Saturday 9 September 2023

August 2023 - Summary of Sightings from around the Abingtons

August 2023

Amphibians and Reptiles

It was good to get a few sightings of froglets which were seen mainly in long grass.

Common Frog - a froglet was seen in Lt. Abington church yard on 11th and 13th, with five further sightings in Great Abington gardens later in the month.

Common Toad - one in Pampisford Rd garden (see blog)



A generally quiet month, as is often the case in August, with a total of 44 species reported in 239 records. The local Swift have departed, and Swallow and House Martin have been seen gathering in flocks in readiness. Both Great Crested and Little Grebe have breed successfully on the GP lake, and both Little Egret and Kingfisher were seen along the river.

The Swift nesting in Hall Farm had fledged by 5th, and of the two further sightings overhead, that on 19th is likely to be the last for this year. An increase in House Martin numbers, 8-12 seen around Hall Farm and Mortlock Gdns later in the month, suggests that their young have also now fledged, and Swallow were reported gathering in flocks of around 20 on the LSA.

The two adult Great Crested Grebe on GP lake were seen with just two young on 27th, and both an adult and a juvenile Little Grebe were also seen there on the same date (see blog). Four Barnacle Goose and around 50 Mallard were also reported around the lake.

Unusually, a Little Egret was seen visiting a garden pond along the High St, and along the river, two Kingfisher were seen near the cricket pitch (14th).  A Grey Wagtail was spotted by the Recreation Gd on 31st, and good numbers of Pied Wagtail were seen in paddocks on the LSA.

Buzzard, usually one but up to three, were reported several times from around the village, with a Kestrel seen gathering prey from the cricket pitch, likely a worm (see blog), a Sparrowhawk was seen along the ORC on 7th, and a Tawny Owl continues to be seen in a garden at Hall Farm. Unusually, there were no reports of Red Kite this month.

A Chiffchaff was reported twice, on the ORC and on GP, and a Common Whitethroat was seen, again twice, along the ORC and along North Rd. Also along the ORC, a pair of Linnet and a Yellowhammer were seen on 7th.

The number of Blue Tit and Great Tit seen visiting gardens has increased dramatically towards the end of the month, with mixed flocks of 20-30 being seen, with the young birds starting to develop more adult-looking plumage now. These flocks also occasionally included 1-2 Coal Tit and Long-tailed Tit and a Goldcrest was spotted on Hall Farm.

Goldfinch and Greenfinch were regularly seen on feeders, with a flock of 20 Goldfinch seen on GP, but only one report of a Chaffinch, on 27th in a Cambridge Rd garden. Small numbers of both Wren and Dunnock were regularly reported, as were Robin which could be heard singing again towards the end of the month. A few House Sparrow were seen in Lewis Cres, and a flock of 10-20 Starling was spotted on the paddocks of the LSA. Small numbers of Blackbird were also seen regularly.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen in gardens on Cambridge Rd and Hall Farm, and similarly a Green Woodpecker was occasionally seen, with a young one spotted on Cambridge Rd. Magpie were regularly seen with up to seven seen on Hall Farm, and a Jay was also reported. Carrion Crow, Rook and Jackdaw were also widely seen, the latter two in good numbers along the ORC.

A pair of Pheasant, seen regularly in a Cambridge Rd garden, appeared with seven young this month (see blog). Both Collared Dove and Stock Dove were seen in several gardens, and Woodpigeon were widely reported.


This month 29 species were recorded in a total of 151 reports, and of these 129 reports were of butterflies, 7 of bees, 6 of odonata and 9 of other species.

Butterflies – Interestingly, a Wall Brown was reported this month, the first record in the Abingtons. This widespread species, which fluctuates in abundance but is becoming increasingly scarce inland, generally favours sunny stony habitats, such as railway embankments, field edges, open grassland and gardens, with the second brood generally peaking in August. An unidentified species of Fritillary was also seen along the ORC.

Otherwise relative to July, the reporting of many species remained very similar, namely: Brimstone, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Small Skipper and Essex Skipper (see blog).

Interestingly, Brown Argus reports were up (with 20+ being seen along the ORC on 7th, see blog), as were those of Holly Blue, both in keeping with the expected peak abundance of the second brood this month. Other species showing a large increase in reports, relative to July, were: Peacock, Large White and Small White, again in keeping with the second brood emergence. Red Admiral reports were also well up, this corresponding to the emergence of the new generation of this migrant species (see blog).

Conversely, reports of Meadow Brown, Green-veined White and Comma were all down, relative to July. The former two species start to decline during August and Sept, and the Comma typically shows a gap between broods in August.

The number of butterfly reports were: Red Admiral 22, Small White 21, Large White 13, Brimstone 11, Meadow Brown 10, Gatekeeper 9, Peacock 9, Holly Blue 9, Comma 6, Brown Argus 4, Speckled Wood 4, Common Blue 3, Green-veined White 3, and 1 each of Small Tortoiseshell, Wall Brown and a Fritillary spp.

Odonata – both Emperor Dragonfly and Migrant Hawker were reported twice, both from a Lewis Cres garden. A pair of Common Darter was seen once around a Bourn Bridge Rd pond (see blog), and a Southern Hawker was spotted in a Cambridge Rd garden.

There were also reports of Buff-tailed Bumblebee, White-tailed Bumblebee and Common Carder Bee, as well as a Beefly. Several Hummingbird Hawkmoth were seen, and the rather striking Jersey Tiger Moth was seen in several gardens late in the month (see blog). A Dock Bug was also reported.



Bat – seen regularly in a Cambridge Rd garden throughout the month, and also in Lewis Crescent, all probably Pipistrelle. A bat nursery was reported in Hall Farm with up to 60 bats seen flying out at dusk.

Hedgehog – two seen together on a trail camera in a Bourn Bridge Rd garden regularly throughout the month.

Muntjac – one by the Perse fields on 26th, and one near Hall Farm seen with two Magpie sitting on its back on 20th (see blog).


Flora and Fungi

No reports this month.



The regular river sampling session was held at Abington Ford on 24th (see blog).



Rainfall was recorded at 47.75 mm, so again about double the average. The highest temperature was recorded on the 10th at 31.2 degrees C, but the overall monthly average was in the mid-twenties. The lowest temperatures was 5.5 degrees C on the 31st, but this was exceptional as the overall minimum temperature was around 12 degrees C. Winds were mainly south westerly veering to north westerly for the last week of the month.

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for August 2023:
Peter Brunning, David & Gaynor Farrant, Gordon Hannah, Emma Jones, Len Mead, Andy & Polly Merryweather, Mary Miles, Nancy Ockendon, Marion Rusted, Gill Smith, Maggie & John Turner, Derek Turnidge, John Webb.

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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 (