Monday 14 March 2022

Summary of Sightings from around The Abingtons - February 2022

February 2022

Amphibians and Reptiles

Reports of Smooth Newt from two ponds in LA, and Frogspawn seen in another LA pond.



A quieter month, with a total of 313 reports received containing 36 different species. Winter visitors such as Fieldfare and Redwing continue to be seen, as well as the first Brambling of the year.

A female Brambling was spotted amongst Chaffinch under feeders on Lewis Crescent, first seen on 2nd and then twice more. This finch is a winter visitor to the UK, most commonly seen in gardens early in the year, before migrating north in April (see blog link).

The winter thrush continued to be seen regularly, with small flocks of 5-10 Redwing and 4-5 Fieldfare seen on Church Lane and the LSA, as well as a larger mixed flock of around 90 birds on the Perse sport fields on 12th.

Blackcap were spotted towards the end of the month, with a pair visiting the feeders on Lewis Crescent, and a male regularly visiting a garden in the village centre. Interestingly, this month a Reed Bunting was also seen under garden feeders in both Bourn Bridge Rd and Meadow Walk.

Goldfinch and Greenfinch were regularly seen in flocks of up to 10-11 on feeders around the village, as were smaller numbers of Chaffinch (generally 2-5). Small groups of Blue Tit,  Great Tit and Long-tailed Tit were also frequently reported, along with 1-2 Coal Tit in some gardens.

Song Thrush and Dunnock were regularly heard singing in several gardens throughout the month, as were 2-3 Robin and an occasional Wren, and groups of House Sparrow could be heard chirping on sunny days. A few Starling were seen, as were 2-3 Pied Wagtail particularly in the paddocks on the LSA.

A Green Woodpecker was seen in a Cambridge Rd garden, with 1-2 Great Spotted Woodpecker more regularly spotted at several garden feeders. One of two Jay and Magpie were also frequently visitors to some gardens, with up to five Magpie seen on the LSA.

Of the raptors, Red Kite was the most frequently reported from sites all around the villages with up to three being seen over Church Lane, and up to five Buzzard were spotted riding the thermals.  Three reports of a Kestrel and one of a Sparrowhawk were received, and a Barn Owl was heard screeching from the trees behind Lewis Crescent on 22nd.


Butterflies, Bees and other insects

This month saw the first Brimstone butterflies appearing on 14th, with the first (and only) Small Tortoiseshell being spotted on 26th.

Four reports of Buff-tailed Bumblebee, and a good number of Seven-spot Ladybird seen emerging from foliage in the warm sunshine.



Badger – two tracks seen in mud along the Old Carriage Road, suggesting a regularly used route.

Flora and Fungi

Wild Arum foliage showing well, and the first shoots of Dog’s Mercury appearing in Sluice Wood and Lagden’s Grove, GP. Snowdrop and Aconite continue to flower well at several sites around the villages, with the first Lesser Celandine and Sweet Violet flowers seen at the end of the month in Sluice Wood.


No reports this month.



In summary – February was stormy and wet. The worst of the storms came in the middle and end of the month with storms Eugene and Franklin, when wind speeds gusted to over 70 mph at times. The total rainfall was 59mm, so above average, and as a result the river has been running high but with no flooding. The highest temperature was 16 degrees C on the 1st, and the lowest being minus 2.6 degrees on the 11th.

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for February 2022:
Mike Bull, David Farrant, Gaynor Farrant, Jennifer Hirst, Len Mead, Andy Merryweather, Polly Merryweather, Freda Orgee, Brian Parris, Gill Smith, Richard Smith, Jade Taylor-Salazar, John and Maggie Turner, Derek Turnidge, Sally Turnidge.

Sunday 13 March 2022

A few photos from a village walk

13th March 2022 - David F took a stroll around the village this weekend, and noted a few interesting items:
The first few Lesser Celandine were coming into flower 
along the Protected Road Verge, Bourn Bridge Road

In Sluice Wood, the Dog's Mercury were well advanced

A couple of Canada Goose were the only occupants on Granta Park lake

Clearing up after Storm Eunice brought a large tree down
across the river in Lagden's Grove, on Granta park.

Red Kite overhead!

9th March 2022 - There have been quite a few reports of Red Kite flying around the villages recently, and John T noted one such bird flying low over his garden this week. Luckily, he had his camera to hand to capture a lovely photograph of this truly majestic bird.

[Photo John Turner]      

Tuesday 8 March 2022

Regular Blackcap visitor

23rd February 2022 - John and Maggie T report having a male Blackcap regularly visit their garden recently, and John took the time to take this lovely photo.

[photo John Turner]     

Monday 7 March 2022

A walk around Granta Park - winter's still here, but spring is coming!

27th February 2022 - a walk around Granta Park one sunny morning, solidly affirmed that spring is well on its way.  Flowers and fresh green shoots were popping up everywhere, and all around birds in their best breeding plumage were singing loudly, but aspects of winter still remain!  Andy M.

Meadow Pipit, one of a small still gathered together in a winter feeding flock

Meadow Pipit

In the shady patches, the night's frost still lingered on the Aconites

But elsewhere in the sun, some Aconites were still in flower ... just!


In the woods... 

... the Long-tailed Tit were starting to pair up ...

Long-tailed Tit

Long-tailed Tit

... whilst the Blue Tit were very much in evidence
calling to attract a mate and establish territories ...

as were the Great Tit.

Great Tit

A little further along, many of the Snowdrop flowers were
now over, but one or two pockets still remain in full flower ...





In a thicket, a small flock of Redwing busily searching for any 
remaining berries, building up their reserves before heading north later this month

and in the bee hives, the Honey Bees were also busy,
getting out and about in the warm sun.

In the more open areas, other plants were bursting into foliage and flower ...

... like the Wild Arum ...

Wild Arum

... and the shoots of Dog's Mercury ...

Dog's Mercury

... and in one or two spots the sun, the first Celandines ...



and Sweet Violet flowers were starting to show.

The bright sun highlights the pale bark against the blue sky ...

... and up in the trees, the Rook are busy 
building, and noisily defending their nests ...

... keeping a watchful eye above the rookery.

Also soaring above, a Red Kite ...

... and a Buzzard.


Down by the river, now running fast and clear again after the recent storms ...

... a Grey Heron struts around in search of something to eat ...

Grey Heron

... and around the lake, the old stems of the reeds are largely broken off, 
evidence perhaps of the Starling flocks that use this as a winter roost.

Not much in the way of birds on the lake, but 
around the edge small group of Canada Geese rest and feed.

Canada Goose

And in amongst all the newly emerging spring life, the evidence of the recent winter storm, 
 Storm Eunice, whose strong winds had toppled or simply snapped off a number of large trees.

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 (