Wild Monty

May 2011
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29 May The second of my BTO Breeding Bird Survey visits in Montpelier/St Pauls and St Andrews produced the following numbers of birds this morning: Lesser Black-backed Gull 7, Herring Gull 2, Woodpigeon 8, Collared Dove 11, Swift 2, Grey Wagtail 1, Wren 7, Dunnock 2, Robin 10, Blackbird 15, Blackcap 1, Coal Tit 1, Blue Tit 11, Great Tit 5, Magpie 4, Carrion Crow 6, Starling 2, House Sparrow 17, Chaffinch 4, Greenfinch 2, Goldfinch 3, Feral Pigeon 16.

28 May The only news today is of a family of Magpies in the garden - at least one young bird begging for food and showing hints of juvenile plumage.

26 May A Jay calling in Portland Square this evening with a Grey Squirrel and a couple of Blackbirds nearby.

25 May Mysterious squeaks in Montpelier Park this morning turned out to be a family of young Wrens recently out of the nest. Also  a singing Chaffinch and Goldcrest, 2 Collared Doves, 3 or so Blackbirds and a calling Long-tailed Tit.

Lots of activity outside of my window today - a pair of Blue Tits seem to be feeding young in the nest which is hidden somewhere, a pair of Blackbirds obviously have young as they are very vocal whenever a Magpie appears. House Sparrows nesting in the eaves opposite use the garden to gather food and this evening a Robin was singing. 

24 May Despite a chilly wind and the early hour, a Red-tailed Bumblebee was visiting Bramble flowers at 8.50am near the station. The station also produced a couple of distant Swifts and a calling Blackcap.

22 May If I told you I saw a Blackbird eating a mouse you probably wouldn't believe me but I'm sure that's what I saw on the station this morning. A male was on the platform hacking away at the dead mouse and eventually gutted it, then flew away with the skin in its bill! A juvenile Blackbird was calling not far away so presmably it was about to be presented with the remains! I didn't have my camera so couldn't shoot it so have no photographic evidence. Shame. Also at the station was a singing Chaffinch, a Carrion Crow, a Starling and a calling Long-tailed Tit.

Grey Wagtail (photo by Jim)

18 May A walk with the lovely people of FNCG this evening produced a Grey Wagtail on and around the old Fairfield School, singing Blackcap, Wren and Chiffchaff, a nesting Blue Tit, a Long-tailed Tit or two, 2 Jays, 2 or 3 Carrion Crows, a couple of Magpies, 2 or 3 Blackbirds, several Woodpigeons and Feral Pigeons and a singing Robin. Thanks to Jim for these pics of the wagtail.

Four Swifts were zooming around Richmond Road at roof-height this evening - I will keep an eye out for any nesting activity.

Grey Wagtail (photo by Jim)
17 May The highlight this morning was a Sparrowhawk seen from the station soaring in the direction of Cheltenham Road arches - the first sighting of this species I've had for a couple of months. Also two distant Swifts, a single Starling, a singing Blackcap and a Robin singing from the top of the telegraph pole near the station footbridge. A Grey Squirrel was heard and Magpie and Collared Dove seen nearby.

Long-tailed Tits were heard calling from Montpelier Park.

15 May The monthly bird walk in St Andrews Park produced no real surprises but a decent selection of birds. The full list is as follows:

- one or two

Blackbird - two or three singing and several seen

Mistle Thrush - a late arrival seen after the walk from the cafe area

Robin - one or two, including one carrying food near the pond, suggesting a nest nearby

Dunnock - at least one singing and showing well at the top of a tree

Wren - at least two birds in song, one also seen well

Woodpigeon - several seen and heard

Feral Pigeon - ones and twos sprinkled around the park

Carrion Crow - three or four

Greenfinch - two or three, a couple seen well

Goldfinch - one flew over calling near the toilets

Chaffinch - a couple singing

Goldcrest - at least two seen well at the end of the walk

Blue Tit - not particularly conspicuous but heard occasionally

Great Tit - one or two calling

Coal Tit - one or two seen and heard

Long-tailed Tit - two or three heard and seen

Swift - screaming parties noted over the park

House Sparrow - two or three seen on surrounding properties

Lesser Black-backed Gull - two or three drifting over

Starling - just one or two seen near the toilets

The only other birds of note today were a Chiffchaff singing at the top of Richmond Road (a new arrival?) and a Jay flying over the top of St Andrews Road.

Miris striatus

13 May It's always exciting to find something you've never seen before and today I discovered a Fine Streaked Bugkin Miris striatus at Fairlawn Road - a superb little animal. Nearby there was an Oedemera nobilis beetle and a Harlequin Ladybird larva and adult. A Jay was seen in Hurlingham Road and Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Long-tailed Tits were heard. Some of the leaves of a Rowan were covered in pale fungus-like blotches - not sure what it is. 

In St Andrews Park there were several insects about - a Green Lacewing sp., an Episyrphus balteatus (Marmalade Hoverfly) and 2 Speckled Wood butterflies. A Mistle Thrush was singing and Long-tailed Tits, a Goldcrest and Great Tit were heard and seen near the pond and 3 Goldfinches flew over.

Oedemera nobilis
A Green Lacewing sp.
Ashy Mining Bee

10 May I popped into the car park of the Better Food Co and was delighted to see an Ashy Mining Bee Andrena cineraria there. Nearby there were several Harlequin Ladybirds and a few  Bumblebee species.

On Narroways there was a Common Whitethroat, a Swallow, a family of Long-tailed Tits, 2 Chiffchaffs, an adult and 2 juvenile Woodpigeons, a Jay, 3 House Sparrows, a Goldcrest and a singing Song Thrush. Insects included several Myathropa florea hoverflies, a Cryptocephalus beetle, 2 Rose Chafers and the micro-moth Pseudargyrotoza conwagana.

In St Andrews Park there was a juvenile Mistle Thrush and at least 1 juvenile Blackbird.

Cryptocephalus sp.
Cardinal Beetle

8 May The verge at Fairlawn produced loads of good invertebrates this afternoon including 3 Large Red Damselflies, a Pisaura mirabilis spider, a presumed Dark Bush Cricket nymph, 3 Myathropa florea hoverflies, 5 Green Shieldbugs, 2 Dock Leaf Bugs, a Speckled Wood butterfly and 5 Harlequin Ladybirds. Meanwhile at the station there was a single Cardinal Beetle. Swifts were seen at both locations but rather distant - I've yet to see them screaming overhead.   

Dark Bush Cricket nymph

7 May The first Swifts of the year (a week late!) were flying beyond the large mast halfway down Station Road. There seemed to be at least 4 of them. In Montpelier Park some botanically-inclined companions identified the large pine tree by the lower entrance - it seems to be Weymouth Pine Pinus strobus. The Cedar looks like it might be Lebanon Cedar Cedrus libani. Meanwhile 2 galls on Lime leaves we came across are Eriophyses exilis (caused by a mite) and Contarinia tiliarum which is a gall midge.

Otherwise all rather quiet on the patch although the Chiffchaff and at least 1 Blackcap were singing at Fairlawn Road and Long-tailed Tits were heard.

The night before last a Heart and Dart moth was in the kitchen.

Juvenile Blackbird

5 May Still very quiet everywhere - in the garden a juvenile Blackbird was sat on a roof and at the station at least 1 Starling was seen. In St Pauls Park a couple of Greenfinches were singing.

2 May Along Fairlawn Road there were 3 Small White and 2 Speckled Wood butterflies. Also the moth with hugely long antennae called Adela reamurella. A Chiffchaff and a Blackcap were singing, with another Chiffchaff on the station.

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