Wednesday 3 April 2019

March 2019. Interesting Sightings around The Abingtons

MARCH 2019
Amphibians and Reptiles
Common Frog – large mass of frogspawn reported in a garden pond on Bourn Bridge Road (03 Mar)

Fieldfare – 10-20 reported on Granta Park (05,19 Mar), a flock of ~30 on fields near Hildersham Wood (20 Mar), and 12 were seen flying over Gt Abington on 23 Mar.
Redwing – 20+ in trees behind Cambridge Road (01 Mar), and 2-4 on Granta Park (14 Mar). Last reported along Chalky Road on 17 Mar.
Chiffchaff – first heard singing from bushes alongside GP lake (01 Mar), with many reports since from across the village, including at least 4 singing males along Old Railway Cutting (30 Mar).
Blackcap – first heard singing along Old Railway Cutting on 19 Mar.  Heard several times since in Sluice Wood, and a report of 3 singing males along the Old Railway Cutting (30 Mar).
Green Woodpecker – reported in a Bourn Bridge Road garden, and heard ‘yaffling’ in Sluice Wood throughout the month.  Great Spotted Woodpecker continue to visit several garden feeders.
Little Owl – seen on several occasions first thing and at dusk on Granta Park. A Tawny Owl was heard on Granta Park (01 Mar), and regularly heard (male and female) at night on LSA.
Red Kite – several sightings near Hildersham Wood, over Granta Park, and the Old Railway Cutting.
Sparrowhawk – one seen with prey, possibly a Collared Dove in a garden (20 Mar), another seen hunting on Bancroft Farm Meadow (27 Mar), and a third flying across the High Street.
Golden Plover – around 30 flying over Mortlock Gardens and the adjacent field (20 Mar).
Yellowhammer – small flocks seen in fields south of LSA.  Linnet – a flock of 30-40 seen very regularly on rough ground, or on the cricket pitch, in Granta Park.
Skylark – 3-4 reported in full song on the LSA (09 Mar), and over fields alongside Pampisford Road.
Bullfinch – reported feeding on tree buds along the Old Railway Cutting on two occasions.  Small flocks of Goldfinch continue to visit feeders, with 2-3 Greenfinch, and up to 15 Chaffinch.
Long-tailed Tit – reported ‘pecking their reflections’ in window glass.  Regular reports of Coal Tit singing on Granta Park, the LSA, and a Gt Abington garden.
Goldcrest – two seen and heard in conifers on LSA (17 Mar), and one in Granta Park (25 Mar).
Robin – one report of a pair displaying and feeding each other in a Gt Abington garden.
Grey Wagtail – a female seen on 2 occasions, feeding on floating debris in the river near the sluice.
Little Egret – at least six separate reports of a single bird along the river, throughout the month.
Goosander – a female was seen flying over Granta Park (21 Mar) – first record in The Abingtons.
Mandarin Duck – 5 flying noisily in large circles over the meadows alongside river by A1307.
Cormorant – reported on 4-5 occasions feeding in the lake.  Moorhen seen displaying on Granta Park lake (15 Mar), and Mallard are now mostly in pairs along the river, with very few left on Granta Park lake. A pair of Reed Bunting also seen in the reedbeds (28 Mar).
Rook and Jackdaw – colonies actively nest building in tall trees on Granta Park.  Jay – four reported squabbling in the trees along Cambridge Road, and two in Cook’s Meadow

Butterflies, Bees and other insects
Very few reports in the first three weeks of the month but many in the last 10 days when the weather was warmer.
Brimstone – 26 sightings in last two weeks, mainly in gardens, but only 2 sightings before 18 Mar.
Peacock – 10 sightings during the month
Small White – 8 sightings during the month
Comma – 7 sightings during the month
Large White, Small tortoiseshell – 2 sightings each
Orange Tip – first sighting this year on 30 Mar (this is earlier than usual)

Buff-tailed Bumblebee – fewer sightings (10) than usual for March
Red-tailed Bumblebee, White-tailed Bumblebee, Mining bees, Honey bees – few sightings only

Ladybirds – 7 Spot ladybirds seen a few times in large numbers, very few Harlequin Ladybirds.
Beeflies – 3 sightings of these tiny insects feeding on spring flowers in last week of month.
Lacewings - reported

Early in March, fantastic displays of violets in many places in the village - more than seen before - dark and pale blue and white.
At the end of the month, signs of spring:
Bourn Bridge Road:
          White Dead Nettle just in flower; Pink Dead Nettle just in flower; Buttercup,one flower;
          Dandelion, a few flowers; Celandine in flower; many small Daisies; Thistles.
          Mallow leaves; Dock leaves; Ground Ivy;
          Comfrey? Cow Parsley? early yellow daisy- type flower.
Granta Park:
          Many Cowslips on field next to cricket ground; Small blue flowers, possibly Forget-me-Not; Dandelions; Dock; Celandine; Speedwell; Lords and Ladies in leaf but not in flower.
Cambridge Road: one Bluebell.

Muntjac Deer – three reports this month, including two deer in Lagden’s Grove, and two in the Old Railway Cutting.
Hare – five sightings, with two three reports of 1-2 Hare seen around Granta Park, and up to four hare seen feeding in the fields alongside the ‘hairdresser’s path’.  Also two spotted south of the Old Railway Cutting (30 Mar), and along Bourn Bridge Road.
Fox – three reports, with 1-2 seen sunning themselves along the Old Railway Cutting on two occasions.  Single fox seen patrolling in Cook’s Meadow (25 Mar).
Badger – two reports of one seen in Abington Woods on 04 Mar.
Pygmy Shrew – one reported dead in a garden along Cambridge Road.

Many thanks to all those who have contributed reports of their sightings for March 2019: 
Anne Dunbar-Nobes, David Farrant, Jennifer Hirsh, Carole McCrae, Len Mead, Andy Merryweather, Gareth Rees, Sally Simmons, Gill Smith, Derek Turnidge, Sally Turnidge.

Please email your sightings, from within the Abington parishes, to the relevant ANW Recorder:
Amphibians and reptiles: Anne Dunbar Nobes
Birds:                               Derek Turnidge     
Butterflies, Bees etc:       Jennifer Hirsh        
Flowers:                           Sally Turnidge       
Mammals:                        Gill Smith              

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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 (