Wednesday 22 January 2020

Brambling in Gt Abington

A male Brambling made a further visit to the feeders in Andy M's garden this morning - and this time Andy had his camera to hand!

Monday 20 January 2020

Snowdrops in Sluice Wood

The Snowdrops are really starting to show well now in Granta Park (Andy M)

High river levels

Following the heavy rains last week, the river level was seen by David F and Andy M to be quite high - but thankfully not enough to flood.

from the road bridge (DF) 

filled to the brim at the Millennium Bridge (DF)

almost 'drowning' the Snowdrops in Sluice Wood (AM)

through the sluice (AM)

 and away, alongside Cook's Meadow (AM)

Sunday 19 January 2020

Aconites on the Roman Road

Jennifer H spotted these lovely Aconites out whilst walking along the Abington part of the Roman Road this weekend. She commented that she did not recall seeing them along there before.

Tuesday 14 January 2020

News. First Brambling of the season seen

14th January 2020

This morning, Andy M reported the first Brambling seen this winter in the Abingtons, on the bird feeders in his garden in amongst a small flock of other finches.  The male seen was starting to develop the black head and orange colouration of its breeding plumage, and looked really rather dapper.

Brambling are members of the finch family, visiting the UK between October and March, and usually appear on feeders early in the new year.

Andy did not have his camera to hand this morning. The photo above is from the Discover Nature website.

Sunday 12 January 2020

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Jennifer H is lucky enough to have a Great Spotted Woodpecker regularly visit the feeders in her garden, as well as regular Nuthatch.

Great Spotted Woodpecker - visiting on 12th Jan

Great Spotted Woodpecker - on 20th Jan

Fallow Deer herd near Cambridge Road

Derek T saw this herd of around a dozen Fallow Deer, in the fields north of Cambridge Road (Lt Abington).  Interestingly Anne D-N also sees a herd of Fallow Deer on the other side of the village near Abington Park Farm.

Fallow Deer can have quite variable coats, but have characteristic markings at the rear - namely a white patch with dark 'crescents' on either side, and a dark tail.

The dead Sparrowhawk, the RSPB and the PBMS

This week (6th Jan), Derek T found a male Sparrowhawk in the hedge of his front garden, freshly dead but, rather mysteriously, with no obvious reasons for its demise.

After discussing this with Andy M, Derek decided to contact the RSPB who are very interested to understand the reasons behind why birds of prey die.  Whilst many die of natural or accidental causes, sadly there are cases of birds of prey being illegally shot or poisoned.

Derek therefore contacted the RSPB Investigations Intelligence Office at the Lodge (01767 680551, or who were very interested and, having requested photographs, made arrangements for the dead bird to be send to the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) for analysis ... more to come on this story, once the PBMS results are known!

More information on what to do if you find a dead bird of prey can be found here:
and this You-Tube video: (you may recognise someone!)

Catkins and other flowers on Granta Park

Andy M noted the Hazel catkins were looking very fine in the sun this week in Sluice Wood, with more Aconites and Snowdrop in flower, as well as the first glossy Wild Arum leaves starting to appear.

Monday 6 January 2020

Winter sun around Granta Park

A few photos from around Granta Park recently in some lovely winter sun.  Andy M

Snowdrop and Aconite flowers starting to appear

On Sunday (5th), David F spotted that the first Snowdrops were starting to come into flower in the Granta Park wooded areas.  Similarly, at lunchtime today, Andy M noted the first Aconites were also starting to show near the sluice.

Photos Andy M:
Most of the Snowdrops are still like this .... 

 ... with some just starting to flower ...

...  but jut a few are well ahead of the game!

The first Aconites, just starting to flower

Sunday 5 January 2020

Dec 2019. Interesting sightings around the Abingtons

December 2019
Amphibians and Reptiles
No sightings reported this month. 

Fieldfare – flocks of up to 40 around Granta Park, along with smaller numbers of Redwing.
Starling – flocks of between 800-1800 murmurating over Granta Park most evenings towards the end of the month, before roosting in the reedbeds there.
Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull – flock of ~50 in fields beside Old Railway Cutting on 29th.  A few Black-headed Gull also seen flying over Granta Park.
Goldfinch – around 50 feeding on Fat Hen seeds in fields along Bourn Bridge Road. Regular flock of 10-12 on feeders in Lewis Crescent. Greenfinch – 1-2 regularly with Goldfinch flock on feeders, with small numbers of Chaffinch too.
Bullfinch – 1-2 females along old Railway Cutting on two occasions.
Flocks of Blue Tit, Great Tit, up to 10-12 Long-tailed Tit, and occasional Coal Tit all visiting garden feeders, and in a mixed flock in Lagden’s Grove.
Meadow Pipit – around 20 feeding on rough ground on Granta Park (18th).
Song Thrush – several reports of birds singing towards end of the month.
Mistle Thrush – occasionally reported singing around Granta Park.
Jay – several reports of 1-2 birds feeding in gardens and around oak trees.
Buzzard – reports of 1-3 birds, around Cook’s Meadow, Cambridge Road and the LSA.
Sparrowhawk – seen in several gardens around both villages.  Occasional reports of Kestrel.
Red Kite – two sightings, one above Perse playing fields and another on the LSA.
Tawny Owl – heard calling on several occasions across the villages.
Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch on garden feeder on High St, Lt Abington.
Green Woodpecker – pair in Cambridge Road garden.
Treecreeper – single bird reported in garden along Bourn Bridge Road, and in Granta Park.
Grey Wagtail – several reports of single bird feeding along river edges near the sluice and recreation ground.
Little Egret – one along river in Sluice Wood (10th, 13th) and near Millennium Bridge (27th, 31st ).
Grey Heron – one regularly along river near Sluice Wood, and in a Cambridge Road garden. One also spotted being mobbed by corvids.
Cormorant – single bird flying over Granta Park (23rd).
Mallard – regularly 40-80 in Granta Park lake early in the month. Latterly, small groups along the river, as water levels too high in the lake.
Lapwing – flock of c30 flying over fields near Pampisford Road (2nd)
Red-legged Partridge – small covey in field near Ley Rectory Farm on 17th.
Collared Dove – up to 10 around feeders on Lewis Crescent.

Butterflies, Bees and other insects
No sightings reported this month. 

Bat – single bat, larger than a Pipistrelle, reported on 25th in Lt Abington church.  Further sighting of a bat near Sluice Wood on 31st.
Badger – three or four on the track near Abington Park Farm, at night.
Muntjac Deer – one in garden along High St, Lt Abington.

River levels were very high for a few days around 20th, returning to normal by the end of the month. The high flow scoured the debris, and maybe even reshaped the riverbed in places, leaving it largely clear now.  

Rainfall for December was 87.5 mm, a wet month causing high river levels at one point.  Minimum temperature of minus 3.4ºC, with a high of 13.2ºC at the beginning of the month.

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for December 2019:
Judith Allen, Darren Bast, Peter Brunning, Anne Dunbar-Nobes, David Farrant, Gaynor Farrant, Robin Harman, Jennifer Hirsh, Andy Merryweather, Brian Parris, Gareth Rees, Gill Smith, John and Maggie Turner, Derek Turnidge, Sally Turnidge,

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         
Mammals:                        Gill Smith                
Flora:   Currently vacant - if interested, please contact David Farrant for more details.

Thursday 2 January 2020

Starling murmurations over Granta Park

Large numbers of Starling have again been seen gathering and murmurating over Granta Park around dusk, before roosting in the reedbed around the lake (around 4pm).  Initially a flock of 500 - 800 birds was seen on 23rd December by Andy M, but today the flock was estimated to be over 1500 birds.  An impressive sight!

Estimated 500-800 Starlings on 23rd December

Larger flock of more than 1500 birds on 2nd January

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 (