Wild Monty

Nov 2008

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30 Nov At 11am, a tree in Chesterfield Road had 26 CARRION CROWS in it, and another observer states that this increased to 40 birds soon after! I'm wondering if it was a gathering to exchange information about food resources? This has been found to happen in a roost of Ravens in Anglesey, so perhaps the Carrion Crows do something similar. Whatever the reason, it was certainly quite a sight! At the station the flock of CHAFFINCHES were making good use of the feeders opposite the main platform, and 2 GREY SQUIRRELS were muscling in on the action. In the garden was a ROBIN, BLACKBIRD, 2 MAGPIES and a couple of WOODPIGEONS.

29 Nov A dull and cold day. At St Andrews Park this morning at 11am, a JAY showed well, also a few CHAFFINCHES and GOLDFINCHES were still around, but the strangest observation I made was of a CARRION CROW begging food from another Crow - fluttering its wings and keeping its bill open. It seemed a young one as its call was higher than adult Crows, yet surely at this time of year it would now be fully adult? Very strange....At the station a flock of about 20 STARLINGS was a welcome sight, also a GREAT TIT, a few GREENFINCHES and half a dozen Chaffinches were nearby. Two BLACK-HEADED GULLS near Ninetree Hill/Dove Street were an unusual sight. At the same location was another Jay and a PIED WAGTAIL.

27 Nov It was a relief to see the male BLACKBIRD outside the window this morning so at least he hasn't been eaten by the Sparrowhawk! Also in the garden first thing was a ROBIN and 3 WOODPIGEONS, the latter feeding on sunflower hearts. I was able to catch the earlier train (at around 8.20) and it was a treat to watch the first rays of sunshine brightening the vegetation on the railway embankment. Two WRENS were singing at the station, and the GREENFINCHES and HOUSE SPARROWS were showing well.

26 Nov I have noticed a lack of small birds in the garden, and this morning at 8.30 I might have seen the culprit - a male SPARROWHAWK flew onto the roof opposite my window.There seems to be lots of Sparrowhawks around at the moment, no doubt causing great consternation among the local songbirds. Two CARRION CROWS and a MAGPIE were eating the food I put out for the birds this morning. At the allotment gardens were several HOUSE SPARROWS, while a flock of GREENFINCHES and a few CHAFFINCHES totalled some 20 birds - quite impressive.

25 Nov A lovely sunny morning, and although I was late for work, I spent a happy 20 minutes or so in the park at 9am. A good showing of tit species, with a group of LONG-TAILED, BLUE and GREAT TITS feeding busily before they were sent into paroxysms of panic by a fabulous female SPARROWHAWK which shot through the trees from the direction of Colston's school, landed briefly on the metal steps outside one of the industrial units, then continued her flight over the Old Vicarage and away - fantastic. A GREY WAGTAIL flew from the games area to the roof of the same unit and a JAY glided into a tangle of trees beyond the park. A couple of female CHAFFINCHES were high in the trees and a DUNNOCK was feeding among some dumped rubbish - lovely (or not!) Also in evidence was a ROBIN and a couple of MAGPIES.

23 Nov A cold, blustery day with showers. Between 2 and 3pm there was a nice selection of birds at the station, the highlight being a CHIFFCHAFF which gave great views as it fed among low vegetation near the tunnel. With it were about 9 LONG-TAILED TITS, a COAL TIT and several BLUE and GREAT TITS. A sudden chorus of alarm calls was followed by a SPARROWHAWK flying low over the platform and over the allotment gardens. Two GREY WAGTAILS passed overhead and a couple of female CHAFFINCHES and a GREENFINCH were feeding in the trees. At the top of St Andrews Road the group of 5 or 6 BLACKBIRDS and 2 COLLARED DOVES were still in evidence.

22 Nov A cold day with leaden skies this morning, with few birds to report. The most notable feature was an apparent influx of BLACKBIRDS, particularly at the bottom of the railway path where a group of 5 or 6 were in a small hawthorn. These may well be visitors from as far away as Germany, escaping colder temperatures on the continent. Nearby a GOLDCREST was seen briefly and the usual tit flocks, including LONG-TAILED TITS were seen at Fairlawn Road. Two COLLARED DOVES were at the top of St Andrews Road.

20 Nov It was a joy to be out in the morning sunshine - in the park the numbers of CHAFFINCHES were building up nicely - about 10 of them, only 1 male! Nearby no less than 5 MAGPIES were flying around from tree to tree. At the allotment gardens 8 or 9 HOUSE SPARROWS were in the bramble bushes and flying onto the ground to feed, where a BLACKBIRD was also feeding. On a day when the RSPB has voiced concerns about the decline in Sparrow populations, it was good to see such good numbers here.

19 Nov Another lovely morning. The highlight was a pair of RAVENS flying at roof height over the station at 9.20am - they were calling and doing some mid-air acrobatics. These were the first I've seen for many months in Monty so I hope there will be many more sightings this winter. In the park I took a photo of some STINKING IRIS berries - rather attractive in the morning sunshine but don't be tempted to eat them - they are poisonous and even the birds tend to leave them alone!

18 Nov A beautiful sunny morning. In Montpelier Park at 8.40am I had a great view of a WREN sitting on a low branch, plus one or two female CHAFFINCHES and a couple of BLUE TITS. A JAY flew to the top branches of a tree and a GREY WAGTAIL flew over. At St Pauls Park there was another Jay making a racket near the church.

17 Nov I was able to get out during brief breaks in the drizzly rain today. At lunchtime I had brilliant views of 2 GOLDCRESTS in the trees at the Ashley Hill end of Fairlawn Road, along with about 10 LONG-TAILED TITS, 1 or 2 BLUE TITS and a female CHAFFINCH. A COLLARED DOVE was on a shed roof at the top of St Andrews Road, and at the station an amazing 25 CARRION CROWS flew north in just two minutes! There were also 4 BLACKBIRDS at the station. A JACKDAW flew over the garden at around 9am, while in St Andrews Park this afternoon there were 40+ GOLDFINCHES feeding in one of the Plane trees near the Effingham Road entrance - a spectacular sight! It was also good to see a MISTLE THRUSH in the park.

16 Nov Early brightness brought out a BUMBLEBEE at the railway path at 10am but sadly it flew too fast to identify the species. Nearby a BLUEBOTTLE fly basked on a leaf. A JAY sat on a chimney in Fairfield Road and there were LONG-TAILED TITS all over the place, including in my garden, the latter location also playing host to several GREAT TITS. In the park,there was a GREY WAGTAIL but not much else! A JACKDAW flew over Cromwell Road. At St Andrews Park there were 2 GOLDCRESTS, 3 REDWINGS, 10 LONG-TAILED TITS, 1 GREAT TIT, 2 BLUE TITS, 1 COAL TIT, 1 JAY, 2 ROBINS, 1 BLACKBIRD, 2 PIED WAGTAILS, 1 GREENFINCH, 1 GOLDFINCH, 15 STARLINGS and a few LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS.

4 Nov A dull morning but milder than of late. At 8.35am there was very little to report in the park other than a CHAFFINCH flying over and a WREN singing. At the station a couple of ROBINS were in full song and a few FERAL PIGEONS flying high might have been racers. I was surprised to see a CRANE FLY drifting over the platform towards the long grass near the new telecom mast - it really looked out of place on such a dreary, dank morning!

3 Nov Another grey and uninspiring day today. The only noteworthy birds were LONG-TAILED TITS at the railway path and a GOLDFINCH over the station. I took a photo of a couple of CARRION CROWS feeding in Station Road and that was just about it!

2 Nov At 10.15am, a flock of about 30 WOODPIGEONS flew NE over Windsor Road, St Andrews and nearby in St Andrews Park a male GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER gave good views as it climbed a tree trunk and then later in flight. Also in the park was a party of LONG-TAILED TITS and at least 4 PIED WAGTAILS. A male SPARROWHAWK was perched on a roof outside my window this afternoon - I do hope he hasn't eaten my Blackbird pair which I have not seen in the garden for a few days....

1 Nov A spectacular fly-over by a flock about 40 REDWINGS at the station was a highlight on an otherwise dull and cold day. There was also a flock of 15 of these small thrushes from Scandinavia at Narroways this morning at 10.30. Also at Narroways was a fly-over SISKIN, a PIED WAGTAIL, 2 GREENFINCHES and a GOLDCREST. Another Goldcrest was at the top of St Andrews Road. Near the top of Richmond Road there were about 8 LONG-TAILED TITS and 3 BLACKBIRDS all in one small Rowan tree in someone's garden! Another 10 or so Long-tailed Tits were at the top of Station Road - they really seem to be doing well at the moment - and a couple of GREAT TITS were at the allotment gardens.

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