Wild Monty

Jan 2009

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31 Jan I forsook Monty in favour of the birding mecca that is Longwell Green today - several Hawfinches had been seen in recent days so I went and had a look. There were good views of at least three of these fantastic finches, sitting in treetops and in flight. Also seen was a female Blackcap, a few Greenfinches and a fine male Bullfinch. As far as Monty is concerned, there were some LONG TAILED TITS in the sycamore next to Radford Mill shop and a ROBIN in the garden.

30 Jan The female BLACKCAP was feeding in on a fat ball in next door's garden - luckily my neighbour is making sure the supplies of bird food are being regularly replenished. At the station there was a group of 6 LONG TAILED TITS, and a female CHAFFINCH was feeding amongst the gravel on the disused platform.

28 Jan Nothing new to report at the station this morning as I waited for my train, but I was intrigued to see both a BLUE TIT and a female CHAFFINCH indulging in a fast, very erratic flight - I think they must both have been fly-catching. Amazing to think how two unrelated species of bird adopt similar feeding strategies. My camera works sometimes and not others, so you might yet see some more photos soon!

27 Jan A very spring-like atmosphere at the station at 8.50am with chiming GREAT TITS and singing GREENFINCHES. The highlight, however, was a GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER which flew into the trees near the tunnel and posed nicely - unfortunately my camera is on the blink so I couldn't take a photo! Also, 4 GOLDFINCHES flew over and there were 4 BLACKBIRDS and a WREN nearby. I'm slightly stressed now that the camera has gone AND my web hosts are going out of business - I trust Wild Monty will survive such traumas!

26 Jan No time to do many observations today, but the female BLACKBIRD was getting very aggressive towards the male again in the garden - she attacked him and they fought savagely for several seconds. The sound of their wings flapping against each other and the male bird's screech as he flew off was remarkable. The male is distinctive as he has a white outer tail feather. Perhaps he is a bird from last year's brood who has outstayed his welcome and the female is making sure she gets enough food, as it is when I put food out that the aggressive behaviour occurs. A DUNNOCK was in full song at Kingsdown this morning at 10am.

25 Jan The station was alive with birds at 3.30 this afternoon. A CHIFFCHAFF was calling and showing well opposite the shelter - this may be the same bird that was seen earlier in the month. A flock of 20 GOLDFINCHES flew over, and the trees near the tunnel held a singing GREENFINCH, a COAL TIT and several each of GREAT and BLUE TITS. There were also about 4 BLACKBIRDS, a ROBIN and the usual gang of HOUSE SPARROWS. In the garden, 2 Robins and a pair of Blackbirds were acting as if they might be searching for nest sites among the ivy, sitting around on stems and then diving into the undergrowth.

24 Jan A lovely sunny winter's day. I did a circuit of the patch between 2 and 3pm, the highlight being a SPARROWHAWK flying low across the iron bridge at Fairlawn Road, scattering the FERAL PIGEONS that regularly sit on the sides of the bridge - the Sparrowhawk looked like a large female and therefore potentially able to take a pigeon! LONG TAILED TITS were seen at the station and St Andrews Park, and a PIED WAGTAIL was in Cromwell Road. Some SNOWDROPS were in bloom at St Andrews Park.

23 Jan I popped into the park on the way to work and the trees around the children's play area were alive with LONG-TAILED TITS plus a couple of female CHAFFINCHES. A PIED WAGTAIL was near the games area and a couple of GREY SQUIRRELS were chasing each other along the high branches while a HERRING GULL drifted low overhead.

21 Jan A nice selection of birds in the park this morning, including a GOLDCREST giving close views, both GREY and PIED WAGTAILS, a COAL TIT, BLUE and GREAT TITS, five or so LONG-TAILED TITS, and a COLLARED DOVE. At St Paul's Park, a couple of GOLDFINCHES and a GREENFINCH in full song were notable.

18 Jan The first of a series of monthly bird walks in St Andrews Park went well this morning - we saw no less than 17 species including great views of REDWING and MISTLE THRUSH. The full list is as follows: Greenfinch Goldfinch Chaffinch Blue Tit Great Tit Long tailed Tit Robin Mistle Thrush Redwing Blackbird Collared Dove Woodpigeon Jay Crow Magpie Starling and Pied Wagtail. A Blackbird was singing in Station Road this afternoon - the first I've heard this year. In the garden, the female BLACKCAP was showing well along with a Robin, both feeding on fat balls.

16 Jan This morning was much brighter on the station and the birds seemed to have a spring in their step. I was delighted to see Patch, the BLACKBIRD with white on his head, who I last saw back in the summer. He was in the tall trees near the feeding station. Two GREENFINCHES shot across my line of vision, chasing and twisting around each other like butterflies but flying incredibly fast. A DUNNOCK was in song at Lawrence Hill station.

13 Jan A nice selection of birds in the park at 8.40am included both PIED and GREY WAGTAIL, a couple of CHAFFINCHES, 2 GREAT TITS, 3 MAGPIES, a JAY and a WREN. The mild weather and noticeable birdsong made it all rather spring-like!

12 Jan Didn't have a chance to do any serious birdwatching in such poor conditions, but a PEREGRINE was soaring over the BRI/Bus Station area at 10.am which was worth several more common birds!

11 Jan It's gone a bit quite again but at least the weather is very much milder today. A CARRION CROW was inspecting a nest at the top of St Andrews Road this morning so presumably the nest may be used again this spring. The only other bird of note was a GREY WAGTAIL which flew over the park at 11.45am.

10 Jan The CHIFFCHAFF was giving good views at the station at around 11am, in low scrub near the footbridge. Sometimes we get very grey specimens in Britain which have come all the way from Siberia, but this chap was very yellowy. Also at the station, the usual gang of HOUSE SPARROWS were chasing around like things possessed, chirping madly. A STARLING in Ashley Hill was doing a passable impression of an Oystercatcher!

9 Jan At last a new arrival on the patch today - a CHIFFCHAFF calling at the station this morning at 11.30am. In the garden the female BLACKCAP paid another visit and there were no less than 3 BLACKBIRDS there, and a WREN showed well as it fed in the ivy. At St Andrews Park there were a few REDWINGS in trees along the Melita Road side of the park and 2 MISTLE THRUSHES flew over the wildlife pond area. My neighbour has put some fat balls up in the garden next door and a ROBIN was there for ages gorging his or herself!

5 Jan At 11am there were at least half a dozen REDWINGS flying around and sitting in trees at Old Ashley Hill. One was sat perfectly in the sunshine but I didn't have my camera! It is the first sighting of the winter of birds actually perched rather than just flying over, so I rushed back to the flat to get my camera but when I returned, the birds had buggered off. Never mind, knowing my prowess with the camera it would have been a lousy shot anyway.... Elsewhere, there were a few LONG-TAILED TITS, 4 BLACKBIRDS, 6 WOODPIGEONS and a WREN at the station and a PIED WAGTAIL flew over the allotment gardens.

4 Jan After a hard frost overnight, the garden birds were very hungry. When I put out the food there were visits from the BLACKBIRDS but I noticed that there are 2 females now, and they had a real sparring match in the neighbour's garden. Meanwhile the poor male was once again being chased off by the female. The ROBIN also came right up to the window to feed as did a MAGPIE and 5 WOODPIGEONS. Also in the garden were three GREAT TITS and a couple of BLUE TITS and I heard the GREY WAGTAIL fly over the flat a couple of times. Some LONG-TAILED TITS were out the front and a male HOUSE SPARROW was perched on an aerial in St Andrews Road. In St Andrews Park a group of 6 GOLDFINCHES flew into the trees near the pond, 3 COAL TITS were heard calling, a couple of COLLARED DOVES were flying to and from a garden near St Bart's church and there were plenty of STARLINGS wheezing and chuckling away in the trees.

3rd Jan A beautiful day, cold and sunny. Two male BLACKCAPS were seen this morning at 10.45 - one at the top of St Andrews Road and the other at the station. These may have been additional to the male seen in the park last week, although I can't be sure. A DUNNOCK was in full song at the top of St Andrews Road and with a couple of GREAT TITS also chiming away, it seemed almost spring-like! About 5 CHAFFINCHES and 3 BLACKBIRDS were at the station. Whilst looking at the birds I noticed a HOUSE FLY basking on a post and was reminded that there are always some insects around however cold it may be! I went to Sea Mills on the train and had a few nice waders on the river there.

1 Jan 2009 In the garden at 10.30am there were at least 3 GOLDCRESTS feeding restlessly among the ivy opposite my window. They stayed around for about half an hour so they must have been finding enough food even in such low temperatures, thank goodness. It was also a relief to see the male and female BLACKBIRDS coming for their food, the female once again showing aggressive behaviour towards the male, chasing him away whenever he got too close to the food. A GREY WAGTAIL called outside my bathroom window, and in St Andrews Park and surroundings was a PIED WAGTAIL and a COLLARED DOVE but it was too cold to hang around and watch birds!

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