Wild Monty

Jan 2010
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31 Jan The first Chaffinch song of the new year was wonderful to hear at Fairlawn Road, where there was also a party of Long-tailed Tits and a very confiding Robin. At the station were more Chaffinches, a Wren, 8 Blue Tits, a Great Tit, half a dozen Starlings, the usual gaggle of House Sparrows, 3 Blackbirds and a Grey Squirrel. A domestic cat was hunting near the feeders but despite a bold attempt, failed to catch any birds but certainly sent them scattering.

A brief view of a Jay again at St Andrews Park. 

Jay at St Andrews Park

30 Jan St Andrews Park really delivered the goods at lunchtime today, with a male Blackcap, 6 Redwings, 10 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Jays, 3 Greenfinches, 2 Chaffinches, 1 or 2 Goldfinches, several Starlings, a Coal Tit, a Blue Tit, a Great Tit, a Dunnock, several Blackbirds, 15 Woodpigeons, a Feral Pigeon, 4 Magpies, several Carrion Crows and a few fly-over Herring Gulls.

In Montpelier a Grey Wagtail flew over Picton Street and there was an 'Eristalis' hoverfly basking in the sunshine on a wall in Richmond Road.

Redwing, St Andrews Park
Long-tailed Tit, St Andrews Park
Coal Tit, St Andrews Park

28 JanGoldcrest was singing in Montpelier Park this morning - these birds are very thin on the ground this winter so it was good to hear one. Also 2 Coal Tits were singing. Elsewhere in the park were a couple of Blue Tits, half a dozen Chaffinches, a Wren and a Pied Wagtail.

Two House Sparrows were chirping loudly at the junction of Wilder Street and Dean Street, St Pauls.
27 Jan A bit livelier at St Pauls Park this morning with a singing Greenfinch, 2 Goldfinches, a pair of Chaffinches, 2 Blue Tits, a Great Tit, a couple of Blackbirds, a singing Dunnock, 2 Robins (chasing each other through the foliage so presumably a pair), a Collared Dove, 2 Carrion Crows, a couple of Woodpigeons, a single Starling and a Herring Gull.

26 Jan It really is a bit dire at the moment, with few birds of note - at the station this morning were a few Greenfinches and Chaffinches with 5 or 6 Blackbirds and a singing Dunnock. Nothing in the garden - seems to be a bird-free zone at the moment!

Green Woodpecker (photo by Jim)

23 Jan A Green Woodpecker was found this morning at the Ashley Vale allotments by Jim who also took this great photo. They are only occasionally seen in the area (I've never seen one here) so I'm very jealous! Jim also saw Song Thrush, House Sparrows and Collared Doves here.

Fairlawn Road produced Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Jay and several Great Tits, while the station held a couple of Greenfinches, a gaggle of House Sparrows, Collared DovesWoodpigeons, half a dozen Starlings and a Grey Squirrel.

21 Jan
Quiet at the station this morning except for a calling Blackcap, a party of Long-tailed Tits, a Robin, 5 Blackbirds, half a dozen Starlings and a Grey Squirrel.

19 Jan I had a wander around St Pauls Park this morning and saw a pair of Great Tits prospecting a nest-box, a Greenfinch singing, 2 Starlings, several Goldfinches, a Chaffinch, 2 Magpies, 2 Carrion Crows, a pair of Blackbirds, a Robin, a singing Dunnock, 1 or 2 Blue Tits, a Collared Dove, a couple of Woodpigeons and a Herring Gull. Two Pied Wagtails were flying around Brigstocke Road.

18 Jan The only birds of note this morning were a Jackdaw flying over St Andrews Road and some Long-tailed Tits and a Pied Wagtail in the park.

Patch the Blackbird

17 Jan A spring-like day, mild and sunny. A Beautifully yellowy Greenfinch was perched on the topmost branch of a tree on the station and 2 Goldfinches were nearby. 'Patch' the Blackbird also put in an appearance at the station - now into his 3rd year! Half a dozen House Sparrows and a single Starling were also at the station and a Skylark flew over calling. At Narroways/Ashley Vale, a Grey Wagtail was seen at the brook and a Skylark and a Meadow Pipit flew over. Long-tailed Tits were also noted. A pair of Woodpigeons attempted to copulate at Fairlawn Road, and a Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax) sat basking on a Bramble leaf nearby.

Drone Fly
Fieldfare (photo by Harry)

15 Jan Harry has emailed me with an impressive list of birds seen at Narroways in recent days:

Up to 5 Meadow Pipits most days
5 or more Fieldfares feeding on rosehips, haws, and worms etc when snow started to clear
3 or more Redwings
Male Blackcap feeding on Ivy in back garden hedge
2 Jays
Up to 7 Greenfinch
Couple of Chaffinch
Song thrush
2 Dunnocks
Party of frantic looking Long-tailed-tits
Lots of the regulars - Blue tits, Great tits, Blackbirds, Robins etc coming in to the garden much more for food.

Harry also sent these evocative photos - thanks Harry.

Fieldfare (photo by Harry)

14 Jan A Fieldfare at the allotment gardens and a couple of Redwings, some Long-tailed Tits, a Dunnock and 2 or 3 Chaffinches were seen at the station this morning on a brief visit.

The finch that didn't flinch (photo by Brian)

13 Jan The slightly delayed 08.56 train to Temple Meads allowed me to spend more time on the station this morning. Still half a dozen or so Redwings in the trees together with one or two Fieldfares and a gaggle of Starlings. A Robin and a couple of Blackbirds were actually on the railway lines looking for food, while a Dunnock, 7 Long-tailed Tits, a couple of Blue Tits, a Great Tit and about 5 Chaffinches were also present. A Goldfinch flew over and a gorgeous Jay hopped around in the snow on the disused platform and then sat on a low branch for several seconds.

My old mate Brian has sent this lovely photo of a very confiding Chaffinch in his Hanham garden.
12 Jan A brief visit to the station this morning only produced 9 Starlings, 2 Blue Tits and a single Redwing.

Long-tailed Tit (are my photos getting worse I wonder?)

11 Jan Another day confined to barracks, but it was good to see one or two Long-tailed Tits in the garden, along with Blue and Great Tits and both male and female Blackcaps again. A Robin has been singing continuously all day, and a second bird seems to be a rival male as the two were engaged in combat whenever they got too close to each other, which I assume would not have happened if they were a pair. One or two Redwings flew past the window but it looks like many might have moved on, as so few were seen today.


10 Jan I didn't venture out today, but additional species noted in and around the garden included a male Sparrowhawk which sat on a roof for a couple of minutes, a Dunnock, a Magpie and a fly-over Jay. There were still several Redwings and Fieldfares around, and there are now 4 Feral Pigeons feeding on stuff I put out for 'real' birds!

Fieldfare in the garden

9 Jan More sightings of Redwings and Fieldfares today - Jim saw both species on Narroways and I saw a Fieldfare in the garden this morning plus about 15 Redwings and a few Fieldfares at Station Road and the station itself. Male and female Blackcaps were in the garden and (presumably) a different male Blackcap was at the station, where the feeders also attracted Great and Blue Tits and half a dozen each of Chaffinch and House Sparrow. Also at the station were several Collared Doves and a Robin. Back in the garden, up to 5 Blackbirds were present. About 20 Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew NW over the flat at 3.45pm, presumably to roost in the estuary. 

Redwing (photo by Jim)
Fieldfare (photo by Jim)
Meadow Pipit (photo by Harry)

8 Jan I haven't been able to make any meaningful observations today but Harry saw this nice Meadow Pipit on Narroways. Years ago small flocks of these birds regularly spent the winter at this location but recently they have been largely absent, so this is a good sighting.

7 Jan
Several parties of Redwings flying past the window during the day and perching briefly in trees beyond the garden, plus about 20 Fieldfares flying in at lunchtime but not seeming to stay around. A Skylark flew over the flat this morning and a male and female Blackcap both showed well in the garden. A Goldfinch flew over the station.

Blue Tit (photo by Jim)

6 Jan Jim has taken some fab photos of a Blackcap, Robin, Blue Tit and Chaffinch in his garden today. It is good to know birds can get food in local gardens in this cold weather.

Talking of cold weather, as I struggled into work this morning I saw 6 Skylarks flying SW over Brigstocke Road and about 20 Redwings flying S over Portland Square. Both species were no doubt looking for snow-free conditions, and the Skylarks might be heading for the coast or even France.

Blackcap (photo by Jim)
Chaffinch (photo by Jim)
Robin (photo by Jim)
Blackcap in garden

5 Jan Not too much to report at the station this morning other than the female Blackcap and the usual group of Chaffinches near the feeders. Four Blackbirds were chasing each other in the treetops and a Dunnock was in song.

3 Jan A female Blackcap was back in the garden today, feeding on a fatball I put up - I'm wondering if it is the same bird as the one at the station - it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that this is a wide-ranging bird! Also in the garden today were 2 Feral Pigeons, 4 Woodpigeons, 1 Robin, 2 Blackbirds (including Whitey) and a Blue Tit.

At the station there were several birds around the feeders including 3 Greenfinches, half a dozen Chaffinches, a Dunnock a Robin, a Great Tit and 4 Blackbirds. The 2 Redwings were also at the station in their favourite tree and at least 1 Goldfinch flew over. A Pied Wagtail was mincing around the top of Station Road.

Below the feeders at the station was a Brown Rat and a couple of Grey Squirrels. The two species seemed unwilling to occupy the small area of bare mud below the feeders at the same time, and birds only fed there when both mammals were not present.

Female Blackcap

1 Jan 2010 A beautifully sunny but very cold day. At the station the female Blackcap was showing well again, and there were a couple of Redwings nearby along with a Dunnock and a group of male and female Chaffinches. A party of Long-tailed Tits were feeding in the bushes along the railway path.

In the garden, a female Sparrowhawk shot through at lunchtime but didn't catch any songbirds! Also in the garden I was delighted to see an old friend, 'Whitey' the male Blackbird (with the white outer tail feathers) who had held territory all last summer and who I haven't seen for several months - there was another male and a female Blackbird also present along with a Robin, 3 Blue Tits, 2 Great Tits, 4 Woodpigeons, 3 Carrion Crows, a Magpie and a Feral Pigeon