Wild Monty

June 2009
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29 June Took a day off from Montpelier today and went to Saltford to watch dragonflies. This evening, however, a Jackdaw flew over the flat and at least two Swifts have been flying overhead in the late sunshine. Yesterday evening at around 8 o'clock a Scarlet Tiger Moth was flying around in the back garden.


Moth Mullein (Verbascum blattaria)

28 June An amazing display of Ringlet butterflies this morning, mainly along Fairlawn Road but also at the top of St Andrews Road - 30+ individuals were involved. This is a classic butterfly of grassy and scrubby areas but I've never seen so many in Montpelier before! Also nearby  were 3 Commas. Elsewhere on the insect front were several adult and larval Harlequin Ladybirds on the patch and an Orange Ladybird on my window this morning.
Bird highlights today included a Jay family in the Richmond Avenue area, 2 Jackdaws in Hurlingham Road and the Blackcap still singing at the station. Swifts seem a bit more conspicuous today, with 4 around buildings in the High Kingsdown area and a couple over the flat this afternoon.
I was surprised to see a Moth Mullein plant growing on the iron bridge, but rather more predictably there was also plenty of Lady's Bedstraw growing in the usual gardens in St Andrews Road and also the first Yarrow in flower at the bottom of Station Road.
My identification of yesterday's Small Ranunculus has been confirmed - hurrah!


Lady's Bedstraw

Small Ranunculus

27 June Don't get too excited because I'm waiting for confirmation, but in my moth trap last night I found what may well be Bristol and District's 3rd ever record of a Small Ranunculus moth! As I understand it, its main stronghold is Kent and Essex! Also trapped last night were a Brimstone, 4 Flames, a Heart and Dart, 2 Bright-line Brown-eyes, a Light Arches, 2 Riband Waves and a Double-Square-spot.
Both Wren and Dunnock singing in the garden today, while in Armada Place, Kingsdown this morning there was a calling Coal Tit and a singing Goldfinch.

Heart and Dart

26 June On a drizzly morning, a Blackcap and two Dunnocks were singing at the station while this evening a party of Long-tailed Tits and a Great Tit were calling in Montpelier Park in the sunshine.
At around 7.30pm I was in the kitchen when I heard an almighty racket in the living room - when I investigated I was amazed to see a Woodpigeon inside the flat flapping madly to get out of a closed window while my cat sat on the windowsill a few inches away watching impassively! I managed to shoo Tom away and open the window and the bird flew away apparently none the worse! Usually the Woodpigeons feed on the sloping roof just outside my dormer window so I don't know why this one thought it wise to enter the flat through the adjacent open window with a cat in the flat!
25 June In St Pauls Park/Bishop Street area at 8.25am there were several Greenfinches singing, a single Swift overhead and a Grey Squirrel near the church. Also in the church grounds were several plants of Selfheal in flower. This evening a Goldfinch was singing in the same area.
At lunchtime I spent twenty minutes in the Avon Street/Feeder Road area and saw a couple of Sand Martins, a Grey Wagtail, a Mallard, 2 Mute Swans and a Jackdaw. 


23 June A last minute decision to catch the train to work rather than walk proved to be a good one - on the approach to the station a fresh-looking Comma butterfly was basking in the morning sun - haven't seen too many Commas this summer, certainly not locally. Nearby a Rose Chafer was enjoying the bramble flowers. I will walk to work tomorrow in the interests of keeping fit.... 
This evening two Swifts were flying just above roof-height in Ashley Road - maybe a nest nearby?

Grey or Dark Dagger

22 June Last night in the moth trap there were a couple of Brimstones, 2 Grey or Dark Daggers, a Silver Y, a Flame Shoulder, 4 Flames, a Riband Wave, a Light Arches, a Heart and Dart, a Garden Carpet and an unidentified Pug. Also present was a tiny but rather pretty micro-moth called Pseudargyrotoza conwagana which apparently likes ash trees.  Several Orange Ladybirds were attracted to the light as well.

Pseudargyrotoza conwagana

Silver Y

Eupeodes corollae

21 June A disappointingly cloudy day did not prevent what looks like another Eupeodes corollae hoverfly from basking on a leaf at the top of Station Road. Nearby a Harlequin Ladybird was seen, and on the station itself, the Great Mullein plants are coming into flower. Enchanters Nightshade is in bloom in the front garden.

Greater Mullein

Harlequin Ladybird

Enchanters Nightshade

20 June At the top of St Andrews Road this afternoon were 3 Jays - probably a family party - and 3 Starlings, plus a Blue Tit and a male House Sparrow. A single Swift flew over the station, while at St Andrews Park a Coal Tit was singing, a Mistle Thrush calling and a Blackbird was carrying food so mut have had a nest nearby. 
18 June A Chaffinch was sat on an aerial singing away in Richmond Road this morning, and at the station a family of Carrion Crows were being noisy, with two youngsters having a bit of a scrap. Also at the station the Blackcap was singing sporadically. In Montpelier Park a Coal Tit was singing in one of the large pine trees and a Blackbird fed in the children's play area.
During the night I had to get up (it's my age) and I heard a Fox barking some distance away - possibly a young one.
17 June On a cloudy morning there wasn't much to set the pulses racing, although there are now at least two Moth Mullein plants at the station. As my train made its customary stop along Narroways I noted the first Rosebay Willowherb flowers in bloom there.
This evening at 9 o'clock a Dunnock was singing in Picton Street.

Green Woodpecker chick, Hanham

15 June My Hanham correspondent took this super photo of a juvenile Green Woodpecker yesterday and I thought I'd share it with you. Although the nest hole looks quite exposed, any would-be predator would surely think twice about disturbing this little guy!
I ran the moth trap in the front garden last night but all I got was this Small Magpie, although it is the first one I've recorded for a few years.

Small Magpie moth

Bee Orchid, Durdham Down

14 June I've spent the day going further afield, so the only things I noted today were some Creeping Cinquefoil flowers near the park, and several singing Goldfinches and Greenfinches in Portland Square.
This afternoon I looked at some Common Spotted Orchids and this lovely Bee Orchid on Durdham Down. This morning I did my Breeding Bird Survey in Totterdown and Arnos Vale - the most unusual thing I saw was a Pipistrelle bat flying around in the sunshine!

Creeping Cinquefoil

Rose Chafer

13 June Out and about at lunchtime today, I was pleased to see 3 Swifts flying low around a house in Richmond Road - not sure if they are breeding anywhere near but a male Blackbird carrying food at the station definitely was nesting!
At least 4 Speckled Woods were seen at the railway path and the Hurlingham Road side of the iron bridge. Nearby a 'Syrphus' (probably S. ribesii) hoverfly was visiting bramble flowers. Also on bramble was a Rose Chafer at the station approach, another was in a St Andrews Road garden. A Harlequin Ladybird larva was in vegetation near Hurlingham Road, where some Nipplewort was flowering nicely.


12 June Some nice plants in the Verbascum family growing on the disused platform at the station - at least one plant of Moth Mullein together with a couple of Great Mullein - also some Evening Primrose plants. There are at least two Blackcaps (one heard singing this morning and the other making an alarm call) so there may well be a breeding pair.
11 June A lovely sunny morning - on the way to the station at 8.45am I stopped off at the verge at the top of Station Road and saw an attractive black and yellow Ichneumon, possibly something called Amblyteles armatorius. I took a photo but it was so rubbish I can't share it with you. At the station itself there was the usual Blackcap and a Grey Squirrel, while a single Swift circled overhead.
10 June A Cormorant was circling high over St Pauls Park this morning, obviously taking advantage of thermals, and about 8 Swifts were also feeding high above the park. Also in the vicinity was a singing Chaffinch, a Greenfinch, a Goldfinch, a Carrion Crow, a family of Blue Tits, several Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a few Feral Pigeons.
9 June If I say that the most interesting birds this morning were 2 adult and an immature Herring Gull flying over the station, you'll have an idea how quite it was! In the park a few minutes later there was a female Blackbird carrying food, a family of recently-fledged Blue Tits and a Grey Squirrel.  
This afternoon a juvenile Blackbird was calling from trees in Portland Square.

Eupeodes corollae

7 June A nice sunny afternoon, much better than the forecast! Plenty of bumblebees and hoverflies, the latter including Eupeodes (Metasyrphus) corollae in the flower-bed at the station. A couple of Large White butterflies were also at the station. In St Andrews Road there was a Harlequin Ladybird larva and at the top of Station Road were a couple of Wolf Spiders basking on the stones.
Birds included a Blackcap singing almost continuously at the station and a Jackdaw calling overhead.

Wolf Spider

Harlequin Ladybird larva

Blue Tit outside the window

6 June A cool, overcast day and not much to report. A family of Blue Tits were in the ash tree out the front this morning and this picture I took later of an adult on the fat ball outside my window might be one of the parents perhaps. At Armada Place, Kingsdown, at least one juvenile Blackbird was being fed by a parent.
Yesterday evening a Dunnock was singing on and off outside the window.
4 June My St Werburghs correspondent has seen behaviour by two Grey Wagtails strongly suggestive of nesting activity for the second year running - great news for this rather uncommon and beautiful bird. He also noted 4 House Sparrows near Narroways and there has also been evidence of bat activity nearby.
A Blackcap sang briefly at Montpelier station this morning and the grass is looking fantastic on the disused platform, providing great invertebrate habitat. Among the grasses are Ox-eye Daisies, Welsh Poppies and Red Valerian.
A Wren was singing loudly in the garden this evening and the regular Magpie kept jumping up at a fat ball right outside my window.

Scarlet Tiger moth

3 June A good collection of moths caught last night - I put the moth trap on the windowsill and had the following:
Scarlet Tiger 2
Brimstone 3
Silver Y 1
Peppered Moth 1 (a 'first' for me!)
Flame Shoulder 1
Common Marbled Carpet 1
Also attracted to the light was an Orange Ladybird and lots of unidentified micro moths. Delicious!

Orange Ladybird

Common Marbled Carpet

Flame Shoulder

Peppered Moth

2 June In St Pauls Park this morning there was a singing Greenfinch and a family of Great Tits, plus a very confiding Robin and a Herring Gull carrying material to refurbish the nest.
An email from my Richmond Road correspondent reports a brood of Great Tits and at least one young Dunnock reared in neighbouring gardens, plus a Speckled Wood butterfly laying eggs in the garden mini-meadow. On the down side, the email goes on to remark on low Swift numbers and no House Sparrows nesting at a traditonal site, which is sad.
1 June This evening I went to the station with my bat detector and at 21.50 I saw a Noctule flying high and straight, back and forth, following the course of the railway line. The detector picked up the  characteristic ultrasonic signal and the bat did occasional dives towards the trees as it hunted. Ten minutes or so later I had brief signals from a Pipistrelle species at the top of Station Road. Fab stuff.

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