Tuesday 19 October 2021

September 2021 - Interesting Sightings from around the Abingtons

September 2021

Amphibians and Reptiles

A few odd sightings of Common Frog on the LSA and Gt. Abington and a Common Toad also in Gt. Abington. No reports at all of reptiles. The season has been particularly bad this year and I can only think that the spring weather part contributed to this.


A quieter month in terms of numbers of reports, with a total of 270 reports received, containing 43 different species. A few species of summer visitor were still being seen until around mid-month, as well as a few Warblers, although these may now be resident birds.

Swallow – six reports of up to 4 birds, mostly flying low, feeding as they went, so most likely on migration. One nesting pair successfully produced three broods again this year. Last report on 20th.  House Martin – nine reports, often of large flocks of up to 30 birds over Lewis Crescent and Granta Park, preparing to migrate. Last report 15th. Swift – no reports this month.

Kingfisher – single bird flying under the the road bridge on 5th.

Hobby – single bird flying over Lewis Crescent on 4th and 8th, accompanying flocks of House Martin.

Chiffchaff – several reports from gardens on Cambridge Road and Lewis Crescent, as well as on GP.  Blackcap – single report of an adult female feeding in undergrowth on GP.

Barn Owl, Tawny Owl – two reports each of birds calling during the night.

Great Tit, Blue Tit – small flocks (6-8) regularly at several garden feeders, as well as 1-2 Coal Tit and Long-tailed Tit, seen more occasionally.

Greenfinch – good numbers (up to 20) regularly on feeders especially early in the month, with flocks of 15-25 Goldfinch also seen regularly. Smaller numbers of Chaffinch (1-2) more occasionally.

Pied Wagtail – more frequently reported from several sites, with up to 40 feeding on the GP cricket field, accompanied by 3 juvenile Yellow Wagtail on 8th.

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker – three reports each at several sites, and one of a Nuthatch visiting a garden feeder on High Street, LA.

Buzzard – fairly frequently seen and heard calling over the village, sometimes 4-6 soaring high up whilst travelling through. Kestrel – one report on Cambridge Road, and Sparrowhawk, two reports from LSA and Lewis Crescent. No reports of Red Kite this month.

Robin – regularly heard singing as both males and females mark out their winter feeding territories.  Dunnock, Wren and Song Thrush – also all regularly reported in gardens.  Starling – small flocks (up to 40) starting to gather and move around together, particularly towards dusk.

Jay – 1-2 increasingly seen in some gardens, especially those with oak trees nearby, as the birds busily collect and stash acorns.


Butterflies, Bees and other insects

September has also not been a good month for invertebrates, especially butterflies, this year with 61 reports of butterflies in total.  The weather in September was very variable and quite a lot of rain. Total number of reports 88.  Butterfly reports were dominated by Small White and Red Admiral.

All reports are from within the boundaries of Great and Little Abington. Note the numbers given are the number of reports of a species received, not the number of individual insects.


Bat – regularly seen in a Cambridge Road garden up to 21st,  also one in a Westfield garden clinging to garden parasol.

Hare – one young hare seen by Illumina in Granta Park on 6th.

Hedgehog – droppings were seen in a Meadow Walk garden during September.

Mole – reappeared in a High Street garden.  Also much evidence on the Recreation Ground.

Muntjac –one seen in Sluice Wood on the 8th, one seen in a Cambridge Rd garden on 21st, and one heard in Abington Woods on 29th and 30th.


Flora and Fungi

No specific reports this month.



After a rather poor result from our August sampling session, with low numbers of several species, we repeated the exercise on 3rd September with help from Ruth Hawksley of the Wildlife Trust. 

With very careful counting of the smallest creatures, we just managed to pass our threshold. There is a new Extended Riverfly sampling with many more species to report but it did not seem a good time to try that. We did buy the new guide for info. 

No further river sampling is planned this year. 


Another strange month with 74.5 mm of rain, 41mm of which fell in one day on the 14th! The highest temperature was 27.3 degrees C on the 18th with ten days of temperatures in the mid-twenties, a true Indian summer.

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for September 2021:

Peter Brunning, David Farrant, Gaynor Farrant, Sheena Fraser, Jennifer Hirsh, Carole McCrae, Andy Merryweather, Brian Parris, Marion Rusted, Gill Smith, Margo Stevens, Derek Turnidge.

Wednesday 6 October 2021

Southern Hawker Dragonfly

Earlier in September, on a sunny evening, the dragonfly that had been patrolling Andy M's garden continuously all day, finally came to rest on a sunny wall, giving the chance for a good look at it.

It turned out to be a female Southern Hawker dragonfly, distinguished by the bands of solid colour encircling the last two body segments (other species have a broken band or paired spots of colour), and a pale narrow inverted triangle on the first segment behind the wings.   Lovely to get such a good view!

Unknown caterpillars! - Update ... now identified!

Carole M spotted a couple of different types of caterpillar 'decimating' her germanium and hosta plants.  One type was stripy and hairy, and maybe the caterpillar of the Large White butterfly - although they are more commonly found eating brassicas. The other browner caterpillar, with lines of 'eyes' down the side, has so far evaded identification!  Any ideas?

Update, many thanks to Iain Webb (Wildlife Trust) for the identification of Buff-tip Moth and Yellow Underwing Moth caterpillars.

Buff-tip Moth caterpillar

Yellow Underwing Moth caterpillar

Further 'spidery' developments

Following up on her recently reported Wasp Spider along the Protected Road Verge on Bourn Bridge Road, Justine U has spotted some 'further developments' ... Mrs Wasp Spider has been busy building a nest!!

Common Toad

Justine U recently found this rather well-camouflaged Common Toad - one of only a few reported recently.

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: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=213774935674882866424.00000111dca2be9f06ab8&z=13>

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 (amerryweather61@gmail.com)