Wild Monty

Apr 2011
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Myathropa florea

30 Apr More hot insect action with a Large Red Damselfly the highlight at Fairlawn Road plus a nice selection of hoverflies - the first Myathropa florea and Episyrphus balteatus (Marmalade Fly) of the year and a probable Syrphus ribesii. Also seen along the verge were a pair of mating Dock-leaf Bugs, a Pisaura mirabilis spider, a Harlequin Ladybird and several annoying flies and bees that I couldn't ID! Butterflies included a Speckled Wood and a couple of Holly Blues. A Blackcap was singing and a Jay showed itself briefly. A brief burst of song that sounded like possible Garden Warbler was intriguing.

Episyrphus balteatus
Large Red Damselfly
Possible Leaf-cutter Bee

29 Apr Despite the rather cloudy conditions there was some insect activity - at St Andrews Park a Large Red-tailed Bumblebee was visiting flowers and at the station 7-Spot and Harlequin Ladybirds were seen, also a possible Leaf-cutter Bee and a Eupeodes luniger hoverfly.

Birds at St Andrews Park included Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow (including a female collecting nesting material) and Dunnock. The Chiffchaff was still singing at the station.

7-Spot Ladybird
Harlequin Ladybird

28 Apr The only bird of note this morning was a Chiffchaff singing at the station. All very quiet.

Daldinia concentrica

27 Apr A quick look around St Pauls Park produced a couple of singing Greenfinches, a Blackbird, a Wren and a Dunnock. Some King Alfred's Cakes Daldinia concentrica fungus was growing on one of the logs.

26 Apr At the station the only birds of note were 4 Starlings, 4 Goldfinches and a singing Blackcap.

News that there is a colony of Ashy Mining Bees Andrena cineraria in Montpelier Park - haven't seen them myself, but will look for them if it gets warmer. This attractive species occurs in Castle Park and College Green but this is the first I've heard of them on our patch.

Large Red Damselflies

25 Apr A stroll around Narroways produced at least 1 singing Common Whitethroat, a couple of Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap and a Jackdaw. A Wren perched on a branch and sang just a metre away from me. Bush Vetch and a Speckled Wood butterfly were noted in the wooded area.

A Jay was seen at Fairlawn Road, while in St Andrews Park a Mistle Thrush was noted carrying food, suggesting successful breeding. The pond produced the first Large Red Damselflies of the year and a Red Mason Bee and Holly Blue butterfly were nearby.

Mistle Thrush
Bush Vetch

23 Apr Despite the warm weather it was rather quiet on the patch, with the highlight being a Brimstone butterfly at the station along with an Orange-tip and Holly Blue. A Blackcap was singing nearby. At Fairlawn Road a 2-spot Ladybird made a nice change from the usual Harlequins and there was much activity from Dock Leaf Bugs. Birds at Fairlawn included singing Chiffchaff and Blackcap.

Double-striped Pug

22 Apr My first Double-striped Pug of the year found its way into the kitchen last night. At least 1 Holly Blue still in the garden this afternoon.

21 Apr Great to see a juvenile Blackbird in the garden this evening - it looked
healthy too.

At the station this morning a Chiffchaff and a Blackcap were singing. Four Starlings flew over Portland Square this evening and a Goldfinch was singing in nearby Argyle Road. 


20 Apr That hidden gem, St Pauls Cemetery, produced a pair of Mistle Thrushes carrying food this morning, so presumably a nest with young was nearby. Also around the gravestones there was a Robin, 4 or 5 House Sparrows, 2 Starlings, a Blackbird and a Goldfinch. In nearby Portland Square there was lots of Alexanders in flower plus an unidentified Ladybird species. Nothing much in St Pauls Park other than a couple of Blue Tits.


19 Apr The highlight today was Jim's sighting of a Peregrine over his Montpelier garden this afternoon - I'm very jealous!

At the station this morning was a Willow Warbler in song and a pair of displaying Robins. Montpelier Park was quiet apart from a Grey Squirrel, a Red Mason Bee, 3 Blackbirds and a couple of Chaffinches.

Good to meet and have a chat with Terry this morning on the train.

Green Alkanet

18 Apr A Willow Warbler could be heard singing from my flat this morning and a juvenile Woodpigeon was feeding in the garden. Also in the garden was at least 1 Holly Blue and a Speckled Wood.

At Fairlawn Road the Chiffchaff and Blackcap were still around and insects included an Orange Tip, a Holly Blue, a Dock Leaf Bug, a pair of mating Green Shieldbugs and a Syrphus ribesii hoverfly. A nice display of Green Alkanet near the rainbow bridge.

Yesterday's bird survey results in full: Lesser Black-backed Gull 11, Woodpigeon 12, Collared Dove 6, Wren 12, Dunnock 4, Robin 9, Blackbird 12, Blackcap 1, Chiffchaff 1, Long-tailed Tit 1, Blue Tit 19 (a record!), Great Tit 8, Magpie 6, Carrion Crow 4, Starling 2, House Sparrow 13, Chaffinch 1, Greenfinch 1, Goldfinch 3, Feral Pigeon 18.

Mating Green Shieldbugs
Syrphus ribesii
Pisaura mirabilis
17 Apr Lots happening today with the monthly bird walk in St Andrews Park and the first of my Breeding Bird Surveys around the Ashley area - regarding the latter, I haven't collated all the results yet so will post them when I can. Here's the St Andrews Park list:

- at least two seen and heard

Chaffinch - rather thin on the ground, with just one heard singing briefly

Goldfinch - one or two

Greenfinch - one or two

Blackbird - several seen and heard

Robin - many singing birds

Jay - at least one

Carrion Crow - a few seen and heard

Lesser Black-backed Gull - one or two cruising overhead

Magpie - one or two

Woodpigeon - lots seen and heard

Collared Dove - two or three

Chiffchaff - one near the pond was probably passing through but picked up a feather and flew off with it so nesting  cannot be ruled out! 

Dunnock - at least three seen and heard

Blue Tit - several

Great Tit - several

Long-tailed Tit - three or four seen

Wren - two or three singing

House Sparrow - at least one male near the pond

Speckled Wood and Holly Blue butterflies were also noted.

This afternoon the sun brought out lots of insects around the patch - 2 or 3 Holly Blues in the garden and another at Hurlingham Road. Along Fairlawn Road there were at least 3 Pisaura mirabilis spiders sitting on leaves waiting for prey to land. Also there was an interesting looking Plant Bug which could be one of a number of species I can't ID. Chiffchaff and Blackcap were both singing at Fairlawn Road.

The Tuberous Comfrey (found by Chris a few years ago) is looking healthy along Station Road.

Tuberous Comfrey
Mirid bug

16 Apr Butterflies at the station this morning included a Peacock (the first of the year as far as my own sightings are concerned), an Orange Tip and a Holly Blue. A Blackcap was singing nearby. At Fairlawn Road a Chiffchaff was singing. In the garden was another Holly Blue and a Chiffchaff was audible from my window.

Halfway up Ninetree Hill was a singing Willow Warbler.

15 Apr Still rather quiet. At the station a Blackcap and distant singing Chiffchaff along with a Goldfinch, a single Long-tailed Tit and a couple of Starlings. I was delighted to see a male House Sparrow just a few inches from my window this morning gathering nesting material.

14 Apr
A Coal Tit and a Goldfinch were singing in Montpelier Park this morning and a Chiffchaff was heard near Belvoir Road this afternoon.

12 Apr Not much happening in the last couple of days, although a Jay visited the garden briefly yesterday morning and there was a lovely Greenfinch display flight over Station Road/allotment gardens this morning.

Speckled Wood

10 Apr Narroways produced a Willow Warbler, a couple of Chiffchaffs, 3 Blackcaps and a fly-over Redpoll. I was delighted to see a Bee-fly Bombylius major in the orchard - these are fab insects. There were also 3 Speckled Woods, a Green-veined White and a Holly Blue.

At Fairfield Road there were another couple of Holly Blues. At the station yet another 2 Holly Blues and an Orange Tip. In the garden at least 1....yes, you've guessed it...Holly Blue

Yellow Archangel

9 Apr The first Orange-tip butterfly of the year was at the station this morning along with 2 Holly Blue and a Green-veined White. Also at the station was a Chiffchaff and a singing Blackcap and a gang of House Sparrows were busily collecting nesting material.

Along Fairlawn Road there was a colony of Yellow Archangel (garden variety ssp. argentatum) which turns up every now and again on the patch but I've never seen it at this location before. Nearby there was a Red Mason Bee Osmia rufa basking on a leaf - my first for the patch - while a Harlequin Ladybird was also seen. Birds in the Fairlawn Road area included a Chiffchaff and a Jay. Cow Parsley was in flower near the Hurlingham Road end of the footbridge.

Osmia rufa

8 Apr A couple of Chiffchaffs on the patch this morning - one in Montpelier Park and another at the station where a Blackcap was also singing. A Willow Warbler was still singing in the park too. Drone-flies (Eristalis sp) were hovering at head-height in the park in the sunshine.

Willow Warbler (photo by Jim)
Willow Warbler (photo by Jim)

7 Apr Jim took these fab pics of a Willow Warbler on Narroways this afternoon - beautiful stuff.

Nothing much at St Pauls Park this morning other than a Jay and a couple of Greenfinches. A fabulous display of Forget-me-nots in the churchyard - these are presumably the garden form of the Wood Forget-me-not but I could be wrong.

There are now 2 Holly Blue butterflies in the garden.

Out of the immediate area, a Buzzard was being mobbed by gulls over Temple Quay this afternoon.


6 Apr Up to 3 Willow Warblers in Montpelier Park this morning, plus Blue and Great Tits. This evening a Blackcap was singing nearby.

Mistle Thrush (photo by Jim)

4 Apr Jim took this great photo of a Mistle Thrush singing at Fairfield School. Strangely I heard a very distant one singing from my bathroom window this morning - I wonder if it was the same bird?

A Siskin flew quite low over Portland Square this morning and there's a report of 15 Waxwings near the Co-op in North Road, St Andrews yesterday and today - which means I must have walked past them yesterday.....very annoying!

Herb Robert

3 Apr The female Blackcap was again in the garden this morning. A Chiffchaff and a pair of Long-tailed Tits were noted at Fairlawn Road. St Andrews Park produced a couple of Goldcrests, a Mistle Thrush, a Chaffinch, a few Goldfinches, 3 Starlings, 2 Carrion Crows, a Robin and several Blackbirds. A House Sparrow was near the pond collecting nesting material. Pond-skaters were noted on....yes you've guessed it....the pond.  

There were 2 or 3 singing Blackcaps around the patch and the Willow Warbler could be heard in Montpelier Park.

Nice to see Herb Robert in flower along Station Road.

Mistle Thrush


2 Apr A Chiffchaff was again at Fairlawn Road along with a Jay this morning. Another 2 Jays were halfway up Station Road.

1 Apr There was still at last 1 Willow Warbler singing in the park this morning and a Blackcap was singing near the station. This evening a Carrion Crow was attending to a nest in Ashley Road.

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