Sunday 5 February 2023

January 2023 - Summary of Sightings in the Abingtons

Amphibians and Reptiles

No sightings in January, as expected so early in the year. However, from mid-February look out for Smooth Newt in your ponds. If you don’t have a pond, it is very easy to make a small one using an old washing-up bowl or similar. There are further details on the BBC Springwatch website


A total of 52 species were reported in 362 records this month. Woodcock were again spotted around the edge of Granta Park, with more reports of winter thrush, as well as a couple of ‘winter finch’

Two reports of a Woodcock again being seen flying around the eastern edge of Granta Park, so it seems likely that one or two birds have a regular winter roost nearby.

Redwing are around in larger numbers (10-20) at several sites mostly around the edges of the villages, but including the field adjacent to Church Lane. Fieldfare were also seen, with 10-20 being spotted in the Perse sports fields and perching in trees behind Lewis Cres. Single reports of Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush too, as well as Blackbird, all starting to sing.

A male Brambling was briefly spotted on 11th, and a male Lesser Redpoll seen on 25th, both on feeders in a Lewis Cres garden. There have been several reports of Blackcap (both male and female) visiting feeders too (blog item).

Good numbers of Goldfinch (up to 22), Greenfinch (up to 6) and Chaffinch (up to 12) have regularly visiting feeders, as have smaller numbers of Blue Tit and Great Tit, alongside an occasional Coal Tit, or small flock of Long-tailed Tit. One or two Wren were spotted in several gardens, as were a few Dunnock, and more commonly small numbers of Robin. A pair of Goldcrest were seen in conifers in one garden, and a Jay was quite often spotted in several gardens.

Several pairs of Reed Bunting were seen feeding with Chaffinch in the fields along Bourn Bridge Rd, as were good numbers of Black-headed Gull with a few Lesser Black-backed Gull and, unusually, about 40 Lapwing.

A Treecreeper was seen in both Sluice Wood and South Wood, and both Green Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpecker were spotted at several locations. A few Pied Wagtail were seen in the paddocks on the LSA, and both Pheasant and Red-legged Partridge were reported.

A  Cormorant was seen flying over south of Chalky Rd, and along the river, a Little Egret was seen (26th). In GP, a Grey Heron was twice spotted around the lake, as were a few Mallard and Moorhen, and five Barnacle Goose.

Red Kite were reported nine times, mostly at locations around the edges of the villages, and 1-2 Buzzard were seen around the north side of the villages. A Kestrel was spotted on several occasions, and a female Sparrowhawk was seen taking a pigeon. A Tawny Owl was again heard regularly calling at night around Lewis Cres.

A Skylark was seen on the LSA, and Stock Dove, Collared Dove, House Sparrow and Starling were also all reported, as were Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Magpie, Rook and Carrion Crow.


A single insect report this month: a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly was seen in Great Abington church on 15th. It had presumably been disturbed (woken?) from its hibernation in the church by the heating being on that Sunday.


Hare – one flushed from the stubble field alongside Pampisford Rd, and seven seen in the field to the east of Chalk Rd.

Badger – one dead alongside Pampisford Rd near the junction with Cutting Rd.



More typical January weather with 67 mm of rain and temperatures ranging from a low of minus 9.2 degrees C on the 23rd, to a high of 13.1 degrees on the 3rd. The first two weeks of the month were typical of the average, but followed by 12 days of very sharp frosts and low daytime  temperatures. Winds were mainly southwesterly for the first two weeks, but then swinging from the north and northwest until the end of the month.

No summary this month for Flora or RiverCare.

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for January 2023:

Barry Brooks, Lois Bull, David Farrant, Gaynor Farrant, Ros Hedge, Emma Jones, Len Mead, Andy Merryweather, Polly Merryweather, Nancy Ockendon, Freda Orgee, Gareth Rees, Jade Taylor-Salazar, Sally Simmons, Gill Smith, John Turner, Maggie Turner, Derek Turnidge.

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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 (