Wild Monty

April 2009
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29 April Today I have good news and bad news. The good news is the arrival of Swifts over the station at 8.50am - 5 of them flying very high. Always a joy to see them. The bad news is that there was no sign of the Robin in the garden this morning - I fear the nest may have failed. On a brighter note, the male Blackbird was still carrying food to young.


27 April A baby Blackbird has made an appearance! I took a distant shot of it. Now whether it is the young of 'my' pair or the neighbouring birds I can't be too sure. Earlier, a Sparrowhawk flew over the flat but thankfully seemed not to be interested in the garden songbirds.
The Blackcap was singing again near the Royal Mail office.


25 April The highlight today was a Slow-worm along the path where Fairlawn Road joins Ashley Hill, exactly where I saw one about three years ago. It looked like an adult male - if you know more about sexing/ageing Slow-worms than I do, please feel free to correct me! Also in the general area were at least 6 Speckled Woods. Nice to se lots of Garlic Mustard (a foodplant of the Orange-tip butterfly) at the community garden.
A 7-Spot Ladybird was at the top of Station Road along with a Large White butterfly.
Very few birds of note other than a singing Blackcap along Fairlawn Road. A Magpie keeps flying at a fat feeder which is hung outside my window and pecking chunks out of it!

Large White

7-Spot Ladybird

Garlic Mustard


24 April A Jackdaw flew over the railway path this afternoon and a Goldfinch was singing in Richmond Road. In St Andrews Park a Jay was walking along the edge of the wildlife pond - extremely confiding - but sadly I did not have my camera! Also near the pond was a small party of Long-Tailed Tits.
Robins and Blackbirds in the garden are still busy feeding young. The neighbouring pair of Blackbirds made a raid on the mealworms this morning before being seen off by the breeding pair.   

Common Whitethroat at Congresbury

23 April There were two Speckled Wood butterflies in the garden this morning. Also, the Robin parents were seen to remove a faecal sac from the nest and deposit it rather unceremoniously onto a favourite perch! Meanwhile the Blackbird male is slowly growing his tail back!
I had a stroll along the Strawberry Line near Congresbury today and saw a nice collection of warblers including this Common Whitethroat.

Speckled Wood, Narroways

22 April Had a thrash around Narroways at 10am and came up with the first Whitethroat of the spring, along with a Willow Warbler, a Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcaps, a Sparrowhawk, a singing Song Thrush, a fly-over Jackdaw and a couple of parties of Long-tailed Tits. Two Speckled Wood butterflies were also seen. 
In Monty proper, there were at least 3 more Blackcaps singing, 2 in the Fairlawn Road/Railway path area and another behind the Royal Mail office in Station Road. Another Speckled Wood was at the Railway Path and a Jackdaw flew over Station Road. In the garden, a pair of Blue Tits are using last year's nest again - in the gable of a neighbour's old shed/garage.
One very strange sighting today was of a Brimstone moth flying up the Gloucester Road and perching on a car! This moth usually only flies readily when disturbed from vegetation in my experience!
20 April A beautifully sunny morning. In Montpelier Park at 10am a Blackcap was singing vigorously - I assume this is a recent arrival as I've not heard one at this location for a few weeks. Also in the park was a Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Robin and several Collared Doves and Woodpigeons, plus a Grey Squirrel. There were also 2 Speckled Woods and a Peacock butterfly in the park.
I was awakened at about 3am this morning by what I asume to be a Fox barking. It was sounding very close to the flat and was incredibly loud - even my cat was roused from his sleep by it! I could not see the animal despite looking for several minutes. I am aware that Muntjac Deer also bark but that is a bit of a long-shot!
19 April A busy morning on the patch, with my annual Breeding Bird Survey around Montpelier, St Andrews and St Pauls, and the latest monthly bird walk around St Andrews Park.
Highlights of the survey were two young Robins being fed by a parent near St Barnabas School and a Cormorant over St Andrews. The full list is as follows:
Cormorant 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull 12
Herring Gull 4
Woodpigeon 16
Collared Dove 6
Wren 8
Dunnock 3
Robin 6
Blackbird 18
Blackcap 1
Long-tailed Tit 1
Coal Tit 1
Blue Tit 9
Great Tit 9
Magpie 6
Carrion Crow 11
Starling 6
House Sparrow 20
Chaffinch 2
Greenfinch 6
Goldfinch 2
Feral Pigeon 47
The highlight of the bird walk was a Buzzard being mobbed by a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls. About 16 different species were seen.
I have discovered that the Robins feeding young outside my window have a nest in a neighbour's shed opposite! This morning they were visiting the nest with food every few seconds. The Blackbirds continue to collect food - the male had another fight with a rival male this morning.
My first local Orange-Tip butterfly of the spring was at the station at 2pm along with a Brimstone and a Green-veined White.

Green-veined White

18 April A nice sunny afternoon coaxed me out of the flat after a morning of housework (yes, housework). At Fairlawn Road there were some good insects - 2 Green-veined White and 2 Speckled Wood butterflies showed well, as did a Dock Leaf Bug - there were lots last summer. There were 2 species of Hoverfly - an Eristalis pertinax (one of the bee-mimics) and a member of the Sphaerophoria family, possibly scripta - they are small hoverflies with long bodies.
At St Andrews Park there was a Jay and a Long-tailed Tit, plus lots of Tadpoles in the pond.

Eristalis pertinax

Sphaerophoria hoverfly

Dock Leaf Bug


17 April It was rather wet this morning and so I didn't see much on the station as I waited for my train. In the garden, however, it was all happening - the Blackbirds were taking my mealworms as usual when a Magpie swooped down and scattered them, then flew into an elder tree near to the nest - the Blackbirds went absolutely berserk as they tried to mob the Magpie. This seemed to attract another neighbouring pair of Blackbirds who joined in, but they were attacked vigorously by the 'local' pair, at one stage flying into the window as they fought! Luckily, the Magpie eventually flew off apparently not having attacked the nest, thank goodness.
Soon after all this excitement, I was able to watch a pair of Robins gathering the mealworms for (presumably) their own young, although they only carried one worm at a time unlike the Blackbirds which stuffed their bills with lots of them!
15 April A slightly more successful effort at getting out of bed this morning - in Montpelier Park there was a singing Chiffchaff, a Grey Squirrel and a pair of Coal Tits, while in St Pauls Park there was a close view of a Jay, several Greenfinches and Goldfinches, 4 Collared Doves, a Blue Tit and a Blackbird.
14 April I overslept horribly this morning and so couldn't make any observations before going to work. In the evening, however, the garden was awash with birds - the Blackbird pair, two Robins, a pair of Blue Tits, a Coal Tit, a couple of Woodpigeons and a Magpie!
The St Werburghs website reports a Buzzard flying over the reserve yesterday at 2pm.


13 April Another lovely day. Still quite on the bird front - at Ashley Vale a Grey Wagtail near the brook plus singing Blackcap and Chiffchaff were the highlights. 
A Large White butterfly was at the station, and the first Cow Parsley is just about coming into flower. 
The Blackbird pair in the garden are still feeding young, mainly it seems on the re-hydrated mealworms I put out for them! Rather more unwelcome visits from a Carrion Crow and a Magpie though!


12 April A beautiful sunny day which brought out no less than 3 species of butterfly - a gorgeous Peacock in Fairlawn Road, a Green-veined White near the iron bridge at Hurlingham Road, and 2 Speckled Woods near the tunnel at the station. Very quiet on the bird front, though, with no evidence of any fresh migrants around.
11 April I was in London all day today so unable to have a look round the patch. However, at around 7am a male Sparrowhawk flew over the garden and perched for several minutes on a roof opposite my window - perhaps he is the culprit behind 'my' Blackbird's missing tail?
10 April Rather quiet on a day which started dull and drizzly but brightened later. A singing Blackcap at Fairlawn Road was probably a recently-arrived migrant, and there was still a singing Willow Warbler in a St Andrews Road garden. 
At the station there were 6 Woodpigeons, and it looks like a Wren may be nesting in a crack in a wall but I will have to confirm this in the next few days.
9 April Lots of Great Tit activity this morning at the station and a medium-sized raptor passed overhead that I could not identify.
8 April Two more Willow Warblers were singing this morning, one in Bishop Street, St Pauls, and one in St Pauls Park. The latter location revealed also a pair of Jays that seem to be nesting in a Leylandii bush, 2 Great Tits, a Dunnock, a Robin, a Goldfinch and a Blackbird.
7 April There were at least 2 Willow Warblers reported singing from the Richmond Road/St Andrews Road area this morning, but it was difficult to pin down their exact location.
In the park at 8.45am I had cracking views of one of two Coal Tits which had landed just above my head in a tree near the entrance. Typically, I did not have my camera with me!


6 Mar In the park this morning at 10am a Willow Warbler sang briefly - possibly the same bird reported yesterday? Also in the park: a few Long-tailed Tits, a Blue Tit, a Jay and 2 Wrens singing against each other nera the concrete play area.
The garden Blackbirds are still feeding young this evening.
5 April A Willow Warbler was reported singing briefly in Richmond Road this morning - the first but hopefully not the last of the spring!
The garden Blackbirds are feeding young! The female in particular has been collecting loads of hydrated mealworms I have been putting out. Alarmingly, the male Blackbird has lost his tail. Perhaps he had a narrow escape from a cat or sparrowhawk...

Herb Robert

4 April A lovely sunny and warm Saturday. At Narroways there were up to 3 Chiffchaffs singing away and a pair of Magpies were busy building a nest. A couple of Speckled Wood butterflies were flitting around near the cutting and 6 Starlings were near the church. Harry reports regular Mistle Thrush sightings and also a singing Song Thrush at Narroways - two species that are becoming very uncommon these days.

Back in Montpelier, some Honesty flowers were showing well in the flowery banks along with Herb Robert and various shades of Spanish Bluebells, including a completely white one.

At the station a couple of unidentified 'white' butterflies were very active and a Dunnock was singing there. A Woodpigeon was also at the station building a nest in an ivy-covered wall. Getting a train to Clifton Down I noticed a Brimstone butterfly at Redland station.



Magpie nest

White Spanish Bluebell

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