Wild Monty

Nov 2009
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30 Nov A sunny morning. A quick look around the park produced a few Chaffinches and a couple of Blue Tits. A Wren flew up to a tree and disappeared into a large hole in an overhanging bough, no doubt searching for hibernating insects. Both Grey and Pied Wagtails flew over. Elsewhere, a party of Long-tailed Tits fed in trees at Kings Square, Kingsdown and a Blackbird appeared in my garden - the first for 3 or 4 months.

29 Nov A horrible day weather-wise - I must admit I didn't get out at all today! The only bird in the garden was a Wren which showed briefly. Jim had better luck today - he writes that numerous Blue Tits, Great Tits, a Coal Tit, a couple of Chaffinch, Robin, Dunnock and a Blackbird appeared in his garden first thing this morning. Then later on this afternoon 6 Collared Doves in a tree at the top of St Andrews Road. Not bad at all for such poor weather!

Female Dark Bush Cricket

28 Nov After rain. hail, thunder and lightning, the sun came out mid-morning! The first Blackcap of the winter called from a back garden in St Andrews Road - sadly I couldn't see it as it was behind a high fence. Perhaps it'll make its way to my garden soon! Other birds of note were Jay at Fairlawn Road, 2 Greenfinch and 2 Chaffinch at the station near the feeders with a Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Great Tit, 3 House Sparrows and 6 Woodpigeons also at the station. A Grey Wagtail flew over Station Road.

The sunny sheltered verge along Fairlawn Road brought out yet another Dark Bush Cricket, and a Bumblebee species was buzzing around some ivy at the station.  

26 Nov Another sunny morning. At the top of Station Road there was a flock of Long-tailed and Blue Tits feeding in the birch trees and making their way towards the station via the allotment gardens. At the station 2 Pied Wagtails were on the platform, 3 Chaffinches were near the feeders, 4 Goldfinches were in the trees and a Wren was singing. The usual pack of House Sparrows were chirping away near the tunnel. All of a sudden a chunky female Sparrowhawk shot through the station at roof level, causing all the small birds to make strident alarm calls - one of the Wagtails flew straight into the air and dropped again, very curious behaviour I've never seen before and presumably a response to the predator. 

25 Nov
The highlight on a gloriously sunny morning was a party of Long-tailed Tits showing well in St Pauls Park. Also a male Chaffinch, a Goldfinch and a Pied and Grey Wagtail flying over.

Just a Grey Squirrel and a couple of Magpies in Montpelier Park.

24 Nov
It actually stopped raining for a while this morning! At the station was a Great Tit, a Wren, a Robin, several Woodpigeons and a Dunnock. Two Pied Wagtails flew over as did 4 Greenfinches and a Chaffinch.

Pied Wagtail

22 Nov Jim has sent me a nice photo of a Pied Wagtail seen this morning at the station. He also saw Collared Doves there. Thanks Jim!

20 Nov Another sizeable flock of Fieldfares flew over the station this morning - flying west and numbering some 30+ birds. Two Grey Squirrels were near the feeders and there were a couple of Chaffinches and a Goldfinch flying around. 

Zygiella x-notata

19 Nov While I was in the kitchen making breakfast this morning I noticed that my 'pet' spider Zygiella x-notata was out of her hidey-hole, so I took a rather poor photo of her. The photo does show the web, though, which is difficult to see with the naked eye.

In St Pauls Park this morning: 2 or 3 Blackbirds including a very confiding bird which carried on feeding close to the path ignoring passers-by, 2 Pied Wagtails over, and a Grey Wagtail over.

17 Nov I didn't have much time to do any birdwatching this morning so only noted a Coal Tit and Grey Squirrel in the park and 4 Chaffinches, 2 Woodpigeons, a Magpie and 2 Dunnocks at the station.

Chatted to a resident who had recently seen a bird in the park -her description suggests Buzzard - it was perched in a tree for a while. A great sighting, as I only ever see them flying over!

Episyrphus balteatus

15 Nov In the beautifully sunny conditions today there were a few insects around. At Fairlawn Road a couple of Dock Leaf Bugs were basking, and halfway down St Andrews Road the ivy attracted three species of hoverfly - a Syrphus ribesii or S. vitripennis, a Marmalade Fly (Episyrphus balteatus) and an Eristalis species. Also at the same place was a Harlequin Ladybird which at one point fell into a spider web but escaped shortly before the spider got there!  

Dock Leaf Bug
Unidentified Fungi

A new (and as yet unidentified) fungi species for the patch on a St Andrews Road lawn was this attractive toadstool. It might be a Cuphophyllus species.

Birds around the patch included a Jay chasing a Blackbird near the Black Poplars in Station Road, and a Chaffinch at the feeders on the station where there was a also a Grey Squirrel hanging on the feeders. A party of Long-tailed Tits and a couple of Collared Doves were also at the station.

This morning's bird walk in St Andrews Park produced the following:

Blackbird 3 or 4
Chaffinch small groups of mainly female birds, mostly around the park-keeper's compound
Greenfinch 3 Flew around near the main Effingham Road entrance at the start of the walk
Goldfinch half a dozen or so, mainly flying overhead
Long-tailed Tit heard briefly at the start of the walk
Great Tit 1 or 2
Blue Tit 3 or 4 birds seen and heard
Goldcrest 1 or more birds heard calling and glimpsed very briefly in a conifer near the toilets
Magpie several birds seen
Carrion Crow several birds seen
Jay 1 gave good views as it searched for food on the greound near the toilets
Fieldfare 1 flew over the park, calling
Redwing a flock of about 10 flying over, seen by a couple of members of the group
Starling just 1 in a tree near the church
Woodpigeon several birds seen
Dunnock at least 1 showed well at the park-keeper's compound
Robin 3 or 4 birds seen and heard
Wren at least 1 heard
Herring Gull 5 or so occasionally drifting overhead

This afternoon I was able to add a Pied Wagtail, a Coal Tit and a singing Collared Dove to the St Andrews Park list.

13 Nov Ten minutes in St Pauls Park on the way to work produced 3 Goldfinches and a couple of Greenfinches feeding high in the trees, together with a Great Tit and a couple of Blue Tits. A Pied Wagtail flew over and there were the usual Blackbirds, Robin and Dunnock. A pack of Herring Gulls chased each other noisily overhead, one had some food in its bill but was forced to drop it as the others chased it.
12 Nov Aha! A much better morning, and I spent half an hour on the station between 8.30 and 9.00. During that time two flocks of Fieldfares flew west, one numbering 11 birds and the other 7. A few minutes later a group of about 10 Redwings flew in the same direction. A Skylark also flew over. Also in and around the station was a Jay, 2 Magpies, 2 Collared Doves, 2 Dunnocks, a Wren, a Robin, 4 Blackbirds, 6 House Sparrows, 3 Woodpigeons, a Coal Tit, 4 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Blue Tits, 2 Chaffinches and fly-over Greenfinch and Goldfinch. Not bad, eh?

11 Nov A dank and dismal morning with little to report. At Montpelier Park there were a couple of Chaffinches feeding in the trees along with at least one Great Tit and a Greenfinch and Grey Wagtail flew over.

The only bird of note at St Pauls Park was a Herring Gull feeding on the grass.

Redwing at Congresbury

8 Nov Not much to report in the last couple of days, but this evening at 5 o'clock a Blackbird was singing lustily in Richmond Road. This is not a bird I normally associate with autumn birdsong, although you do occasionally hear them, and it's always nice to be reminded of the spring!

I spent the day on the Strawberry Line footpath south of Congresbury, and saw many Fieldfares and Redwings including this one.

6 Nov An impressive sight at the station this morning - at least 200 Woodpigeons flying south! This species is undergoing a massive movement at the moment, with numbers of 17,000 noted on the south coast during the week and no less than 1.27 million birds counted in Portugal, where many of the individuals I saw his morning may end up!

Not much else to report at the station other than a Greenfinch and a couple of Chaffinches overhead, 2 sparring Collared Doves and the usual gaggle of House Sparrows together with a party of Long-tailed Tits plus Robin, Dunnock and Wren.

Robin, St Pauls Park

5 Nov A spectacular sight over St Paul's Park this morning - 40+ Fieldfares flying SW - ace! Also in and around the park were 1 or 2 Pied Wagtails, a Greenfinch, a couple of Great Tits, a Magpie, a Robin, a Dunnock, a Goldfinch and 3 Blackbirds.

Earlier, a Grey Wagtail flew over Picton Street.

2 Nov The cooler weather has brought some new arrivals - 6 Redwings flew SW down St Andrews Road this morning, and a Goldcrest was calling from the top of Station Road. At the station the finch flock is building up, with a mixed flock of 10 Chaffinches and Greenfinches frequenting the tall trees, and a further 2 Greenfinches also on the seedfeeders. The station was alive with the sound of chirping House Sparrows and singing Robins and Wrens.

There was a party of Long-tailed and Great Tits in the park.

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