Wild Monty

Apr 2010
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30 Apr Another Swift seen distantly from the station this morning and 2 Blackcaps singing and calling, one male giving excellent views as it sat briefly on a low branch. Just one Starling at the station and a few Blackbirds going about their business.

29 Apr Hooray! The first Swift of the year was flying at rooftop level around Richmond Road this morning - on exactly the same date as last year!

28 Apr
In Montpelier Park there were 2 Blackcaps singing and calling, a few Chaffinches, a Robin and a pair of Woodpigeons building a nest. A mystery raptor was glimpsed briefly as it flew over the tree-tops - medium-sized and falcon-like and therefore a possible Peregrine. Two Long-tailed Tits were in the allotment gardens/station area.   

27 Apr Stop me if you've heard this before but at St Pauls Park there was a Pied Wagtail, singing Blackcap, a Robin and a Dunnock plus several Blackbirds.

26 Apr In Montpelier Park his morning there were 2 Blackcaps singing, plus several Blackbirds, a Wren, a Robin and a couple of Blue Tits. A Grey Squirrel was chasing around as well. One or two Starlings were still around at the station but not much else to report there.

25 Apr Despite lots of migrant activity in the wider 'Avon' area, still disappointing here in Monty, with just 2 Chiffchaffs at Fairlawn Road and a couple of singing Blackcaps here and in St Andrews Road. 
24 Apr I wasn't able to spend time on the patch today but a Linnet flew over Richmond Road at 9am - this is a bird that I rarely record here these days - and a Holly Blue butterfly was in the garden.


23 Apr I was surprised to see a large patch of Alexanders growing in the weedy margins of Portland Square this morning - is this a new plant for the patch? I think it might be. Nothing new bird-wise but the gulls were throwing their weight around in the square, including these Lesser Black-backs.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls
Forget-Me-Not sp.

21 Apr In St Pauls Park there were a couple of Pied Wagtails one of which seemed to have a broken tail permanently pointing downwards - it certainly wasn't wagging much! Not too much else to report other than Blue and Great Tits, a singing Greenfinch and a couple of Blackbirds. There was a splendid display of Forget-Me-Nots near the church.

Passing by St Andrews Park this evening I heard a Goldcrest singing in one of the pines and Long-tailed Tits and Goldfinch nearby.

Pied Wagtail with injured tail
Crow Nest and Crow

19 Apr In Montpelier Park this morning a Willow Warbler was singing intermittently, but kept well hidden in the fully-leaved Horse Chestnut tree at the back of the park. In the same tree was at least 1 Long-tailed Tit. More conspicuous was a male Blackcap who sang from a low exposed branch. A Carrion Crow was near its nest in the park, and there was also a Grey Squirrel nearby.

Away from the patch, a colony of Grey Mining Bees (Andrena cineraria) were busy in College Green! Lovely little chaps. 

Andrena cineraria, College Green

18 Apr A new bird for the year was a Swallow over Richmond Road this morning, though, being a very rural species, it didn't stick around.

I did my Breeding Bird Survey around the Montpelier, St Andrews and St Pauls area this morning and counted the following birds - Cormorant (1), Lesser Black-backed Gull (8), Herring Gull (2), Woodpigeon (16), Collared Dove (5), Wren (5), Dunnock (5), Robin (10), Blackbird (15), Blackcap (3), Chiffchaff (1), Willow Warbler (1), Blue Tit (6), Great Tit (10), Magpie (1), Carrion Crow (11), Starling (5), House Sparrow (12), Greenfinch (1), Goldfinch (4), Feral Pigeon (8).   

Meanwhile, the monthly St Andrews Park bird walk produced:
Wren - sat on top of fences and bushes and feeding on the grass. In short, flaunting themselves.
Greenfinch - 3 or 4 birds singing and one giving superb views as it fed on the grass.
Goldfinch - a small party seen
Chaffinch - 2 or 3, lots of song heard
Starling - 1 or 2
Long Tailed Tit - at least 2 showing well as they fed in the trees
Dunnock - another very showy bird, seen well near the pond.
House Sparrow - a female near the pond gave good views and provided a good comparison with the previous species
Carrion Crow
Collared Dove - a couple seen and heard
Goldcrest - 2 birds showing well (at least for this normally elusive species!) in a pine tree near the pond.
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Robin - 2 or 3 birds seen and heard

(Enough lists already, ed.)

Bullfinch (photo by Jim)
Bullfinch (photo by Jim)

16 Apr Jim reports that the Bullfinch was still present today in St Werburghs and he has taken two more lovely photos.

A Redpoll flew over Fairlawn Road today - this small finch only seems to occur in Montpelier in autumn, winter and spring as a 'flyover' and as far as I'm aware nobody gets them in their garden locally, which is a shame. Also at Fairlawn Road the Chiffchaff was feeding deep inside a Buddleia bush and a couple of Long-tailed Tits, a Jay and a soaring Sparrowhawk were also nearby.

Nothing new at the station - just a couple of Starlings, the singing Blackcap, a couple of Collared Doves, 3 or 4 Blackbirds and a Robin.

Two more new butterflies for the spring - a Small White at the station and a Holly Blue in the garden - looks like another good year for butterflies! At Hurlingham Road a Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum) was visiting Spanish Bluebell flowers. One of my favourite bees, it is all gingery and cuddly.

Common Carder Bee
Bullfinch (photo by Jim)
Bullfinch (photo by Jim)

15 Apr I was out gallivanting in the Gordano Valley today but luckily Jim held the fort and snapped this Bullfinch near the city farm. Quite a rarity these days around these parts, so well done Jim!

14 Apr The late sun brought out two new butterflies for the year - a Large White and a Small Tortoiseshell, both on the allotment gardens. Still quiet bird-wise, with the Goldcrest still singing at St Andrews Park along with a singing Goldfinch and a few Chaffinches, 2 Long-tailed Tits at the top of Station Road, the Chiffchaff singing at Fairlawn Road, and the Blackcap in song at the station.

Speckled Wood at Narroways

13 Apr An extended thrash around the patch on a beautiful day. Pride of place must go to the butterflies, with my first Speckled Woods of the year at Narroways (2) and St Andrews Park (1). Two Brimstones and a couple of Green-veined Whites (the latter my first of the year) were at the station. An early hoverfly, Syrphus ribesii was also at Narroways.

Bird highlights included 2 Goldcrests and a 'Willowchiff' at St Andrews Park - the latter bird which I first assumed to have been a Chiffchaff showed a suggestion of pale legs and long primary projection characterising Willow Warbler, but I can't honestly say which species it was. There were 3 Chiffchaffs at Narroways and another at Fairlawn Road. Blackcaps were singing at Narroways (2) and the station (1).

At the community garden at the top of St Andrews Road, lots of flowers in bloom including Celandines and Ivy-leaved Speedwell.

Syrphus ribesii
Ivy-leaved Speedwell
'Willowchiff' at St Andrews Park
White Deadnettle

12 Apr Frustratingly quiet and no signs of any bird migration. The Willow Warbler was still in Montpelier Park as was a Blackcap, singing and showing well. Also a Chaffinch and Goldfinch nearby. Lots of White Deadnettle in flower in the park. Another singing Blackcap at the station, a Starling and a couple each of Collared Doves and Blue Tits.

At St Werburghs this evening, 2 Mallards flew down Mina Road. Long-tailed Tits and a Coal Tit were calling nearby.

10 Apr Called in briefly to the Fairlawn Road area and heard at least one Chiffchaff singing, also some Long-tailed Tits and a singing Blackcap nearby. A Willow Warbler was singing as I passed Montpelier Park. 
9 Apr In Montpelier Park a Blackcap was singing strongly - I wonder if it is an overwintering bird still hanging about or a freshly arrived migrant? Also in the park were Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit and Chaffinch.  

In St Pauls Park 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were doing a courtship dance on a roof, with much bill-touching and neck-stretching. Also nearby were a couple of Greenfinches and Goldfinches, a few Dunnocks and a Robin.

8 Apr Quiet this morning. A Goldfinch in the Ash tree outside my front door, some Long-tailed Tits at the top of Station Road, the Willow Warbler still singing in the park and 3 singing Dunnocks and 4 Starlings at the station among the usual stuff.

7 Apr There are now up to 3 Willow Warblers on the patch - the Montpelier Park bird was still singing this morning and at least 1, possibly 2 were in St Pauls Park, showing well but very restless as they fed among the blossoming trees. Also at the latter location were Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch.
6 Apr A very welcome new arrival in the park this morning - a Willow Warbler showing well as it fed in the bare branches and sang occasionally. Also a Long-tailed Tit in the park. At the station just a couple of Blue Tits and about 4 Starlings.

Song Thrush at Cotham School

5 Apr Although not on the patch proper, I was delighted to see a Song Thrush in the grounds of Cotham School this afternoon, feeding in a flower bed and coming up with a big fat worm. It then flew to some trees behind the school so could it have a nest? Early, but you never know!  At Montpelier Station 'Patch' the Blackbird was at the feeders. There was little else to report bird-wise other than a few tit species and a Chaffinch at the railway path.

A bumblebee sp. entered one of the holes at the bottom of the wall at the top of Station Road this lunchtime - is there a nest being established I wonder? Will keep an eye open!

3 Apr In the garden today was the male Blackcap along with a couple of Great Tits, 3 or 4 Blue Tits, a pair of Blackbirds and 2 Woodpigeons. Two Jays flew over the flat, as did a single Starling (the flock at the station has reduced quite a lot over the last week or so - only a few left - so they may well have been continental birds spending the winter here).

Green Alkanet

2 Apr A wet morning, sunshine and showers in the afternoon. A Sparrowhawk soared over Ashley Hill and nearby was a singing Chiffchaff and a Jay being attacked by 2 Magpies - quite a noisy and violent affair! The corvids then stopped and went about their business! Nothing much at the station except for a singing Great Tit and a few Collared Doves.

A male Blackcap was in the garden this morning eating ivy berries.

A couple of Green Alkanet plants were in flower along Fairlawn Road.

1 Apr Nothing much to report except for a Carrion Crow building a nest near Bishop Street and nearby a few singing Greenfinches at St Pauls Park and a Pied Wagtail in Portland Square this morning.

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