Wild Monty

Sep 2009

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29 Sep Slight signs of autumn at the station this morning, with a build up of Greenfinch numbers to no less than four - we might make double figures by Christmas at this rate! A Jackdaw flew over and a Dunnock was in full song - not something I associate with this time of year when most birds tend not to sing. A Jay called from the direction of the park and half a dozen House Sparrows loafed around in the shrubbery. 

About 20 Starlings were perched on and flying around the tower of the church in Portland Square this evening - numbers will no doubt build during the autumn.

28 Sep Lots of common bird activity in the park this morning, with a Chiffchaff, a party of Long-Tailed, Great and Blue Tits, 3 rather scruffy Blackbirds undergoing a moult, a Dunnock, 2 Carrion Crows, 2 Wrens and a Robin. Two Grey Squirrels were chasing each other up and down the trees.

Two Jays were calling at Ninetree Hill.

Earlier I had a calling Chiffchaff in the garden plus the usual adult and juvenile Woodpigeons, Great and Blue Tits and this evening a Wren was giving its scolding alarm call.

Mystery spider

26 Sep A cloudy morning and sunny afternoon. All very quiet. A couple of Greenfinches, a Goldfinch and a Dunnock were at the station, Long-tailed Tits were calling near the Royal Mail office and a Chiffchaff called briefly from a St Andrews Road garden.

A Speckled Wood butterfly was at the railway path along with a noisy Grey Squirrel.

What looks like a young House Spider (Tegenaria sp.) has taken up residence on the wall of my neighbour's house, there are plenty of Garden Spiders everywhere and in the kitchen is an unidentified spider. possibly a Zygiella sp. which hangs halfway out of a ventilation hole in my window frame hoping for something to come along!

25 Sep This morning a Jackdaw flew high over Picton Street, calling, and a Grey Wagtail flew over Brigstocke Road, where there were also some Long-tailed Tits feeding in the street trees. At St Pauls Park, the Chiffchaff was still singing, 2 Chaffinches flew over, a Great Tit and 5 Blackbirds were in the shrubbery and a Wren perched right out in the open on some railings.

24 Sep All very quiet - a Coal Tit singing in the park together with a very confiding Robin, while at the station there were a couple of Collared Doves and a Dunnock. The allotment gardens held half a dozen House Sparrows.

I noticed a small Jumping Spider species in the kitchen this morning rather dangerously close to the cooker - hope it moves further away or else it is going to get fried!

23 Sep In St Pauls Park this morning was a singing Chiffchaff, a Wren and a couple of male Blackbirds attracted to the Cotoneaster berries.

21 Sep A nice visitation from a party of Long-tailed Tits and Great Tits in the garden this morning, also a Robin showing well. There was almost constant activity from the juvenile and parent Woodpigeons, the young one begging for food all the time with a high-pitched wheezing sound.

Large Ranunculus

20 Sep Today's bird walk around St Andrews Park was very enjoyable, although lots of foliage made actually seeing the birds a challenge! The full list was as follows:

Robin (many - including lots singing and calling)
Greenfinch (1)
Great Tit (seemed everywhere!)
Coal Tit (heard briefly)
Blue Tit (heard briefly)
Grey Wagtail (feeding on the bowling green!)
Carrion Crow (several showing signs of moult)
Blackbird (4 or 5 altogether, some showing signs of moult)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (2 or more overhead)
Dunnock (heard briefly behind the pond)
Mistle Thrush (2 flew over calling near the toilets)

Simon saw a possible warbler species, and there were also Speckled Wood butterflies and probable Common Darter dragonflies along with ubiquitous Grey Squirrels!

A Chiffchaff was calling at the top of the railway path this morning, also 3 Speckled Woods there.

Last night I put my moth trap on the windowsill and had a Brimstone, a Marbled Beauty (late for this species), a Garden Carpet, a Large Yellow Underwing and the first Large Ranunculus of the year.

Angle Shades

19 Sep Last night an Angle Shades moth was attracted to the kitchen light - although this is a very common species I get surprisingly few in the flat - this might even be the first of the year! Also in the kitchen was a Large Yellow Underwing.

This morning along Cheltenham Road there were Long-tailed and Coal Tits calling from the trees, and a Grey Wagtail flew over Gloucester Road.

18 Sep This morning in the small but beautifully-formed St Pauls Park:

Grey Wagtail - 1 feeding on the grass
Jay 1
Chiffchaff 2
Goldcrest 1
Blue and Great Tits
Wren 2
Magpie 2
Carrion Crow 2
Woodpigeon - several
Robin 1 or 2

Not bad, huh?

17 Sep It doesn't sound very exciting, but it was lovely to watch a Blackbird, a Robin and a Dunnock feeding in the morning sunshine at the station, all within a few inches of each other. It was warm enough even before 9 o'clock for a Large White butterfly to fly past! Not much in the park this morning apart from a Jay and a Carrion Crow.

Dunnock in the park

15 Sep Some lively bird activity this morning - in the park a Chiffchaff was singing near the lower entrance and a Jay called raucously. Coal Tits were calling nearby and a Collared Dove sat in a tree. A Dunnock fed from the guttering of a building. Meanwhile at the station/allotments a second Chiffchaff was calling and a Greenfinch was flying around. In the archway between Richmond and St Andrews Road there was a good-sized party of Long-tailed Tits.

This evening a juvenile Woodpigeon was begging food from a parent in the garden, so I took this video:   

14 Sep Bath Buildings was invaded by a large flock of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits this morning, feeding in the Rowan in the Health Centre car park, perching on wires, and investigating the junction box at the top of the telegraph pole where they appeared to be finding lots of food!

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings

13 Sep A Red Admiral was nectaring on Ivy flowers in the garden this morning - also a Robin and a Great Tit in the garden. At the station an extremely flighty Chiffchaff was calling and showing very briefly.

This evening 2 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings were attracted by the kitchen light - this has been the most abundant species of moth in the flat this summer.

Small Tortoiseshell

12 Sep A very fresh Small Tortoiseshell was a delightful sight along Fairlawn this morning, nectaring on Buddleia - is this the first one I've seen in Monty this summer? I'm sure it is. Also nearby was a Speckled Wood and an 'Eristalis' hoverfly which didn't settle long enough to photograph. A Green Shield Bug was sitting on a high leaf - I could only see it well with binoculars!

Lesser Yellow Underwing

11 Sep Last night a Lesser Yellow Underwing moth was attracted to my kitchen light - this is the third 'yellow underwing' species I've had in my flat this summer.

As I was eager to get to work this morning I didn't have time to do any birding, but a Grey Wagtail over Portland Square was notable.

A fantastic crimson sunset this evening.

Montpelier sunset

10 Sep I stopped off at St Pauls Park on a beautiful sunny morning and the trees were jumping with groups of Long-tailed and Blue Tits, feeding busily and flying from tree to tree. Also a Dunnock sat on a high railing, 4 or 5 Blackbirds and a singing Woodpigeon.

I have had the Crab-apple question from yesterday answered - it is a case of Brown Rot (Monilia fructigena) attacking the fruit.

Robin was singing in the garden this evening - the first time I've seen or heard one here since the spring! 

Harlequin Ladybird

9 Sep A beautiful day, with some good insects in the sunshine. Two Speckled Woods at the railway path and a whole load of Dock Leaf Bugs at Fairlawn Road, while at Narroways there was a Comma, 3 more Speckled Woods and a Common Blue butterfly. Also at Narroways were 2 good Hoverflies - a Myathropa florea and a possible Eristalis arbustorum, while 3 Harlequin Ladybirds basked on leaves.  

Birds were again quiet, just a couple of Jays at Fairlawn Road, a Grey Wagtail at Ashley Vale and Long-tailed Tits calling from a garden in St Andrews Road.

Some strange-looking Crab Apples along Fairlawn Road among healthier-looking specimens - I thought at first they were some sort of gall but I don't think they can be.

Had a great couple of days in North Devon, one of the highlights being good views of Grey Seals.

Dock Leaf Bugs
Odd Crab Apples
Grey Seal, North Devon

6 Sep Another sunny start to the day. On Narroways I noticed that there were good numbers of the umbellifer Burnet-Saxifrage in flower in the cutting along with Yarrow and Wild Carrot. One or two Chicory flowers were still on show nearby. 

At St Andrews Park a group of at least half a dozen Coal Tits were restlessly feeding among the trees near the pond, calling constantly.

I will be in Devon for a couple of days so the next update is likely to be Wednesday - stay tuned!

Grey Squirrel

5 Sep A lovely sunny morning but cloudy in the afternoon. A Speckled Wood was at the top of the railway path as usual. but little else to report other than a Dock Leaf Bug nearby basking on a leaf.

At St Andrews Park there were a few Common Darter dragonflies at the pond and a Grey Squirrel nearby.

Very quite bird-wise, but a Goldfinch flew over Albany Road.

4 Sep Yet another juvenile Blackbird in St Pauls Park this morning - so many late broods around - along with a singing Collared Dove and a Magpie. In Montpelier Park the flock of Great and Blue Tits were feeding in the trees and a Coal Tit called in the pine near the lower entrance.

2 Sep At the station this morning a Greenfinch was perched on a dead tree along with 4 Woodpigeons, and a Jay flew over. A couple of Dunnocks were calling and I was pleased to see half a dozen House Sparrows in the bushes - I had started to get worried because I hadn't seen or heard them in the last few weeks.

1 Sep
In Montpelier Park this morning a party of Blue and Great Tits were flying up to the brick walls of one of the industrial units at the back of the park, searching for invertebrates, then diving back into a Buddleia bush. Also Coal Tits were calling nearby, there were a couple of juvenile Woodpigeons feeding near the weedy area and a Jay flew from the trees at the back of the park. The only addition to the bird list was a Blackbird in St Pauls Park.

I've just brought in my organic recycling bin and it was full of Garden and 'Cepaea' Snails of all ages and sizes, no doubt enticed by the wet weather!

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