Wild Monty

Feb 2010
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28 Feb I checked briefly into the station this afternoon and noted that the Starling flock now numbers around 30 birds and they dominate the feeders. Also the House Sparrows were very noisy again. Not much else to report, however.


27 Feb Good and prolonged views of a soaring Sparrowhawk this morning from the railway path - this species is very frequent on the patch at the moment. At St Andrews Park there were about 10 Redwings, 20 Starlings and a couple of Goldfinches all feeding on the grass, and a Jay was searching for food in one of the flower beds. At Montpelier Station, several Starlings, House Sparrows and a few Blue Tits and Long-tailed Tits were active near the feeders and in the trees.
26 Feb In Montpelier Park this morning 2 turbo-charged Coal Tits were pinging around the trees like a pinball machine - it was bizarre as they never settled for any length of time. This must have been some kind of courtship but I've never seen this behaviour before. Also Blue and Great Tits were in the park. In Ashley Road, Long-Tailed Tits were calling and St Pauls Park was once again full of activity from Greenfinches, Goldfinches, 3 Blackbirds, 3 Blue Tits, a Great Tit, 2 Carrion Crows and a Robin.

25 Feb I was in such a rush I didn't have time to make any meaningful observations this morning but a Blackcap was calling in the garden and a couple of Great Tits dropped in. The usual suspects were at the station including the House Sparrows which chirped away noisily.

24 Feb A Grey Wagtail and a Goldfinch flew over Picton Street this morning, and a couple of Starlings flew over the flat. At St Pauls Park there were a couple of Collared Doves, a Blue Tit, a Robin, a few Blackbirds and 1 or 2 singing Greenfinches and Dunnocks.

21 Feb The first bird walk of 2010 in St Andrews Park was excellent with both signs of spring and reminders of winter to entertain us. Birds seen were as follows:

Goldfinch - at least half a dozen showing well as they fed in a birch tree
Chaffinch - including males singing and another having a bath!
Redwing at least 6, maybe more, feeding on the grass
Mistle Thrush - not seen, but song heard rather distantly
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Long-tailed Tit
- lots, very noisy!
Collared Dove
Feral Pigeon

Carrion Crow
- including one gathering nesting material
Sparrowhawk - a confiding male was seen sat in a tree near the play area after the meeting ended. Simon and I wondered if it was injured but it flew well so it must have been OK

20 Feb Despite a glorious sunny morning, there was not much to report other than a briefly-calling Chiffchaff at the railway path which remained frustratingly elusive - I'll try to look for it again tomorrow. A Sparrowhawk shot along the railway nearby and a party of Long-tailed Tits were also present. At the station were the usual collection of birds including the singing Blackcap, a few Chaffinches, some Starlings and up to 5 Blackbirds.

19 Feb
A few goodies at the station this morning in bright sunshine. The Blackcap was singing, and nearby was a Goldfinch on the feeders. There were half a dozen Starlings and a similar number of Chaffinches of both sexes. A female Sparrowhawk caused a rumpus as she flew over the station and landed briefly in a tree. There were also 2 Dunnocks, 3 Blackbirds, a couple of Magpies, several Collared Doves and Woodpigeons and last but not least the Brown Rat was performing well near the feeders!

A Pied Wagtail was in Montpelier Park.
17 Feb A wet morning, but despite the miserable conditions a Blackcap was singing at the station where there were also a couple of Chaffinches and the Starling flock numbered an impressive 26 birds.

15 Feb  Still quiet around the patch - in St Werburghs there was a mixed flock of Greenfinches, Chaffinches and Great and Blue Tits at the Community Garden. At Narroways there were 8 Magpies and a clump of Velvet Shank fungus. At Montpelier Station, 3 Goldfinches were around the feeders.

Common Gulls at Backwell Lake

14 Feb I popped down to Backwell Lake today, hoping to see the Bittern that's been around for a few weeks but, although it was seen by others today, I drew a blank. There was a nice male Goosander, a Little Egret and a Kingfisher as compensation, and it was nice to see these Common Gulls - one of my favourites of the gull family.

I heard a Coal Tit singing in Montpelier Park and there were several singing Goldfinches in the Dove Street South area of Kingsdown.

13 Feb All very quiet today, with just some Long-tailed Tits near Hurlingham Road and a few birds at the station including 14 Starlings, a female Chaffinch, singing Great Tit, a Collared Dove, 7 or 8 House Sparrows and 2 Dunnocks looking frisky and chasing each other around. 

I have another spider sp. in the kitchen - it amazes me how long they can live in the cold environment and with little or no food.

Collared Doves (photo by Jim)

11 Feb A lovely photo of a couple of Collared Doves in Jim's garden today - many thanks.

Meanwhile, I'm sorry to say I completely missed a Fox at the station this morning - a kind young woman told me it had been showing well and she assumed I'd seen it but no! I'm definitely losing my touch, if I ever had it in the first place that is... Compensation of sorts came in the form of the usual Blackcap, a female Chaffinch, several Starlings and a Grey Squirrel.


10 Feb A thrash around St Pauls this morning in bright winter sunshine produced a couple of Greenfinches singing away in the trees, a pair (presumably) of Dunnocks chasing each other through the Leylandii hedge (or was it a territorial dispute between 2 males?) and a Great Tit inspecting a nest box all in St Pauls Park. A good show of Snowdrops in Portland Square and a Chaffinch, a group of House Sparrows and some nice lichens on tombstones in the cemetery. A Herring Gull was feeding on the grass in Brunswick Square. 


9 Feb Nothing exceptional to report today, but it was interesting to see how the dozen or so Starlings that have been frequenting the station in the last few weeks now dominate the bird feeders and are keeping other birds away. This is particularly noteworthy because they are otherwise not at all common in Montpelier - usually only winter visitors here.

7 Feb
At the station today there was a very noisy and aggressive male Blackcap throwing his weight around near the feeders together with a couple of Chaffinches, a Dunnock, a Robin, 6 Starlings, a few Great and Blue Tits, a couple of Collared Doves and about 4 Blackbirds, including the illustrious 'Patch'!

At Fairlawn Road, a distant Mistle Thrush was singing in the direction of Ashley Vale, and a Jay was in Ashley Hill. Some Long-tailed Tits were feeding near the railway path. 

Pied Wagtail

5 Feb A lovely sunny morning. Two unusual birds were seen within ten minutes of each other - a Cormorant flew over Montpelier Park (sporting its white thigh patch meaning that it was potentially a breeding adult) and a Common Buzzard was circling over Portland Square. The raptor tried to briefly land on the church tower but was so harrassed by gulls and corvids that it gave up and left the scene! Soon after, a Grey Wagtail flew over the square. Back at Montpelier Park there was also a Pied Wagtail, a female Chaffinch, a singing Coal Tit and 2 Jays.

4 Feb
Despite dull and drizzly weather, St Pauls Park was alive with birdsong this morning. Top of the bill was a sub-singing Blackcap which also showed well as he sat out in the open. The supporting cast of singers included Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Robin (2), Dunnock, and Collared Dove (there were about 5 of the latter in and around the park.) Also seen was a Wren, a few Woodpigeons, a Starling, 1 or 2 Herring Gulls, 2 Magpies and 4 Blackbirds

Velvet Shank

1 Feb Some nice bits and pieces in Montpelier Park this morning - yet another male Blackcap feeding in a tree with a Great Tit and a female Chaffinch, 2 Redwings, a Blue Tit, 1 Pied and 1 Grey Wagtail, a Wren and 2 or 3 Collared Doves. Also in the park was the fungus I see this time every year and in the same place, Velvet Shank