Wild Monty

Oct 2009
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Yet another Dark Bush Cricket

31 Oct A nice sunny day. The passage of Skylarks continues, with up to three over the station this morning, calling, with a Dunnock and a Chaffinch nearby. A Jay flew over St Andrews Road and a single Starling over Ashley Hill. A party of Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits were feeding near Fairlawn Road. At St Andrews Park, 2 Carrion Crows were bathing in the paddling pool this afternoon!

Insect-wise, there were still 2 Dark Bush Crickets along the railway path and some ivy halfway down St Andrews Road attracted several 'Eristalis' hoverflies, a Bumblebee species and several Wasps.

29 Oct Great to see a flock of 25 Fieldfares flying NW over Montpelier Park this morning - the first of the autumn. Why exactly they were flying in that direction when they come from Scandinavia I don't know! Nearby were both a Grey and Pied Wagtail sat on a roof near the Old England, and a Jay. A Grey Squirrel and a Chaffinch were also seen.

Four Blackbirds and a Collared Dove were in St Pauls Park.

28 Oct Another warm day. At the station and allotment gardens there was plenty of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit activity this morning - they flew from trees near Station Road over the rooftops to Richmond Road - I really do think that most of the tit flocks are in fact the same birds doing a 'circuit' of local gardens. A Skylark also flew over the station and a Robin sang from a high perch. The station also produced a couple of Collared Doves, a Dunnock and a Greenfinch.

26 Oct In Montpelier Park this morning there was a nice party of Long-tailed Tits with a very hyper-active Coal Tit among them, feeding busily in the trees. Also a female Chaffinch nearby, and a Grey Wagtail flew over. A Grey Squirrel was also out and about in the park. In Kingsdown there were one or two Pied Wagtails and two Blackbirds in the Dove Street area.

Dark Bush Cricket

25 Oct Very windy conditions made any observations difficult today, although a Dunnock was singing in the garden and some Long-tailed Tits were still near the iron footbridge near Hurlingham Road.

Three Dark Bush Crickets were on railings along Fairlawn Road and there were still lots of Smooth Sow-thistle in flower.

24 Oct Rain to start the day, then warm sunshine, then very strong winds! At least one Skylark passed calling high over the park this morning, and a Grey Wagtail flew over Picton Street. The big sycamore at the entrance to Picton Mews held a Great Tit and a Blue Tit. Long-tailed Tits were at Hurlingham Road and a Coal Tit called from conifers in Balmoral Road.

22 Oct It has been quiet in the last few days, and this morning was no exception. At St Pauls Park a Pied Wagtail was running along a roof, a Wren popped out of a bush, 3 Blue Tits were feeding in a tree and a Greenfinch flew over.


19 Oct Not much to report today other than a Wren in the garden and Long-tailed Tits in Bath Buildings.

Here's some great photos taken locally by Jim yesterday.

Mistle Thrush at St Andrews Park

18 Oct Another successful bird walk in St Andrews Park on a dry autumn morning. After a quiet start with just a few singing Robins to entertain us, things improved at the pond where a Grey Wagtail did a flypast. Later, a party of Mistle Thrushes feeding in adjacent gardens and flying to and from the park gave excellent views.

Full list of birds seen and heard as follows:

Mistle Thrush (up to 4) These may have been locally bred birds or passage migrants.
Blackbird (3 or 4, one still in moult)
Starling (small groups feeding near the thrushes)
Jackdaw (1 heard just before we dispersed and a flock of 8 or 9 corvids seen earlier were probably this species)
Carrion Crow (several, including at least one with whitish feathering on wings and tail)
Magpie (plenty!)
Jay (1 or 2 near the toilets)
Blue Tit (half a dozen among the other tit species)
Great Tit (at least 5 birds seen and heard)
Coal Tit (1 or 2)
Long-tailed Tit (heard)
Grey Wagtail (1 over the pond)
Woodpigeon (several birds)
Robin (many singing)
Wren (1 singing near the park-keeper's compound - also seen briefly)
Dunnock (1 seen near the toilets)
Chaffinch (3 or 4 seen, including at least one smart male)
Greenfinch (2 or 3 seen)

17 Oct Yet another Skylark called high over Richmond Road this morning - it is a good passage for this species - and a Jay flew across the station. Parties of Blue and Long-tailed Tits were at Fairlawn Road and Station Road.

A Painted Lady settled briefly on some Ivy flowers in the garden but didn't hang around. 

Lapwings at Rainham Marshes

16 Oct Spent the day at Rainham Marshes, Essex, today - lots of Lapwings among other birds.

15 Oct A murky morning with very little happening on the bird front. Even Narroways failed to deliver the goods, with just a couple of Greenfinches and a Jay. At Fairlawn Road there was a party of Long-tailed Tits and another Jay was at the top of St Andrews Road, where a Grey Wagtail also flew over. A Jackdaw flew over the flat first thing.

Two of four Dark Bush Crickets!

13 Oct I know Montpelier has connections with WG Grace but there was another kind of cricket stealing the show this morning at the railway path - no less than 4 Dark Bush Crickets were gathered together on an old mattress - I've never seen this many together before!
Bird-wise, the highlights were another Skylark over the station, a Jay carrying a nut as it flew over Ashley Hill, a Jackdaw over Hurlingham Road, two Chaffinches at the station and some Long-tailed Tits at Fairlawn Road. This evening a Wren and a Robin were calling in the garden and a Pied Wagtail flew over the flat this morning.

12 Oct The first Skylark of the autumn passed over the station this morning, heading south. Also a Pied Wagtail flew over and both Dunnock and Robin were making alarm calls in the bushes. A Jackdaw flew over St Andrews Road.

11 Oct A wet and overcast morning, but becoming sunny late afternoon. As soon as the sun came out, the Red Admiral was again nectaring on Ivy flowers in the garden. Little else to report other than a Coal Tit calling in St Andrews Park and a Grey Squirrel at the station.

Dunnock (photo by Jim)

10 Oct A beautifully warm sunny day really brought out the insects today, with a Red Admiral and Painted Lady in the garden, 3 Speckled Woods at the railway path and a Dark Bush Cricket also at the latter location. At the Station were a couple of 'White' butterflies and a Harlequin Ladybird flew into my flat this afternoon!
At Fairlawn Road, a Meadow Pipit flew south, as did a couple of groups of Chaffinches totalling about 7 along with a Greenfinch or two and a couple of Goldfinches, so some autumn movement is happening. Also at Fairlawn was a singing Chiffchaff, a Coal Tit and a nice Dunnock photographed nicely by Jim and reproduced here with his permission - many thanks.

Red Admiral

Carrion Crows

8 Oct I was at the station at the early hour (for me) of 8 o'clock this morning! The highlight on a beautifully sunny morning was a Monty rarity, a Mistle Thrush flying north, and there were also a couple of the first Pied Wagtails of the autumn passing overhead. A Dunnock seemed to be behaving territorially, singing from the buddleia bush at the platform end of the footbridge. A very confiding Carrion Crow was also picking at food items on the platform before joining its companion on the station building roof. Four Magpies were on the telecom tower in Station Road.

7 Oct A nice selection of birds in Montpelier Park this morning on a dull, overcast day. Counts as follows:

Carrion Crow 2
Robin 2
Wren 2
Chiffchaff 2 singing
Greenfinch 1 flying over
Goldfinch 3 flying over
Grey Wagtail 1
Woodpigeon 1 or 2 flying over
Chaffinch 3
Jay 1 calling
Dunnock 1
Blue Tit 3 or 4
Great Tit 3
Coal Tit 1

Speckled Wood

4 Oct Spent an hour or so at Narroways and saw a Grey Wagtail at the brook) plus it or a different individual fly over the hill. Also seen and heard overhead were 2 Meadow Pipits (first of the autumn), a Pied Wagtail, a Jay and a Greenfinch. A Chiffchaff was calling nearby and there were Long-tailed Tits and Coal Tits near the Climbing Centre. Not much insect life other than some rather handsome Wasps, either the German or Common Wasp, probably.

Back in Montpelier, 3 Speckled Woods were at the railway path and the Ivy along St Andrews Road had loads of wasps and Eristalis hoverflies on it.

Eristalis hoverfly
Common or German Wasp

3 Oct A blustery and showery day, but with more sunshine than promised by the weather men and women. Not that much to report other than a male Sparrowhawk zipping over the station and a few seconds later seen more distantly being mobbed by a Carrion Crow. Three Goldfinches flew over the flat as I called the cat in this morning, and a party of Long-tailed Tits fed in gardens along Ashley Down Road. A very inquisitive Grey Squirrel was watching me in St Andrews Park this lunchtime as I put some bird walk posters up.

2 Oct Slightly more activity this morning at St Pauls Park, with a calling Chiffchaff, 6 Goldfinches commuting between the park and some trees in Hassell Drive, a Greenfinch flying over, a Starling on the church weather vane, a couple of Magpies, 3 Woodpigeons, several Feral Pigeons, a Carrion Crow and singing Robin and Wren.

Away from the area, a Kingfisher flew up the River Avon at Temple Quay this afternoon.
1 Oct Oh dear, I'm sorry but it is all rather boring at the moment - the most interesting thing at the station this morning was a Large White butterfly which seems quite late in the year for this species. Let's hope something happens soon....

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