Monday 12 April 2021

Some unusual bird sightings

11th April 2021.

At the weekend, David F saw a small group of Mandarin Duck, just outside the village, on the Hildersham water-meadows.  

Andy M spotted a female Common Redstart feeding in the hedgerows along the Old Railway Cutting.  This latter species is a somewhat elusive passage migrant in the south-east of England - wintering in Africa, it travels north during April to nest in the west and north-west of the UK. Drought in the Sahal where it over-winters, and loss of hedgerow breeding sites in the UK in recent years have caused populations to decline, and this sighting of this uncommon species is believed to be the first in the Abingtons in recent years (since 2000).

Two male and a female Mandarin Duck
Two male Mandarin Duck

Female Common Redstart
- perching in the hedgerow edge, from where it drops down on insect prey on the ground below.

Female Common Redstart
- quietly calling from within the safety of a thicket
Female Common Redstart
- note the characteristic rufous red rump and tail, which particularly obvious in flight.

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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 (