Tuesday 29 December 2015

Starling murmuration in Granta Park

The performance is still occurring... these photos were taken by David Farrant on 28 December.

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Murmuration of Starlings on Granta Park on Saturday 19th Dec.

Andy took these pictures of the fabulous mini-murmuration of Starlings on Granta Park. He says that photos really don't do justice to the beauty of the spectacle. 

The show started at around 3:40pm with just a few birds, but as small flocks continually joined the group, the numbers swelled to over 800!  This larger flock swirled and wheeled around over the TWI buildings for about 20 minutes, starting off as a more diffuse, spread-out flock, but slowly the Starlings flew in ever-tighter formation, until a 'tight ball' of birds finally descended as one into the reeds, just as it got dark. Truly spectacular!

Lesser Redpoll in Lewis Crescent

A small group of up to seven Lesser Redpoll has made a welcome return to Andy's garden on 20 December, after an absence of almost three years.  The group seems to comprise 1 male (bright red forehead, small black bib and distinctive diffuse red breast patches), 3-4 females (red forehead and black bib) and 2-3 juveniles (black bib, but no red). They are moving around with a flock of Goldfinch. All are noticeably smaller and slimmer than the Goldfinches, and seem to have a strong preference for feeding on the Niger seed.

Saturday 19 December 2015

Green Woodpecker and Pheasant in West Field

Peter Dawson took these photos of his regular garden visitors - a Green Woodpecker (16 Dec.) and a male Pheasant (6 Nov.), who sweeps up the seeds dropped by the other birds. Peter has also noticed that there have been many more Coal Tits around this year.

Other reports on 19 December:

We have had a Song Thrush singing as though it was spring and we have twice seen Goldcrests on conifers in the garden recently.
A Grey Wagtail visited our garden on 7 December and Andy saw one near the sluice on 14 December.

Starling murmuration still going strong - 300+ circling around Granta Park lake for about 30 minutes yesterday - 3:40-4:10pm.  

Sunday 6 December 2015

Starling murmurations

During Andy Merryweather's talk on Friday 27 November, one of the audience asked whether there were any Starling flocks or more properly Starling murmurations near Abington. 

Soon after that, Andy was walking between buildings on Granta Park at around 3:45pm, and noticed on more than one day a nice mini-murmuration of around 200-300 Starling over the cricket green and lake on Granta Park. The flock did its thing, wheeled around for about 10-15 min before finally dropping out of view to roost.

Since then, a couple of other people have seen this local mini-spectacle. If anyone else is interested, it could probably be seen on other afternoons at the moment at around 3:30 - 4:00pm - the picnic tables by the lake might be a good place to sit and watch.

Sunday 29 November 2015

After Andy Merryweather's excellent talk "What's that Bird? - Birds you might see in and around Abington" on Friday evening, he saw a single male Brambling under the bird feeders in his garden on Sunday 29 November. The first to visit since 2013, it was feeding on sunflower and rosehip seeds on the ground, and moving around in a flock of Goldfinch and Greenfinch.

Thursday 12 November 2015

Blue Tit nest on the Settlement!

Pam took these delightful pictures of baby Blue Tits during Spring 2015,
A total of 11 hatched, and all 11 flew.  

Sparrow Hawk on South Road

Pam has seen this Sparrow Hawk in the early mornings at 36 South Road, beginning November 2015

Saturday 7 November 2015

Male Gadwall on Granta Park lake

Andy saw a single male Gadwall on the lake on Friday 6 November, in amongst the sizeable Mallard flock.

Sunday 27 September 2015

Bats in the belfry?

Not just in the belfry, but in the church itself! Mary Miles noticed this Longeared Bat on the lectern in Little Abington church on Satruday 26 September and Derek took this photo:

Friday 25 September 2015

Young Muntjac in Cambridge Road garden

Derek took this photo of a young Muntjac in their garden this morning (25 September).


Thursday 10 September 2015

River sampling - 9 September 2015

Riverfly sampling - Sept 2015
Organisation: Abington Naturewatch
Site name: The Ford, Abington, Cambridge (not the usual place)
River: Granta
Grid ref: TL534490
Monitoring Group Coordinator: Rob Mungovan
Date: 09 September 2015, 6.30pm
Recorded by: Peter Brunning

Cased caddisfly: Nil
Caseless caddisfly: B, ca 10
Mayfly (Ephemeridae):  Nil
Blue-winged olive (Ephemeridae): Nil
Flat bodied up-wings (Heptageniidae): Nil
Olives (Baetidae): C, ca 200
Stoneflies: Nil
Gammarus (Freshwater shrimp): C, ca 100

A:1-9; B:10-99; C:100-999;D:>1000

Hatches seen: none
River low; fine, dry weather, cool evening; 3 kick-shuffles undertaken within the allotted 3 minutes (1. Some Weed (water crowfoot) with rocky gravel bottom; 2. Gravel/rocky bottom in main flow, deeper water; 3. Lower flow, rocky bottom, edge of weed).

Other fauna:
1 signal crayfish - 3cm
4 fish (stone loach) - 3 x 10-12cm, 2 x 5 cm

Non-sightings (we’ve often found these): leeches, worms, minnows etc.

Stone Loach
Signal Crayfish
Olive nymphs
Caddis larvae, Shrimp
Freshwater Shrimp
Caddis larva, Shrimp, Olive nymph 

Friday 21 August 2015

Grasshopper visits Church Lane

The Brunnings had a surprise visitor on 18th August:

River sampling - August 2015

We had a fine, dry and warm evening on 12th August for our sampling session near the cricket nets. The river was very low and we used the usual 3 kick-shuffles of one minute each in three slightly different places, all under trees which are increasingly shading the river.
(1. Gravel/rocky bottom in main flow; 2. Some Weed (water crowfoot) with rocky gravel bottom; 3. Deeper water, rocky bottom)

We submitted the following report on the Riverfly monitored species:

Organisation: Abington Naturewatch
Site name: Cricket Pitch Reach, Abington, Cambridge
River: Granta
Grid ref: TL534490
Monitoring Group Coordinator: Rob Mungovan
Date: 12 August 2015, 6.30pm
Recorded by: Peter Brunning

Cased caddisfly: Nil
Caseless caddisfly: B, ca 10
Mayfly (Ephemeridae):  Nil
Blue-winged olive (Ephemeridae): Nil
Flat bodied up-wings (Heptageniidae): Nil
Olives (Baetidae): C, ca 100
Stoneflies: Nil
Gammarus (Freshwater shrimp): B, ca 20

[A:1-9; B:10-99; C:100-999;D:>1000]

A few photos were taken: 



Freshwater Shrimp (Gammarus)

In addition to the monitored species, we caught 3 small signal crayfish - 7cm, 5cm, 2cm

Signal Crayfish

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Small Magpie Moth on North Road

Emma Jones took this beautiful photo on a North Road smallholding, on 23rd May 2015.

Small Magpie Moth 

Roman Road walk - west of Mount Farm

Jennifer led a walk on the Roman Road west of Mounts Farm on the morning of Saturday 1st August. 

Seven members enjoyed lovely weather with sunshine, warmth and a very light wind – ideal for seeing butterflies. They also saw lots of wild flowers, more than 40 different ones.

They saw 8 different butterflies altogether including at least 8 Chalkhill Blues and 1 Painted Lady – these were special. The Chalkhill Blues have only recently established on this part of the Roman RoadA good Painted Lady year had been predicted, with lots migrating from further south in Europe, but we have seen very few so far.

Other more common butterflies were:
Brimstone, Peacock, Large White, Meadow brown, Gatekeeper and Small Skipper

Regular reporters have been seeing new Brimstones and Peacocks recently, so please let Jennifer know if you see them in your garden or while out walking in the village. She would be especially interested if anyone sees a Painted Lady – they are very beautiful butterflies.

The group on the Roman Road

Painted Lady

Female Stag Beetle

 Chalkhill Blue

Photos by David Farrant

Friday 24 July 2015

Hedgehog in Bourn Bridge Road

David had a visitor outside his back door last night (23rd July). Apparently, he seems very healthy.

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Emerald Damselfly

Jennifer took this photo of an Emerald Damselfly on a lily pad on her pond on 21st July.
It is very beautiful, smaller and slimmer than the other damselflies we usually see.

(click to enlarge)

Friday 17 July 2015

Wildflower Walk & Bug Hunt at Granta Park - 17 July

Naturewatch was invited to join a Wildflower Walk & Bug Hunt in Granta Park, led by Iain Webb from the Wildlife Trust, over lunch-time. We used nets to search for bugs on the wild-flower meadow and the woods. We caught many small bugs and also saw a summer chafer and a lesser stag beetle.

These are just a few of the bugs we found:

Leaf Beetle

Frog Hopper

Robber Fly

Lesser Stag Beetle
Rosemary noted the following bugs: Crab Spider, Leaf Beetle, Speckled Bush Cricket, Froghopper, Sawfly larvae, Meadow Damsel Fly, Flea Beetle, Summer Chafer, Robber Fly.

There were plants that included Ladies' Bedstraw, Wild Carrot, Betony, St John's Wort & Scarlet Pimpernel.

It was a beautiful summer day and we also saw lots of butterflies: 4 Commas on one tree, Peacocks, Meadow browns, Gatekeepers, a Brimstone & many Large whites.

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)