Sunday, 28 December 2014

Narroways and St Andrews Park

Today at Narroways: 2 Ravens over the hill, a Chiffchaff calling along the stony path and a Jay nearby. Also Robins, Chaffinches and Greenfinches around. Cow Parsley coming into flower along stony path! A Marmalade hoverfly plus a probable Phaonia sp. fly.

Marmalade Hoverfly

Alopreening Magpies


Cow Parsley

At St Andrews Park there were several Starlings, a single Long-tailed Tit, a couple of Great and Blue Tits, 8 or 9 House Sparrows, a few Robins and lots of Blackbirds.
Pied Wagtail

In Montpelier there were Jays in Fairlawn and Station Road, the latter a very confiding bird.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

St Andrews Park

A leisurely stroll around the park this afternoon produced a Goldcrest near the bowling green. Also in the park were 6 or 7 Blackbirds, a couple of Robins, 3 Dunnocks, several Goldfinches and Chaffinches, 6 Woodpigeons sat in a tree, a couple of Great Tits, 2 Pied Wagtails and about 15 Starlings. A couple of Grey Squirrels were chasing each other among the trees.

Grey Squirrel

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Montpelier Station

A female Blackcap was showing well this morning along with a couple of Chaffinches, 8 Starlings and a Long-tailed Tit.

Friday, 5 December 2014

More hot Sparrowhawk action

A Sparrowhawk flew low and fast over the top of St Andrews Road this morning.

Sunday, 30 November 2014


A pair of Blackcaps today at St Andrews Park - the male did a bit of sub-song. Also a Coal Tit, a few Chaffinches, several Starlings and many Goldfinches seen.

A quick visit to Narroways produced just a few Long-tailed Tits plus Blue and Great Tits and a Jay at stony path. A Marmalade Hoverfly and an Eristalis hoverfly plus several Phaonia flies and an unidentified slug nearby.

Probable Phaonia fly

A couple of Jays were seen near Fairlawn Road.


Saturday, 29 November 2014

Montpelier Station

A nice selection of birds busy feeding in the trees this morning: a Great Tit (also heard singing), a Blue Tit, a Coal Tit, several Long-tailed Tits and at least 1 Goldcrest. A couple of Chaffinches and a singing Dunnock also nearby plus a Grey Squirrel.

A nest has now been exposed near the footbridge, about 6-8 inches across - Chaffinch/Goldfinch maybe?

Monday, 24 November 2014


A Sparrowhawk shot through Montpelier Park this morning in dramatic fashion. Nearby at the station the feeders hosted mainly Feral Pigeons, Collared Doves and a couple of Chaffinches.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Great Spotted Woodpecker

The station was very quiet this morning apart from half a dozen Chaffinches and a gaggle of House Sparrows flying around. I was about to give up when a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew into the top of the trees near the footbridge giving fantatsic views! Unfortunately this was the one time I'd forgotten to bring my camera!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

St Andrews Park

This morning's walk produced the following birds:

Sparrowhawk - 1 soaring above the park. A fairly large and stocky bird meant that this was likely to have been a female
Chaffinch - a few showed well
Goldfinch - good numbers feeding in the treetops
Starling - several
Woodpigeon - several in the park plus a flock of 30+ flying overhead
Collared Dove - at least 1 seen
Feral Pigeon - several near the café
Robin - good numbers seen and heard
Blackbird - several, mostly males
Blue Tit - mainly heard
Great Tit - several showing well
Herring Gull - 1 or 2 cruising overhead
Carrion Crow - several
Magpie - 1 or 2
House Sparrow - seen in and around the wildlife hedge
Wren - at least 1 heard singing
Dunnock - at least 2 seen and heard

Meanwhile at Montpelier Station soon afterwards another (or the same) Sparrowhawk flew low overhead and appeared to try to land in the trees on the disused platform near the tunnel to the consternation of all the other birds. Not sure whether it flew on or stayed in the trees. Also lots of Long-tailed Tits again and a Chaffinch of note.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Long-tailed Tits

Impressive numbers of Long-tailed Tits were feeding in the trees around the station at lunchtime. There were at least 20. Blue and Great Tits and a Chaffinch were also seen and a Grey Squirrel was on the feeders.

St Andrews Park was full of Goldfinches and a Coal Tit was heard.

Sunday, 26 October 2014


Today on the reserve between 9.45 and 11.00: 2 Jays (at the brook and cutting), 1 Skylark over cutting, 10 Goldfinch cutting, Goldcrest 2 at Simons Grove, Great and Blue Tits Simons Grove, Jackdaw 1 over Simons Grove, Chaffinch 3 over cutting, Herring Gull 1 over cutting, Long-tailed Tit 3 or 4 at cutting, singing Dunnock and Wren plus Blackbird and Robin along stony path. The only insect was a Yellow Dung Fly stony path.
Yellow Dung Fly
A Pied Wagtail flew over St Andrews Road.

Friday, 24 October 2014

In the garden.....

Birds in the garden this morning included a Robin, 2 Dunnocks, several House Sparrows and a Woodpigeon. A couple of fly-over Jays were also observed.

A brief walk through St Andrews Park produced 20 Goldfinches and a calling Coal Tit.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Montpelier Station

I'd hoped I might see my first winter thrushes this morning but the only birds of note were a couple of fly-over Jays and single Pied Wagtail.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Short-eared Owl in St Andrews Park

Very occasionally something unusual turns up in the park. In the past we've had Waxwings, a Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and the odd fly-over Peregrine or Buzzard. Nothing quite prepared us for this morning's star bird, however. Short-eared Owls breed on moorland in the north and west of the UK and at this time of year move to coastal sites in the south for the winter. We also get an influx of birds from mainland Europe in most autumns. To see one flying only at tree height over the park this morning giving fantastic views was an extraordinary experience for us three lucky birders who turned up for the walk. The list in full:

Short-eared Owl - 1 flew over and was being mobbed by corvids near the bowling green
Raven - 2 flew over and were mobbed mercilessly by Carrion Crows
Carrion Crow - several. One appeared to be extracting seeds from a fir cone
House Sparrow - heard chirping
Magpie - a few
Jay - 2 or 3 mainly seen in flight
Woodpigeon - several
Feral Pigeon - a small flock
Robin - several birds seen and heard including one watching the pond-clearers
Great Tit - a few heard calling
Goldfinch - 1 small group observed feeding on the fruit of Plane trees
Wren - 1 heard behind the pond
Herring Gull - 1 strutting its stuff near the play area
Blackbird - 1 seen by one of the group
Raptor sp. - a brief view of a medium-sized raptor by one member of the group

At Montpelier Station the wildlife wall produced a Dock Leaf Bug and a new bug for me - a probable Scolopostethus species. There was a Buff-tailed Bumblebee and an adult and pupal stage Harlequin Ladybird. At least 2 Jays were seen.

Probable Scolopostethus

Dock Bug

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Montpelier Station

A Jackdaw flew over the station and there were 12 Collared Doves feeding on the platform.

Lots of mini-beasts on the wildlife wall - apart from the usual slugs, snails and woodlice there was a Tegenaria spider, a probable Springtail, a probable Pollenia fly, a Harlequin Ladybird larva and a couple of weird and wonderful beasts I couldn't ID. 
Harlequin ladybird larva

Unidentified - Psyllid?

Probable Pollinia sp.

Probable Springtail

Tegenaria, Garden Snail and Woodlouse

Sunday, 12 October 2014


Today on the reserve 10.15 - 12.00: some migration evident - highlight was a flock of 50+ Jackdaws flying SW seen from the cutting and a few ones and twos at other times during my visit. Also several Chaffinches, a Linnet, a couple of Pied Wagtails and several groups of Woodpigeons flying over.
Jays seen at Lynmouth Road, cutting and stony path - probably 4 or 5 birds involved.
Goldcrest showing well at Lynmouth Road and a Chiffchaff at the cutting. Several Blackbirds, Robins and a singing Dunnock mainly along stony path. Wren in scrub at the cutting.

A couple of Harvestmen on the Montpelier Station wall and at least 2 Jays there, one of which wandered along the platform near the tunnel to within a few meteres of me. A Great Spotted Woodpecker seen to fly into the trees near the TV mast opposite Colston Girls School.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


A Sparrowhawk flew across the garden and perched briefly on the roof of the house opposite my window, but frustratingly flew off just as I was about to take a photo! A Grey Wagtail flew over the flat too.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Out and about

A Jackdaw was seen and heard from my window this morning and there were 2 Dunnocks in the garden.

In Fairlawn Road there was a calling Jay and a Great Tit.

At the station a Jay showed well and butterflies were still on the wing including a Large White and a Speckled Wood. Just a couple of Harvestmen noted on the wildlife wall.

At St Andrews Park there was a party of Great and Blue Tits, a couple of Robins and a Herring Gull. An Eristalis hoverfly basked briefly on a leaf.

Herring Gull

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Montpelier Station

The wildlife wall produced a Cranefly which might be Tipula confusa plus a Harlequin Ladybird larva.
Harlequin Ladybird larva


A Chiffchaff called again and a Jay flew over.

Thursday, 25 September 2014


Today on Narroways 10.30 - 12.30: a Clouded Yellow (cutting) - didn't settle for a photo.
Chiffchaff showing well and singing (cutting) Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Great Tits and 1 Goldcrest (Simon's Grove), Jays at Boiling Wells and stony path. Goldfinches and Greenfinches Boiling Wells, Jackdaw over the cutting.
Garden Spider

Twin-spot Centurion

Helophilus pendulus

Nursery-web Spider

Speckled Wood

Syrphus hoverfly

Speckled Wood (cutting, stony path, Boiling Wells). Twin-spot Centurion soldier fly (female), cutting, Helophilus pendulus hoverfly (cutting) Syrphus hoverfly (st...ony path). Nursery-web Spider (cutting) Garden Spider (stony path).

In Fairlawn Road there was a Green Shieldbug, 2 Speckled Wood doing their territorial flight, while birds included a large group of Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits and a Chiffchaff. A Coal Tit was singing near Old Ashley Hill.

The station produced a singing Chiffchaff, a Jay and a Large White butterfly. A Jackdaw flew over Richmond Road.

Last night a huge House Spider was racing around the flat and ended up on my bed.
House Spider

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


A Comma was at the station this morning along with Large and Small Whites. A Chiffchaff was heard again and a Jay was heard along Station Road.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

St Andrews Park

Not a bad morning considering the leaves on the trees making bird spotting rather difficult. The full list as follows:

Great Spotted Woodpecker - one female showed well near the pond
Jay - two or three showing well
Coal Tit - one gave good views near the pond
Mistle Thrush - one near the toilets
Blue Tit - one or two
Great Tit - several calling and one singing
Robin - several songsters
Blackbird - two or three including a juvenile and moulting female
Dunnock - one heard
Greenfinch - one heard
Goldfinch - two or three around
Woodpigeon - a few
Collared Dove - one or two
Lesser Black-backed Gull - one over the park
Carrion Crow - a few
Magpie - one or two
Jackdaw - one heard calling overhead

Great Spotted Woodpecker
 There were also 2 or 3 Speckled Wood butterflies in the park.

In the Hurlingham Road end of the iron bridge there was a nice party of Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits feeding busily and another Speckled Wood.

The station produced a Chiffchaff, a Jay and a couple of Great Tits. On the wildlife wall I found a tiny Rove Beetle (Steninae) which was the first I've ever seen on the patch. Nearby several Anthomyia flies were on the footbridge.


Rove Beetle

Speckled Wood

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

More Chiffchaffs....

At least 1, possibly 2 Chiffchaffs in St Paul's Park this morning, flitting around in some Sycamores and calling intermittently. Also a Great Tit, several Robins and a couple of Blackbirds of note.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Chiffchaff and Jay

A Chiffchaff was calling persistently at the station this morning and a Jay flew over.

Sunday, 14 September 2014


Not much happening on the reserve this morning between 9.30 and 11.00 other than a Chiffchaff at Simons Grove along with a party of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits. Also a Jay on the cutting. Too cool and overcast for invertebrates other than several Garden Spiders mostly along the stony path and a Common Wasp at Lynmouth Road..

Back in Montpelier, there was another Chiffchaff calling in Fairlawn Road and although it was still not very sunny, a Twin-spot Centurion (a soldier fly) was sitting on a leaf. This is the first time I've knowingly seen this species anywhere - exciting, eh? Along the wildlife wall on the station was what I think is a Long-jawed Spider Tetragnatha and about 4 Harvestmen.

Twin-spot Centurion

Probable Long-jawed Spider

Friday, 12 September 2014

Migrating Swallows

In the five miniutes I waited for my train this morning, several groups of hirundines (mostly Swallows by the look of it) flew SE over the station. As far as totals are concerned, I'd guess there were 15-20 involved. I just wish I had got there earlier as it is always special to see some visible migration over the patch.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

St Paul's Park

A Chiffchaff was calling almost constantly from the fir trees just outside the park this morning. Also a couple of Jays, a Great Tit, a couple of Robins and a Blackbird pecking at a Cheesy Wotsit!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Fairlawn Road

Not an awful lot to write home about - several Green Shieldbugs, a few Garden Spiders, a Nursery Web Spider, 2 Speckled Wood, an Eristalis pertinax hoverfly and an unidentified fly which might be a Cheilosia species. A Jay was heard nearby.
Garden Spider

Green Shiledbug

Unidentified Fly

Saturday, 6 September 2014


A slightly disappointing morning with no sign of migrants other than a Chiffchaff. The only other birds of note were a singing Coal Tit and a couple of Jays.
Leopard Slug


Large White

At the station the wildlife wall produced a probable Leopard Slug, a Harvestman and a small as yet unidentified spider. There were Large and Small White butterflies flying.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Montpelier Park

The only notable sighting in the park this morning was of swarms of Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner moths flying around one of the trees. They were very impressive, but unfortunately did not allow a photo as none of them settled. The signs of their leaf mines were on every leaf. Also a Green Shieldbug was sat on one of the leaves.

Yesterday at the station a Jay showed well and there was a party of Great and Blue Tits busily feeding.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Greg Wagtail

The only bird of note today was a Grey Wagtail over Richmond Road. There's usually an influx of these birds into the neighbourhood at this time of year.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Montpelier Station

The wildlife wall didn't produce anything of note this morning shock horror, just a few woodlice and some snails. A Jay was calling noisily and there seemed to be an influx of Robins this morning - up to 4 - including a couple sparring. These were possible migrants.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Square-spot Rustic

A Square-spot Rustic moth was on the wall at the station this morning. The wall is now the number one place in Montpelier, possibly the world, for wildlife. Nearby in Montpelier Park a juvenile Blackbird was seen - a really late brood.
Square-spot Rustic

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Fairlawn Road

There were a few good insects around Fairlawn Road this morning, including lots of Green Shieldbugs, a Dock Leaf Bug, several Garden Cross Spiders, an Eristalis pertinax hoverfly, a Dark Bush Cricket and a Green-veined White. Black Medick was growing quite profusely in the wasteland near Ashley Hill. A Coal Tit was singing nearby.
Dock Leaf Bug

Garden Spider

Green-veined White

Eristalis pertinax

Black Medick

Dark Bush Cricket minus a leg!

The only bugs of note at the station were Large and Small White butterflies and 5 Harvestmen.