Tuesday 2 October 2007

Plantwatch Stubble Plants




These are from the plantwatch stubble walk on Bourn Bridge Rd field on Saturday 29th September which was very expertly lead by Pat Daunt. We saw many wonderful plants including this scarlet pimpernel and the field pansy. I am hoping someone who kept a better record of the sightings will append some details here as a comment. Of particular note were the catch-fly and field spurge.
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Wednesday 26 September 2007

Stubble Walk


This may not be a vintage year for stubble plants, but it is certainly a lot better than last year, with several interesting species about. So I'm proposing two Stubble Walks, as this will increase the number of Plantwatchers who can come for one at least, while (since there is some variety of species on the two sites) some of those who can do so may wish to come both times. Cameras welcome as usual.

1. Saturday 29th September, 1030 - Bourn Bridge Road Fields, L/A. Parking in BBR at/near end of houses. I hope this is not too early for Rivercarers.

2. Saturday 6th October, 1030. Linton Road Field, G/A. Parking in road beyond houses


Sunday 16 September 2007



Another shot of the poppies in the field along Bourn Bridge Rd. looking like Flanders in 1919, except with grass.
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Meadow brown butterfly (Maniola jurtina). Roman Road.
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Pat, Jean and Derek walking back to Abington. This is from the plantwatch upland walk on Stephen Franklin's farm on 7th August. There were thunderclouds all around but no rain, just this dramatic sunset.
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Tuesday 4 September 2007

Autumn Flora


A bumper year for sloe-gin addicts, and a good time now for checking out the fruits of waysides and hedgerows. As well as the Blackthorn, there are plenty of Dog-rose hips and Whitethorn (May) haws, and of course Blackberries. There are Dewberries along the path above tha railway cutting east of Chalky Road, and the best site for Spindles is the fine border hedge wuth Hildersham at the far side of the Linton Road arable field. There's one good Spindle Tree too by the river near the gap between the cricket and football fields. The black berries of wild Privet are here and there, and the berries of Wayfaring Tree (for example, along the Coach Road off Bourn Bridge Road, and by the public path between Abington Park and Hildersham Wood) are now turning from red to black. Black too are the berries of Purging Blackthorn, its strongly veined leaves now beginning to curl. If tearing a leaf in half reveals thin fibres between the two halves it is Dogwood, which also generally has reddish twigs. Do please let me know if you find this, and I haven't a record of a site in our villages.

Among the dry seeds, it's easy to spot the single samaras (flying seeds) of Ash and the double ones of Sycamore and its native cousin Field Maple (especially in the football field near the river). There too there is a mass of scrambling Hop, whose attractive seed-heads are usually ready for Harvest Festival.

I'm still hoping for an October stubble walk, but we shall have to see what turns up when we've had a bit more rain. Whether the fine show of late poppies in the Bourn Bridge fields is a good omen or not I don't know.


Wednesday 25 July 2007

On 10th July, we walked along Bourn Bridge Road studying the native flowers: these are some of them...

Thursday 19 July 2007

Wasps' Nest at Gt Abington Church

This year there is a wasps' nest on the south side of Great Abington church, in the most easterly window on the south side of the of the South Aisle.


Monday 16 July 2007

River Survey

Peter Brunning sent this picture of a fish that turned up in the river survey.

Tuesday 3 July 2007

Friday 13th July. River survey


I'm suggesting a second river survey for Friday 13th July, meeting at 7.0 pm at the Road Bridge. The plan would be to follow up our June sampling at the same points so that we can compare what turns up. Wellies, identification charts etc useful as usual.

My apologies to those who cannot come on this date - I'm afraid that clashes are almost unavoidable at this time of the year.


Tuesday 10th July. Plantwatch on Bourne Bridge Road

Plantwatchers & Project Team

I propose a study walk of the Bourn Bridge Road protected verges on the evening of Tuesday 10th July, starting from the end of the 'Coach Road' (the muddy lane going south, about halfway along the open part of BBR) at 6.45 and finishing about an hour later. County assures me that the front meter will not have been cut by then.

This should be an opportunity to look quite closely at the plants and try both to identify what makes it possible to distinguish one species from another, and how to use 'chunking' as an aid to memory. There will be hand-outs to help with this. So some of you may want to bring scribble pads, illustrated guidebooks and perhaps lenses with you. On the other hand, the verges are looking good anyway, and others may prefer simply to enjoy this.

Anyone keen to come but unable to one this date please let me know, so that I can try to find a date for a fix a second go.


Saturday 14 April 2007

Naturewatch Map

I've started to use a new Google facility to create an annotated map of our patch (Great & Little Abington). It's all based on the standard Google maps, so you can choose between a street map, a satellite image or both superimposed - see toggle at top right. You can also use a scroll wheel to zoom in and out - and there are lots of other facilities.


I'd be interested to know what people think - will this be useful? I need to mark up all the various habitats and probably add quite a few more points of interest...

Monday 12 March 2007

The Record

Peter Brunning has put together the Abington Naturewatch Record for 2006/2007. It is available in paper for £2.50 from Jennifer Hirsh and electronic (PDF) form.

E-mail me <Ian.Grant@cl.cam.ac.uk> and I will send you a copy of the file. It is large (4MB) so you will need a fairly fast Internet connection and a good-sized mailbox quota to receive it.

Saturday 10 March 2007

Events Calendar

There is now a Naturewatch calendar on the link at the top right of the main page.

If you use a calendar program on your computer you could try to add the Naturewatch events to your diary by
clicking on this link.

Friday 9 March 2007

Meadow Saxifrage

On the 17th November last year Victor Bugg sent this lovely photograph of Meadow Saxifrage Saxifraga granulata in the field near their house.

Full Size

Thursday 8 March 2007

BBC Springwatch survey

The BBC Springwatch website is recording and mapping reports of
frogspawn, peacock butterflies, seven-spot ladybirds, Hawthorn
flowering, Red-tailed bumblebee and Swifts. The web page is


Wednesday 7 March 2007

New Web Site

This is an attempt to overcome the problem we have had for a while, where people send me things and it takes forever for me to get around to posting them on the web site.

This allows any project team member to post an entry and it allows any and everyone to comment on entries. We moderate the comments and can choose whether or not they are to appear on the site.

The old web pages had some useful information as well as archival value. They are still available.

Project team members should sign up for a Google account and I will be happy to give demonstrations on how to use the system, please just call or e-mail me.

I hope this will give the web site a new lease of life.

Naturewatch Evening

Abington Village Institute. Monday 12th March, 2007. 6.30pm

The Evening will start at 6.30 with the Spring Meeting of Members and Friends of Naturewatch. As usual we shall be reviewing the highlights of this winter and asking for your ideas for the Naturewatch porgramme this spring and summer.

Then at 7.30 ROB MUNGOVAN, ECOLOGY OFFICER OF SOUTH CAMBS DISTRICT COUNCIL will give an illustrated talk on "WORKING WITH WILDLIFE - protecting and Enhancing our Environment." There will be a break for coffee and some time for questions and discussion.

There will also be an opportuinty to contribute to the costs of the meeting.
Everyone is welcome - so do bring any friends with an interest in our natural world.

Pat Daunt

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: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=213774935674882866424.00000111dca2be9f06ab8&z=13>

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 (amerryweather61@gmail.com)