Wild Monty

Jan 2011
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31 Jan Montpelier Park produced both male and female Blackcaps this morning - they really do seem to be absolutely everywhere on the patch this winter - plus a Redwing which flew in then as quickly flew out again. Also in the park was a very conspicuous Coal Tit, several Blue Tits and a couple of male Chaffinches. There was a party of Long-tailed Tits opposite The Cadbury in Richmond Road. 

Harry had a good Big Garden Birdwatch on Narroways yesterday - Great Spotted Woodpecker, Bullfinch and Grey Wagtail were the highlights.


30 Jan I did the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch in St Andrews Park this morning and my results were as follows: Carrion Crow 4, Magpie 4, Wren 2, Goldfinch 3, Greenfinch 5, Blackcap 2 (males), Jay 1, Redwing 3, Mistle Thrush 3, Blue Tit 6, Great Tit 5, Dunnock 2, Robin 4, Coal Tit 1, Long-tailed Tit 6, Blackbird 8, Feral Pigeon 3, Collared Dove 3, Woodpigeon 10, Starling 10, Chaffinch 1.

Near the pond there were 3 Robins together, one displaying by staring upwards and waving its head backwards and forwards slowly - presumably this was a threat rather than courtship display.

Elsewhere on the patch there two more Blackcaps - a female at the station and a male at the top of St Andrews Road.  

There was a Housefly sp. in the flat today.


29 Jan Some good birds in St Andrews Park at lunchtime: 6 Redwings, 2 Mistle Thrushes, a Jay, a Coal Tit, 10 Goldfinches, 7 Greenfinches, 6 Chaffinches and parties of Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits plus Robin, Wren, Blackbird and Dunnock.

A couple of Jays and half a dozen Chaffinches were noted at Montpelier Station.

Karle reports a Chiffchaff at St Pauls Park at lunchtime.

Robin at St Andrews Park
Mistle Thrush at St Andrews Park

26 Jan The Song Thrush was singing again this morning, heard from the station. Otherwise the usual suspects, including the Grey Squirrel and some Long-tailed Tits were in evidence.

25 Jan In Montpelier Park there were a couple of female Blackcaps feeding in a tree near the play area and a Coal Tit gave very good views. Half a dozen Chaffinches were joined by a party of Long-tailed Tits and a Pied Wagtail fed on the path.

At the nearby station another female Blackcap (or one of the park birds perhaps?) showed well. Other birds nearby included Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Dunnock and the usual Starlings. At least 1 Grey Squirrel was near the feeders.


23 Jan Highlights on Narroways this morning included a Song Thrush, 2 Wrens, a Blackbird, a Dunnock and a Chaffinch all feeding in the same area of scrub together! Nearby were 3 Goldfinches, several groups of Long-tailed Tits, a fly-over Black-headed Gull (not common around here) and a singing Mistle Thrush. A couple of Primroses were in flower.

At Montpelier Station there was a male Blackcap, 7 Magpies, 6 Chaffinches, 10 Blue Tits, 5 Great Tits, 10 Long-tailed Tits, half a dozen Starlings, some Collared Doves and Feral Pigeons and a Dunnock.

A Jay was calling in Cobourg Road and 6 Great Tits were looking beautiful in the sunshine nearby.

In the garden today a female Blackcap, Dunnock, Wren (hopping along a shed roof!) a RobinBlue and Great Tits and 5 Woodpigeons.

Great Tit

Collared Dove

22 Jan Fairlawn Road produced 2 Chaffinches and a Pied Wagtail. In St Andrews Park there were 2 calling Goldcrests, a Blackcap, several Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits, 3 or 4 singing Greenfinches, 5 Goldfinches, 1 or 2 Collared Doves, 6 Blackbirds and around 20 Starlings

Pied Wagtail

21 Jan The Fox was barking incessantly this morning at 8.00, sounding like he was moving around between barks, possibly near St Andrews Road again. At the station there were a couple of Grey Squirrels at the feeders, some Long-tailed Tits and a Coal Tit was in the Buddleia bush near the footbridge.

Harry says that on Narroways today there were 3 Long-tailed Tits on the feeders at the church field, a Mistle Thrush foraging on the ground and a Jay and Goldfinch in the hedge.

20 Jan Highlights in St Pauls Park this morning included a singing Goldcrest, a couple of Greenfinches, a Blackbird, a Dunnock, a Wren, a Robin and a party of Blue and Great Tits.

19 Jan A dog Fox was barking on and off last night and again just before 7.00 this morning. I also heard him an hour later when waiting for a train and the barking seemed to come from the upper end of St Andrews Road. The Song Thrush was singing again and Long-tailed Tits were in evidence at the  station.

18 Jan A Coal Tit was singing in the park this morning and a Wren was heard calling at the station - this species has been very thin on the ground since last month's cold snap so it was good to hear one. Sadly they are among the first birds to perish in freezing conditions. The Song Thrush was singing again this morning - seemed to be coming from around the school or Royal Mail office. A good flock of some 15 Long-tailed Tits were at the station.

17 Jan I made a last-minute decision to have a quick look at the station and I'm glad I did. There was a flock of Long-tailed Tits and Blue Tits at the top of Station Road with a male Blackcap amongst them. On the allotment gardens were a flock of 15 Chaffinches feeding among the stubble along with a Grey Wagtail. Also nearby was a Jay, a Greenfinch, a Goldfinch, a fly-over Pied Wagtail, a Great Tit, 8 Starlings, 5 Collared Doves, 5 Woodpigeons and a Blackbird. All these birds scattered with the arrival of a raptor which I only got onto as it flew away - it was medium sized and was likely to be a Sparrowhawk although I can't eliminate Peregrine.    

Starlings at St Andrews Park
16 Jan Harry reports a Red Admiral in St Werburghs at lunchtime - the first butterfly of the year for the patch I would say!

The rain held off and we had a good birdwatching session this morning at St Andrews Park. As we gathered, we were serenaded by a Mistle Thrush, but I would say the song was atypical for this species, sounding more Blackbird-like than usual. Another highlight was a Blackcap giving its 'tack' alarm call but I don't think any of us were able to see it among the dense vegetation near the bowls club. The full list is as follows:

Chaffinch - one or two feeding in the treetops

Goldfinch - several groups seen

Greenfinch - a singing male found by Simon was a welcome sight given their low numbers at present

Blackcap - one heard

Blackbird - several birds seen

Mistle Thrush - at least two including a singing male

Carrion Crow - one or two

Magpie - at least a couple seen

Jay - two near the Effingham Road entrance

Blue Tit - two or three feeding in the trees

Great Tit - one or two

Long-tailed Tit - one or two parties

Starling - several groups flying around the park

Dunnock - one heard calling and a singing bird near Somerville Road

Robin - three or four singing

Feral Pigeon - four flew over near the bowling club

Collared Dove - two or three

Woodpigeon - lots heard and seen

Pied Wagtail - one or two feeding on the paths

Herring Gull - one or two drifting over

Lesser Black-backed Gull - one flew over near the bowling club

Here are some fab pics of some of the birds by Jim.

Mistle Thrush (photo by Jim)
1st winter Herring Gull (photo by Jim)
Jay (photo by Jim)
Greenfinch (photo by Jim)
Long-tailed Tit (photo by Jim)
Robin (photo by Jim)

Hazel catkins were on show along Montpelier Station incline. Lovely.

Hazel catkins
Jelly Ear Fungus

15 Jan The first Chaffinch song of the year was heard briefly at Fairlawn Road. There was some Jelly Ear Fungus nearby - although common enough, this edible fungus is only sporadic in Monty. At the station there were 2 Jays, 8 Starlings, 5 Blue Tits, 2 Great Tits, 4 Collared Doves, 2 Blackbirds, 6 Chaffinches, 2 Carrion Crows and 2 Dunnocks.

Two male and a female Blackbird in the garden plus a Robin


14 Jan At the station this morning I was delighted to hear a distant Song Thrush singing - seemed to be coming from the area near the Cheltenham Road arches. Also at the station were 8 Starlings, 4 Blue Tits, a Robin, a Chaffinch and several Woodpigeons.

13 Jan Not much to report in St Pauls Park this morning other than 1 or 2 Greenfinches flying around and some Long-tailed Tits. A Grey Squirrel ran across the road at Portland Square.

11 Jan At least 1 Redwing at the station this morning, along with 6 Starlings, 2 Robins, a fly-over Goldfinch and a Grey Squirrel near the feeders.

9 Jan It all seems a bit quiet at the moment, but both male and female Blackcaps were in the garden this morning along with a singing Dunnock. A Pied Wagtail was in Richmond Road and there were a couple of flocks of Long-tailed Tits at the railway path and Richmond Road.

7 Jan No time to do much this morning but there was a Jay and some Long-tailed Tits in Station Road and half a dozen Starlings and as many Collared Doves at the station plus a few fly-over Chaffinches.
5 Jan A Chiffchaff in St Pauls Park this morning was a welcome sight. Also in the park were several Long-tailed Tits, a Herring Gull, Blue and Great Tits, a Dunnock, 3 Blackbirds and a couple of Goldfinches.

Female Blackcap

3 Jan An extended tour of duty on a dreary, sleety morning produced a flock of 23 Waxwings at Lynmouth Road allotments and a Grey Wagtail at the nearby brook. Also in the Narroways area was a Jay, a few Great, Long-tailed and Blue Tits, an impressive 13 Carrion Crows and a fly-over Redwing.

At St Andrews Park the highlights were 5 Redwings, 12 Goldfinches, a few Starlings and Chaffinches and a briefly-heard Goldcrest.

The female Blackcap was still haunting the garden today.


2 Jan Two Fieldfares at Fairlawn Road were the first for a few days - also a Jay and 3 Chaffinches in the area. At St Andrews Park there were a further 2 Jays and half a dozen Chaffinches along with a few Starlings, a Wren, 5 Blackbirds, 6 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Goldfinches and several Greenfinches - a very welcome sight considering how thin on the ground they seem to be at the moment.

1 Jan 2011 The milder interlude means a return to normal as far as the birds are concerned, with the Fairlawn Road area producing Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, a Jay, a singing Goldfinch and a Dunnock. About 6 Chaffinches, 4 Starlings and 4 Collared Doves were at the station and the garden was visited this afternoon by several Long-tailed and Blue Tits, a Robin and 3 Woodpigeons.

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