Monday 15 March 2021

February 2021. Interesting sightings from around the Abingtons.

February 2021

Amphibians and Reptiles

No reports this month. Please email Gaynor Farrant any sightings, particularly as these species start to emerge from hibernation over the coming months.



A total of 58 species reported, in around 500 sightings received, including a few unusual winter visitors.

Merlin – single bird seen hunting in cold weather, flushing a flock of 40 Skylark and pursuing one over the fields south of Chalky Road on 8th. An uncommon bird, not often seen in the Abingtons.

Lesser Redpoll – first this year, a single bird spotted in a garden on High St, LA (7th).

Siskin – up to 3 in amongst a finch flock on a garden feeder in GA, seen regularly since 18th.

Kingfisher – single bird flying along the river in Sluice Woods on 26th.  First this year!

Grey Partridge – sighting of this uncommon bird, unusually in a garden on Bourn Bridge Road.

Chiffchaff – one heard singing 24th – 28th from a thicket in Lewis Crescent, GA – first of the year.

Blackcap – a pair seen regularly on feeders in Lewis Crescent, also heard singing on 25th.

Fieldfare – 12 reports of 20-35 (to 18th), and Redwing – also 12 reports (to 25th) of 1-5, and one larger flock of 30 on the LSA. Notably this month, the majority of sightings were of birds coming into gardens to feed on berries, presumably driven there by the cold winter.

Little Egret – single bird in the still flooded Hood’s Field (24th), and a Grey Heron around GP lake.

Black-headed Gull – unusually large flock of 100+ seen at several locations across the village – on Perse sports fields, then later flying around in search of food during the cold and windy weather.

Song Thrush – 12 reports of 1-2 feeding in gardens, and heard singing towards the end of the month.

Goldcrest – several reports of 1-2 birds in conifers in Cambridge Road and Meadow Walks gardens.

Goldfinch – good numbers (10-22) at some feeders regularly this month, alongside Chaffinch and Greenfinch (6-10), often as mixed flocks. Coal Tit – 1-2 seen in at least six gardens this month, often regularly. Blue Tit, Great Tit and Long-tailed Tit also widely reported.

Reed Bunting – small group (1-5) continue to be see under garden feeders in Lewis Crescent, as well as on GP. Corn Bunting – five in treetops of copse south of Chalky Road. Linnet – two reports, one from a GA garden, and a flock of 20 on LSA. Meadow Pipit – 16 feeding on rough garden on GP, and reports of a single Pied Wagtail from several gardens this month.

Great Spotted Woodpecker – 19 reports of 1-2, seen most days at some feeders. Jay – 1-2 also reported fairly frequently in some gardens. Conversely, a drop in reports of Green Woodpecker with only two sightings on GP and LSA, and Nuthatch – only reported once.

Kestrel, Sparrowhawk – one at several locations around the villages. Buzzard – several reports, including 4 seen soaring high above GA on a sunny day, likely migrating. Red Kite – 10 reports, an unusually high number, of 1-2 birds from around both villages.  Tawny Owl – heard at 3 locations, regularly on LSA.

Butterflies, Bees and other insects

After some very mixed weather, the weekend of 20th and 21st brought out the first butterflies, and there continued to be many sightings until 28th. A remarkable total of 44 reports over 7 days were received, a good start for butterflies for this spring and early summer. Catherine Orgee reported the first Abington butterfly this year, a Brimstone on 20th.

20 Feb -  First Brimstone butterflies.   21 Feb – First Bumblebees, and another Brimstone

24 Feb – best day that week: 15 Brimstone, 1 Comma, 2 Peacock, 4 Buff-tailed Bumblebee, 2 reports of Honey Bee, and a Seven-spot Ladybird.

25 Feb – 1 Brimstone.  26 Feb – 2 Brimstone.

27 Feb – 3 Brimstone, 1 Peacock, 2 Buff-tailed Bumblebee, many Honey Bee, 2 Seven-spot Ladybird and 1 Pine Ladybird (very unusual).

28 Feb – 2 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Buff-tailed Bumblebee, many Honey Bee, 1 Seven-spot Ladybird.

Pine Ladybird:  This small ladybird (3 to 4 mm), has four red spots on the black elytra, the front two being comma-like. Common, but rarely seen because it is so small.

Overall, the total numbers reported were:

Brimstone, 25; Peacock, 5; Comma, 1; Small Tortoiseshell, 1.

Buff-tailed bumblebee, 13; Honey Bee, many.

Seven-spot Ladybird, many; Pine Ladybird, 1.


Fallow Deer – tracks seen in the mud along the Sluice Wood footpath on the 1st and 7th. A herd of 10 was also spotted near Abington Park Farm, one with impressive antlers, on the 10th.

Muntjac Deer – two in a front garden on High St. LA on the 8th and again on the 19th.  One in a garden in Lewis Crescent on the 11th and one in ORC on the 14th.  Two also seen in Sluice Wood on 26th and 27th.

Fox – one seen dead by the side of Newmarket Road, near North Road on the 8th.

Flora & Fungi

No reports this month.



Apart from some good flows, with flooding again in early February, we’ve not noticed too much along the river this month. We suspended our communal litter-picking during the lock-down but have continued to take a walk along the river individually and do a bit of litter-picking. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do some sampling fairly soon to find out if the river fauna are recovering.


February was quite an interesting month as it was relative dry, with a total of 37 mm of rain most of which fell in the first half of the month making it very wet underfoot. Until the 18th it was cold with many temperatures below freezing, and some heavy frosts. Then an abnormally mild spell, but finishing the month on a cold note again. The highest day time temperature was 17.9 degrees on the 24th and the lowest was minus 5.8 degrees on the 11th.

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for Feburary 2021:
Barry Brooks, Peter Brunning, Viki Brunning, Lois Bull, Genevieve Dalton, David Farrant, Gaynor Farrant, Robin Harman, Jennifer Hirsh, Susan Hodges, Carole McCrae, Len Mead, Andy Merryweather, Catherine Orgee, Freda Orgee, Brian Parris, Gill Smith, Jade Taylor-Salazar, Maggie Turner, Derek Turnidge, Sally Turnidge, John Webb, Diana Wingfield.

Please email your sightings, within the Abington parishes, to the relevant ANW Recorder:
Amphibians & Reptiles    Gaynor Farrant      
Birds:                               Derek Turnidge     
Butterflies, Bees etc:       Jennifer Hirsh        
Mammals:                       Gill Smith              
Flora recorder currently vacant - if interested, please contact David Farrant for more details

Abbreviations: GA – Great Abington, LA – Little Abington, LSA – Land Settlement Association, GP – Granta Park, ORC – Old Railway Cutting. AbPkFm – Abington Park Farm.

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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 (