Wild Monty

March 2009

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31 March This morning I was delighted to see some House Sparrows a few doors down gathering nesting material - they seemed to fly towards the well-established colony in St Andrews Road with each beakful. Meanwhile in St Pauls Park this morning I had good views of a pair of Jays, a pair of Great Tits, a Blackbird and 4 or 5 Collared Doves, while Greenfinches sang in the trees. A Carrion Crow launched an attack on a Lesser Black-backed Gull, chasing it and causing the gull to scream loudly! This evening a Goldfinch flew over Brigstocke Road.
 
A Hebrew Character was caught in my trap this evening - this is an early-flying and quite common moth.

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29 March The Carrion Crows that nested last year in the trees on the railway cutting at Fairlawn Road are building again - a crow was seen bringing a beakful of sticks to the nest this morning! Nearby a Goldfinch was singing from the bushes. A Bumblebee was visiting flowers at the community garden at the top of St Andrews Road.

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28 March A stroll around Willsbridge this morning produced good views of a male Sparrowhawk sat on a branch - it was seen just after a shower and it spread its wings and tail feathers to dry them out - I've never seen this before! Also a Goldcrest, Grey Wagatail, Jay and Chiddchaff seen. 
 
 
26 March Despite wet and blustery conditions first thing this morning, I was surprised that the pair of garden Robins appeared on the roof just outside my dormer window and ate some bread that I had put out. They were very bold, coming right up to the window, and were not at all phased by a Woodpigeon which was also feeding there!
 
A quick circuit round St Pauls Park in poor conditions produced a couple of singing Goldfinches amongst the other birds.
 
25 March A wander around the ever-delightful St Pauls Park on the way to work produced a couple of singing Greenfinches, 2 Herring Gulls, a Blackbird and a Blue Tit.
 
24 March Not much to report today I'm afraid except for a group of Long-tailed Tits at the station this morning. The cooler weather seems to have discouraged an influx of migrant birds in the last couple of days.
 
March 23 I had an awayday in the Forest of Dean with my mate Brian - we had fine views of a Great Grey Shrike plus close encounters with Bramblings, Siskins, Nuthatches and Mandarin ducks. It was too windy for good chances of Goshawk, another speciality of the area, so we didn't go for them.

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22 March On another splendid day it was good to see more butterflies - a male Brimstone and a Large White were at the station along with a smaller unidentified 'white' species. The first Hogweed was in flower along Station Road where a Robin posed nicely for the camera. In St Andrews Park a male Sparrowhawk soared overhead, mobbed by a Carrion Crow. At least two Goldfish are still in the pond at the latter location! A Blackbird appeared to be carrying food at the top of Station Road this afternoon - might have been just because I disturbed his feeding or there may be a nest with young?
 
21 March In the park at around 10.45am there was a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a singing Goldcrest. There were 4 Goldfinches at Richmond Avenue and a Greenfinch and singing Chaffinch at Fairlawn Road. A confiding Dunnock was in and around some shrubbery in Armada Place, Kingsdown and several Starlings were nearby.   
 
20 March Yet another lovely morning - at the station was a singing Blackcap, a Jay, 4 or 5 Long-tailed Tits, a couple of Chaffinches and a Blue Tit or two.
 
18 March On another fabulous spring morning it was wonderful to see a singing Chiffchaff in St Pauls Park - the first local bird of the spring. A Jackdaw flew over the flat at 8am and, slightly out of the area, a Jay was in a tree near the Evening Post building!
 

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17 March Two Jays flew over the flat at 8am, and there were still about 5 Chaffinches at the station this morning along with a Robin, a couple of Collared Doves, 2 Blackbirds and some Long-tailed Tits.
 
This evening I caught my first moth of the year - a Common Quaker. The larvae feed on Oak, Sallow and other deciduous trees.
 
16 March Nice to see a group of Long-tailed Tits in the garden this evening, along with a couple of Blue Tits. There was a Coal Tit calling, a Blackcap sub-singing and a Jay all in Nugent Hill, Cotham, this evening.
 
15 March Another warm sunny morning. The latest of the monthly bird walks around St Andrews Park was full of surprises, including, of all things, a Ring-necked Parakeet! These birds are well established in the London area but rare this far west. Also a Buzzard drifting overhead was unusual, and it was good to hear a Blackcap in full song. The full list of birds seen is as follows:
 
Ring-necked Parakeet
Blackcap
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Coal Tit
Long-tailed Tit
Goldcrest
Greenfinch
Chaffinch
Dunnock
Blackbird
Woodpigeon
Collared Dove
Buzzard
Wren
Starling
Carrion Crow
Robin
Magpie
 
A Comma butterfly was basking in a St Andrews garden.
 
This afternoon I walked along the River Avon and had some good waders including 5 Oystercatchers.

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14 March At last my first butterfly of the year - a Brimstone flitting through the garden at lunchtime - another sign of spring. Otherwise it has been surprisingly quiet other than a Jackdaw over Ashley Down Road, Long-tailed Tits at Fairlawn Road and a Goldfinch over the railway path. A Coal Tit was calling at Old Ashley Hill and a Chaffinch was nearby. At St Andrews Road a couple of Red Deadnettle plants were in flower.
 
 
12 March Nothing much happening in Montpelier Park this morning except for a Wren singing in the drizzle. At St Pauls Park there were a couple of singing Goldfinches, 3 Blue Tits and a Herring Gull. 
 
 
11 March A rather dull and drizzly morning. I did a circuit around St Pauls Park and was delighted to hear at least 6 Greenfinches in full song. Many people have noticed a decline in this species in the last few years so it is good to know they are doing well somewhere! Also in the park were 5 Blue Tits, a Dunnock, a Blackbird and a Wren.
 
 
10 March At last I was able to spend a good ten minutes at the station this morning before my train, and it was good to see a Robin with a beak full of nesting material near the Cromwell Road end of the footbridge. The bird feeders were busy with 5 or 6 Chaffinches including a couple of fine males. There was song from a Dunnock and a Wren.
 
I'm saddened that a couple of recently refurbished properties opposite the Cadbury House have had all vegetation removed from the front gardens, and what remains is a horribly sterile concrete and gravel surface. These houses hosted a thriving colony of House Sparrows in recent years and now the birds are gone.
 
   
9 March I never seem to be able to get out and observe stuff on a Monday morning despite working in a voluntary capacity and not having to get to work until gone 10 O'Clock! However I did do a quick circuit of the park this evening, and there was a Coal Tit calling loudly from the pine tree near the lower entrance along with a Woodpigeon and a couple of Blackbirds. I promise I will make more of an effort tomorrow!

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8 March A cool, breezy and showery day - the only birds of note were 7 Greenfinches and a couple of House Sparrows perched in a tree in a garden in Cobourg Road, and a Goldfinch overhead.
 
This evening at 8.45 I put my waste bin out and heard three Redwing calls - they were no doubt making their way back north as they tend to migrate at night.

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7 March Plenty of signs of spring this morning - the female Blackbird in the garden was collecting nesting material and flying to the ivy-covered wall of the house across the way, and Celandines are sprouting up every where. At least 2 species of bumblebee were seen - a White-tailed Bumblebee was near St Andrews Park and another on the pavement in Ashley Down Road (which I had to rescue and put in someone's garden!), while what looks like a Common Carder Bee was on a daffodil head in the community garden at the top of St Andrews Road. A Jackdaw flew over the latter road and a few Starlings have been passing overhead - 2 over Fairlawn Road and one over Richmond Road. A Blackthorn bush is coming into flower near Ashley Hill.
 
6 March Another sunny morning, and at the station two Woodpigeons were chasing each other among the branches opposite the platform - I thought at first they might just be scrapping males but as I watched it looked more like a male trying to have his wicked way with a female! Also, a Great Tit looked like it might have been prospecting for a suitable nest site in some grating in the wall of a house. 
 
4 March A nice sunny morning after a horrible wet and windy night. At the station I caught a glimpse of the rear end of a Chiffchaff (possibly the long-staying individual) along with a Blue Tit and a Dunnock, the latter perching repeatedly on a branch near the Cromwell Road end of the footbridge then flying to the top of the wall above the flower bed on the main platform and singing.
 
In the garden the Blackcap, a Robin and 2 Great Tits were showing well.
 
 
3 March This morning in the park a Coal Tit was calling from the large pine to the rear, a Grey Squirrel was sat in a tree and there were a couple each of Blue Tits and Chaffinches. In the garden the Blackcap showed well once again and a Robin was also present, at one point feeding on a neighbour's fat ball.
 
 
2 March I didn't have time to do much today, but was pleased to see the female Blackcap still in the garden - she seems to disappear for a few days at a time then come back. She was feeding mainly on ivy berries.

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1 March The highlight today was a splendid male Bullfinch along Fairlawn Road near the junction with Ashley Hill at 1.15pm - it was feeding in the thorn bushes and then flew across the railway to the Hurlingham Road side. It also sang briefly. Nearby was a party of Long-tailed Tits.
 
The garden was visited by the female Blackbird, 2 Great Tits and a Robin. Meanwhile, Harry has reported the first butterfly of the year - a Comma in St Werburghs today - I have yet to see my first of any butterflies!
 
This afternoon I had a wander around Durdham Down, but didn't get to see any Peregrines in the gorge, although this Jackdaw posed nicely. 

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