Sunday, 18 August 2019

July 2019. Interesting sightings around the Abingtons

July 2019
Amphibians and Reptiles
Smooth Newt - large numbers of newt ‘larvae’ in garden pond on South Road, some now with legs, others still very tiny and fish-like. Very few sightings of adults as they are generally now on land in cool, damp places.
Common Frog - froglets seen leaving garden ponds – much care needed mowing lawns.
Common Toad - large adult found under wooden plank near greenhouse.
Grass Snake - only one reported sighting (which is unusual given the hot weather during July), in a garden pond on Cambridge Road.
Common Lizard - no reported sightings.

A relatively quiet month generally, but with a few unusual highlights!
Kingfisher – two reports of what is likely to be the same bird, along the river near the footbridge (18th, 22nd).  First reports of this species in the village this year.
Redpoll – one female in Bourn Bridge Road garden (28th).  Highly unusual to see these species here in the summer months.
Common Tern – one flying over Gt Abington in bad weather (27th). Not previously reported in the Abingtons.

Fledglings and young birds continue to be widely reported, including young Blue Tit, Great Tit and Coal Tit visiting feeders, as well as young Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Mallard, Moorhen and Swallow.
Common Whitethroat – one along Old Railway Cutting (1st).  
Blackcap and Chiffchaff – regularly in Granta Park. 
Swift – several reports of 8-13 around Lt Abington Church, and over Granta Park, and ~30 over Great Abington High Street (16th).
Swallow – 20-30 perched on wires along Bourn Bridge Road, and swooping low over adjacent fields (9th), as well as 10 on South Road, and 3 young birds seen over Church Lane (23rd).
House Martin – mostly fledged from nests around the village by mid-month. Several reports of flocks of 10-12 over the village, and 35 over the Granta Park lake (15th).
Grey Wagtail – two along the river (10th).  Pied Wagtail – 6-12 on cricket pitch and Perse fields.
Corn Bunting – 2-3 regularly south of LSA.  Skylark – 3-4 singing on several occasions around LSA.
Sparrowhawk – one young male (?) catching a young Blackbird in a garden on Cambridge Road.
Buzzard – two calling and soaring high above Lt Abington, and 1-2 above LSA.
Red Kite – one over Granta Park (1st), and one soaring for some time above LSA (16th).
Little Owl – 1-2 still seen regularly around presumed nest-site on Granta Park.
Barn Owl – heard calling at night on several occasions in Gt Abington
Green Woodpecker – several reports of adults and juveniles in Sluice Wood, and in several gardens.
Great Spotted Woodpecker – one young bird on garden feeders, High Street, Lt Abington.  Nuthatch also regularly seen at same location.
Song Thrush – reported in Cambridge Road garden, and one singing on Granta Park.
Barnacle Goose, Canada Goose and Greylag – remain on Granta Park lake throughout. Reed Bunting heard calling from reedbed.
Cormorant – one flying over Granta Park (29th).
Mixed Tit flock in Lagden’s Grove (29th) containing 20-30 young Great Tit, Blue Tit and Long-tailed Tit, as well as 2 young Goldcrest. Small party of Long-tailed Tit also seen along river. 

Butterflies, Bees and other insects
A large number of different butterfly and other insect species have been reported around Granta Park this month. The flowers in the various rough 'meadows' seem to have been particularly good this year and, since they have largely been left uncut, have attracted lots of butterflies in the hot weather. A large number of species have also been reported on the LSA and at the southern end of the village. These areas accounted for more than half of the 442 sightings this month - more than has ever received before for one month!
Butterflies - The most sightings were again Meadow Brown (55), followed by Small White, Large White, Comma, Red Admiral and Ringlet.
The next group were Gatekeeper, Painted Lady, Brimstone, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Green-veined White.
Finally, with 10 or fewer sightings: Large Skipper, Small Heath, Marbled White, Common Blue, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper and Small Copper, and one sighting each of Brown Argus, White-letter Hairstreak and Holly Blue.
Painted Lady and Marbled White need a special mention as they are both migrants and we do not usually see many of them in Abington.  This does not seem to be a ‘Painted Lady year’ though – the last one was 2009.
Small Tortoiseshell numbers seem to be down this year; even when the buddleia came into flower in the second half of the month – maybe it was just too hot for them.
Bumblebees - a scarcity of reports, with four reports of Buff-tailed Bumblebees, and few others.
Dragonflies - Black-tailed Skimmer and Emperor Dragonfly at Granta Park, and seven reports of Southern Hawker towards the end of the month.
A few Banded Demoiselle by the river (but fewer than usual), a few Azure Damselfly, Blue Damselfly and Large Red Damselfly.
A few reports of Seven-spot Ladybird, Cinnabar Moth and the delightful Hummingbird Hawkmoth.

Chicory was growing well this year - maybe the right weather conditions - on both sides of Bourn Bridge Road (previously only on one side) and on 4 other sites, one just inside the gate at the top of Chalky Road and the others round Abington Park Farm.
Great Wild Carrot plants for the first time in Bourn Bridge Road verges.

Badger – one dead by side of Cambridge Road.
Fox – group of three, one adult and two young, in Sluice Wood
Hare – several regularly on rough ground to the south-east of Granta Park.
Muntjac – one in Lagden’s Grove
Pipistrelle bat – 1-2 on several evenings above a garden in Great Abington
Pygmy Shrew – one found dead in driveway on Cambridge Road

No report this month

Again quite variable, with a record high temperature of over 36ºC in Abington on 25th.  Rainfall 38mm for the month, with 20mm of that on 27th.

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for July 2019:
Darren Bast, Lois and Mike Bull, Anne Dunbar-Nobes, David Farrant, Gaynor Farrant, Robin Harman,  Jennifer Hirsh, Carole McCrae, Len Mead, Andy Merryweather, Ross Nobes, Rachel Oldridge, Brian Parris, Gareth Rees, Annette Shortell, Derek Turnidge, Sally Turnidge.

Please email your sightings, within the Abington parishes, to the relevant ANW Recorder:
Amphibians and reptiles: Anne Dunbar Nobes
Birds:                               Derek Turnidge     
Butterflies, Bees etc:       Jennifer Hirsh        
Flowers:                          Sally Turnidge       
Mammals:                       Gill Smith               

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The Aims of Abington Naturewatch

At their meeting on 9 April 2005 the members approved this revised version of the aims of Abington Naturewatch:

  • To monitor and record the wildlife (fauna & flora) within the borders of the Abingtons;
  • To encourage protection of our wildlife, maintain its quality and foster its diversity;
  • To promote awareness of the richness, potential and problems of the natural environment of the Abingtons;
  • To cooperate in improving access to the local natural environment for the benefit of all Abington villagers.

Pat Daunt, Founder

The organisation is informal and communication is by email if possible; members are notified of events from time to time. Contact details are maintained by a small "project team". There is currently no membership fee as costs are covered by voluntary contributions at events.

Members are encouraged to report notable sightings of flora and fauna within the Abingtons to the appropriate sector coordinator and an illustrated record is published annually.

A map of the area covered, with some features noted, is available here:>

For more information or to join, please contact David Farrant on (01223) 892871 or Peter Brunning via e-mail

Contributions to our records should be sent to sector contacts or either of the above. Photographs may also be submitted to Andy Merryweather (