Wild Monty

August 2009

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31 Aug At last a sign of autumn bird migration on the patch, with a Chiffchaff calling yesterday near the allotments and again this morning at the park - it was very elusive however and I wasn't able to see it. Also at the park this morning was a nice collection of very active birds including a family of Blackbirds with juveniles - a really late brood - 2 Dunnocks, about a dozen Blue Tits and a confiding Robin. A Grey Squirrel was carrying something in its mouth - probably a nut of some kind?

Common Darter

29 Aug A lovely sunny day. A Holly Blue butterfly was in the garden today, flitting among the ivy. At the top of the railway path, 2 Speckled Woods were spiralling upwards in the sunshine and a Southern Hawker dragonfly was patrolling. This is presumably a 'new' individual from the one seen at the same spot last month - at one stage it was chased by one of the Speckled Woods! At St Andrews Park, a male Common Darter was basking alongside the pond, and an attractive hoverfly called Volucella pellucens was sat on a leaf just round the corner from the pond.

Jays were screeching near Fairlawn Road and one flew over Hurlingham Road. A party of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits were feeding in the trees near the iron bridge.

A couple of nicely flowering Canadian Goldenrod plants were at the top of St Andrews Road, and near the railway tunnel there was a fine display of Large-flowered Evening Primrose.

Volucella pellucens
Canadian Goldenrod

27 Aug A few Robins in Montpelier Park this morning, either singing or calling with their familiar ticking sound - passing the park this evening, a couple of Dunnocks were also calling. I wandered through St Pauls Park later and a Speckled Wood and a Large White butterfly were enjoying the early sunshine there.

A Wren sang briefly in the garden this evening.

Garden Carpet

25 Aug Still exceptionally quiet bird-wise, with no evidence of migrant activity, although a couple of Chaffinches at the station might be new arrivals as I haven't seen any for a while at this location. Also a Collared Dove over the station. 

A Garden Carpet moth was in the kitchen last night.

Large Yellow Underwing

24 Aug My bat detector picked up a Pipistrelle which gave good views as it flew past my window at 8.45 this evening.

There were the usual suspects in the moth trap last night - 2 Large Yellow Underwings, a few Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, a Flame Shoulder, several Marbled Beauties, 2 Copper Underwings and a plethora of confusong micro-moths.

A couple of Goldfinches flew over Dove Street South this morning.

Green-veined White

23 Aug A sunny late afternoon brought the insects out - butterflies included Large and Geen-veined Whites along Fairlawn Road. A Common Field Grasshopper was basking in the sunshine at the top of Station Road.
At the Better Food Company car park there was lots of Common Toadflax and Wild Carrot in flower, while in a Richmond Road garden I was surprised to see several plants of Fools Parsley.

Birds were again very quiet - a Greenfinch flew over the station and a Wren was calling in the garden.

Common Toadflax
Common Field Grasshopper
Fool's Parsley

21 Aug A juvenile Blackbird appeared briefly in the garden this morning - just how many broods have there been this summer?! Also in the the garden several Blue and Great Tits, while a Coal Tit was singing in the park this morning.

Pholcus phalangioides

19 Aug Still desperately quiet on the bird front other than a party of Great Tits in the garden first thing. This evening a Daddy Long-legs Spider (Pholcus phalangioides) was on the wall just above my bed and the kitchen attracted at least four Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing moths.

18 Aug I omitted to mention the fact that my St Werburghs correspondent saw a Small Copper butterfly on Narroways yesterday - this constitutes the first record for the site for 8 years! Excellent find.
Sadly nothing as interesting to report today, just a Dunnock, some Blue Tits and a Robin at the station this morning.

Marbled Beauties

17 Aug It's been quiet in the last couple of days - all I can report is a Harvestman on my cat's feeding bowl when I brought it in from the garden this evening! Yesterday the verge at the junction of St Andrews Road and Cromwell Road had some Dove's Foot Cranesbill, Selfheal and some perplexing Hawkweed species.
Tonight in the moth trap I've had Flame Shoulder, many Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, a Large Underwing, 3+ Marbled Beauty, 2 Copper Underwing and a Willow Beauty so far.

Willow Beauty

Copper Underwing

Painted Lady

15 Aug A cloudy, warm day with sunny spells produced a few good insects - yet another Vollucella zonaria at the bottom of the railway path, a Speckled Wood at the top of the same path, a Painted Lady at the station footbridge, a Holly Blue in the garden and Large Whites just about everywhere!
Michaelmas Daisies were in flower along Fairlawn Road where strange-sounding bird noises included what I assume to be Blackcap sub-song and a possible Chiffchaff calling, though I must admit it didn't sound quite right and may have been a Great Tit which was also nearby. A Wren, a Blackbird and a Woodpigeon were in the garden today and a Goldfinch was flying around over Hurlingham Road.  

Michaelmas Daisies

12 Aug A dull and drizzly morning. In the park a family of young Robins, the young with speckled breasts, were hopping around, as were a pair of Wrens. Also in the park a Jay and a Blackbird were calling as was a Dunnock at the station.
11 Aug Very little to report in the short time I had to spare before my train this morning, but the Speckled Wood butterfly was flitting around at the top of Station Road in the sunshine and a Wren was still singing - most birds tend not to sing much at this time of year.

Moth Mullein

9 Aug Another lovely sunny day - insect-wise, along Richmond Road, a Volucella zonaria hoverfly was buzzing around a car while loads of Large White butterflies were all over the patch.  A total of about 6 Speckled Woods were seen both at the usual Fairlawn Triangle area and also at the top of Station Road. At least 2 Holly Blue butterflies were in the garden, including a female who looked like she might be laying eggs on the Ivy leaves. Garden Spiders were in evidence at Fairlawn Road and my front garden.
Birds on the patch included a Dunnock preening in the garden, a Wren sat on an exposed branch at the station and Greenfinch and some Long-tailed Tits also at the station. Jays were calling at Fairlawn Road and Station Road near the Royal Mail office.
Moth Mullein plants were still in bloom near the railway tunnel.
Last night I had some good moths, including a couple of 'firsts', Ruby Tiger and Knotgrass. Others caught:  about 7 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, a Large Underwing, a Marbled Beauty, a Silver Y, a Spectacle, a Brimstone and the attractive micro-moth Phlyctaenia coronata.


Garden Spider

8 Aug I had an awayday at Tickenham, North Somerset today, and saw several Clouded Yellow butterflies - migrants from the continent. Perhaps there are some in Monty - will keep a look out for them tomorrow!

Clouded Yellow at Tickenham

Horse Chestnut leaves affected by leaf miners

6 Aug This morning in the park I could see that the leaves of the Horse Chestnut trees were very discoloured and buzzing with tiny moths. These moths are Horse Chestnut Miners which have invaded the UK from the continent. The first sighting in this country was in Wimbledon in 2002 and now they seem to be everywhere. As far as I know they don't actually kill healthy trees.
At the station there was a party of Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits, a Robin singing what I assume to be its autumn song, a singing Wren, a Greenfinch and 6 distant Swifts.
Last night in the flat was my first ever Dark Swordgrass moth - this is an immigrant species - and a Volucella zonaria hoverfly together with a Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing moth and an Orange Ladybird

Dark Swordgrass moth

Volucella zonaria hoverfly enjoying the curtains

4 Aug This morning as I got to the station, a Sparrowhawk shot across the railway and low towards the allotments/park area. This started the resident Blackcap off in alarm mode! Also at the station, 5 Greenfinches flew over and a party of Blue Tits fed in the shrubbery.

Common Blue

Common Darter

2 Aug A lovely afternoon in which I decided to have a thrash around Narroways. Butterflies were nicely on show with about 8 Speckled Woods, 10 Meadow Browns, 6 Gatekeepers, 3 Common Blues and 10 Large Whites. There were loads of Six-spot Burnet moths (30+) and a Latticed Heath moth. Other odds and ends in the insect department included a Common Darter dragonfly and a Myathropa florea hoverfly. It was quiet bird-wise but a Raven flew over and both adult and juvenile Chiffchaffs were calling.
Montpelier was quiet in comparison but for the Southern Hawker dragonfly which was still at the top of the railway path and a Blackcap was calling nearby.
It is funny how you can walk past the same gardens evry day and not notice stuff in them but in Richmond Avenue there was a luxuriant growth of what looks like Male Fern and along Richmond Road some Tansy in flower.

Male Fern



Dasysyrphus albostriatus

1 Aug Another new Hoverfly for the patch this afternoon - a Dasysyrphus albostriatus resting on a sycamore leaf at the top of the railway path. Just one Speckled Wood butterfly seen today near the Fairlawn Road/Ashley Hill junction, and a couple of Large Whites.

Hemp Agrimony now in flower on the station approach and lots of Hawthorn berries on show - autumn is on its way!

About 10 House Martins drifted SE over Richmond Road this afternoon - this is the only time of year they ever get seen in Montpelier in my experience - and a Jay flew over the same road. At the station there was a Greenfinch flying around, and a Chaffinch was at the Fairlawn/Ashley Hill junction along with some Blue Tits.


Hemp Agrimony

Hawthorn berries

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