Wild Monty

Nov 2010
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Male Chaffinch

26 Nov Some nice birds around the patch this morning although Montpelier itself was rather quiet. At Narroways/Ashley Vale there was a Bullfinch and a Grey Wagtail near the brook and a couple of Jays near the community garden at Mina Road. Meanwhile at St Andrews Park the highlight was a male Blackcap at the pond with a supporting cast of Long-tailed Tits and a Chaffinch. Also in the park, 4 Carrion Crows were acting very aggressively towards each other, 2 of them having a real fight, tumbling around with locked talons. Not sure if this was a family dispute or whether food was being fought over.
25 Nov A Chiffchaff was calling in St Pauls Park this morning but failed to show itself - very frustrating. Quiet otherwise apart from a Robin, Wren, a Chaffinch and a couple of Great Tits.

24 Nov Very little to report from the station this morning although there was an impressive count of Collared Doves - about 12 birds centred on the feeders. The flock of Chaffinches was disappointing though - only 6 of them - and there was a Jay and a couple of Great and Blue Tits.

23 Nov A quick look around St Pauls Park this morning produced good views of a Goldcrest feeding high in the branches plus a Blue Tit, 2 Great Tits, a female Chaffinch, a couple of Goldfinches, several Woodpigeons, a Wren. a Robin, a Dunnock and 2 Blackbirds

Jo tells me she saw 3 Long-tailed Tits in Montpelier Park.

21 Nov A cold and drizzly morning did not deter a dedicated band of St Andrews Park birders this morning, and we were rewarded with some good birds, many of which were almost certainly of Scandinavian and eastern European origin. A tantalising glimpse of a raptor (I would put my money on Peregrine but cannot rule out Sparrowhawk) set the pulses racing! Species seen and heard:

Starling - a good flock of at least 30 birds wheeling around in spectacular fashion were no doubt mostly migrants.
Mistle Thrush - 1 or 2 birds including a very obliging individual sat out in the open.
Blackbird - 2 or 3 seen.
Fieldfare - a group of 7 or 8 birds flew overhead. Visitors from Scandinavia.
Dunnock - 1 calling near the pond
Goldcrest - super views of at least 2 birds in a conifer near the pond.
Chaffinch - about half a dozen flying over or feeding in the trees.
Greenfinch - 5 or 6 seen, mainly flying over.
Goldcrest - hard to estimate numbers but seen or heard in ones and twos.
Lesser Black-backed Gull - seen several times drifting over.
Robin - I only heard 1 bird near Effingham Road!
Magpie 2 or 3 birds seen.
Jay - seen by at least one person in the group.
Long-tailed Tit - 5 or 6 showing well in the canopy.
Great Tit - in song and showing well.
Blue Tit - another obliging bird.
Carrion Crow - at least 1 heard cawing.
Woodpigeon - several around the park.
Pied Wagtail - 1 or 2 strutting their stuff near Effingham Road.
Raptor sp.

20 Nov Well I'm not sure if Sefton Park comes into my jurisdiction but if not I shall annexe it immediately - there were a couple of local rarities in the shape of a Song Thrush (seen and heard sub-singing) and 2 Mistle Thrushes. Also lots of Long-tailed Tits, at least 1 Coal Tit, 2 Blackbirds and a Grey Squirrel. Even further away from the patch were a couple of Black-headed Gulls (scarce around here) at the Gloucester Road end of Ashley Down Road. 

There were signs of an influx of Chaffinches on the patch with several birds of both sexes at the station and the railway path. Also at the former location were several Long-tailed Tits and 2 Grey Squirrels trying to get at the bird-feeders.  Six Starlings flew over the flat and a single bird was at the station.

19 Nov Still quiet in the last couple of days - at the station this morning 6 Starlings flew high to the south-east and were probably migrants, also a couple of female Chaffinches, a Greenfinch and a Goldfinch plus Great and Blue Tits at the station.

Yesterday morning just a flock of Long-tailed Tits and a Pied Wagtail noted at Portland Square

Collared Doves

16 Nov Not much to report other than a couple of Starlings and half a dozen Chaffinches at the station along with these Collared Doves.

15 Nov No time to get out on the patch today unfortunately, but there was a singing Dunnock and a couple of Blue Tits in the garden, and a single Jackdaw flew over.

Harry reports 30 Starlings on St Werburghs church tower on Saturday, so there may be a bit of an influx locally.

14 Nov A gaggle of 10 Starlings were flying around outside the flat this morning - whether these were from the station or new arrivals I can't be sure, but there's usually an influx at this time of year. The House Sparrow flock was commuting between the allotments and the industrial units in Station Road this morning - about 15 birds involved. There were 6 Chaffinches on the station birdfeeders and a couple of Long-tailed Tits nearby. There was a distant view of a Cormorant flying towards Redland.

Female House Sparrow (photo by Jim)

13 Nov  Here are more fab photos from Jim's garden - many thanks Jim.

The patch was invaded by Blackcaps today - 1 female in my garden and at least 2 (male and female) in St Andrews Park. These are no doubt birds from Germany and central Europe and will spend the winter in the UK. Also at the latter location were 10 Chaffinches, 3 Greenfinches, 10 Goldfinches, 6 Blackbirds, 1 Dunnock, 1 Wren, 1 Jay, 2 Pied Wagtails, 15 Starlings, 3 House Sparrows and 2 Mistle Thrushes along with Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits and lots of Woodpigeons.

At Fairlawn Road 2 Pied Wagtails and a Chaffinch flew over and there was a Jay and 3 Blue Tits.

A Zygiella-type spider was building its web outside the kitchen window this afetrnoon - I get these nice little things most autumns but usually inside rather than outside. 

Blue Tit (photo by Jim)
Long-tailed Tit (photo by Jim)

12 Nov I wasn't expecting to see much this morning as I arrived on the station - there was a blustery wind and dampness in the air. How wrong I was! A female Sparrowhawk suddenly appeared from the direction of Cromwell Road and made a stoop on the trees opposite the platform building. I saw her talons extended below her as she dived and a whole bunch of Collared Doves scattered immediately in panic. It was pretty clear that the doves were her intended prey, but she failed to catch any and shot off across the allotments towards the park. I went up to the footbridge to see if she was still around when to my utter surprise a Peregrine drifted over at roof level, giving cracking views! As if that wasn't enough, the Sparrowhawk returned and made another, slightly half-hearted attempt to stoop but then flew off. I can honestly say that this was the best ever five minutes I've had in the short history of Wild Monty! Also of note were three Jackdaws flying over the station.  

Yesterday at dusk the House of Frazer Pied Wagtail roost was very impressive. I estimate at least 100 birds flying to the trees on the central reservation from the roof of the store and also circling around in the gathering gloom. 


10 Nov A nice selection of birds at St Pauls Park this morning, including a very obliging Goldcrest, 4 Blackbirds, 2 Robins, a Dunnock, Great and Blue Tits and 4 Chaffinches

Great Tit


8 Nov Three finch species at the station this morning, with a fly-over Siskin, a Greenfinch and 3 or 4 Chaffinches, including at least 1 male. Long-tailed Tits were calling near the Old Vicarage, St Andrews Road.

Blue Tit (photo courtesy of Jim)

7 Nov Jim sent me these lovely pics of some of the visitors to his garden yesterday - many thanks Jim.

A quick look around Montpelier Park revealed a flock of mainly male Chaffinches - about 10 of them feeding in the canopy. Also a Grey Squirrel and Blue Tits. In the Dove Street/Armada Place area there were several Goldfinches, a Jay and 2 Pied Wagtails.

Dunnock (photo courtesy of Jim)
Great Tit (photo courtesy of Jim)
Coal Tit (photo courtesy of Jim)


6 Nov An hour at the station this morning produced 2 Jays, 6 Chaffinches, 5 Starlings, 1 flyover Skylark, a flock of Great, Long-tailed and Blue Tits, 2 Dunnocks, 2 Blackbirds, a Robin, 3 Collared Doves, a Woodpigeon, 1 soaring Sparrowhawk and 10 flighty House Sparrows. A rather noisy Grey Squirrel was also present.

At St Andrews Park the highlights were about 20 Goldfinches, 2 Jays and 2 Goldcrests.

In the garden this morning 2 quarrelsome Jays (probably the same birds that were at the station) and a Coal Tit briefly.

There seemed to be an influx of Blackbirds at the railway path with at least 4 birds involved.

5 Nov Not too much to report in the last couple of days - the only news involves Blackbirds. Yesterday I saw 'Patch' again for the first time in nearly a year - he was in Station Road just up from the Royal Mail office. Now of course he might have been 'Son of Patch' with similar albinistic markings on his cheek but I like to think it is the boy himself. If so, I've been seeing him now for nearly 4 years! This morning on the station a Blackbird was sub-singing, no doubt encouraged by the mild if drizzly weather. Also Long-tailed Tits much in evidence yesterday and today on the station. 


3 Nov Some Hogweed was still in flower on the station this morning - my fieldguide states the flowering season lasts from May to November. A single Starling flew over the station and other birds included a party of Blue and Long-tailed Tits, 6 Goldfinches, a Jay, a Blackbird and the usual Collared Doves.

2 Nov This morning I did a tour of St Pauls in an effort to silence certain readers of this blog who have recently accused me of concentrating too much on Upper Montpelier! In St Pauls Park a Goldcrest showed well and actually sat still for several seconds - normally this tiny bird never stops moving. The only other birds of note were Carrion Crows and a Herring Gull, and a Grey Squirrel put in an appearance.. In Portland Square another Goldcrest was calling from one of the trees. Finally I took in the cemetery off Brunswick Square and this quiet oasis produced a male Chaffinch and a couple of Goldfinches busily feeding in the treetops plus a Pied and a Grey Wagtail.

The Pied Wagtail roost in trees on the central reservation near the beginning of the M32 outside House of Fraser seemed very busy this evening.

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