Wild Monty

March 2010
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Chiffchaff on Narroways (photo by Jim)

28 Mar Jim has taken this fine photo of a Chiffchaff on Narroways this morning. Another couple of these birds were still around from yesterday, at the station and the top of St Andrews Road/railway path area. Also at the station the two Blackcaps were still singing. 

There were 3 Buff-tailed Bumblebees on flowers in Leopold Road, and I noticed some clumps of Hairy Bittercress along Richmond Road grwing at the foot of a wall, while lots of Grape Hyacinths are coming into flower in various gardens. 

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Euphorbia sp.

27 Mar Two more Chiffchaffs have arrived on the patch - one at the railway path and the other at the station this morning. Also a pair of Carrion Crows building a nest at the former location provided fascinating viewing - one was in the nest while the other bird patiently with some twigs in its bill. The first bird then vacated the nest and the onlooker immediately hopped in and continued the building process. Also nearby was a Jay. More corvid activity at the station with a Magpie nest-building, while at the park a Coal Tit was calling and another Jay there, mobbing something along with other corvids but too distant for me to see what it was - probably a cat.

The weirdest sighting today was of some 40 gulls, at least one of which was a Herring Gull. flying north over Hurlingham Road in a tight flock. God knows where they were headed and with such purposeful flight. Very strange!

At the community garden at the top of St Andrews Road, the first Spanish Bluebells were in flower and lots of Euphorbia plants in bloom - can't work out the exact species though.

25 Mar A female Blackcap turned up in the garden this morning together with some Blue Tits. Nothing much happening at St Pauls Park other than singing Greenfinches and Dunnock, a couple of Blackbirds and a Pied Wagtail.


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Cow Parsley at Narroways
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Hebrew Character

24 Mar At last, the first Chiffchaffs of the spring were seen and heard singing on Narroways - up to three of them! Lovely. Also at Narroways were 2 Grey Wagtails, a Song Thrush singing at Ashley Vale and the first flowering Cow Parsley nearby.

Terry has emailed me to say he has seen a Grey Heron today and yesterday over St Andrews Road - yesterday it perched on a roof for several minutes! These are unusual records for Monty given the lack of standing water anywhere.

At the railway path there was much corvid activity with a Carrion Crow building its nest and 4 Magpies and a pair of Jays nearby. Long-tailed Tits were seen at the community garden in Mina Road and St Andrews Park. A Blackcap was still singing at Montpelier Station. 

Some Blackthorn blossom was on show near the junction of Fairlawn Road and Ashley Hill. 

Finally, last night I had the first moth of the year attracted by my kitchen light - a Hebrew Character.

23 Mar Nothing new to report - in the park there were a couple each of Blue, Great and Long Tailed Tits, a Collared Dove, plus a Robin and 3 or 4 Blackbirds. At the station just one singing Blackcap, a few Starlings, 2 displaying Dunnocks and the usual gang of House Sparrows.


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Starlings

21 Mar A highlight of the monthly bird walk in St Andrews Park this morning was a Peregrine flying over Effingham Road and then circling over the park. Also seen and heard were Blackbird (one collecting nesting material), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Mistle Thrush (2), Redwing (9), Jay, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Starling, and Wren

There were 3 singing Blackcaps in Montpelier this morning, one at the top of Richmond Road and two more at the station. Also at the latter location were a couple of Dunnocks, the usual Starlings and a couple of Collared Doves.

Non-bird highlights in Montpelier today included a Brimstone butterfly in the park. Some Common Field Speedwell was growing profusely along Fairlawn Road and there was a small patch of Common Chickweed also in the park.


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Greenfinch at St Andrews Park (photo by Jim)
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Common Field Speedwell
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Sparrowhawk

20 Mar A male Sparrowhawk was sat on the roof opposite my window this morning - staying there for some 20 minutes. A Woodpigeon was just along from him, keeping him under surveillance but otherwise not too bothered! At the station was the usual singing Blackcap and a Jay flew over.

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Dunnock

18 Mar A pair of Carrion Crows were collecting nesting material in Brigstocke Road this morning while in St Pauls Park there was activity from, among others, a singing Goldfinch, a Robin, a Collared Dove and this Dunnock.

17 Mar Fergus tells me he heard a Song Thrush on Tuesday in York Road - dare we hope that this species has returned to Monty's mean streets after so many years? Fergus also reports a singing Blackcap and mating Foxes in his garden!

At the station this morning there were 2 Mistle Thrushes briefly perched in trees near the feeders before flying over Cromwell Road, also 2 singing Blackcaps nearby.

16 Mar Notable at the station this morning was a female Blackcap (additional to the singing male) and a Mistle Thrush flying north, calling. Also the usual Starlings, Greenfinches and Collared Doves. This evening there was a party of Long-tailed Tits in Picton Street.

15 Mar A quick look around the station produced the usual birds, but spring was definitely in the air. Two Carrion Crows were sat on a branch together and appeared to be doing a little 'dance' which consisted of taking it in turns to spread and un-spread their tails. The Blackcap was still singing and there was a pair of Chaffinches, 9 Starlings, a couple of Blackbirds and a Dunnock.


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Jackdaws

14 Mar An unusual sighting of 2 Jackdaws on the roof of the Cadbury this morning - they usually only fly over and rarely settle for any length of time. Not much else to report as I had an awayday to Tickenham, but there was a Grey Squirrel in the park.

At Tickenham the sun brought out about 7 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies which was lovely to see.

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Small Tortoiseshell at Tickenham

13 Mar An absolutely gorgeous spring day, and the first Brimstone butterfly of the year was flitting around the disused platform of the station - lovely. Another highlight was a Song Thrush at the railway path which flew past me and landed on a low branch giving brief but good views. I won't get too excited about the possibility of the bird staying and nesting as it could be just passing through - but I hope not!

Other stuff included 2 Jackdaws over the allotment gardens, 3 Dunnocks doing a courtship dance with much flicking of wings at the station, and at least 1 male Blackcap showing well and singing. Also at the station, a Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Blackbirds and Starlings at the feeders.
 
11 Mar A male Blackcap in the garden first thing and another (or conceivably the same bird) was feeding in shrubs in Montpelier Park an hour or so later - it was very confiding and allowed a close approach. At St Pauls Park was a single Long Tailed Tit, a Blue Tit and a Great Tit along with about 4 Blackbirds and 3 Collared Doves.

10 Mar The Blackcap was singing at the station this morning. Also a few Greenfinches and 8 or 9 Starlings.


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Leucistic Carrion Crow

9 Mar All rather quiet. At the Fairlawn/Hurlingham Road area there were some Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Great Tits and a female Chaffinch, while at St Andrews Park the highlights were 2 Jays, a Coal Tit and a couple of Carrion Crows showing a degree of leucism in their primaries. A third of the pond in the park was covered in Frogspawn.


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Frogspawn at St Andrews Park

6 Mar As I stood at he station this morning I heard a Song Thrush singing some distance away. This is the first I've recorded in Montpelier for a couple of years and, of course, it is not at all common. The song seemed to be coming from the area of the school/poplars - I will see if I can nail the bird down in the next couple of days. Also a Jay flew over the station and the Starlings were dominating the feeders, although a Grey Squirrel was also at the peanut feeder.  

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Lesser Celandine

5 Mar At last a Lesser Celandine in flower in the park - last year the first one I noted was almost a month earlier on the 10th February! Better late than never I guess.

I was amazed to see at least 30 Pied Wagtails roosting in just one young tree in the central reservation at the junction of Newfoundland Street and Bond Street, Cabot Circus this evening at 6.20 - a very impressive sight as they all flew in while the traffic passed by on each side of the the tree, buses and lorries only inches away!

4 Mar Rather quiet at the station this morning, although the Blackcap was singing continuously. Notable were 4 or 5 Blackbirds, all males, trying to get onto the feeders and fighting amongst each other. Also at the station were the usual Starlings, a female Chaffinch, a Robin and several Collared Doves and Woodpigeons.


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Robin, St Pauls Park

2 Mar A beautiful spring morning. A single Jackdaw flew over Montpelier Park and a party of Long-tailed Tits and a Great Tit were feeding in the trees. At St Pauls Park, the Greenfinches were looking really smart and singing boisterously - up to three males involved. Also a couple of Goldfinches, a Dunnock, a Robin, a JayCollared Doves and Woodpigeons in the park. In nearby Portland Square, 2 Herring Gulls were feeding on the grass.

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Herring Gull, Portland Square

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