Wild Monty

July 2011
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31 Jul One of the weirdest experiences I've had happened this afternoon on the station. It was 2.20 and the birds were going berserk with alarm calls - Long-tailed Tits, Blackbirds and Wrens involved plus some worried-looking Great Tits. I looked to see if a raptor was flying overhead but nothing. Suddenly, from below the feeders, a Montpelier Mustelid emerged and went straight down its hole! I've never seen one in broad daylight before and I never expected one would stimulate a predator response in birds. OK, foxes are often mobbed, but this animal? Bizarre. I'm also a little concerned that it was out and about during the day and wonder if it was unhealthy.

Also at the station there were some young Greenfinches and nearby a Grey Squirrel was running along the wall in the vicinity of the allotment gardens.

Also on the mammal front, there were a couple of flypasts by Pipistrelles outside the window this evening at 9.30.

At least 1 Holly Blue in the garden this afternoon.

29 Jul Lots of small bird activity at the station this morning, with some evidence of migration - at least one Chiffchaff or Willow Warbler in the bushes and a couple of Blackcaps heard - one still in song and the other calling. Also about 5 Starlings, a Greenfinch and some Blue Tits

In Richmond Road this evening a party of Long-tailed and Great Tits.

27 Jul An impressive flock of 10 Goldfinches this morning in St Pauls Park along with a couple of Blackbirds, some Blue Tits and a Wren.

26 Jul At the station was a Chaffinch, a couple of Greenfinches, 2 Swifts and a calling Blackcap.

25 Jul There were some loud Fox sounds on the Fairlawn Road side of the tunnel this evening but I couldn't see anything - could this have been cubs playing? Two or three Pipistrelles were detected in St Werburghs later on, one over Mina Road and a couple at Lynmouth Road allotments.

A Ruby Tiger moth was attracted to the kitchen light this evening. 

Female Holly Blue

24 Jul A Fox was on the railway line near the tunnel this afternoon as a train pulled into the station, but didn't stick around for a photo. Nearby BlackcapRobin, Great Tit, Wren and Chaffinch called and 2 Holly Blue butterflies were flitting around the ivy. Also at the station were a couple of Large Whites and at least 2 Cinnabar caterpillars. On the platform itself, a Grasshopper (probably Common Field) spent several minutes.

At least 1 Holly Blue was also seen in the garden.

probable Common Field Grasshopper

22 Jul The House Sparrow flock on the allotment gardens is looking mighty impressive, with up to 20 birds present today - tremendous news for a species so much in decline. Nearby, a Chaffinch and a couple of Greenfinches were at the station. At Montpelier Park, a Robin performed well for the camera.

House Sparrows

21 Jul St Pauls Park produced a good selection of common birds this morning including a Coal Tit, a Blue Tit, a couple of Woodpigeons, a Robin, singing Dunnock and Wren, 2 or 3 Blackbirds, a Magpie, a few Herring Gulls and a couple of Swifts.
19 Jul There were 2 Speckled Woods spiralling in the early sunshine at the station this morning - they don't seem at all common this summer compared to previous years. Also just one Cinnabar caterpiller on ragwort and a singing Coal Tit nearby.

17 Jul A mixed party of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits were at the station along with a Chaffinch and a single distant Swift. Nearby there were at least 4 Cinnabar caterpillars and a dead adult moth on the ragwort near the tunnel.

Volucella zonaria

16 Jul A large hoverfly Volucella inanis was sat on a leaf at lunchtime along the verge at Fairlawn Road. This is the less common of two species of hoverfly that look a bit like a hornet and only the second one I've seen in Montpelier. At St Andrews Park it was nice to see some Meadowsweet in the pond enclosure and a Small White butterfly nearby.

UPDATE I've had the hoverfly identified by colleagues at BRERC - it's Volucella zonaria, not inanis! Will you ever believe me again?

Small White

15 Jul A Great Spotted Woodpecker was calling from the trees opposite the main platform at the station this morning, but well hidden by the trees. I'm always puzzled by the sporadic occurrence of this species in Monty - where do they breed locally? Why do they visit for a week or two and then disappear for months or even years on end? So many questions. Also a good flock of Swifts again in the distance.

Outside the area in Wild Hanham, my mate Brian took this photo of a Green Woodpecker's nest hole featured a year or two ago on this website - this time, instead of the pecker, it's full of these! Talk about birds and bees! 

Let It Bee (photo by Brian)

14 Jul Lots of birds around the allotment gardens/station area this morning - 2 or 3 Blackbirds, about 8 House Sparrows, a couple of Chaffinches and Great and Blue Tits. In the distance, beyond the TV mast, about 15 Swifts could be seen - a good count by recent standards and probably some young birds among them. A Ringlet also present at the station.

My bat detector picked up some Pipistrelle activity outside the flat window this evening.


13 Jul A thrash around St Pauls this morning produced very little, just the odd Goldfinch and Blackbird in the park. The cemetery produced a Wren being harrassed by a Magpie. The former was carrying food, so a nest must have been nearby. There were a couple of pairs of nesting Herring Gulls among the Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the roofs around the cemetery.

At dusk this evening on the station was a Fox near the tunnel and I had cracking views of a Mystery Montpelier Mustelid.

Azure Damselflies (photo by Jim)

11 Jul Jim took this fine photo of a pair of Azure Damselflies at St Andrews Park today - many thanks Jim.

At the station this morning there were about 4 Ringlets and a Meadow Brown plus a single Cinnabar Moth larva on some Ragwort. Also seen briefly but not photographed was an Ichneumon sp. Along Station Road were a few Scarlet Pimpernel flowers in bloom.

This evening a flock of about 30 gulls above Ashley Road catching flying ants. In the garden this evening there were at least 2 juvenile Blackbirds with one being fed by its parent.   

Meadow Brown
Scarlet Pimpernel
Cinnabar caterpillar
Red Admiral

10 Jul Butterflies today included at least one Red Admiral and a Comma along Fairlawn Road and a Holly Blue at Hurlingham Road. The pond at St Andrews Park produced several ovipositing Azure Damselflies and a noisy Jay in the trees behind it.

8 Jul My wait for the morning train was enlivened by a Sparrowhawk zooming over the station and crashing into the trees opposite the platform, setting Blue Tits and Magpies into a panic. The hawk seemed to stay in the trees despite the mobbing - I wonder if it had been successful in catching something? Also nearby a calling Coal Tit again and a singing Greenfinch.

7 Jul Autumn has arrived! A Chiffchaff calling at the station this morning was likely to be a migrant making its way south. Also a a Coal Tit calling nearby and a singing Dunnock. Lots of House Sparrows still around the allotment gardens area.

Outside the patch, a Peregrine was flying around Castle Tower this evening. 

5 Jul Reports from Fergus of a Hummingbird Hawkmoth in a Richmond Road garden on Sunday - I'm very jealous. Also a Cinnabar Moth caterpillar at the bottom of Richmond Road and, about a month ago, a pregnant female Slow-worm in St Andrews Road. Meanwhile Simon found either a September Thorn or August Thorn moth in St Andrews Park today. 

A Ringlet and a couple of Small Whites still at the station this morning.

4 Jul
The Montpelier butterfly-fest continued with Jim seeing a Comma in St Andrews Road today.

In St Andrews Park this evening I detected at least 2 Noctule and 1 Pipistrelle bat feeding mainly around the children's play area.

At least 1 young Blackbird calling in the garden this evening.

3 Jul The station was once again Butterfly Central with a Brimstone this morning along with 6 Ringlets and a couple of Small Whites. A Coal Tit was singing and nearby at Station Road a Jay was calling.

1 Jul There was a Ringlet and a Green-veined White flying in the early sunshine at the station this morning.

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