Wednesday 24 November 2021

Dramatic skies in a wide open landscape

Andy M took a walk up the hill at the end of Chalky Road recently, when the sun was breaking through dark dramatic-looking clouds.

A few Garden Birds

With the coming of the colder weather, a greater variety of birds have been visiting Andy M's garden recently, with the prospect of finding easier food. One or occasionally two Jay have been busy gathering acorns from the oak at the bottom of the garden, and carefully stashing them for the colder weather to come. Several Blackbird have taken up residence in the hawthorn, carefully selecting the most nutritious berries to eat, scattering the rejects carelessly below. Similarly, Greenfinch have been learning how to take the ripe seed from the spent sunflower heads. Both Green Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpecker have visited, and a male Sparrowhawk has found easy pickings from the Goldfinch flock that regularly frequent the feeders. Blue Tit and Long-tailed Tit are also regulars, passing through in noisy, busy flocks of ever-increasing size.


Jay, just before carefully 'planting' the acorn in the lawn

Jay carefully stashing an acorn


pair of Jay

male Blackbird, making the most of the haw berries

Greenfinch, working out where the seeds are

Greenfinch, getting the hang of taking
ripe sunflower seeds from the old heads.

Green Woodpecker

male Great Spotted Woodpecker

female Great Spotted Woodpecker, 
which lacks the red nape patch seen in the male

male Sparrowhawk

male Sparrowhawk, with its Goldfinch prey

Long-tailed Tit

Long-tailed Tit

Blue Tit

Blue Tit

Blue Tit - taking to the air

Tuesday 23 November 2021

October 2021 - Interesting sightings from around the Abingtons.

October 2021

Amphibians and Reptiles

Only one report this month, of a Common Toad in LA.



A total of 335 reports received this month, containing 47 different species. The summer visitors are now well and truly gone, to be replaced by the first of the winter visitors. Several Fieldfare were first reported on 7th, slightly earlier than 12th in 2021, but more broadly across the country the appearance of winter visitors is said to be generally 1-2 weeks later than average.

Fieldfare – four reported in back garden on Church lane, on 7th. No other reports in October, and no Redwing reported.

Black-headed Gull – flocks of 50+ reported on Perse sports field, with an occasional Great Black-backed Gull also seen in fields.

Kingfisher – single bird reported being seen on 10th in Sluice Wood.

Chiffchaff – single report of a single bird along the ORC on 15th.

Great Tit, Blue Tit – mixed flocks of up to 18, with 2-8 regularly reported at several garden feeders, alongside 1-2 Coal Tit in Cambridge Rd and Lewis Crescent gardens, and small flocks of 2-8 Long-tailed Tit seen more occasionally.  One report of a Goldcrest amongst a tit flock.

Goldfinch – good numbers (up to 15) regularly on feeders, with 2-8 Greenfinch also seen regularly. Smaller numbers (1-3) of Chaffinch more occasionally.

Pied Wagtail – several reports of 1-5 from several sites, and one Grey Wagtail along the river in Sluice Wood (15th). Also along the river, single reports of a Grey Heron and a Little Egret, both near the Millennium Bridge. A single Barnacle Goose seen on GP (15th).

Jay – regularly 1-2 in some gardens, particularly around oak trees, but also under feeders.

Blackbird – more regularly reported in gardens again, particularly in berry-bearing bushes. Song Thrush – two reported twice, and two Mistle Thrush also seen in Lewis Crescent (27th). Robin also regularly seen, as well as occasional Dunnock and Wren.

Nuthatch – 1-2 continue to visit a garden on High Street, LA, but also more unusually, seen in gardens on Cambridge Road and Bourn Bridge Road. Great Spotted Woodpecker – seen often on feeders in several gardens, and a Green Woodpecker was reported three times.

Sparrowhawk – more frequently spotted hunting near garden feeders this month. Buzzard – four sightings of 1-2 birds over the village, as well as two reports of 1-4 Red Kite, and one Kestrel on Cambridge Road.

Skylark – up to 10 singing near AbPkFm, as well as flocks of 50+ Linnet feeding along the field edges. Meadow Pipit – two also seen on the LSA (20th)


Butterflies, Bees and other insects

October has not been a good month for invertebrates this year, especially butterflies, with 28 reports of butterflies in total. Butterfly reports for October were dominated by Red Admiral and Peacock. The weather was very variable with quite a lot of rain. Total number of reports 41.

All reports are from within the boundaries of Great and Little Abington. Note that the numbers given are the number of reports of a species, not not the numbers of butterflies and other insects seen.


Fallow Deer – three along the ORC on 15th, and 20 on LSA near the Hildersham parish border on 25th.

Hedgehog – one caught on camera on 15th and 16th at around 5am, and one spotted snuffling around a Lewis Crescent garden on 26th.

Mole – still much in evidence on the recreation ground.

Muntjac – one seen in High St. LA garden on 18th.

Roe Deer a young one was seen running down North Road on 18th.

Flora and Fungi

No specific reports this month.



We do not usually sample in the winter months but continue to walk the bank, and monitor in case of any problems – very little to report. After heavy rain on on 14th, there were high flows in the river but they quickly subsided.



The total rainfall was 78.5mm, with 40 mm of this falling over 2 days in the middle of the month. The highest temperature recorded was 23.2 degrees C on the 9th October and the lowest was 1.8 degrees C on the 22nd. Overall temperatures were a bit above average. It was a relatively quiet month, except at the very end when there were some strong south-westerly winds.

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for October 2021:
Peter Brunning, Lois Bull, Robin Harman, David Farrant, Gaynor Farrant, Jennifer Hirsh, Carole McCrae, Len Mead, Andy Merryweather, Gill Smith, Richard Smith, Derek Turnidge, Sally Turnidge.

Sunday 7 November 2021

Knot Grass Moth caterpillar

Polly M found this rather colourful Knot Grass Moth caterpillar in the greenhouse recently, apparently eating the basil plant leaves.

Dramatic skies

Dramatic light and skies south of Chalky Road.

photos Andy M

Fallow Deer along Old Railway Cutting

Whilst walking quietly along the Old Railway Cutting recently, Andy M came across this young Fallow Deer, feeding on berries from the hedgerow.  It was rather unperturbed by Andy's presence, and carried on feeding until it finally quietly moved into the undergrowth.

Berries - along the Old Railway Cutting

One sunny lunchtime recently Andy M noted the abundance of berries along the Old Railway Cutting.










Old Man's Beard and Blackberry

Old Man's Beard


Peter B found this 'boletus' fungus in his garden.

Bat 'roosting' in garden parasol

Earlier in the month, Genevieve found the bat 'roosting' in the folds of her garden parasol, as she was moving it to her shed. Rather a nice close-up view.

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 (