Sunday 9 August 2020

July 2020. Interesting sightings from around the Abingtons.

July 2020
Amphibians and Reptiles
No sightings reported.

A generally quieter month for birds. Many species have now completed their breeding, and both adults and fledged young are quietly feeding and moulting.  Exceptions were Skylark, Song Thrush and Wren which were regularly heard singing along ORC and in Sluice Wood, and Robin starting to sing again in a GA garden towards the end of the month.
Sand Martin – two reports of two birds apparently travelling through, from the Roman Road and ORC; House Martin – up to 4 regularly reported over GA and on GP; Swift – seen regularly, c10 around LA church (12th), and a steady stream of c30 travelling high and heading south (11th); Swallow – four reports of family groups of up to 6 on LSA and ORC.
Blackcap – small family groups of up to 4 feeding along the ORC, and a pair in an LSA garden; Common Whitethroat, Chiffchaff– similar reports of family groups (up to 6) on LSA and ORC, with an occasional singing male; one report of a Lesser Whitethroat on the ORC (7th).
Blue Tit, Great Tit – family groups (c6) regularly reported on several garden feeders, and an occasional report of Coal Tit and Long-tailed Tit.
Goldfinch – adults and young in flocks of up to 12 on GP, LSA and Roman Road; Chaffinch – 1-2 reported away from gardens on LSA and ORC, as were 1-2 Greenfinch.  Bullfinch – three reports of 1-2 at several sites.
Corn Bunting, Linnet, Yellowhammer – all often seen and heard in hedgerows on ORC and LSA.
House Sparrow – small colony evident again after a few weeks away from GA garden.  Dunnock – 1-2 young birds regularly reported feeding under shrubs in garden, and on ORC.
Great Spotted Woodpecker – two young in Cambridge Road garden, and regularly on garden feeders on LA High St. Green Woodpecker – reported in a garden on LSA, three seen near GA church, and an adult seen teaching young to search for food in LSA garden.
Nuthatch – regular visitor to garden feeders on LA High Street.
Sparrowhawk – male hunting along hedgerow of ORC (7th); Kestrel – single female/young hunting on ORC and Roman Road; Buzzard – single bird often reported.
Grey Wagtail – one report of single bird near Millennium Bridge (29th); Pied Wagtail – family group of c12 on GP cricket field.
Grey Heron – single bird seen near village cricket field, around garden pond on South Rd, and flying over LSA.  Cormorant – single bird seen fishing for sticklebacks in LSA pond.
Collared Dove – occasion pairs seen; Jay – several reports of single birds.
Barnacle Goose – 2 adult seen on GP, along with 14 Canada Goose, c30 Mallard which were largely in eclipse plumage, and four Moorhen.

Butterflies, Bees and other insects
July has again been a good month for invertebrates this year, especially butterflies, with 627 reports in total; this is notably more than July 2019 with 457 reports.  The weather in July was very variable with quite a lot of hot spells, grey days and not much rain. Again, the on-going lockdown due to the pandemic of Coronavirus COVID 19, forced many villagers to stay at home as requested by the government.  Fortunately, most of our villagers have gardens, so watching butterflies and other wildlife was again a welcome respite from all the worries and stress caused by the virus. Also, when people were able to get out more for exercise, they were walking in parts of the village where there were more likely to see butterflies and other insects and less likely to come into contact with other people.
All these reports are from within the boundaries of Great and Little Abington parishes, including a few from Granta Park.  Note that the numbers given below are the number of reports of a species (not the number of butterflies).

Butterflies (21 species, 627 reports)
Butterfly reports for July were dominated by Meadow Brown, Red Admiral and the ‘Whites’. A few Marbled White again, and two possible sightings of Painted Lady. Silver-washed Fritillary was seen by two reporters, it is uncommon.
Butterfly species
Butterfly species
Meadow Brown
Small Skipper
Red Admiral
Marbled White
Small White
Large Skipper
Common Blue
Speckled Wood
Silver-washed Fritillary
Small Copper
Large White
Small Heath
Brown Argus
Small Tortoiseshell
unidentified spp
Green-veined White

Bees (5 species, 41 reports)
Bee species
Bee species
White-tailed Bumblebee
Honey Bee
Buff-tailed Bumblebee
Carder Bee
Red-tailed Bumblebee

Moths (4 species, 9 reports)
Moth species
Moth species
Hummingbird Hawk Moth
Cinnabar moth
Box Tree Moth
White Plumed Moth
 A number of moth species were trapped by Andy M this month - not included above, but see link to Blog item

Dragonflies (3 species, 8 reports), and Damselflies (3 species, 3 reports)
Dragonfly species
Damselfly species
Southern Hawker
Large Red Damselfly
Ruddy Darter
Banded Demoiselle
Azure Blue Damselfly

Other invertebrates (7 species, 9 reports)
Seven-spot Ladybird
Common Green Shieldbug
Red-legged Shieldbug
Hairy Shieldbug
Tawny Long-horn Beetle

Bat – a large bat was still flying regularly around a Bourn Bridge Road garden during the month and also in Cambridge Rd.
Fallow Deer – one seen in field by Pampisford Road and one near Abington Park Farm.
Field Vole - a continued presence in a Cambridge Road garden.
Grey Squirrel – a continued presence in a Cambridge Road garden.
Hare – 2 groups of 3 hare were seen on 23rd loping across a harvested field on LSA.
Hedgehog – one has appeared again in a different garden in Lewis Close.
Muntjac - one seen in field by Pampisford Road,one near Abington Park Farm and also in Cambridge Road.
Stoat – one was spotted in a field by Pampisford Road.

Flora species reported in flower this month:
          Pyramidal Orchid, Bramble, Centaury, Common St. John’s Wort, Hedge Bedstraw, Hoary Mullein, Wild Marjoram, Ragwort, Common Toadflax, Goat’s Beard, Common Bindweed, Lady’s Bedstraw, Knapweed, Field Scabious, Wild Basil, Common Mallow.

Peter B listened to recent U3A talk about the local water resources, pleading for an increased awareness and care of our valuable chalk streams, such as the Granta - in terms of the balance required between the need for water for human use (including abstraction), and the environment. Peter notes that Abington Rivercare got a brief mention. The slides from the lecture are available at this link.

The rainfall for July was 48.5 mm. Overall temperatures were around average, but the last two days being exceptional with a highest temperature of 37.3°C on the 31st. The lowest temperature was 5.1°C on the 21st. There were two or three very windy spells but otherwise very calm in between.

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for July 2020:
Peter Brunning, Lois Bull, Gill Croft, Anne Dunbar-Nobes, Sean Dennis, David Farrant, Gaynor Farrant, Robin Harman, Ros Hedge, Jennifer Hirsh, Carole McCrae, Len Mead, Andy Merryweather, Freda Orgee, Brian Parris, Marion Rusted, Sally Simmons, Gill Smith, Richard Smith, Derek Turnidge, Sally Turnidge, Diana Wingfield.

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.

Abbreviations: GA – Great Abington, LA – Little Abington, LSA – Land Settlement Association, GP – Granta Park, ORC – Old Railway Cutting.

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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 (