Wild Monty

Aug 2011
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31 Aug A Chiffchaff was new at the station - almost certainly a migrant. Greenfinch, Robin and Blue Tit were also noted.

30 Aug Still nothing to write home about as far as birds are concerned in the last couple of days. This morning at the station there were 4 Blackbirds and good numbers of both House Sparrows and Greenfinches plus a Starling or two. Great and Long-tailed Tits were calling from near the feeders.

When I got home from work I found a hoverfly Myathropa florea buzzing around the kitchen. As I opened the window to let it out it perched on my finger and seemed very interested in it, probing my flesh with its proboscis. It was surprisingly difficult to coax it away from my hand and out of the window! 

Common Toadflax

27 Aug I spent an interesting half hour at the car park of the Better Food Company this morning, noting some interesting insects including Honey Bee, Buff-tailed Bumblebee and the hoveflies Sphaerophoria scripta and Episyrphus balteatus. Plants included Common Toadflax and Bristly Oxtongue.

At Fairlawn Road a Chiffchaff was calling and a couple of Green Shieldbugs and Dock Leaf Bugs were seen. A Grey Squirrel was near Hurlingham Road.

A group of House Sparrows showed well in a garden near St Andrews Park. Juvenile Woodpigeons were seen in the garden and St Andrews Park 

House Sparrows
Bombus terrestris

25 Aug Still very quiet bird-wise, with just a couple of Robins and a Magpie or two at Montpelier Park and several Chaffinches at the station. Also at the latter destination was a party of tits including Long-tailed and Coal Tit.

Double-striped Pug

23 Aug A Double-striped Pug and a Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing in the kitchen last night.

Four or five Chaffinches, a couple of Great Tits and a few House Sparrows were the only birds of note at the station this morning.

Xanthogramma pedissequum

22 Aug This morning, Fairlawn Road was Hoverfly Central with I think a brand new species for the patch, Xanthogramma pedissequum. There was at least 1 Volucella sp. including this possible V. inanis. Other invertebrates here included a small wasp sp. and a Speckled Wood as well as a Green Shieldbug. A Jay and a calling Chiffchaff were heard.

In Montpelier Park there was a singing Coal Tit, a party of Great and Blue Tits and a Blackbird.

Possible Volucella inanis
Speckled Wood

21 Aug A quick visit to the station late afternoon revealed just a Holly Blue, a Green Shieldbug nymph and a couple of fly-over Chaffinches. Two Magpies and a Carrion Crow were feeding on the allotment gardens.

Green Shieldbug

19 Aug A beautiful morning, and at St Pauls Park the sunshine brought out half a dozen Green Shieldbugs in various stages of development, 5 Harlequin Ladybirds, a few Wasps and a Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus. A couple of Robins were singing their sad autumn song and a Wren also sang briefly while Great and Blue Tits fed in the trees.   

Common Wasp

18 Aug Sorry to bang on about finches at the station but they are rather fun at the moment. This morning there seemed to be more Goldfinches than normal but again Greenfinches dominated along with smaller numbers of Chaffinches. A Coal Tit and several Blue Tits were also noted plus a calling Blackcap and 3 Starlings.

17 Aug
A Coal Tit was calling and singing at Richmond Road this morning. Still good numbers of finches and tits around - rather impressive. The centre of the action this time was the top of Station Road, with the trees jumping with Blue and Great Tits and a couple of Chaffinches. It was not easy seeing birds because of the foliage but I did hear a brief and tantalising 'hooeet' call that sounded very Willow Warbler-ish. Still lots of Greenfinches around - maybe 8 to 10 birds.
16 Aug Lots of common bird activity at the station this morning with up to 8 Greenfinches, a Chaffinch, a Blackbird, a Wren and a mixed party of Great and Blue Tits plus 2 or 3 Starlings.

Garden Spider and prey

13 Aug The railway path to Fairlawn Road stretch produced a calling Chiffchaff and juvenile Blackbird together with a mixed flock of Great and Blue Tits and a Jay. At Hurlingham Road a Garden Spider was having its lunch and there was a Green Shieldbug nymph and a Holly Blue butterfly nearby.  

The station and allotment garden area was invaded by a mixed finch flock numbering some 15 birds - Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Greenfinch were involved. A Grey Squirrel was on the feeders at the station and a couple of Small White butterflies were seen. Several Great Willowherb plants in bloom.

Green Shieldbug nymph
Moulting female Blackbird

12 Aug Spectacular views of a Sparrowhawk chasing a Great Tit in St Pauls Park this morning. Twisting and turning over the lawned area of the park, the raptor failed to catch its prey but flew into a tree for a few minutes before flying off. Also in and around the park was a flock of 10 Goldfinches, a Blackbird, a couple of Woodpigeons, a Robin, a Wren and 2 Dunnocks.

A verge along the path to Portland Square contained lots of  Hawkweed flowers that were inaccessible because of the railings, but as they are a very difficult group to identify I probably would have been none the wiser what species they were if I'd been able to get at them! 

Dunnock with diseased eye

7 Aug Passing through Narroways I saw a rather sick-looking and approachable Dunnock on the path and noticed that one of its eyes was pink and badly swollen - not sure if it was some sort of tumour or perhaps a tick. The fact that the bird was very lethargic makes me think it is sadly not long for this world.

Nothing else to report at Narroways other than a 7-Spot Ladybird. Still a Chiffchaff calling at Fairlawn Road.

6 Aug The highlight at the station this morning was a female Sparrowhawk flying low and landing in a tree before flying off again. About 10 House Sparrows along with a couple of Chaffinches, a single Swift and the odd Blackbird were also at the station.

At Fairlawn Road there was calling Chiffchaff and Blackcap plus a fly-over Greenfinch and a mixed group of Great and Blue Tits.

3 Aug Not much to report except for the House Sparrow flock in the allotment gardens numbering about 15 plus 5 Blackbirds at the station along with a singing Dunnock and a Greenfinch or two.

This evening about 30 Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls feeding over the flat and at least 1 Pipistrelle outside the window at around 9.30.

Mistle Thrush

2 Aug St Pauls Park was very quiet with just a couple of Blue Tits, some Goldfinches and a Blackbird of note. The nearby cemetery produced a dead juvenile Goldfinch - there seemed no obvious trauma to the body so I'm not sure how it died. A Mistle Thrush (alive!) was a welcome sight.

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