Friday 11 August 2023

Migrant Hawker dragonfly

7th August 2023 - there have been a couple of dragonflies around Andy M's garden recently, and one finally stopped buzzing around for just long enough for Andy to get this photo. Using this, he was able to identify it as a female Migrant Hawker - not one he had seen in the garden before.

Apparently, the strong stripes on the thorax, the narrow yellow T shape at the base of the abdomen and the long appendages at the end of the abdomen are distinguishing characteristics.

Peacock butterfly

7th August 2023 - Peter B spotted this Peacock butterfly along Church Lane.

Dock Bug

6th August 2023 - Emma J spotted this bug on the LSA recently - we think it maybe a Dock Bug.

Saturday 5 August 2023

July 2023 - Summary of Sightings from around The Abingtons

July 2023

Amphibians and Reptiles

Common Toad - one seen in Bourn Bridge Rd garden at the beginning of the month (see blog).

Common Frog - froglets seen in long rough grass in Lewis Cres garden - another advantage of helping nature by leaving uncut parts in your garden, especially if you have a pond. Froglets also seen under stones on the edge of a large pond along Chalky Road.



A total of 53 species were reported, in a total of 318 records this month. Young birds of several species, particularly tits and finches, were very much in evidence this month. Two Raven were seen flying over, two grebe species were seen on GP lake, and a Mandarin Duck was spotted on the river. Swallow, Swift and House Martin all continued to be seen, as were a few warblers.

Two Raven were seen flying low over the ORC on 10th. This species is apparently becoming more prevalent in the county, with reports of breeding pairs also increasing.

Following the first sighting this year of a Great Crested Grebe on GP lake in June, two adults were seen on 23rd July with four well-fledged young (see blog). A male Little Grebe was again seen behaving very territorially on 5th, suggesting there may also be a pair nesting in the reeds.

Also spotted on the lake were 7 Barnacle Goose (see blog), 11 adult Canada Goose and a Greylag, but with no young seen so far this year. Around 30 Mallard, mostly in eclipse plumage were also on the lake, and a female Mandarin Duck was spotted on the river nearby, as was a Little Egret. Four Grey Heron were seen flying over Hall Farm, as well as one over Lewis Cres.

A few House Martin were reported over Great Abington, and several Swallow over the LSA with one nesting pair starting their second brood. Good numbers of Swift were also seen, with 10-16 regularly over Hall Farm and LA church, and up to 50 flying over Lewis Cres on 18th.

The warblers are mostly quiet now, but Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat were spotted on the ORC and LSA, with a female Blackcap also often seen in a Cambridge Rd garden.

Good numbers of young Blue Tit and Great Tit were seen around feeders, as were young Goldfinch and Robin. Adult Great Spotted Woodpecker were observed feeding young in both Cambridge Rd and Hall Farm gardens, and a Wren successfully fledged young on Hall Farm. Young Magpie and Pied Wagtail were also seen, as was a hen Pheasant with six young.

Coal Tit and Long-tailed Tit were both spotted in a Cambridge Rd garden, and adult Greenfinch and Chaffinch were seen at several sites. Goldcrest and Song Thrush were both reported twice, as were a Green Woodpecker and a Jay. Dunnock, Blackbird and House Sparrow were all widely seen, and a large flock of 50-60 Starling was spotted feeding on the LSA.

Skylark, Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting were all heard singing around the ORC and LSA, a Reed Bunting was seen on GP, and several Linnet were seen along the ORC (see blog).

A Buzzard was seen at several sites, including South Grove were they may be nesting. Red Kite were also widely seen, with a group of four over Grange Farm. A Kestrel was reported at several sites, as was a Sparrowhawk, including a juvenile attempting to catch birds at a feeder (see blog). A Tawny Owl was heard calling on 3rd.

Collared Dove and Stock Dove were regularly seen in several gardens, as were Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Rook and Carrion Crow.


An impressive total of 324 insect reports were received for July, comprising 274 butterfly reports, 26 bee reports, 12 reports of odonata species, and 12 reports of other species.

July seems to have been particularly good for butterflies, with 22 different species reported, six of which appeared for the first time this year: Essex Skipper, three reports after 7th, all early in the month, with good numbers seen on the LSA; Gatekeeper, from 9th onwards, widespread and in good numbers on the Roman Road and the LSA; Common Blue, surprisingly not reported in June when the first brood normally appears, and seen just three times in July from 16th; Large Skipper, surprisingly just three sightings (11th-23rd) as this species normally peaks in July; Purple Hairstreak, one report on 7th, around Oak trees on the LSA (see blog); Silver-washed Fritillary, one report on 23rd along the Roman Road (see blog), but with two other reports of an unidentified Fritillary species along ORC early in the month.

Of the other species already seen this year, there was a sharp increase in reports of several species: Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Small, Large and Green-veined Whites, Comma and Ringlet, all with between 37 and 15 reports, as well as Marbled White and Small Skipper (6 to 9 reports) – in keeping with the normal peak for these species in July and August.  Brimstone and Peacock reports were surprisingly high, at 23 and 10 reports respectively, as July is often a ‘lull month’ between the winter-hibernating and first brood individuals for these species. Sightings of Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Small Tortoiseshell all remained level and in single figures, with just a few sightings of Small Heath and Brown Argus.

Numbers of butterfly reports were: Red Admiral 37, Meadow Brown 34, Small White 26, Brimstone 23, Comma 21, Large White 21, Gatekeeper 18, Ringlet 15, Green-veined White 15, Peacock 10, Marbled White 9, Small Tortoiseshell 8, Small Skipper 6, Speckled Wood 6, Holly Blue 5, Small Heath 4, with 1-3 reports each for Common Blue, Essex Skipper, Large Skipper, Brown Argus, Silver-washed Fritillary and Purple Hairstreak, and 4 reports unidentified at the species level.

Small numbers of Banded Demoiselle were seen on four occasions around the Millennium Bridge and in a Lewis Cres garden between 7th and 17th, a Common Blue Damselfly was seen on Granta Park on 11th, and a Red-eyed Damselfly was seen on Church Lane on 23rd. An Emperor Dragonfly was seen at several locations early in the month, and a Southern Hawker was spotted (see blog), again at several locations, in the second part of the month.

Buff-tailed Bumblebee, White-tailed Bumblebee and Red-tailed Bumblebee were widely reported, as was a Common Carder Bee. More unusually, a Field Cuckoo Bumblebee, which lays its eggs in the nests of other bees, and a Garden Bumblebee, were both identified from photographs taken in a Lewis Cres garden (see blog).

Two-spot, Seven-spot and Harlequin Ladybirds were all seen, the latter in good numbers (see blog), and Hummingbird Hawkmoth were seen at several locations after 12th. Cockchafer, Birch Shieldbug, Hornet Mimic Hoverfly and Meadow Grasshopper were also all reported.

Good numbers of butterflies were also seen during various organised walks this month, including a Butterfly Walk on Granta Park (see blog), and a NatureWatch walk along Fleam Dyke (see blog) – as well as many more butterfly photos on the blog this month too.



Badger – one found dead between Granta Park roundabout and North Road on 31st.

Bat – probably Pipistrelles, regularly seen over a Cambridge Road garden throughout the month. One also seen over a Westfield garden on 27th for only the second time this year, whereas they used to be regular visitors. A dead one was also found there (see blog).

Fox – several seen in a garden around Bourn Bridge Cottages on 3rd (see blog).

Grey Squirrel – several seen regularly throughout the month in a Cambridge Rd garden.

Hedgehog – two seen together on a trail camera in a Bourn Bridge Rd garden on 18th.

Muntjac – one was seen along the ORC on 2nd and on 11th.

Pygmy Shrew – a dead one was found in a Cambridge Rd garden on 31st.


Flora and Fungi

The Protected Road Verge along Bourn Bridge Rd was looking good this month, with Scabious, Knapweed and Lady’s Bedstraw being particularly good (see blog). Bee Orchid, Pyramidal Orchid, Musk Mallow and Kidney Vetch were seen on GP, where the Lady’s Bedstraw was also particularly spectacular. Brown Knapweed, an alien species to the UK (which has white flowers!) was also seen on GP (see blog).

Other species noted in flower this month, mostly from GP (see blog) and along the ORC (see blog): Hop Trefoil, Viper’s Bugloss, Common St John’s Wort, Common Yarrow, Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Wild Marjoram, Purple Loosestrife, Betony, Creeping Cinquefoil, Hedge Bedstraw, White Campion, Creeping Thistle, Spear Thistle, Mullein, Wild Basil, Yellow Mignonette, Field Poppy, Wild Carrot, Ragwort, Oxeye Daisy, Old Man’s Beard, Common Agrimony, Common Selfheal, Dove’s-foot Cranesbill, Common Centaury, Smooth Hawksweed, Smooth Hawksbeard, Wild Parsnip, Mallow, Field Scabious, Hedge Bindweed, Field Bindweed.

A good clump of Oyster Mushroom was spotted alongside the river (see blog).



Abington Pre-school children were told about the wonders of river sampling and shown some of the creatures you might find (see blog), and a regular river sampling session was held at Abington Ford on 27th July (see blog).



The rainfall totalled 78.25 mm, well over the average for July. The highest temperature of 32.7 degrees C was recorded on the 7th, and the lowest was 7.0 degrees C on the 21st. However, on average the daytime temperature was around the mid-20s, with nighttime lows being mostly in the mid-teens, so the highest & lowest figures aren’t really telling the whole story.


NatureWatch visits

NatureWatch held two visits; one around Granta Park on 5th, seeing a good variety of flowers and birds (see blog), and the second along Fleam Dyke on 29th, seeing an abundance of Chalk Hill Blue butterflies, 17 other butterfly species, and several interesting flowers (see blog).

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for July 2023:
Barry Brooks, Peter Brunning, Tricia Cullimore, Genevieve Dalton, David & Gaynor Farrant, Emma Jones, Carole McCrae, Len Mead, Andy & Polly Merryweather, Sam Murphy, Joan Nevin, Nancy Ockendon, Freda Orgee, Gill Smith, Suzan Stewart, Maggie & John Turner, Derek Turnidge, Justine Upham.

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 (