Friday, 31 May 2013


Half a dozen or so Swifts distantly from the station this morning and a further 3 overhead. Still not enough of them around compared to 10 years ago, but maybe now the weather is warming up they may become more conspicuous. A Coal Tit calling from trees at the top of Station Road and a couple of Starlings around.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Titbox success

This morning both parent Blue Tits were in and out of my nestbox with food every 30 seconds or so! I assumed they'd already raised a brood a few weeks ago as I thought I'd heard young in the box but I was obviously wrong as generally Blue Tits are single brooded. Perhaps I'd heard the adults in the box. Anyway, lets hope the young fledge successfully.
 Also in the front garden there was a Holly Blue butterfly nectaring and an Eristalis pertinax hoverfly basking on a leaf.
Eristalis pertinax

Monday, 27 May 2013

Of Sparrows and Sawflies

My Breeding Bird Survey in Montpelier, St Andrews and St Pauls this morning produced the following counts: Lesser Black-backed Gull (6), Herring Gull (2), Feral Pigeon (11), Woodpigeon (13), Collared Dove (5), Magpie (8), Carrion Crow (4), Blue Tit (1), Great Tit (1), Coal Tit (1), Wren (6), Starling (3),  Blackbird (14), Mistle Thrush (1), Robin (6), House Sparrow (41), Chaffinch (2), Greenfinch (1).

The House Sparrow total was the biggest I've ever recorded for the square, so that's really encouraging. There were some conspicuous absences and low numbers of tits which is slightly troubling though.  

I visited Fairlawn Road this afternoon and found a real rarity - a Honeysuckle Sawfly, which is my first ever and it is rarely recorded locally. A pretty impressive animal. Also along the verge was a Syrphus hoverfly, 4 or 5 Helophilus pendulus hoverflies, a Myathropa florea hoverfly, 2 Large Red Damselflies, a Large White butterfly, a Common Damsel Bug and a Dark Bush-cricket nymph. In Fairfield Road a Honey Bee was visiting some buttercups and a Jackdaw flew over.
Honeysuckle Sawfly

Large White
Common Damsel Bug
Large Red Damselfly
Myathropa florea

Sunday, 19 May 2013


An Orange-tip butterfly on the station this morning was a welcome sight. This early flying species usually shows up earlier in the year but has no doubt been delayed by the cold spring weather.  Also a couple of Small White butterflies and a calling Blackcap nearby.

Flowers of note included some Nipplewort near the arches and the Tuberous Comfrey growing in its usual place along Station Road.
Tuberous Comfrey

A shortened ramble around St Andrews Park this morning and with just three of us in attendance. The highlight was good views of a couple of Goldcrests. The full list as follows:
Starling - one searching for and carrying food suggests a nest nearby
Blackbird - several feeding on the grass and lots of song heard
Goldcrest - one hear singing near the park-keepers compound and two seen at the top of the park - they may have had a nest in a  conifer in a nearby garden
Goldfinch - a few singing
Chaffinch - song heard
Dunnock - one near the bowling club
Woodpigeon - several
Collared Dove - one or two
Robin - at least one gave good views
House Sparrow - several heard in neighbouring gardens

A couple of Speckled Wood butterflies were basking n the meadow area and a Syrphus hoverfly was seen on the wildlife hedge. Tadpoles were evident in the pond.
Speckled Wood
Syrphus hoverfly

Friday, 17 May 2013

A surfeit of Swifts

Happily, the number of Swifts on the patch has increased over the last few days, with up to 10 over the station. This is a real relief as they were very late arriving. Other birds of note today included a Raven over Fairlawn Road and the singing Chiffchaff nearby and a Greenfinch at the station.

It was a good day for invertebrates, with the verge at Fairlawn Road producing 2 Speckled Woods, a Holly Blue and a Small White butterfly. Also a Dark Bush Cricket, 2 Nursery Web Spiders, at least 10 Syrphus hoverflies, a Helophilus pendula hoverfly, an Eristalis pertinax hoverfly, 2 mating Green Shieldbugs plus an unidentified Ichneumon.
Speckled Wood

Green Shieldbugs

Eristalis pertinax

Helophilus pendulus
A tiny fly at the station was possibly a Tachinid, maybe a Phania species.
Tachinid fly
There was a dead Rose Chafer on the pavement in Picton Street.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Odds and Ends

At Fairlawn Road there was the territory-holding Chiffchaff singing from its usual tree, plus a singing Blackcap, a Jay and calling Long-tailed Tits. Also an unidentified fly, probably some sort of Muscid species, and some Yellow Archangel in flower - the garden escape subspecies of this attractive flower known as argentatum. A Large Black Slug Arion ater was seen near Hurlingham Road.

Large Black Slug
Yellow Archangel
Muscid fly

Just a single Swift was feeding over the station, while at Montpelier Park there was a male Chaffinch and 3 Blackbirds.

Sunday, 12 May 2013


At last a Swift over Richmond Road and another 2 from Hurlingham Road this morning. Better late than never but worryingly few. Lets hope more arrive soon.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Titbox success

Another Blue Tit nesting attempt seems to be reaching a climax in my titbox - young birds can be heard calling inside and I don't think it will be long before they fly. I reckon the box has been used about 4 or 5 times over the years, including last year.

At Fairlawn Road there was a singing Chiffchaff again and lots of Sticky Mouse-ear in flower along the rainbow bridge.
Sticky Mouse-ear
The Mistle Thrush was singing again in St Andrews Park at lunchtime and a Dunnock was in the garden.

Monday, 6 May 2013

You got me singing the blues

Several Holly Blue butterflies on the wing today, including 2 at the station and another 2 at St Andrews Road. Also 2 Brimstones and 2 Large Whites at the station where there was a singing Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Nearby a Mining Bee Andrena sp.
Spot the Brimstone
Andrena sp.

 Herb Robert was in flower along the wall at Station Road.
Herb Robert

At Fairlawn Road there was a singing Chiffchaff and Blackcap plus a couple of Long-tailed Tits.

St Andrews Park produced a singing Coal Tit and a Helophilus pendulus hoverfly at the pond.
Helophilus pendulus

Saturday, 4 May 2013

St Andrews Park

The juvenile Mistle Thrush was being fed by its parents this morning and another adult male was in song, suggesting there could be 2 pairs breeding in or around the park. Also a couple of Starlings, the usual Greenfinches and Goldfinches, Blackbirds and Blue Tits seen. A Jay was heard briefly as I arrived.

At Fairlawn Road a singing Chiffchaff showed well. There were 2 'white' butterflies seen briefly plus an Eristalis hoverfly.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Green-veined White

A Green-veined White butterfly on the station this morning. Also a couple of Starlings still knocking about and a Blackcap in song.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

St Pauls Park

Rather quiet in the park this morning apart from a Jay being mercilessly mobbed by a pair of Blackbirds and a couple of Greenfinches feeding on the grass near the church.