30 July Some evening sunshine allowed me to enjoy the sight of 8 or 9 Swifts flying
over the allotment gardens. Nearby a party of Great Tits and a Collared Dove were at the
Volucella inanis hoverfly
Volucella zonaria hoverfly
28 July Another Montpelier 'first' this morning - a Volucella inanis hoverfly - a huge
insect, but not quite as big as a Volucella zonaria, which I also saw! Both species are very 'urban'
hoverflies, having spread west and north from the London area in recent years, and they parasitise wasps nests. They were
on the Hebe flowers at the bottom of the railway path - go have a look for them, they are well worth seeing.
A rather pathetic and ill-looking juvenile Woodpigeon was sat on the pavement in York Road - it seemed
oblivious of any danger and I could go right up to it. It might not have been able to fly and just fluttered under a car when
I got really close, so I fear a local cat may soon get to it. At the station I heard a juvenile Blackbird
calling for its parent, and a pair of Great Tits were at the Cromwell Road end of the footbridge. A Greenfinch
was flying about nearby. At Fairlawn Road, Coal Tits were singing and calling continuously.
A few nice flowers at the Better Food Co car park in St Werburghs although mostly gone over - lots of Lady's
Bedstraw, some Marjoram, Common Toadflax and Perforate St John's Wort
along with some confusing Hawkweed species that I couldn't even begin to identify! A nice display of
Wild Carrot at the station.
Butterfly-wise, there was a very flighty and camera-shy Red Admiral which I chased along the iron bridge
from Hurlingham Road to Fairlawn but still couldn't snap it! Also the Painted Lady was seen again, a Comma,
6 Speckled Woods and tons of Large Whites.
Painted Lady butterfly
27 July Some good insects this morning - a Painted Lady butterfly along the railway
path was amazingly my first Montpelier sighting this year and yet they have been everywhere this summer. The ones on the wing
at present are the 'children' of the immigrants that invaded us in the spring from Africa and Europe. Nearby, at the top of
the railway path, was a Southern Hawker dragonfly - always nice to see dragonflies in Monty despite
the lack of standing water. At least 6 Speckled Woods and 1 Ringlet together with many
Large Whites all in the 'Fairlawn Triangle'. Finally in the insect line were lots of Dock Leaf Bugs
- they seem to be larval stages and were actually on Bramble leaves, not Docks!
Also in the general area was a mixed party of Great, Blue and Coal Tits
feeding in the trees along the railway cutting.
Southern Hawker dragonfly
Dock Leaf Bugs
26 July A nice selection of moths last night, including my first ever Snout (great
name - it's common enough and its foodplant is nettle so I would have expected one before now). Also 1 Flame Shoulder,
2 Lesser-Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 2 Shuttle-shaped Darts, 1 Marbled Beauty
and a Swallow-tailed Moth.
At lunchtime on the station there was a calling Blackcap, Robin and Blue Tit.
Two Swifts over the flat this morning.
25 July Had a nice day in Lord's Wood near Pensford today - on the way to the bus station I saw this
juvenile Chaffinch sat in the middle of the road near King Square. I thought it might be injured so I ushered
it to the kerb and it hopped around looking fairly alert. I wondered if it could fly and it did fly eventually towards the
23 July Despite an hour and twenty minutes giving the patch a good thrash in pleasant sunny
weather this lunchtime, it was all disappointingly quiet - just 5 or so Speckled Woods along the railway
path/Fairlawn Road/Hurlingham Road triangle plus a few Large Whites.
A couple of Coal Tits were singing - one in Old Ashley Hill and another in Balmoral Road while at the
station there were half a dozen House Sparrows, a calling Blackcap and a party of juvenile-looking
Great Tits. Single Swift over Ashley Hill and a Goldfinch sitting on an
aerial in Richmond Avenue were the only other notable sightings.
22 July In Montpelier Park this morning there was a flock of Long-tailed Tits feeding
near the Old Vicarage, calling constantly and extremely active. Nearby was a calling Chaffinch, a Carrion
Crow on the play area and a female Blackbird. A Swift was flying over
21 July Despite the rain this morning there was quite a lot of Blue and Great Tit activity
at the station - a mixed flock of about 15 birds were working their way through the bushes and at one point 8 or 9 Blue Tits
flew one by one across the track!
This evening at about 10 o'clock some 10 gulls drifted one by one south-west over the rooftops outside the window, presumably
to roost somewhere - in the city or the estuary I wonder? Soon after there was the very briefest signal from a passing Pipistrelle
on the bat detector.
18 July I was surprised to see a female Blackbird outside the window this morning with
a beakful of nesting material! Whether she is building a new one (possibly the third brood of the year) or just refurbishing
one that she is using at the moment I don't know. Also, a Dunnock was singing in the garden this afternoon.
Butterflies today included a Speckled Wood along the wooded area at the junction of Ashley Hill and
Fairlawn Road (where there was also a Jay), 2 Ringlets at the Hurlingham Road end of the
iron bridge and several Large Whites around the railway path.
Still a few Swifts around including one quite low-flying individual along St Andrews Road.
I noted the first Michaelmas Daisies of the year on the disused platform at the station, and nearby
the poisonous red berries of Lords and Ladies.
Lords and Ladies
16 July A bright and pleasant start to the day but deteriorating later! At the station there was a fine
display of Great Willowherb on the disused platform, while the usual Blackcap plus Wren
and Dunnock were in song. Three Greenfinches were a welcome sight as were 10 Swifts
over the telecom mast. Collared Dove and Blackbird were the supporting cast.
At Temple Meads this afternoon there was a very special commuter!
14 July Only a couple of minutes on the station this morning as I was running late - but long enough
to note singing Blackcap and Dunnock and see a Jay fly across the railway
line near the telecom tower.
13 July My Richmond Road correspondent has emailed me to say that he saw a Slow worm today
- the first one he's seen in the garden! It's always good to hear about Slow worm records as they are nowhere common, especially
in built-up areas in central Bristol.
12 July A feast of butterflies in Montpelier and Narroways today:
Montpelier Railway Path: Meadow Brown 1, Ringlet 1, Speckled Wood 2, Holly Blue 1, Comma 1, Large White
Narroways: Essex Skipper 3 (first record of this species for Narroways),Speckled
Wood 1, Marbled White 2, Meadow Brown 10, Ringlet 5.
Also about 20 6-spot Burnet Moths. A Chiffchaff in song and a party of Long-tailed
Tits in the cutting at Narroways.
I was amazed to see 'Whitey' theBlackbird make a brief raiding attack on the raisins
this morning! He was the male Blackbird with the white tail feather who raised a brood in the spring but was since ousted
by another pair - the first time I've seen him for several weeks!
Six-spot Burnet Moth
Baby Common Frog
11 July A fine morning, with rain forecast for the afternoon. Butterflies included a Holly Blue
flying around a garden at the top of St Andrews Road and perching repeatedly on paving. At least 5 Speckled Woods
were at the the railway path/Hurlingham Road area and a couple of Ringlets and Large Whites
were along Fairlawn Road.
Bird highlights today were an adult Mistle Thrush feeding a juvenile in St Andrews Park, where
there was also a Coal Tit showing well. Swift sightings included singles over Ashley Hill
and Cromwell Road and two over St Andrews Park. At least one Jay was at Old Ashley Hill, half a dozen House
Sparrows near Albany Road and a juvenile Woodpigeon at St Barnabas school playing field.
A basement garden in Coburg Road boasted a fine display of Hart's Tongue Fern and Himalayan
Balsam. Meanwhile there was an Episyrphus balteatus hoverfly (commonly known as the Marmalade
Fly) near Ashley Hill, 5 or 6 Azure Damselflies and several baby Common Frogs
at St Andrews Park pond.
Himalayan Balsam and Hart's Tongue Fern
10 July Not very much to report today because I was in a rush to catch the earlier train and so didn't
have much time to look around although the Dunnock was singing on an exposed branch at the station.
I was chatting to a birder today who remarked how few Swifts have been around in the last few days -
he thinks many may have already raised young and are migrating back to Africa!
8 July A Coal Tit was calling from the pine tree at the back of the park this morning
and a juvenile Carrion Crow was also in the park. At the station, the male Blackcap showed
briefly in the bushes near the footbridge and there was song from a Dunnock and a Wren.
7 July Despite the rain this morning, there was a lot of bird activity at the station - a family party
of Blue Tits including yellowy youngsters was quite a surprise - it seems awfully late in the year - perhaps
it was just a late brood or a second brood, although it is quite unusual for Blue Tits to raise two broods. Also a group of
Great Tits was feeding, a Wren was singing and there were both Collared Doves
and Woodpigeons knocking about. The Blackcap was still in song.
5 July Took an awayday to Tickenham today watching damselflies between showers. Also saw this Brown
Hare - my commentary ends in mid-flow because my memory-card ran out!
4 July Still impressive numbers of Ringlet butterflies along the whole stretch
of Fairlawn Road this afternoon, possibly exceeding the 30 or so I saw the other day. Also a couple of Large Whites,
2 Commas and a Speckled Wood.
At the station there were several ripe Blackberries - autumn has arrived! A large Hypericumspecies is colonising the railway bank along Fairlawn but I'm not sure the exact species - the anthers are
not reddish as in Rose of Sharon so it's a bit of a mystery.
At the pond in St Andrews Park were several Azure Damselflies and Helophilus pendulus
Finally see below - a dog flying over the rooftops if you look carefully - is it a dalmation?
Flying Dog over Ashley Hill
2 July This morning on the station approach the sun was warm enough to bring out the first Ringlet
of the day and a Large White on the disused platform. Some nice Evening Primrose
flowers around, including this one.
1 July All very quiet at the station this morning apart from the singing Blackcap and
a couple of singing Wrens. Also a Grey Squirrel there. The Dunnock was
still singing in the garden this evening and several Swifts screaming at dusk.