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.
were zooming around Richmond Road at roof-height this evening - I will keep an eye out for any nesting
|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.
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
- 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
- several seen and heard
Feral Pigeon - ones and twos sprinkled around the park
Crow - three or four
Greenfinch - two or three, a couple seen well
- one flew over calling near the toilets
Chaffinch - a couple singing
- at least two seen well at the end of the walk
Blue Tit - not particularly conspicuous but heard occasionally
Tit - one or two calling
Coal Tit - one or two seen and heard
- two or three heard and seen
Swift - screaming parties noted over the park
Sparrow - two or three seen on surrounding properties
Lesser Black-backed Gull - two or three
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.
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
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.
|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.
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.
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.