Wednesday 11 October 2023

September 2023 - Summary of Sightings from the Abingtons

September 2023

Amphibians and Reptiles

September seems to have been the month for Common Frog froglets - several were seen in long grass, as well as an adult, on two occasions in a Lewis Cres garden, and an adult was also seen in a Pampisford Rd garden (see blog).

A Common Toad was spotted on the path near a gate leading into Westfield, and a Common Newt was seen in a garden pond on Meadow Walk (see blog). And, at last, a good-sized Grass Snake was spotted in a Cambridge Rd garden, and a young one was spotted on West Field (see blog).



A total of 44 species were reported this month in 198 records. Swallow and House Martin are still being seen, Chiffchaff and Robin were heard singing again, and Tawny Owls were very vocal.  Some unusual ducks were also spotted on the GP lake.

A pair of Ruddy Shelduck were spotted on GP lake on 17th (see blog) along with up to six Mandarin Duck (see blog). Both are so-called ‘exotic’ species, which at some point in the past have escaped from wildfowl collections but have now formed naturalised populations. Also on GP lake, seven Barnacle Goose (see blog) and 13 Canada Goose, as well as two juvenile Great Crested Grebe (see blog) and two adult and two juvenile Little Grebe. Around 40 Mallard and a Moorhen were also seen, as were a Grey Heron and a Common Sandpiper, the latter likely to be a wader on passage (see blog).

A large gathering of around 50 House Martin was seen over Lewis Cres on 15th, and again over GP lake on 17th. Swallow were also seen gathering on the LSA early in the month, and smaller numbers were seen up until 17th.

A Kingfisher was seen and heard on the river near the road bridge on 21st, and Pied Wagtail were seen at several locations including the Recreation Ground.

Robin were heard singing regularly throughout the month, as were Chiffchaff particularly on sunny days. Mixed flocks of Blue Tit and Great Tit were seen, occasionally also including a Coal Tit or Long-tailed Tit, and a few Goldfinch, Greenfinch and an occasional Chaffinch were reported returning to feeders. Wren and Dunnock were also spotted.

A Kestrel was spotted near Cambridge Rd, and a Sparrowhawk at Hall Farm. Up to three Buzzard were seen overhead, and a Red Kite was reported twice, over Lewis Cres and North Rd. Tawny Owl have been very vocal throughout the month, as they establish their ‘home ranges’.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was reported from three sites, and a Green Woodpecker was seen around Hall Farm and Cambridge Rd. A Jay was seen returning to several sites, presumably in search of acorns, and 1-2 Magpie were also regularly seen, as were Carrion Crow, Rook and Jackdaw. A solitary juvenile Pheasant continues to frequent a Cambridge Rd garden.

A few Blackbird were seen in gardens across the villages, a few House Sparrow were spotted in Lewis Cres, and small flocks of Starling were starting to gather around the LSA. 1-2 Collared Dove were reported from Lewis Cres and Cambridge Rd, with a few Stock Dove and Woodpigeon seen more widely.


As autumn approaches, the abundance of insects declines, and this month 20 species were recorded in 63 reports. Of these, 51 were of butterflies, 4 of bees, 2 of odonata and 6 of other species.

Butterflies - both Small White and Red Admiral were regularly reported, with other species such as Peacock, Brimstone, Large White and Green-veined White being reported only occasionally. Six further species were reported just once.

Number of butterfly reports: Small White 21, Red Admiral 13, Peacock 4, Brimstone 3, Green-veined White 2, Large White 2, and one each of Comma, Holly Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood and an unidentified fritillary.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth were seen regularly in the second half of the month on Lewis Cres, and Box Moth and Old Lady Moth were also seen. Other reports were of Buff-tailed Bumblebee, White-tailed Bumblebee, Common Carder Bee, Hornet and an unidentified dragonfly.


Badger – signs of straw gathering were seen near a sett on ORC on 10th.

BatNatterer’s, Long-eared, Common Pipistrelle and Soprano Pipistrelle were all found in St Mary’s church LA, by the Bat Conservation Trust using bat detectors on the 10th (see blog). Three Soprano Pipistrelle were also found on GP using a bat detector on 19th. Bats were also seen regularly throughout the month in a Cambridge Rd garden.

Hedgehog – one seen in a Cambridge Rd garden on 10th, and evidence of Hedgehogs seen in a Bourn Bridge Rd garden on 20th.

Mole – activity throughout the month on the Recreation ground near the children’s play area.

Muntjac – three seen in the overgrown field on Bourn Bridge Rd on 22nd, one in Cook’s Meadow also on 22nd, and one was a regular visitor to a Pampisford Rd garden (see blog).


The regular river sampling session was held at Abington Ford on 25th (see blog).


The first two weeks were dry, followed 45mm of rain over the third week, followed by a couple of cloud bursts the last week, giving a total of 59.5mm for the month - so average for September. The highest temperature recorded was 36.4 degrees C on the 9th and the lowest 7.8 degrees C on the 23rd. Overall, temperatures were high for September with most nights staying in double figures. Winds were predominately west to southwest and light, except for a windy spell in the third week along with the heavy rain. 

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for September 2023:
Barry Brooks, Peter Brunning, David & Gaynor Farrant, Carole McCrae, Len Mead, Andy & Polly Merryweather, Joan Nevin, Nancy Ockendon, Barbara Phippen, Sally Simmons, Gill Smith, Jade Taylor-Salazar, Maggie & John Turner, Derek Turnidge, John Webb, Richard Wells. Bat Conservation Trust.

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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 (