Sunday 24 July 2022

ANW Visit to Wicken Fen

23rd July 2022 - a group of nine ANW members visited Wicken Fen Nature Reserve, owned by the National Trust. After a brief introduction from the staff, we followed the 'board walk' around part of 'old' Wicken Fen, which is one of the last remaining unimproved and undrained fens, and so contains a good diversity of 'typical fenland' flora and fauna.

Brown Hawker dragonfly [photo AM]

Ruddy Darter dragonfly [photo AM]

Ruddy Darter dragonfly [photo AM]

Common Darter dragonfly [photo AM]

Red-eyed Damselfly [photo AM]

Blue-tailed Damselfly (male) [photo AM]

Blue-tailed Damselfly (female - possibly rufescens-obsoleta form) [photo AM]

Emerald Damselfly [photo AM]

Common Darter  [photo BMB]

Red-eyed Damselfly  [photo BMB]

Brimstone on Purple Loosestrife flowers [photo AM]

Red Admiral on Hemp Agrimony flowers [photo AM]

Red Admiral on Hemp Agrimony flowers [photo AM]

Gatekeeper on Hemp Agrimony flowers [photo AM]

Speckled Wood [photo AM]

Peacock on Hemp Agrimony flowers [photo AM]

Brimstone  [photo BMB]

Peacock  [photo BMB]

Peacock  [photo BMB]

Speckled Wood  [photo BMB]

Unknown moth (?) caterpillar [photo AM]

Juvenile Little Grebe [photo AM]

Hybrid Mallard [photo BMB]

Hybrid Mallard  [photo BMB]

Swallow, preening  [photo BMB]

Swallow  [photo BMB]

Thursday 21 July 2022

Common Blue butterfly

19th July 2022 - Polly and Andy M spotted this Common Blue butterfly on the Marjoram whilst recently doing their Big Butterfly Count in their garden.

Holly Blue butterfly finding a drink

19th July 2022 - Perhaps not the most savoury of sources of moisture, but in this heat a drink can be hard to come by - Andy M spotted this second brood Holly Blue butterfly taking refreshment from this fresh Hedgehog dropping in the garden one morning.

Tuesday 19 July 2022

Big Butterfly Count - 15th July to 7th August

15th July to 7th August 2022 - is the period of the Big Butterfly Count, run by Butterfly Conservation nationally each year. The count involves simply noting how many of each butterfly species seen at your preferred location during just 15 minutes anytime between 15th July and 7th August. 

Further details, including this useful ID chart, and submission of your results on their website:

If you take part, and do your Big Butterfly Count in the Abingtons, please also email your results to Polly M (insect recorder for Abington NatureWatch) at

Polly and Andy M just did a count in their garden this morning (19th July 09:00 to 09:15) and clocked 10 species, mostly feeding on the marjoram and lavender flowers.

Monday 18 July 2022

Purple Hairstreak

18th July 2022 - Polly M was very happy to spot a Purple Hairstreak butterfly flying low just above the lawn this morning. Whilst quite commonly found around oak trees, this butterfly is normally only glimpsed flying high in the canopy, and so seeing it close up was quite a treat, making identification a good deal easier.

The slight damage to one wing, allowed the dark colour of the upper wing to be glimpsed

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

12th July 2022 - Derek T had a visit from a Hummingbird Hawkmoth, rapidly flitting between the flowers of a Buddleia in his garden.

Emperor Dragonfly

17th July 2022 - Andy M spotted a large dragonfly patrolling around his garden, which helpfully came to rest in a tree allowing a photo and more certain identification as an Emperor Dragonfly.

Key features being the size (large!), blue/green eyes, a mostly green thorax as well as green on the first part of the abdomen, then a mostly blue and black abdomen, and amber front edges to the wings.

Wednesday 13 July 2022

Silver-washed Fritillary butterfly

13th July 2022 - Polly and Andy M were lucky enough to spot a Silver-washed Fritillary butterfly in their garden today - in fact it even came into the kitchen briefly to pose for a photo.

Tuesday 12 July 2022

Many Young Swallows

10th July 2022 - while cycling around the Land Settlements, Andy M was very happy to spot 45-50 Swallow, mostly young ones, lined up along the wires, busily preening in the lovely sunny weather. Clearly the first broods this year have been rather successful.

An adult Swallow (centre) with the long tail streamers, which the juveniles lack initially

Compare the more colourful adult (third from left) with the 
more muted brown-blue plumage of the  juveniles

One youngster still trying its luck for a free meal!

Young Blue Tit

9th July 2022 - A young Blue Tit exploring the garden, and finding something tasty in a spider's nest, before hanging out at the water cooler! - Andy M

Young Great Tit and Blue Tit hanging out for some 'water cooler' chat

Butterflies galore!

8th July 2022 - Warm, sunny weather and virtually no wind seemed to provide the perfect conditions for butterflies in Andy and Polly M's garden at the weekend. Overall they spotted a whopping fourteen different species, several appearing for the first time this year in the garden: Brimstone, Comma, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Large SkipperSmall SkipperLarge WhiteSmall White, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Red Admiral, Ringlet and Small Tortoiseshell.

Large White - dark colouration extending well down the side of the wing

Small White - single black spot, with no veining

Brimstone - with its characteristic 'hooked' wing shape

Gatekeeper - two white spots in the black eye-spot, and extensive bright orange on the upper side

Gatekeeper - two white spots in the 'eye spot'
as well as distinctive uneven row of white spots on hind wing

Meadow Brown - single white spot, and lacking the row of white spots

Meadow Brown - upperside lacking the extensive bright orange colour of the Gatekeeper

Ringlet - distinctive 'target' spot pattern

Common Blue - strong orange areas in the outside row of spots
and unbroken white fringe to the wing

Small Skipper - only the size of a 1p piece, often resting with wings closed

Small Skipper - orange ends to the underside of the antennae 
(cf Essex Skipper which have black ends)

Large Skipper - prominent broad diagonal dark stripe (sex brand) 

Comma - bright orange and with distinctive outline

Red Admiral - a very tatty specimen

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 (