Wednesday 12 October 2022

Summary of Sightings in The Abingtons - September 2022

September 2022

Amphibians and Reptiles

No sightings this month.


A quieter month in terms of reports, with a total of 46 species seen or heard, from a total of 158 records. September is a strange month in many ways, often feeling like summer and autumn at the same time. Summer visitors like House Martin and Swallow were still around early on, gathering in large flocks ready to depart south, just as the first winter visitors, like Redwing, were starting to be seen towards the month’s end.

Large flocks of around 100 House Martin were seen both on the LSA (blog link) and over GP early in the month, with the last report coming on 11th. Small numbers of Swallow (up to 12) were also spotted around the village, the last report being 25th along the ORC.

A Redwing was seen in a Cambridge Rd garden, unusually early on 25th (blog link). Our village bird records going back 10-12 years, indicate first Redwing sightings are usually between 7th and 22nd October, two to four weeks later than this year! Apparently the unusually strong northerlies blew some birds over the North Sea into East Anglia early this year.

An impressive ten Yellow Wagtail were seen amongst a flock of around sixty Pied Wagtail on the GP cricket field (11th), and a Grey Wagtail was seen flying over Lewis Crescent (8th). A group of around forty Pied Wagtail were also seen on the recreation ground (4th), as well as on LSA.

A Kingfisher was again reported along the river near the recreation ground (6th), and there were a several sightings of Little Egret along the river and, perhaps less expected, over Grange Farm.

The Little Grebe juvenile was again spotted on the GP lake (11th), as were Greylag and Canada Goose, Mallard and a Grey Heron. A single Meadow Pipit was also seen flying over.

Large mixed flocks of ~100 Blacked-headed, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gull were also seen feeding in the freshly ploughed fields around Grange Farm, with a few Great Black-backed Gull seen along the Roman Rd.

Two Blackcap and a Chiffchaff were spotted along the ORC and the Roman Road, quietly feeding with the larger mixed Tit flocks now starting to appear, mostly Great Tit and Blue Tit, but including Long-tailed and Coal Tit. Flocks of around 40 Starling have been seen gathering on the LSA, and House Sparrow were often seen and heard in Lewis Cres.

After an apparent absence, Blackbird are returning to gardens, as are flock of Goldfinch now including juvenile birds, and a few Greenfinch and Chaffinch. As well as the more usual Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Green Woodpecker also put in an appearance in two gardens. Robin have been heard singing again, as pairs split up after breeding and both male and female birds sing to advertise their winter feeding territories.  A Song Thrush was also spotted along the ORC.

One or two Buzzard were regularly seen at several sites, as were 1-2 Red Kite often seen flying quite low in search of carrion. There were also four sightings of Sparrowhawk hunting in gardens, including two of male birds, and a Tawny Owl was heard calling from a wood near the village centre on 11th. No sightings of Kestrel this month.

A family group of five Magpie was seen ‘playing’ near the village centre, along with several sightings elsewhere. There were reports of Wren, Jay, Dunnock and Collared Dove, and Red-legged Partridge were seen along the Roman Road and near Grange Farm.


Butterflies and other insects

As summer draws to a close, the number of butterflies seen has dropped off considerably, with a total of 14 different species reported in the 32 records received: butterflies 23, bees 5, others 4.

Butterflies: A Clouded Yellow was seen for the first time this year, along the Roman Road on 4th (blog link), and a Brown Argus was also seen once, again along the Roman Road.

The mostly commonly reported species, making up almost two-thirds of reports, was the Small White. Additionally, there were two reports of Large White, and single reports each of Brimstone (4th), Common Blue (4th, blog link), Speckled Wood (10th), Holly Blue (22nd) and Small Tortoiseshell (29th).

Other: Hummingbird Hawkmoth was spotted on two occasions early in the month, both Buff-tailed and White-tailed Bumblebee were seen (4 reports in total), and a Hornet and an unidentified ‘ground-nesting’ bee were also reported.



Bat – regularly seen over a garden on Cambridge Road.

Fox – one seen on the LSA jumping into a stable over the door.

Muntjac – one in a Cambridge Rd garden on 7th and 22nd, and one spotted dead alongside A1307.



Whilst an abundance of berries could be seen along the hedgerows this month (blog link), there were relatively few reports of specific flowers: Hawksweed Oxtongue, Toadflax, Sickle Medick, Spear Thistle, Creeping Thistle - largely seen along the Old Railway Cutting.


After many years as Rivercare lead for ANW, Peter Brunning will be stepping down from the role, and ANW would like to take this opportunity to thank Peter for all he has contributed to the group over the years. We would also very much like to welcome Nancy Ockendon who has volunteered to take on the Rivercare role, and has joined the ANW Project Team.

Nancy recently attended the training course, run by Ian Hawkins from the Riverfly group, to learn about monitoring and habitat improvement for aquatic invertebrates, and pollution monitoring, as well as the sampling techniques and identification of the main groups of invertebrates. Moving forward, Nancy will take the lead in organising the river sampling team for ANW.

The river levels have recently been very low, and it was not possible to undertake any meaningful river sampling this month, but Nancy is hoping to fit in one last sampling before the winter.



The total rainfall was 35.5 mm this month, which is an improvement compared to the previous three months, but is still below the average but very welcome. The highest temperature was 31.5 degrees C on the 2nd and the lowest was 2 degrees C on the 29th. Winds were predominantly in a north-east direction.

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for September 2022:
Peter Brunning, David Farrant, Gaynor Farrant, Carole McCrae, Andy Merryweather, Polly Merryweather, Nancy Ockendon, Gareth Rees, Gill Smith, Derek Turnidge, Maggie and John 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 (