Wild Monty

Aug 2010
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Garden Spider

31 Aug A Garden Spider had rather inconveniently spun a web right across the gateway outside the flat when I got home this evening, so rather than spend the night outside I reluctantly passed through it, ruining the web. I'm not sure whether spiders learn from past experiences and build their webs in different places/angles/heights to avoid disturbance from mammals walking or birds flying through them - perhaps someone is doing a PhD on that subject even as we speak!

Last night a Square Spot Rustic (the first for a couple of years) was attracted into the kitchen.

Square Spot Rustic
Forest Bug (deceased)

30 Aug Today I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I've got a new insect for the patch - a Forest Bug. The bad news is that unfortunately it was dead having drowned in my bath! Apparently they are reasonably common animals but difficult to see in the wild. This one must have been attracted by a light and come to a sad end.

29 Aug A windy and mainly dull morning gave way to late sunshine. A Holly Blue was still in the garden and a Garden Spider was eating a fly in the centre of her web near Hurlingham Road. A few unidentified hoverflies near Fairlawn Road proved rather elusive, and the only birds to report on the patch were Blue Tits and Magpies.

28 Aug A warm sunny day - at least 1 Speckled Wood was at the top of the railway path. Birds nearby included a Robin and Blue and Great Tits, while a Coal Tit called from the Old Ashley Hill area.

Last night despite cool temperatures 3 Willow Beauty and a Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing were attracted by my kitchen light. 

26 Aug Despite drizzly conditions at the station this morning, a sizeable flock of some 20 or so House Sparrows was a welcome sight. A fly-over Goldfinch, an over-excited Magpie (probably alarmed at the presence of a cat), a couple each of Woodpigeons and Collared Doves, a Starling or two and singing Wren and Robin were also at the station.

23 Aug In Montpelier Park this morning there were a couple of juvenile Woodpigeons distinguished from adults by a lack of a white 'collar'. There were also Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits feeding busily in the trees at the play area, a Jay, 2 Carrion Crows, a Magpie and a Robin singing from the very top of the pine near the lower entrance to the park. 

Speckled Wood

22 Aug A beautifully warm sunny day. A Southern Hawker dragonfly was patrolling the railway path area this morning and there were a minimum of 5 Speckled Wood butterflies between here and Fairlawn Road - this species has been a but thin on the ground this summer so it was good to see so many today. Some Large and Small Whites were in the same area feeding on Buddleia. Calling Chiffchaff and Blackcap plus Blue and Great Tits were heard and seen. 

A Holly Blue butterfly was once again in the garden.

Great Willowherb

21 Aug On a dull and overcast but very warm day there were a few Long-tailed Tit flocks around including one in the garden and another at the railway path. The latter location also produced a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff plus Blue and Great Tits, while at the junction of Ashley Hill and Fairlawn a Coal Tit was calling. A Jay flew over the railway line at the station.

Butterflies today included a Holly Blue in the garden, a Large White at the railway path and a Speckled Wood near Hurlingham Road.

Near the railway tunnel the Moth Mullein was still in flower and several plants of Great Willowherb were growing nearby. Does anyone know what gall or other disease this sycamore leaf is suffering from?

Mystery disease!
Moth Mullein

19 Aug Terry reports a sighting by his friend of a Swift today - I haven't seen any since the beginning of the month so this is a good record.

At St Pauls Park this morning there were 4 Goldfinches, a Greenfinch, 2 Robins, a Great Tit, 3 Blackbirds plus one juvenile heard calling (quite late, must be a third brood), a singing Wren and a Magpie.

Yellow Shell

16 Aug A good collection of moths last night: 2 Willow Beauty, 2 Brimstone, 1 Copper Underwing (first of the year), 5 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 1 Garden Pebble (a micro but distinctive enough for even me to identify) 2 Marbled Beauty, 1 Heart and Dart, 1 Large Yellow Underwing and a Yellow Shell (the latter I've never caught before but which occurs on Narroways). 

Copper Underwing
Small Copper (photo by Harry)

15 Aug Harry has been out and about on Narroways and had some good butterflies today. Painted Lady on Cut Throat Lane, several Speckled Woods in Orchard and Stoney Lane. 3 or 4 Common Blues in Church Field and several on Narroways Hill and cutting, also Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns and this Small Copper in Narroways Cutting. I haven't seen any Painted Ladies all summer!

14 Aug At the station at lunchtime there was an impressive count of 11 Collared Doves and about 15 House Sparrows. Other birds noted were a Greenfinch, 2 Carrion Crows, 4 Blackbirds, 2 Robins, a Dunnock, about 5 Woodpigeons and a flock of Blue and Great Tits.  Near the tunnel was a good showing of Moth Mullein flowers.

In the garden area there was a Herring Gull eating bread just the other side of my window, 4 Magpies and 4 Starlings flew over the flat.

12 Aug A Robin singing his autumn song at the station this morning - it'll soon be Christmas! Also a Blackcap calling and a Greenfinch flying over.

Last night in the kitchen there were 3 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, and this morning a Willow Beauty was sat on the outside of the front door!

11 Aug
Still very quiet, with St Pauls Park producing Blue and Great Tits, a Wren, a couple of Robins, several Woodpigeons, 3 Blackbirds and a Greenfinch.

Double-striped Pug

9 Aug Yesterday there was a Double-striped Pug in the kitchen. Think it's the only one I've seen this year but I could be wrong.

Green-veined White

8 Aug The butterfly count today included Holly Blues at Hurlingham Road (1) the station (2) and the garden (1). A Green-veined White was at Fairlawn and 4 or 5 Small Whites (including a mating pair) were at the station. Another Volucella zonaria hoverfly was at the railway path.

Birds were quiet as can be expected at this time of the year, although a calling Chiffchaff at the top of St Andrews Road and Blackcap at the station were notable. Also at the station were a couple of Dunnocks, a Blackbird and a Greenfinch.

Last night there was a Brimstone moth in the kitchen.

Volucella zonaria
Sparrowhawk (photo by Jim)

7 Aug Some fabulous pictures of a couple of Sparrowhawks seen by Jim over Narroways this afternoon - many thanks Jim. I had less luck finding anything exciting today, although the 2 Holly Blues were still in the garden and I noticed strange puffball-like fungi on my roof - will try and get them identified.

Sparrowhawk (photo by Jim)
Mystery fungi

5 Aug Slightly more bird activity this morning, with a Coal Tit singing in the park and 5 Starlings, 3 Greenfinches, 2 Blue Tits, 5 House Sparrows and a Blackbird at the station.

4 Aug Not an awful lot happening in the last couple of days - yesterday in Montpelier Park just a Robin, Carrion Crow and Grey Squirrel and yesterday and today the station hosted a mixed flock of feeding tits and the usual House Sparrows, Collared Doves, a very confiding male Blackbird and 1 or 2 Greenfinches. I predict more interesting sightings in the coming weeks, with the autumn migration getting under way!

2 Aug A spectacular sight this afternoon at 5.30 - between 75 and 100 gulls congregating above St Andrews Road and drifting west as they fed on insects. Most were Lesser Black-backed but smaller numbers of Herring and at least one Black-headed Gull - the latter a Montpelier rarity. They spent about ten minutes hawking insects before dispersing - this was as impressive an urban birding experience as you could hope for.

Less impressive was the moth count last night - 5 Shuttle-shaped Darts, a Brimstone, a Marbled Beauty and a Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing. Also a couple of Harlequin Ladybirds and the usual crew of micro-moths I still have difficulty identifying.  

Large-flowered Evening Primrose

1 Aug An impressive count of Holly Blue butterflies this afternoon - 2 in the garden (including an egg-laying female) and at least 3 more in the Fairlawn/railway path/Hurlingham triangle where there were also 2 Speckled Woods. At the junction between Fairlawn and Ashley Hill there was a mixed flock of Long-tailed, Great and Coal Tits. Surprisingly quiet at the station apart from 5 Collared Doves and a Robin and some nice Large-flowered Evening Primrose flowers near the tunnel. 

Doing a bit of weeding in the front garden I disturbed a couple of Harvestmen species.

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