Monday 13 June 2022

May 2022 - Interesting sightings in the Abingtons

May 2022

Amphibians and Reptiles

Smooth Newt – several reports in a couple of ponds in LA, and an excellent discovery of four Common Frog in a pond in GA.



A total of 51 species were seen or heard this month, in a total of 352 reports. There were more regular reports of several summer visitors, including the first Swift and House Martin reports this year.

A single Swift was first seen flying over on 1st (cf 4th, 5th and 8th in previous years) with 6-8 heard screaming over GA church, and returning to nest sites nearby by 14th.  House Martin first returned on 10th, with 1-2 seen over the village in subsequent days, and Swallow were seen commonly on the LSA throughout the month, with up to 20 seen around the paddocks (15th).

Unusually for the Abingtons in recent years, the ‘purring’ call of a Turtle Dove was reported near the Millennium Bridge on 12th. Whilst not confirmed visually, or heard subsequently, it was thought to be a bird passing through. Equally unusually, two Egyptian Goose were seen in a High Street garden, near a renovated pond, this species being last reported in 2013.

Three male and two female Mandarin Duck were seen on GP on 3rd, with one female known to be nesting (13th). A subsequent visit (18th) indicated hatched eggshells, but no birds seen nearby.

Several species of warbler continued to be heard singing regularly at several sites, including Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Common Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat, and two Reed Warbler were heard singing from the reeds around GP lake (18th). A Grey Heron and four Greylag were also seen on the GP lake.

Mistle Thrush were spotted several times, and Song Thrush were heard singing, near continuously around mid-month, as were Skylark, Wren and Goldcrest, with the latter believed to be nesting nearby. A Treecreeper was reported on GP, and 1-2 Great Spotted Woodpecker were occasionally seen.

A female Bullfinch was reported near Church Lane (5th), with small numbers of Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch regularly seen in gardens and at other sites.  A Coal Tit was reported three times, and 1-2 Long-tailed Tit twice, as well as the regular Great Tit and Blue Tit sightings. Young Great Tit were seen being fed by an adult, as well as young Goldfinch, were both spotted mid-month in Cambridge Rd and Lewis Cres gardens.

Pied Wagtail continued to be reported around the Institute, on the LSA and on the GP cricket green, with Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting and Red-legged Partridge all seen along the Roman Road on 12th.

Buzzard, Kestrel and Red Kite were all reported from several village sites, and Sparrowhawk were reported returning to hunt again in several gardens.


Butterflies and other insects

This month saw the first reports this year of three butterfly species, as well as the first damselfly and dragonfly reports. However, compared to April, there were generally fewer butterfly reports. During May, a total of 96 records were received (butterflies 80, odonata 7, bees 4, other 5).

Butterflies: Butterfly species first reported this year during May were: Small Copper (9th, 1 report), Small Heath (from 12th, 2 reports) and Painted Lady (20th - 22nd, 4 reports).

There continued to be good numbers of Holly Blue, Brimstone, Orange Tip and Red Admiral reported, the latter being up considerably on previous months. In contrast, sightings of Peacock, Small White and Small Tortoiseshell were all lower than in April.

Number of Butterfly reports: Holly Blue 17, Brimstone 13, Orange Tip 10, Red Admiral 9, Small White 7, Green-veined White 5, Peacock 4, Painted Lady 4, Speckled Wood 3, Small Heath 2. Others: Comma, Common Blue, Large White, Small Tortoiseshell and Small Copper, all 1.

Odonata: Several Large Red Damselfly were reported from 6th (5 reports, two sites), and both an Azure Damselfly and a Broad-bodied Chaser were seen in a Cambridge Rd pond on 25th.

Other: Early Mining Bee continue to be reported on the LSA and in some gardens, and there were two reports of Buff-tailed and Red-tailed Bumblebee. Dark-edged Beefly, Harlequin, Hornet and Cockchafer were also reported, as well as both Spindle Moth and Mullein Moth caterpillars.


Bat - several at dusk over Cambridge Rd garden, likely both Pipistrelle and Serotin, on 5th and 28th.

Wood Mouse – one in Cambridge Road garden (28th).

Muntjac – one wandering along verge near Granta Park (8th). An adult and young in Sluice Wood (18th), one along the ORC (24th), and several sightings of a young one in Lewis Cres garden.


The following wildflower species were reported in flower this month: Cowslip, Red Campion, Speedwell, Common Storksbill, Forget-me-not, Cow Parsley, Oxeye Daisy, Dog Rose, Hawthorn, Buttercup, White Dead-nettle, Herb Robert.


The team reinitiated river sampling again, with a trip on 31st. There was a good turnout of eight in all, including several new recruits. We look forward to seeing them again in future!  

A good range of species were found, mostly in small numbers, with lots of tiny Olive Mayfly. Four fish and four Signal Crayfish were also found.  Full report to follow.


Another dry month but unlike April a smattering of showers each week with the overall total 24.3 mm. The highest temperature was 27.9 degrees C on the 16th and the lowest being 1.2 degrees C on the 29th. Generally temperatures were about average for the time of year, and winds were predominantly westerly with a few more gusty days.


Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for May 2022:
Mark Austin, Darren Bast, Peter Brunning, Mike Bull, David Farrant, Gaynor Farrant, Stewart Gilmour, Jennifer Hirst, Carole McCrae, Len Mead, Andy Merryweather, Polly Merryweather, Gareth Rees, Marion Rusted, Sally Simmons, Gill Smith, Derek Turnidge, John Turner, Maggie Turner.

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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 (