Wednesday 4 September 2019

August 2019. Interesting sightings around the Abingtons

August 2019
Amphibians and Reptiles
Frog – some reports of frogs in damp, shady spots away from permanent water in gardens.
Toad – several reports near garden ponds.
Smooth Newt - young newts continue to flourish in a garden pond on South Road.

Generally a quiet month for birds, many of which have finished breeding and remain largely inconspicuous whilst completing their moult. Towards the end of the month though, family groups of several species were being seen and, after several weeks of silence, birdsong could again be heard, in particular of Robin, Wren and Song Thrush.
Kingfisher – one along river in Sluice Wood (8th), and again perching on the Millennium Bridge (12th).
Common Tern – several small flocks, totalling around 50, flying over and all heading north (21st).
Yellow Wagtail two reports of single birds flying over Granta Park, presumably on migration.
Barn Owl – one heard screeching loudly during night in Gt Abington.
Swift – 3-4 around Lt Abington Church, one over the Old Railway Cutting 9th.  Last report (23rd) was of a single bird briefly seen drinking from Granta Park lake, before moving on.
Swallow – one flying low over cricket green, four reports of 2-6 over Granta Park, and c20 over Perse sports fields (15th and 23rd).
House Martin – several gatherings around the village, especially later in the month.  Including 100+ over Perse sports fields (23rd), and c40 over the new lakes on Granta Park (30th).
Grey Wagtail – several reports along river near Millennium Bridge, and one in Sluice Wood.  Pied Wagtail also gathering in larger groups (10-12) to feed on open ground.
Blackcap – several reports of single birds in gardens, and within mixed flocks on Granta Park. Chiffchaff, Goldcrest – single birds also seen as part of a mixed flock in Lagden’s Grove.
Long-tailed Tit – on garden feeders in Lt Abington, and flocks of c10 on Granta Park.  Great Tit, Blue Tit – small family groups often mixed appearing in gardens and in Sluice Wood, occasionally also containing the odd Coal Tit.
Goldfinch – several small groups in gardens and Granta Park, of adults and the more subdued-coloured juveniles.  No reports of Greenfinch or Chaffinch.
Linnet – small flocks, including juveniles, feeding on seed heads on rough ground on Granta Park.
Red Kite – several reports over the fields south of LSA.  Buzzard – one over LSA, and several times over Home Farm Meadow.  Kestrel – one along Old Railway Cutting.
Sparrowhawk – one seen catching a pigeon in garden, and one flying along North Road, LSA.
Green Woodpecker – regularly on garden lawn on Cambridge Road, and also on Granta Park.
Nuthatch – single bird in top branches of ancient oak tree near Hildersham Wood.
Canada Goose – large numbers (21-46) on Granta Park lake throughout the month, accompanied by 1-3 Greylag and seven Barnacle Goose.  Up to 35 Mallard, still mostly in eclipse plumage.
Jackdaw – large flock of 100+, with a few Rook, wheeling around over Pampisford Road (28th).
Starling – flock of c50 over Granta Park (14th).

Butterflies, Bees and other insects
This has been a quieter month for butterfly reports, probably due to the generally dry weather and lack of flowering food plants. Only 222 reports during this month.

Butterflies  reports were dominated by the White butterflies (Large, Small and Green-veined).  Next were Red Admiral (a surprisingly large number in the last two weeks of the month), Comma (more than usual) and Painted Lady (lovely to see, looking like small water-colour paintings, but not enough to be a ‘Painted Lady year’).
Some Brimstone and Speckled Wood were reported, but disappointingly few Small Tortoiseshell which seem to be in decline. Other species seen, but in lower than usual numbers, were Gatekeeper, Peacock, Ringlet and Meadow Brown.  Much less common butterflies seen were Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Copper and Large Skipper.

Dragonflies - several reports of Southern Hawker. Two Emperor at Granta Park, as well as two reports of Common Darter.
Bumblebees scarcity of reports.
Other reports: Hummingbird Hawkmoth and a few Ladybird. Two sightings of Wasp Spider, in meadows near the Granta Park lake, and in a garden in Lt Abington (Blog article).

On Wednesday 7th, Sally Turnidge led an evening walk, principally to look at the flora along the Old Railway Cutting. The following species of flora were recorded: Burdock, Common Cudweed, Cotton Thistle, Great BindweedHemp Nettle, Knapweed, Marjoram, MignonetteOld Man's Beard, Perforated St John's Wort, Ragwort, Red Bartsia, Scabious, Teasel, Toadflax, Weld, White Campion, Wild Parsnip, Yellow Wort. (Blog Article).

Pipistrelle Bat - large numbers at dusk over Cambridge Road garden, towards the end of the month.
Field or Short-tailed Vole – one report from Lt Abington garden.
Fox – one observed scrumping plums in broad daylight in a garden on the LSA.
Stoat – one seen running across ‘hairdresser path’ on Granta Park
Muntjac – two sightings, one in Lagden Grove and one on South Road

Abington RiverCare team were joined by Lynsey Stafford from RiverCare for their routine river sampling on 13th – see Blog Article for results.

August was a dry month, with little rain 33mm, and hot temperatures at times.

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for August 2019:
Darren Bast, Peter Brunning, Mike and Lois Bull, Anne Dunbar-Nobes, Frances Daunt, David Farrant, Gaynor Farrant, Jennifer Hirsh, Carole McCrae, Len Mead, Andy Merryweather, Polly Merryweather, Ross Nobes, David Pimblett, Eddie Randall, Gareth Rees, Ian Sainsbury, 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.

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