Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Stripe-legged Spider!

This morning on the station there was a Stripe-legged Spider Harpactea hombergii on the wall along the platform. I see these only occasionally and always at this location - there may well be a large colony here - they usually keep well hidden and so this chap may be the tip of the spider iceberg! Also of note was a Red-tailed Bumblebee and a good show of Ox-eye Daisies.
Harpactea hombergii

Ox-eye Daisies

Red-tailed Bumblebee

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Breeding Bird Survey and Narroways!

This morning I got up at the crack of dawn to do my second Breeding Bird Survey visit to the local square in Montpelier, St Pauls and St Andrews. Highlight was a Song Thrush singing in Montpelier Park - I think this is the first one in Monty since 2012!

The counts in full:

Lesser Black-backed Gull 3
Herring Gull 3
Feral Pigeon 29
Woodpigeon 18
Collared Dove 7
Swift 1
Magpie 9
Jay 1
Carrion Crow 8
Raven 2
Goldcrest 1
Blue Tit 2
Great Tit 3
Coal Tit 1
Blackcap 1
Wren 9
Starling 5
Blackbird 7
Song Thrush 1
Robin 3
Dunnock 1
House Sparrow 18
Goldfinch 5

Between transects I watched a Mistle Thrush feeding in St Andrews Park.

Later went on a nice guided botanical walk around Narroways where the highlights were flowering Grass Vetchling, Mouse-eared Hawkweed, Lady's Bedstraw, Beaked Hawksbeard and Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil. Other wildlife we encountered were Swifts, a singing Chiffchaff, a Common Lizard under a refugia and a Speckled Wood butterfly. New to me were caterpillars of the moth Depressaria daucella found on one of their foodplants Corky-fruited Water-dropwort. We also saw a Garden Chafer, my first for Narroways.
Depressaria daucella caterpillar

Back in Montpelier there were a few interesting items along Fairlawn Road including a Nursery-web Spider, several Dark Bush Crickets, Thick-thighed Flower Beetles and lots of Harlequin Ladybirds. Bumblebees were dominated by just two species - Tree Bumblebee and Early Bumblebee.
Dark Bush-cricket

Thick-thighed Flower Beetle

Nursery-web Spider

A Blackbird was in the garden carrying food - I have assumed a nest is nearby as birds go crazy when a cat gets too close.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

A visitor to the kitchen!

This morning a Light Brown Apple Moth was in the kitchen. I took a photo before releasing him or her of course.....
Light Brown Apple Moth

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Montpelier Station

While waiting for the train this morning I noted my first Rose Chafer of the year on some Hogweed on the other side of the tracks, a Tree Bumblebee and a couple of Harlequin Ladybirds.
Rose Chafer

Harlequin Ladybird

Tree Bumblebee

Monday, 22 May 2017

Montpelier Park

Don't get excited, there wasn't much happening in the park this morning apart from a Harlequin Ladybird, a Tree Bumblebee and an Early Bumblebee. A couple of Blackbirds were the most exciting birds.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Butterfly Bonanza!

While waiting for the train this morning I spent a happy half an hour watching the butterflies on the disused platform - 5 species were counted - a Brimstone, a couple of Orange-tips, a few Large Whites, a Small White and my first Common Blue of the year! On the Hogweed were Thick-thighed Flower Beetles and a Myathropa florea hoverfly.

Myathropa florea and Thick-thighed Flower Beetles

Common Blue

A Cinnabar Moth was flying around the front garden but typically didn't settle for a photo.

A Goldfinch sang from an aerial outside my bathroom window this morning.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Montpelier Station

More Swift news - a veritable swarm of distant birds numbering some 15 this morning - lovely stuff. Also a couple of  Collared Doves, a fly-over Jay, young Starlings heard and a pair of adults seen. Several Wood Avens flowers on show near the tunnel.
Wood Avens

Collared Dove

Tuesday, 16 May 2017


I was away last week and missed the first Swifts of the spring to grace the Montpelier skies, so this morning I made a point of looking for them at the station. There were distant ones numbering 5 or 6 towards Cheltenham Road, a couple above the station and a couple more in the other direction towards Richmond Road. Fab to watch them soaring and swooping. Also a couple of Starlings at the station and a singing Blackcap.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

St Andrews Park!

A few hoverflies in the park including a Sphaerophoria sp. and several Marmalade flies. An Early Bumblebee was my first of the year but evaded my camera. A 14-spot Ladybird was basking on a leaf.

A patch of Yellow Rattle was showing well in the meadow area, and a Coal Tit was singing nearby.
14-spot Ladybird

Marmalade Fly

Yellow Rattle

Sphaerophoria sp.

Friday, 5 May 2017


Today on the reserve: Pair of Robins near brook, 1 male Grey Wagtail on brook carrying food, lots of Raven activity, 1 Common Buzzard over cutting, 1 or 2 Greenfinches (cutting), 1 Chiffchaff orchard, pair Long-tailed Tits near Ashley Hill entrance.

Long-tailed Tit

1 Brimstone butterfly (cutting), 1 Small White and 2 Holly Blue butterflies at Ashley Hill entrance.
Lots and lots of Cryptocephalus beetles - every buttercup on the cutting had one! Also my first Thick-thighed Flower Beetleof the year and lots of Pollen Beetles on hawthorn blossom. 1 Harlequin Ladybird.
Holly Blue


Myathropa florea

Pollen Beetles
Celery Fly

Adela reaumurella

A couple of Andrena spp., Buff-tailed Bumbles and Common Carder Bees mainly in Simons Grove. Hoverflies - first Myathropa florea of the year, Rhingia rostrata plus loads of Syrphus sp.
A couple of Celery Flies at Simon's Grove.

Several long-horned moths Adela reaumurella near Ashley Hill entrance plus a Green Shieldbug.

In St Andrews Park there was an Andrena sp., a Holly Blue, several Tadpoles in the pond and a single Lesser Black-backed Gull.
Andrena sp.

In Fairlawn Road a Blackcap was singing and a Harlequin Ladybird was basking on a leaf.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Baby Robin!

A recently-fledged Robin was feeding in Montpelier Park this morning - no sign of any parent though. Also at least half a dozen Starlings feeding busily. At the station the Blackcap was showing well again.
Juvenile Robin

Tuesday, 2 May 2017


Good to see a few Starlings foraging in Montpelier Park this morning, with at least one carrying food so obviously they are nesting nearby. One seemed to have a leatherjacket in its bill.
Starling with leatherjacket

A poorly-looking Green Shieldbug was basking on a leaf on the way to the station this morning, and a Robin and Blackcap almost shared the same perch as they sang - I tried to capture it on camera but sadly only got this poor shot! A Large White butterfly was patrolling the disused platform.
Green Shieldbug

Robin (top) and Blackcap