Sunday 28 September 2008

River Survey - 27th September

The river was once again very low. We sampled at the High Street ford and also at the Millennium Bridge. We were particularly successful with fish at the Millennium Bridge - we caught sticklebacks, minnows and loach and saw some larger fish. There were also the regulars: shrimp, leech and mayfly and stone fly nymphs.

Sunday 14 September 2008

River Survey - 13th September

An unexpectedly fine day. The river was very low in spite of recent rain. We found the usual shrimp, leeches and damsel fly larvae. We also caught a couple of minnows and a small loach.

Monday 28 July 2008

Roman Road flora and fauna - 26th July

A good number of Plantwatchers (including our two Associate Membrers) attended our survey of the Little Abington stretch of the Roman Road in warm sunshine on 26th July.
Although we identified only two flower species not recorded here before (Phleum pratense ssp bertolonii, a chalk-loving variant of the familiar grass Timothy, and Red Bartsia) we can be reasonably pleased with the state of the flora on this part of the Road. Typical chalk plants in bloom included Hedge & Lady's Bedstraw, Hedge Parsley, Burnet Saxifrage, Wild Carrot & Parsnip, Wild Basil, Mignonette & Weld, Common & Greater Knapweed, Restharrow, Small & Field Scabious, Musk (Nodding) Thistle, Yellow, Birdsfoot & Hop Trefoil, St John's Wort and Dark Mullein. There is one large Catmint near Worsted Lodge and several patches of Red Bartsia thereabouts. Dropwort, Rockrose & Goatsbeard were also seen, though past flowering. It is particularly good that there is plenty of Wild Basil, ranked as 'rare' here in a professional survey only a decade or so ago.
Butterflies and other flying insects were present but hardly abundant. Phil's finds included a number of Essex Skippers, a Soldier Beetle and a specially fine Bush Cricket.

Patrick Daunt

River Survey - 25th July

A small group surveyed a new stretch of the river near Abington Hall. Access to the river was tricky except in a shady area, where we found plenty of Freshwater Shrimps and a few Leeches but little else.

Friday 11 July 2008

River wildlife survey - 10th July 2008

This evening we sampled at a couple of sites in Sluice Wood and found some insect larvae we'd not seen before.

Wednesday 9 July 2008

Southern Hawker dragonfly

Here are 2 of the pictures from our pond yesterday. They show 2 stages of the dragonfly's metamorphosis from nymph to dragonfly proper. The remains of the nymph, or exuvia, can be seen in both pictures.

Derek Turnidge

Saturday 21 June 2008

Marion's Moths

We met at Marion's on Friday evening to see Phil set up a trap. As it got dark, we saw a few moths but decided we needed more... Another trap was left overnight and we returned in the morning to see what had dropped in!

Tuesday 10 June 2008

Flora Abingtonia

[These are] the first three parts of what will be (I hope before the end of the summer) the five parts of a first attempt to set up a Flora of the Abingtons. The aim is rather tribal than scientific; that is to say, to produce something of interest and use to Abington Plantwatchers here and now. The Big Beasts, such as District, County and the Wild Life Trust, are not much interested anyway in surveys or records put together by amateurs. This leaves us free to work on the principle of not letting the best be the enemy of the good, and so free to get some data out if we can, albeit often tentatively and in spite of their imperfections.

Pat Daunt

Saturday 26 April 2008

River Survey - 26th April 2008

It was a lovely morning for a walk by the river. There were plenty of minnows by the bridge and we managed to catch one. A variety of other river life was recorded including mayfly larvae, lice, worms and leeches.

Saturday 12 April 2008

April Activities

MEMBERS' MEETING - Saturday 12th April 10:30 - Abington Institute
RIVER SURVEY - Saturday 26th April about 1030 (after the regular clean-up) - Road Bridge / Ford
We will start by the ford and intend to check sections in the Football Reach and by the Millennium Bridge. We aim to finish by about midday. Lenses, books, info sheets, spoons, small trays, pots etc all welcome. We will appoint a Recorder on the spot.
BIRDING JAUNT - Sunday 27th April afternoon - Paxton Pits (near St Neots) - led by Stuart Elsom
Please contact Derek Turndige or Pat Daunt if you're interested - they will coordinate how we share driving/car-spaces. Numbers are limited but we may be able to squeeze in one or two more. Please bring Binoculars and stout shoes/boots.

Naturewatch Record

Paper copies of the new Record (2007) are available from Pat Daunt for £3-50.

Alternatively, I can supply it in PDF format by email - if you have a reasonably fast connection (it's about 3 MB)

River Shep Walk and Talk

The Cam Valley Forum has invited Abington Naturewatch and other local groups to join them on the morning of 10 May 2008 for a short guided walk along the river Shep near Boot Lane, Barrington. The walk will be led by a member of Friends of the River Shep who will tell us about the work the group carried a few years ago to make this stretch of the river a better place for wildlife and people. We will also have an opportunity to see recent work by the Barrington Conservation Trust.

After the walk we will meet in the village hall for refreshments when there will be an opportunity to discuss how local groups can improve the management of streams and small rivers, and the sources of help and funding available to them.

We will meet at 10am at the village hall and, subject to the weather, proceed to Boot Lane. If you would like to come, please contact Peter, Anne or Patrick - we will coordinate trasnport and liaise with CVF.

Saturday 5 April 2008


Geograph is a project to photograph every 1km grid square in the British Isles. Here's the square for the Abingtons:

Sunday 23 March 2008

Spring 2008 - Members' Meeting

At the Abington Institute on Saturday 12th April from 10.30-12.30.
All welcome. More details nearer the time.

Snow Day

On a walk up to Hildersham Wood this morning in the snow I saw tracks of three or four fallow deer (well, I assume they're the fallow deer, they were big) rabbits, pheasants, a fox and a hare. (I know they were the footprints of a hare because I saw it making them!)

The wind had just changed to a westerly and by the time I got home at around 12.30 almost all the snow on the trees was gone.

Saturday 22 March 2008


Derek Turnidge took this photograph of Siskins in his garden, feeding on nyjer seed.

Sunday 27 January 2008

Birds of Cambridgeshire Evening 29 February

The good news is that I now have a firm booking for our Naturewatch Evening - Friday 29th February, 7.0 p.m. in the Inst. Stuart Elsom, an experienced ornithologist who leads study tours abroad and is an expert on bird photography will speak (with pix of course) on 'The Birds of Cambridgeshire through the Seasons'. His [excellent] photo work can be seen at

The subject is one that should also attract a number of non-members, and I hope we can encourage this. I am proposing as usual no attendance charge but a 'retiring collection'. I shall be most grateful if P/T members will be able to help with coffee, tea & bics.

As last year we should aim to have copies of the Record for sale at the meeting.

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:>

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 (