Sunday 15 August 2021

July 2021 - Interesting sightings from around the Abingtons

July 2021

Amphibians and Reptiles

Common Frog – one report of a froglet, seen after dark in GA garden.

Common Toad – one report from Cambridge Rd, LA.



Larger flocks of young birds were widely seen this month, particularly of Blue Tit and Great Tit, with young Great Spotted Woodpecker observed ‘learning the ropes’ on bird feeders. House Martin, Swallow and Swift continued to be widely seen, particularly the latter with flocks of 15-20 seen above GA church. A total of 303 reports received this month, containing 53 different species.

Kingfisher – single sighting of a bird flying along the river near the Millennium Bridge (17th).

Common Sandpiper – single bird feeding along the margins of GP lake.

House Martin – regularly up to 12 seen over Mortlock Gardens. Swift – eleven reports, mostly seen around both churches and drinking from the GP lake, but also more unusually over the LSA, with up to 20 seen feeding high above GA church. Swallow – four reports this month, with a flock of ~10 adults and fledged young seen feeding over the crops south of Chalky Rd (23rd).

Warblers – Blackcap and Chiffchaff continue to be heard at several sites, with occasional sightings of Lesser Whitethroat and Common Whitethroat along the Roman Road and the ORC. Reed Warbler – a male briefly heard singing in the GP reeds around the lake (17th).

Blue Tit, Great Tit – flocks of 10-20 young birds widely reported on garden feeders this month, along with small numbers of Coal Tit and Long-tailed Tit.

Chaffinch – 1-2 seen more regularly in gardens this month, alongside groups of 4-6 Goldfinch and Greenfinch seen more regularly.  Regular reports too of Blackbird, Robin and Dunnock, and more occasionally, Wren and Song Thrush.

Skylark – up to 20 regularly seen over the fields south of the LSA. Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting, Linnet – small numbers (2-5) also occasionally seen on the ORC, LSA and Roman Road.

Owls and Raptors – Barn Owl – continue to be regularly heard late evening near Lewis Crescent, and  Tawny Owl – heard calling from around GP.  Sparrowhawk – two reports around garden feeders, and four reports of a Red Kite flying low over Lewis Crescent. Regular sightings of a Kestrel, particularly around Cambridge Rd, and a Buzzard.

Great Spotted Woodpecker – both adult and 1-2 young birds regularly visiting feeders in several gardens, and a Green Woodpecker was regularly seen in a Cambridge Road garden, and on the LSA. Nuthatch – a single bird seen in gardens on High St, LA and BBRd.

Jay – one seen in a Cambridge Rd garden.  Magpie – 1-3 adults and young birds widely reported.

Stock Dove – a pair regularly visiting under feeders on Lewis Crescent, and 1-2 Collared Dove also regularly seen.

Grey Wagtail – two reports of one feeding alongside the river by the Recreation Ground. Pied Wagtail – small groups feeding in paddocks on the LSA, and the GP cricket green. 

Barnacle Goose – four around GP lake, alongside several family groups of 10 Canada Goose.  Mallard – up to 30 on GP lake, as well as several Moorhen, also seen on an LSA garden pond.


Butterflies, Bees and other insects

July has again not been a good month for invertebrates, especially butterflies. This month there were 241 reports of butterflies in total, which was better than June, but notably fewer than July 2020 with 528 reports. The weather this July was very variable with a few hot days, grey days and quite a lot of heavy rain.

All these reports are from within the boundaries of Great and Little Abington. Note that the numbers given are not the numbers of butterflies and other insects but the number of times a species was reported by someone.

Butterflies (20 species, 241 reports)

Butterfly reports for July were dominated by Small White, Meadow Brown and Red Admiral. 

More Marbled Whites. Five possible sightings of Painted Lady. White-letter Hairstreak reported by a member who has reported it in previous years. It is uncommon.

Bees (6 species, 35 reports)

Relatively few reports of Bumblebees that are normally seen in greater numbers at this time of year

Moths (6 species, 6 reports)

Dragonflies (4 species, 8 reports), Damselflies (5 species, 10 reports)

Other invertebrates 3 species, 3 reports)


Bat – seen over a BBRd garden regularly throughout the month. Several seen in Lewis Crescent,  most likely Pipistrelles.

Fallow Deer  - one in a field near Abington Park Farm on 16th.

Grey Squirrel – several in a BB Rd garden regularly, and also regularly seen throughout the village.

Hare – one adult and three leverets in the meadow outside the Illumina building on GP the 17th.

Porcupine – one was seen in GP on the 28th.  Not known if it is the same one seen in Harston a few days later or if there are several escapees. 

Flora & Fungi

Wild flowers reported in bloom this month: Mullien. Greater Knapweed, Common Knapweed, Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Meadow Vetchling, Stonecrop, Field ScabiousLady’s Bedstraw, Hedge Bedstraw, Wild Carrot, Ragwort, Common St John’s Wort, Oxford Ragwort, Field Poppy, Oxeye Daisy, Wild Majoram, Hemlock, White Campion, Wild Parnsip, Red-dead Nettle, Chicory, Pyramidal Orchid, Spear Thistle.



A good litter pick this month, with very little litter.



A very mixed month weatherwise from high temperatures of well over 30 degrees in the middle of the month, sparking-off torrential downpours with 68mm falling in three hours on the 19th July. The total rainfall for the month was 106mm, the highest temperature was 34.8 degrees on the 17th July and lowest was 6.8 degrees on the 1st July. Winds were mainly light and predominantly from the north east.

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for July 2021:
Peter Brunning, Lois Bull, Mike Bull, David Farrant, Gaynor Farrant, Jennifer Hirsh, M Hammond, Karen and Esme Langford, Carole McCrae, Len Mead, Andy Merryweather, Polly Merryweather, Freda Orgee, Brian Parris, Marion Rusted, Gill Smith, Derek Turnidge.

Please email your sightings, within the Abington parishes, to the relevant ANW Recorder:
Amphibians & Reptiles    Gaynor Farrant      
Birds:                             Derek Turnidge     
Butterflies, Bees etc:       Jennifer Hirsh        
Mammals:                       Gill Smith              
Flora recorder 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. AbPkFm – Abington Park Farm.

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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 (