawn Road. The latter location seemed to produce bats with louder signals at 55kz so I'm wondering if they were possible Sopranos.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

More bloomin' hoverflies

Fairlawn Road produced some more hoverflies this afternoon. I was able to clinch the ID of at least 1 Eristalis arbustorum having today studied the main diagnostic features. I really must get a life. Also a couple of Helophilus Pendulus hoverflies and a Large White butterfly enjoying the sunshine. A Chiffchaff also calling.

Eristalis arbustorum
St Andrews Park failed to deliver much apart from a calling Coal Tit and Montpelier Station produced just a Jay and a Grey Squirrel.

I discovered much more Stone Parsley growing near the Royal Mail office today - it now grows along much of the fencing around the Colston Girls School car park and is much more conspicuous now it is in flower. Another Grey Squirrel was on the roof of the RM office!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Hoverflies top the medals table

At Fairlawn Road today there was a fine collection of hoverflies, including at least 1 Volucella zonaria, a V. pellucens, a probable Eristalis arbustorum (a first for the patch) and a couple more I'm trying to ID. Butterflies included a Peacock and 2 Holly Blue. Birds included calling Chiffchaff and Blackcap.

Volucella zonaria

Holly Blue
At St Andrews Park there was another probable E. arbustorum, a Helophilus pendulus and a 'Syrphus' hoverfly. Two Speckled Wood were basking on leaves in the wildlife hedge. Another Volucella zonaria landed on my leg next to the pond and at least 1 Azure Damselfly was nearby. A Goldcrest called near the pond. Weirdly, I could hear a Peregrine but not see it somewhere over Effingham Road!
Eristalis arbustorum
Speckled Wood
Not much to report at the station other than 4 Large White and about 6 House Sparrows.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

St Pauls Park

Autumn arrived in the park this morning - a Chiffchaff calling from the Leylandii hedge was certainly a migrant as they haven't bred in the park this year. Also a calling Goldcrest nearby. A Robin was singing its autumn song but a Woodpigeon was flying with nesting material in its bill! Also a singing Greenfinch, a Blue Tit or two, a Dunnock, a Blackbird and a couple of Goldfinches.

Back in Montpelier, a mixed flock of Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls numbering 30-plus this evening over the flat, no doubt feasting on flying ants - and around 9 Swifts above them - a welcome sight this late in the summer. 

Monday, 6 August 2012

A tale of two parsleys

I was surprised to see one or two plants of Fool's Parsley in Montpelier Park today - not a common plant on the patch. Meanwhile another umbellifer, first found by Chris and still persisting near the Royal Mail office, is Stone Parsley. This rather unremarkable-looking plant has leaves that smell of petrol!

Fool's Parsley

Stone Parsley
Not an awful lot at the station this morning other than an early instar of Green Shieldbug. I also hear a domestic cat coughing nearby but couldn't see it!
Green Shieldbug

Sunday, 5 August 2012

St Andrews Park

More rain in the park this afternoon, but a Blackbird was singing weakly - I can't remember hearing a Blackbird in song this late in the year before. A Robin was also singing and I suspect this was his autumn song. Also a Dunnock and Goldfinch in the park.

At Montpelier Station there was a Chaffinch, a gaggle of House Sparrows and a Coal Tit calling from the direction of Montpelier Park. A Honey Bee and a couple of Large White butterflies also at the station during some brief sunshine.

Honey Bee

Late Swifts screaming outside the flat this evening - I really thought they had all gone.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Hoverfly heaven

At Fairlawn Road this afternoon I glimpsed a Volucella pellucens hoverfly but by the time I'd got my camera out it had disappeared. At the same location was an Eristalis hoverfly and an Xylota segnis hoverfly. There were also 2 Speckled Wood butterflies. Birds included a party of Long-tailed and Blue Tits.

Very quiet at St Andrews Park (in the rain!) other than a couple of Greenfinches flying over and a calling Jay.

Friday, 3 August 2012

St Pauls Park

In the park this morning there were 3 Dunnocks including a juvenile, a Blackbird, a Robin, 2 Greenfinches including 1 singing, a couple of Goldfinches, 1 or 2 Blue Tits and 3 Woodpigeons. Near the church was a micro moth which I haven't been able to identify yet but if I had to bet my shirt on it, I'd guess at Crambus perlella.

Possible Crambus perlella

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Montpelier Station

A party of Great Tits feeding between the station and Station Road this lunchtime. A Blackcap calling nearby and 7 Starlings on the big mast.

There was 1 Large-flowered Evening Primrose at the station - this is far less common than in the past at this site but I'm not sure why.