Sunday 24 April 2022

Long-tailed Tit nest

Brian P found a Long-tailed Tit nest from last year, and brought it to the ANW spring meeting for us to see. The covered dome-shaped nest, around 4-6 inches in diameter, which has a small entrance hole, is made almost entirely from moss and lichen, held together with spider's web, and lined with feathers.  This makes it remarkably strong as well as being very flexible, allowing it to stretch to accommodate the growing brood.  Quite a feat of engineering.

Roman Road walk

17th April 2022 - Andy M took an early morning walk along the Roman Road, east of Worsted Lodge recently. Many Cowslips, an abundance of pink Crabapple blossom, and several species of farmland birds were seen in the morning sun.

View east, towards the Hildersham boundary

View west, towards Worsted Lodge


An abundance of lovely pink-tinged Crabapple blossom

Crabapple blossom

Crabapple blossom

Common Whitethroat (and Lesser Whitethroat) had just arrived
(see previous blog post)

Male Yellowhammer

A Corn Bunting singing its characteristic 
'jangling of keys' song

Corn Bunting - note the heavy pale yellow bill



An Orange-tip butterfly on a Dandelion flower


Ground Ivy

The first few flowers of Cow Parsley were starting to appear

Shepherd's Purse

Bird ringing trip for Esme

March 2022 - Esme L and her mum Karen got the chance to accompany two licensed bird-ringers from the BTO, early one morning in a Hertfordshire woodland.  It was an amazing experience, watching how the birds are harmlessly caught in a fine mist net, then carefully weighed and measured before having a small metal ring, carrying a unique number, attached around their leg, before finally being released. Ringing birds in the way, over many years, has helped the BTO track how birds move around their environment, and monitor their populations.

Esme was able to see several bird species up close, and to handle some of them.  A truly inspiring trip, which one day may lead to Esme training to become a bird-ringer herself.

Two BTO-licensed bird ringers carefully retrieving
birds caught in a very fine mist net

Birds are identified, measured and weighed,
before a small ring is attached to their leg

Great Tit - note the small numbered aluminium 
ring on the bird's right leg


Esme carefully holding a Blue Tit ...

... before releasing it

A few Ladybirds

17th April 2022 - Polly M found this Ten-spot Ladybird in her garden - only about 3-4mm long - with its characteristic yellow and black patterning. 

A day or so later, she also found a Harlequin Ladybird, which unusually has a number of differently-coloured patterns within the same species.

Ten-spot Ladybird

Harlequin Ladybird

Harlequin Ladybird

Along the Old Railway Cutting

10th April 2022 - Spring is coming and the birds were starting to become much more evident, singing for their territories, and mates, along the Old Railway Cutting. The first butterflies and bumblebees were also starting to appear in amongst the early flowers.

Chiffchaff on old Hemlock stems

Singing Chiffchaff

Singing Chiffchaff

Blackcap - a really quite cross one!

Male Yellowhammer




Female Pied Wagtail

Female Pied Wagtail - hunting in the rough grass

Buff-tailed Bumblebee on Blackthorn blossom

Small Tortoiseshell butterfly - one of the first of the year!

Tree Bumblebee - feeding from Ground Ivy flowers.
Note the gingery thorax.


Old Thistle seedheads

Ground Ivy

Wild Crabapple blossom

Kestrel with prey

18th April 2022 - John T saw a Kestrel flying above the cricket field carrying a prey item, possibly a rat, and captured this lovely photo.

Flowers around the village

David F and Derek T noted a few flowers starting to show around the village this month:

Cowslip were seen on Granta Park on 3rd, and along the path between Cambridge Rd and Church Lane on 10th.  A small patch of Bluebell were in flower on 16th along Bourn Bridge Road.  Both Ground Ivy and Garlic Mustard were very much in evidence in Sluice Wood on 21st, and Forget-me-not started to appear on 24th also in Sluice Wood.

Cowslip - Granta Park [photo David F]

Cowslip - near Church Lane [photo Derek T]

Bluebell - near Bourn Bridge Road [photo David F]

Ground Ivy - Sluice Wood [photo David F]

Garlic Mustard - Sluice Wood [photo David F]

Forget-me-not - Sluice Wood [photo David F]

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 (