Tuesday 31 October 2023

Fallow Deer

31st October 2023 - a small herd of young Fallow Deer in the field just south of the Old Railway Cutting. They were close to the hedge, and may have been heading into the undergrowth in the cutting, but had second thoughts when they spotted Andy M, and scampered off!

Bloody-nosed Beetle

31st October 2023 - Andy M spotted this lovely Bloody-nosed Beetle, with its bluish iridescent sheen, happily walking along a log along the Old Railway Cutting. This flightless beetle gets its unusual name from the bright-red, foul-tasting fluid that it exudes from its mouth when threatened.

More fungi!

29th October 2023 - a few more fungi! A charming little group of Clustered Bonnet were popping out of the 'beechers' in Andy M's garden, and there were several Common Earthball in the flower beds. Also a group of Common Bonnet had appeared in the grass along the Old Railway Cutting.

Clustered Bonnet

Common Earthball

Common Bonnet

Common Bonnet

Autumn Colours

29th October 2023 - it seems that over the last few days (and cooler nights!) the trees have finally decided that Autumn is upon us!  The colours of some along the Settlements roads were lovely against the clear blue sky.

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Common Wasps, mating

19th October 2023 - Polly M spotted these two Common Wasp, mating on the top of the dustbin!  Not something you see every day! The much larger, darker one in the foreground is the female 'queen', the smaller one being a male. 

Fungi Galore!

17th October 2023 - Andy and Polly M joined a lunchtime 'Autumn Walk' around Granta Park, led by Iain Webb from the Wildlife Trust.  It has seemingly been a good year for fungi, since there was something new to see at virtually every step!  A great walk!

From the Giant Puffball, bigger than a football, right down to tiny white Mycena toadstools bearly a centimetre across. Whilst it was not possible to identify everything we saw on the walk, I have tried to add names where I could from the photographs.

Giant Puffballs - each larger than a football

Giant Puffball - and older one showing the spore mass inside

Milk-cap fungus - a funnel-shaped cap with orange gills

Jelly-ear fungus

A type of Coral fungus, a Clavaria spp.

Grisette fungus, Amanita vaginata
with a delicate fluting around the cap

Unknown, possibly a Waxcap species

A tiny one, barely a centimetre across. 
Possibly a type of 'Porcelain' fungus.

A type of Crust fungus - looking like a large scab on the log

Another tiny one, only 1-2cm high, probably a Mycena species

A neat row of Common Puffball

Turkey Tail fungus

A Parasol Mushroom, showing signs of wear and tear.

Clustered Bonnet fungus

Sulphur Tuft, a Hypholoma spp

Hairy Curtain Crust fungus, growing on oak

Wednesday 18 October 2023

A couple of fungi

17th October 2023 - the fungi season is upon us, and Andy M spotted these Shaggy Inkcap toadstools as well as a type of Boletus fungus - which although slightly nibbled, showed the tubular spore tubes underneath that Boletus fungi have rather than the more familiar gills.

Shaggy Inkcap - maturing nicely!

Shaggy Inkcap - a fresh one, yet to open

A Boletus-type toadstool, with tubular spore tubes, instead of gills

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Muntjac Deer

17th October 2023 - Andy M was walking quietly through Sluice Wood at the weekend, and noticed that a Muntjac Deer had spotted him coming, and had frozen, hoping not to be noticed. This gave Andy the chance to grab a quick photo, before the deer turned and quietly vanished into the undergrowth.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

17th October 2023 - whilst walking around Granta park at the weekend, Andy M heard the characteristic 'chett chett chett' alarm call of the Great Spotted Woodpecker, and looking up saw a male peering down at him from high in a dead tree. Largely unconcerned, it soon went about its business, tapping on branches and winkling out grubs. It was doing a very thorough job, even hanging upside down on occasions to check for any tasty morsels underneath too!

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Young Grass Snake

24th September 2023 - Sally Simmons spotted a young Grass Snake outside her house on West Field recently.  Being young and rather slim, she thought it was an old shoelace at first, but soon realised what it was, and after a quick photo placed it safely in some nearby vegetation.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

8th October 2023 - Polly M has been regularly seeing one or two Hummingbird Hawkmoth in the garden recently, feeding particularly on the Blue Plumbago which is covered in flowers at this time of year.  

These Hawkmoths are amazingly quick as they dart from flower to flower, hovering as they adeptly insert their proboscis deep into each flower to feed, and Andy M accepted the challenge of trying to photograph them doing so!

September 2023 - Summary of Sightings from the Abingtons

September 2023

Amphibians and Reptiles

September seems to have been the month for Common Frog froglets - several were seen in long grass, as well as an adult, on two occasions in a Lewis Cres garden, and an adult was also seen in a Pampisford Rd garden (see blog).

A Common Toad was spotted on the path near a gate leading into Westfield, and a Common Newt was seen in a garden pond on Meadow Walk (see blog). And, at last, a good-sized Grass Snake was spotted in a Cambridge Rd garden, and a young one was spotted on West Field (see blog).



A total of 44 species were reported this month in 198 records. Swallow and House Martin are still being seen, Chiffchaff and Robin were heard singing again, and Tawny Owls were very vocal.  Some unusual ducks were also spotted on the GP lake.

A pair of Ruddy Shelduck were spotted on GP lake on 17th (see blog) along with up to six Mandarin Duck (see blog). Both are so-called ‘exotic’ species, which at some point in the past have escaped from wildfowl collections but have now formed naturalised populations. Also on GP lake, seven Barnacle Goose (see blog) and 13 Canada Goose, as well as two juvenile Great Crested Grebe (see blog) and two adult and two juvenile Little Grebe. Around 40 Mallard and a Moorhen were also seen, as were a Grey Heron and a Common Sandpiper, the latter likely to be a wader on passage (see blog).

A large gathering of around 50 House Martin was seen over Lewis Cres on 15th, and again over GP lake on 17th. Swallow were also seen gathering on the LSA early in the month, and smaller numbers were seen up until 17th.

A Kingfisher was seen and heard on the river near the road bridge on 21st, and Pied Wagtail were seen at several locations including the Recreation Ground.

Robin were heard singing regularly throughout the month, as were Chiffchaff particularly on sunny days. Mixed flocks of Blue Tit and Great Tit were seen, occasionally also including a Coal Tit or Long-tailed Tit, and a few Goldfinch, Greenfinch and an occasional Chaffinch were reported returning to feeders. Wren and Dunnock were also spotted.

A Kestrel was spotted near Cambridge Rd, and a Sparrowhawk at Hall Farm. Up to three Buzzard were seen overhead, and a Red Kite was reported twice, over Lewis Cres and North Rd. Tawny Owl have been very vocal throughout the month, as they establish their ‘home ranges’.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was reported from three sites, and a Green Woodpecker was seen around Hall Farm and Cambridge Rd. A Jay was seen returning to several sites, presumably in search of acorns, and 1-2 Magpie were also regularly seen, as were Carrion Crow, Rook and Jackdaw. A solitary juvenile Pheasant continues to frequent a Cambridge Rd garden.

A few Blackbird were seen in gardens across the villages, a few House Sparrow were spotted in Lewis Cres, and small flocks of Starling were starting to gather around the LSA. 1-2 Collared Dove were reported from Lewis Cres and Cambridge Rd, with a few Stock Dove and Woodpigeon seen more widely.


As autumn approaches, the abundance of insects declines, and this month 20 species were recorded in 63 reports. Of these, 51 were of butterflies, 4 of bees, 2 of odonata and 6 of other species.

Butterflies - both Small White and Red Admiral were regularly reported, with other species such as Peacock, Brimstone, Large White and Green-veined White being reported only occasionally. Six further species were reported just once.

Number of butterfly reports: Small White 21, Red Admiral 13, Peacock 4, Brimstone 3, Green-veined White 2, Large White 2, and one each of Comma, Holly Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood and an unidentified fritillary.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth were seen regularly in the second half of the month on Lewis Cres, and Box Moth and Old Lady Moth were also seen. Other reports were of Buff-tailed Bumblebee, White-tailed Bumblebee, Common Carder Bee, Hornet and an unidentified dragonfly.


Badger – signs of straw gathering were seen near a sett on ORC on 10th.

BatNatterer’s, Long-eared, Common Pipistrelle and Soprano Pipistrelle were all found in St Mary’s church LA, by the Bat Conservation Trust using bat detectors on the 10th (see blog). Three Soprano Pipistrelle were also found on GP using a bat detector on 19th. Bats were also seen regularly throughout the month in a Cambridge Rd garden.

Hedgehog – one seen in a Cambridge Rd garden on 10th, and evidence of Hedgehogs seen in a Bourn Bridge Rd garden on 20th.

Mole – activity throughout the month on the Recreation ground near the children’s play area.

Muntjac – three seen in the overgrown field on Bourn Bridge Rd on 22nd, one in Cook’s Meadow also on 22nd, and one was a regular visitor to a Pampisford Rd garden (see blog).


The regular river sampling session was held at Abington Ford on 25th (see blog).


The first two weeks were dry, followed 45mm of rain over the third week, followed by a couple of cloud bursts the last week, giving a total of 59.5mm for the month - so average for September. The highest temperature recorded was 36.4 degrees C on the 9th and the lowest 7.8 degrees C on the 23rd. Overall, temperatures were high for September with most nights staying in double figures. Winds were predominately west to southwest and light, except for a windy spell in the third week along with the heavy rain. 

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for September 2023:
Barry Brooks, Peter Brunning, David & Gaynor Farrant, Carole McCrae, Len Mead, Andy & Polly Merryweather, Joan Nevin, Nancy Ockendon, Barbara Phippen, Sally Simmons, Gill Smith, Jade Taylor-Salazar, Maggie & John Turner, Derek Turnidge, John Webb, Richard Wells. Bat Conservation Trust.

Monday 2 October 2023

Muntjac and Common Frog 'regulars'

26th September 2023 - John W has a couple of regular visitors to his garden on Pampisford Road. The Common Frog have been occupying his pond for much of the summer now, and the Muntjac Deer is a regular visitor to his front garden. 

Common Frog

Muntjac Deer

River Sampling - September results

25th September 2023 - the Abington River Care Team undertook a monthly sampling of the River Granta at the ford recently, and Nancy O has produced the results for the September sampling.

Common Sandpiper

17th September 2023 - many waders migrate at this time of year, travelling south from their breeding grounds to warmer parts. This includes the Common Sandpiper, which are quite often seen singularly or in small groups, feeding around the edge of lakes, whilst en route. The white shoulder patch, visible just in front of the folded wings is characteristic of this wader.  This one was spotted my Andy M around Granta Park lake.

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: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=213774935674882866424.00000111dca2be9f06ab8&z=13>

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 (amerryweather61@gmail.com)