Saturday 8 June 2019

May 2019. Interesting sightings around The Abingtons.

May 2019
Amphibians and Reptiles
Smooth Newt – four in garden pond on Bourn Bridge Road (3 female, one male)

Eleven reports for the Abington NatureWatch Bird Survey recorded a total of 52 species within the parishes over the Bank Holiday weekend (24th-27th).
Swallow – up to four seen around village. Nesting pair in Lt Abington garage.
House Martin – nesting in Mortlock Gardens. Up to 30 feeding and collecting mud on Granta Park.
Swift – first seen over St Mary’s Church on 4th, up to eight seen regularly since.
Spotted Flycatcher – first report of one returning to Lt Abington garden on 25th.
Wheatear – three along track above Chalky Road, possibly early-returning migrants, on 7th.
Blackcap – regularly throughout month in Gt Abington. Old Railway Cutting, LSA and Granta Park.
Chiffchaff – regularly seen and heard, mostly at the start of the month.
Willow Warbler – two singing on Old Railway Cutting, and one heard several times on Granta Park.
Common Whitethroat – one singing near Abington Park Farm on 12th, and heard several times since along Old Railway Cutting.
Lesser Whitethroat – one singing from a thick hedge along Hildersham parish boundary on 19th.
Reed Warbler – one heard on 24th, and several times over a week in Granta Park reedbed.
Corn Bunting – calling from wheat and hedgerow. Pair on Old Railway Cutting – possibly nesting.
Reed Bunting – several regularly heard singing around Granta Park lake
Red Kite – three reports of a single bird, over LSA, and from Granta Park
Buzzard – several reports of up to three
Kestrel – pair seen feeding prey to young on the nest in Sluice Wood.
Sparrowhawk – female seen swooping over Gt Abington High Street.
Barn Owl – heard at dusk in Gt Abington garden on 24th.
Great Crested Grebe – single male back on Granta Park lake from 8th – seen 3-4 times since.
Little Grebe – one seen diving in Granta Park Lake on 24th.
Mallard – several females with two-five ducklings on river. Males moulting around Granta Park lake.
Greylag Goose – up to five, and Canada Goose – three pairs, one with 2-3 goslings on Granta Park.
Blue Tit – several reports of adults actively feeding at nest boxes.  Fledged family seen on 13th.
Great Spotted Woodpecker – a pair frequently visiting suet feeder in LSA garden.
Goldcrest – close encounter with one bird indoors on LSA.
Stock Dove – pair in Gt Abington garden, and occasional reports from Sluice Wood.
Goldfinch – fledged young seen bathing in garden pond.  Bullfinch – pair along Old Railway Cutting.
Nuthatch – one reported in garden on Church Close, and a Treecreeper in Sluice Wood on 23rd.
Mistle Thrush – one seen twice on Recreation Ground, and also on Granta Park.

Butterflies, Bees and other insects
A good number of reports in May (163 in total), but the weather again was very variable with some very warm days, some cold nights and very little rain.
Brimstone – 30 sightings, almost every day but more from the middle of the month.
Orange Tip – 26 sightings throughout the month continuing the good showing in April.
Holly Blue – sightings (26) a notable increase from the last two years.
Small White (20), Green-veined White (5) seen.
Speckled Wood – 16 sightings, increasing numbers.
Very few sightings of other butterflies: Peacock (2), Red Admiral (2), Large White (2), Small Tortoiseshell (1) and Comma (1).
Buff-tailed, Red-tailed and Tree Bumblebees – a few sightings.
Honey Bees – few sightings only.
Large Red Damselflies – 3 sightings, first on 1st May
Azure Damselfly – 1 sighting late in month
Cinnabar Moth – one in Lt Abington garden. Garden Carpet Moth – in Gt Abington garden

Fine displays of Hawthorn in full flower early in the month, as well as White Dead-nettle, Hedge Bedstraw and Wood Forget-me-not.
Profusions of Buttercups and Oxeye Daisies in flower on meadows in Granta Park.
Common Vetch, Milk Vetch, Hedgerow Cranesbill and Common Storksbill on open rough ground.
Good areas of Garlic Mustard and Germander Speedwell, as well as Herb Robert and Ground Ivy in Sluice Wood.
White Campion and, more unusually, Red Campion in flower along Linton Road verges at the end of the month.

Muntjac Deer – three reports, one each in Lagden’s Grove, along the Old Railway Cutting, and in a field near Church Lane.
Hare – two seen in the field adjacent to ‘hairdresser path’ on Granta Park.
Fallow Deer – single report of eight deer in the fields around Hildersham Wood
Hedgehog – droppings as evidence of a visit to a Lt Abington garden
Bat, likely Pipistrelle – two reported flying around a garden in Gt Abington, and three in Lt Abington

No report this month

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for May 2019:
Mike and Lois Bull, Anne Dunbar-Nobes, David Farrant, Gaynor Farrant, A Gamble, Jennifer Hirsh, Carole McCrae, Len Mead, Andy Merryweather, Joan Nevin, Ross Nobes, Peter and Linda Page, Brian Parris, Dave Pimblett, Gareth Rees, Marion Rusted, Maggie Turner, Derek Turnidge, Sally Turnidge. Evelyn Ward.

Please email your sightings, 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 (