Wednesday 28 June 2023

RiverCare - latest river sampling results

27th June 2023 - the Abington RiverCare team undertook the usual river sampling at the Abington Ford recently. The results showed that the river was clear, and running relatively well given the recent dry spell. Most of the usual species were found, including three small Bullhead fish.  However, unusually a larger fish about 10cm long was also found - species to be confirmed, but possibly a small Brown Trout.

Bullhead fish (smaller, above) and a larger approx 10 cm fish, possibly a Brown Trout

Signal Crayfish and larger fish species, possibly a Brown Trout


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Signal Crayfish and Bullhead


Birds on Granta Park

18th June 2023 - on his walk around GP recently, David F spotted a few birds - Barnacle Goose are quite often seen on the cricket pitch there, but both a Great Crested Grebe and a pair of Tufted Duck are less regular there.  He also spotted a Speckled Wood butterfly.

Barnacle Goose

Great Crested Grebe

Tufted Duck pair (male on left, female on right)

Speckled Wood butterfly

Spindle Moth caterpillars

9th June 2023 - Justine U took this video of a number of Spindle Moth caterpillars suspended from a strand of web recently. Apparently, this is called 'ballooning' and they do this when they run out of food (leaves) where they are situated, and so 'hang around' on a long strand of web in the hope of being blown or carried to a patch of fresh leaves.

click central arrow twice to start video

Poppies looking good

17th June 2023 - David F noted that the Field Poppy, or Common Poppy, were looking good around the Perse sports fields recently.

Attractive Fungus

11th June 2023 - Emma J spotted this rather attractive fungus, growing on her rather less-exquisite muck-heap!

Bee Orchids - a good year!

11th June 2023 - it seems to have been a good year for Bee Orchid this year, with flowers being reported from several sites around the village. 

Emma J left some of her grass unmown this year, and was very happy to find two Bee Orchid flowering in amongst the longer grass.  And the profusion of leaf florets seen earlier in the year on GP fulfilled its promise and resulted in a fantastic display of flowering spikes, thanks to the area been roped off and not mown. 

Bee Orchid in lawn on the LSA [Photo Emma J]

Bee Orchid flower on the LSA [Photo Emma J]

Profusion of Bee Orchid flowers on GP [Photo Darren B]

Profusion of Bee Orchid flowers on GP [Photo Darren B]

Profusion of Bee Orchid flowers on GP [Photo Darren B]

Bee Orchid flowers on GP [Photo David F]

Flowers in Sluice Wood

3rd June 2023 - David F spotted a good mix of flowers on his walk, including a few less commonly reported ones such as Caper Spurge, Wild Camomile and Common Comfrey, alongside the more usual Field Poppy, Red Campion and White Campion.

Caper Spurge

Wild Camomile

Common Comfrey

Field Poppy

White Campion

Red Campion

Abington Bird Survey Results

As in previous years, NatureWatch members were invited to note all the bird species seen within the Abington parish boundaries, from Friday 26th to Monday 29th May 2023.

Derek received a total of seven reports, which between them included an impressive list of 59 different species (plus one possible) this year. The table below includes the number of reports received for each species, as well as the maximum number seen at any one time.

Only four species were included in every list: Blackbird, Jackdaw, Robin and Woodpigeon, and 18 species were reported only once. Interestingly, a good variety of warbler species were seen (or heard) - Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler (unusually), Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler.

A Little Grebe was seen on GP lake, and two Grey Partridge were spotted along the Roman Road, both species being reported relatively rarely in Abington. A Nightingale was possibly heard along the ORC (as identified using the Merlin app) - a species which is has never been reported before in the Abingtons, although this 'app identification' was not able to be confirmed visually.

Hedgehog in garden

16th May 2023 - Jade T-S discovered a Hedgehog in her garden recently, tangled in some netting. Once released from the netting, Jade took it to the vet in Linton for a quick check-over. All was well, and she took this photo before releasing it again. The vet's only comment was that it was 'absolutely massive'!

Friday 9 June 2023

May 2023 - Summary of Sightings from around the Abingtons

May 2023

Amphibians and Reptiles

Since our members’ meeting Gaynor has been getting more reports and has discovered more ponds!

Smooth Newt – one on 7th and 28th May in Little Abington. Many sightings of one to three throughout the month in a Bourn Bridge Rd pond. One in a pond on South Rd, on 28th & 29th.

Common Frog - seen several times throughout the month on Lewis Cres, as well as sizeable tadpoles in a second pond on Lewis Cres. Some ‘stranded tadpoles’ were given to Gaynor, to put in her pond - so fingers crossed they can escape the newts.

Grass Snake - one seen in a garden on South Rd - the first report of one this year.



A very good total of 63 species were reported this month, in a very healthy 951 records, boosted by sightings for the Abington late May bank holiday survey. Interesting sightings included a wide variety of warblers, a Little Grebe on the GP lake, and Grey Partridge along the Roman Road.

Swift arrived back in the village on 7th, with five returning to their usual nest site in Hall Farm on 9th (see blog). Groups of up to ten have been seen and heard screaming over the village since then. House Martin were first seen on 11th, and 5-6 have been seen investigating nests in Mortlock Gardens, and 4-8 Swallow have been seen throughout the month, particularly around the LSA.

Seven warbler species were spotted, with Blackcap and Chiffchaff being often heard and seen at several locations. Both Common Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat were also spotted along the ORC and LSA, with Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler being heard there less frequently, and two Reed Warbler were singing from the reeds around GP lake.

Unusually, a male Little Grebe was seen on GP lake (23rd and 28th), alongside the usual Moorhen and Mallard, the latter with ducklings (see blog). Two male and one female Mandarin Duck were also spotted, and are believed to be breeding there again. Barnacle Goose, Greylag and Canada Goose were seen on the lake and GP cricket pitch, and Reed Bunting and Grey Heron were also reported.

A Goldcrest was reported at several sites (see blog), a Treecreeper was heard twice in Sluice Wood, and a Little Egret seen along the river there. Great Spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker were both seen fairly often, the latter digging into ant nests (see blog). A Grey Wagtail was spotted catching flies on the Perse sports fields, and 1-4 Pied Wagtail were seen at several locations.

Unusually, a pair of Grey Partridge was seen in fields alongside the Roman Road (28th), alongside Red-legged Partridge which were seen at three sites. Pheasant were seen more widely, including a pair seen regularly in a garden on Cambridge Rd.

Both 1-3 Buzzard and 1-2 Red Kite have been seen frequently right across the villages (see blog). A Kestrel was also seen occasionally, once carrying a prey item presumably to a nest nearby, and a Sparrowhawk was seen on Bourn Bridge Rd and the LSA.

A Bullfinch was occasionally seen along the ORC, with Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch all being well reported (see blog). Similarly, Blue Tit and Great Tit were commonly seen, with a Coal Tit being spotted along Cambridge Rd and at Hall Farm, and Long-tailed Tit at several sites, including Lewis Cres and on GP.  Dunnock, Wren and Robin were also widely reported, as well as House Sparrow and Starling at several locations.

Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, Linnet and Skylark were all seen fairly frequently along the ORC, on the LSA and along the Roman Rd (see blog). Both Blackbird and Song Thrush were commonly heard at several locations, with a Mistle Thrush also being heard less frequently.

A pair of Collared Dove were seen at a bird bath on Hall Farm (see blog), as well as elsewhere, and Stock Dove was also frequently seen at several locations. Jay and Magpie were also reported, as were the occasional Black-headed Gull and Herring Gull flying overhead.


There was a total of 77 insect reports in May, comprising 71 butterfly reports, 3 bee reports and 3 of odonata species.

Twelve butterfly species were reported in May, with Large White (4th on LSA), Small Heath (24th on ORC, see blog) and Brown Argus (28th on Roman Road) being reported for the first time this year.  Holly Blue were frequently seen, as were Brimstone (see blog) and Orange Tip (see blog). Reports of Red Admiral and Small White also increased this month, with small numbers of Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Speckled Wood and Green-veined White also being spotted.

Numbers of reports were: Holly Blue 20, Brimstone 12, Orange Tip 10, Small White 8, Red Admiral 7, Peacock 4, Green-veined White 3, Small Heath 2, Speckled Wood 2, and Brown Argus, Large White and Small Tortoiseshell 1 each.

A Large Red Damselfly was seen on three occasions around a pond on Cambridge Rd, between 20th and 29th May. Buff-tailed Bumblebee and White-tailed Bumblebee were also reported.

A brightly coloured Rose Chafer Beetle was also seen (see blog).



Bat - several seen regularly throughout the month, probably Pipistrelle and Serotine, in a Cambridge Rd garden. On GP, two Common Pipistrelle and two Soprano Pipistrelle were seen on 23rd during the Bat Safari led by Iain Webb.

Fallow Deer – eight seen on LSA on 26th.

Hare – one spotted in the field by Pampisford Rd on 8th, and on GP, three were seen on 9th, two on 17th, one on 23rd & 26th, and two on 28th. On the LSA, one seen on 26th and seven on 29th.

Hedgehog – one seen regularly in a Lewis Cres garden, and also a Bourn Bridge Rd garden, and one was seen in another Lewis Cres garden on 7th (see blog). On 16th one very large Hedgehog was caught in garden netting in Meadow Walk but released unharmed.

Muntjac - three seen on GP on 9th, and another three on 17th, as well as one along the ORC on 22nd, and two spotted on GP on 28th.


Flora and Fungi

Cowslip were still in flower along the ORC, as well as Daisy, Creeping Buttercup and Germander Speedwell, with the Hawthorn blossom showing well around mid-month. Cow Parsley, Dog Rose and Elder were in flower later in the month, as well as both Red and White Campion, with Oxeye Daisy being very much in evidence on the LSA.



A River sampling session was held at Abington Ford, by the road bridge, on 22nd May (see blog).



The rainfall was 81 mm, which is well over the average, with most falling over four days - 5th and 6th, and the 8th and 9th. Thereafter, it was mainly dry with persistent northerly winds pulling in a lot of cloud from the North Sea, which is still cold at this time of the year. The highest temperature was 25.1 degrees C on the 26th, with the lowest being 2.4 degrees C on the 26th. The overall average daytime temperature was around 21 degrees C.

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for May 2023:
Barry Brooks, Peter Brunning, Audrey Bugg, David and Gaynor Farrant, Carole McCrae, Len Mead, Andy & Polly Merryweather, Joan Nevin, Nancy Ockendon, Freda Orgee, Brian Parris, Gareth Rees, Jade Taylor-Salazar, Gill Smith, Maggie and John Turner, Derek Turnidge, Diana Wingfield, Charlotte & Ed.

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 (