Thursday 30 September 2010

Autumn Members' Meeting - Saturday 9th October

The Autumn Members' Meeting will be held in the Abington Institute on Saturday 9th October, starting at 10:45 and ending at about 12:15.

We shall hear the reports on the past season and plan our winter bird-watching, as we usually do at this meeting. We shall also be discussing the longer term development of Naturewatch, so please come if you possibly can.

In addition:
Items of interest (natural objects, photos, posters, books, etc) on display ... please bring them along!
Café open

No entrance charge, chance to contribute to costs
Non-members, sympathetic friends etc all welcome

Sunday 26 September 2010

River improvements in Sluice Wood

The Environment Agency has recently carried out some repairs and improvements around the old Bottomer sluices. With the kind permission of the riparian owners, two Environment Agency staff members, Ruth Hawksley of Water for Willdlife and two heroic Naturewatchers (Jennifer Hirsh & Derek Turnidge) successfully installed two stream deflectors in the river nearby.

The deflectors, one at each bank, consist of a short line of vertical poles, angled upstream, to which are wired substantial bundles of brushwood and long faggots. These are permanent fixtures, in which silt and vegetation accumulates. Their aim is to improve the habitat for a wide range of animals. By diverting the stream to the centre they enhance its flow, thus scouring out the bed to make it more gravelly and improving oxygen levels. Fish find refuge in the 'pools' above the deflectors, and the silt and vegetation provide habitat for many species of invertebrate.

The site is fairly inaccessible and can only be approached from private land but the effect should be to improve the wildlife we see in the river elsewhere. We will be looking to see what happens on our regular river sampling trips.

The agency has also been doing similar work in Hildersham, upstream of the village hall.

Sunday 12 September 2010

Have you seen this fungus?

The Turnidges have this bracket fungus some 15' up an oak tree in their front garden. They think it is probably Laetiporus sulphureus - Chicken-of-the-Woods... can anyone confirm this?

Sunday 22 August 2010

Granta Geese

George has been watching the geese on Granta Park lake...

Barnacle Geese

Greylag Goose

Tuesday 29 June 2010

Swallow-tailed Moth

Sally Turnidge spotted this Swallow-tailed Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria) on ivy on an apple tree in her garden.

Devil's Dyke 2 - 25th June

Highlights of the evening were the Pyramidal Orchids in quite good numbers and the Lizard Orchids, which were less than abundant and poor in growth.

Last and probably least in stature was Bastard Toadflax (Sandalwood Family), which was holding on well in short turf at the North-West end.

Our walk along the dyke was enlivened by the horse racing alongside.

It was a beautiful evening finished off with a spectacular sunset over the dyke.

Saturday 19 June 2010


Sally Turnidge took this photo on 17 June in the evening... the hedgehog appears to have a mark which looks like a cross on its back.

Spindle Ermine moth caterpillars

Jennifer Hirsh took this photo near the river bridge (opposite the ford) on Saturday 12 June. She now knows of 4 separate spindle trees in the village that are being affected by this moth.

Monday 14 June 2010

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Susan Hodges has been enjoying visits from a juvenile Great Spotted woodpecker, tucking in to the seed & mealworm bird block just outside her window.

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Third River Sampling 2010 - 8th June

The river level was quite low, making access easy in several places. We sampled at the Millennium Bridge and at the ford - and one site in between by the Recreation Ground. Nothing spectacular - the usual leeches, tubifex, shrimp and insect larvae, again in relatively low numbers.

Highlight of the evening was Derek's discovery of two adult mayflies (Ephemera danica) at the edge of the river near the road bridge.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Snakes Alive!

George Woodley saw this grass snake on 22 May near Hall Farm... others have also reported seeing them.

Sunday 23 May 2010

Swans on Granta Park lake

George Woodley writes:
At least two cygnets have arrived; this was taken at 11:16 on Friday 21 May. The Pen had just returned to the nest as I was about to take the picture. When I returned after lunch only the Cob was on the lake.

On Sunday afternoon, I saw no sign of the cygnets but the Cob was chasing away the geese; he seemed to tolerate the ducks.

Postscript: George writes on 31st May that all the swans have disappeared. It seems certain that once again the young have died and the adults left.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Second River Sampling 2010 - 13th May

Although there was still a good amount of water, our findings over five attempts were surprisingly poor, one of the poorest ever - the persistently cold winds and nights presumably the cause of this. Populations were everywhere low and diversity hardly impressive. Apart from one mayfly larva at the third sampling, specimens were again small. At the Ford the relative abundance of beetle larvae was a feature as last time, as also were the limpets on one rock.

We sampled at 3 sites: the Ford, the Football Reach and by the Millennium Bridge.

Caddisfly larva

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Blue tits

Jim Cracknell has been watching a front door a bit closer than Downing Street...

Thursday 29 April 2010

Proposed programme for April, May & June 2010

Confirmation & details of time & place will be given shortly before the event.


24th Sat, 11 a.m. - River sampling, at the Ford


13th Thurs, 7.p.m. - River sampling, at the Ford

15th Sat, 9 a.m. - Moth survey, at Victor & Audrey’s - CANCELLED

21st Fri, 7 p.m. - Flora walk, Beech Wood (helleborines) - CANCELLED

29th Sat, 9 a.m. - Moth survey, at Marion’s


8th Tues, 7 p.m. - River sampling, place t.b.d.

10th Thurs, 1030 a.m. - Flora walk, Devil’s Dyke I

16th Wed, 10 a.m. - Birds, flora, dragonflies etc, RSPB Fen Drayton
(RSPB will take us round)

19th Sat, 9 a.m. - Moth survey, at Victor & Audrey’s

25th Fri, 7 p.m. - Flora walk, Devil’s Dyke II

30th Wed, 7.p.m. - Granta Park meadow & lake

Possibilities for later months are:

July - River sampling, Moth survey, Bourn Bridge PRV, Wicken Fen, Devil‘s Dyke III
August - Upland stubble
September - River sampling, Lowland stubble

Newts and Toads

Amphibians are reappearing in garden ponds.
Derek Turnidge sent these photos...


Smooth Newt

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Red Admiral on snowdrops

Victor Bugg writes: "A Red Admiral on snowdrops is a fairly rare sight. It stayed around for twenty minutes..."

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 (