Monday 6 November 2023

Coal Tit

4th November 2023 - Andy M has been lucky to have a 'mixed tit flock' pass through his garden several times recently, feeding as they go. These flocks mostly comprise Blue Tit and Great Tit, which travel around together at this time of year, but have also included a few Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit and Chiffchaff.  

This Coal Tit was investigating the small pine tree (in the rain) outside his kitchen window this week, giving good views of the characteristic 'badger stripe' down the back of its head.

River levels up!

3rd November 2023 - with all the rain recently, the river levels have been high, with water flooding over onto an area of the recreation ground near the Millennium Bridge. The footpath to Hildersham has also required wellies and some 'paddling' recently.

(with thanks to Janet, Derek T's daughter, for the photo)

October 2023 - Summary of Sightings around the Abingtons

October 2023

Amphibians and Reptiles

Common Frog – an adult and several smaller froglets were seen whilst gardening (3rd-8th), and an adult was spotted out in the rain one evening (11th), all in a Lewis Cres garden.



A total of 55 species were reported this month in 387 records. The last House Martin report came quite early in the month, with the first winter thrush spotted just a few days later. Also, the Tawny Owls started hooting around the village again – autumn must be here!

A Raven was spotted flying over Lewis Cres, the third report this year of a species that has become more widespread across Cambridgeshire in recent years. A Kingfisher was also seen along the river in Sluice Wood on 16th – only the third report this year, all since August.

A small group of House Martin were spotted flying over Lewis Cres on 7th, the last report of the year. A Hobby, another summer visitor, was also spotted along the ORC on 5th, these two species migrating south together at this time of year, the latter preying on the former en route.

Both Tawny Owl and Barn Owl were heard calling at night at several locations, as they start to attract mates and establish their territories. 1-2 Buzzard were spotted throughout the month, mainly in the LSA and GP, with a Red Kite being reported from Bourn Bridge Rd as well. A Kestrel was reported twice, and a Sparrowhawk was seen in several gardens (see blog).

The first winter thrush were also seen; the first Redwing was heard over Westfield on 9th, with further reports since (see blog), and a large flock of 150 Fieldfare was seen on 23rd near Hildersham Wood, although just outside the parish boundary.  A small group of Siskin were heard along the ORC on 5th, these birds moving south in the UK as the weather gets cooler.

On GP lake, the usual Mallard were accompanied by a Cormorant, two Little Grebe and five Mandarin Duck, as well as seven Barnacle Goose, two Moorhen and a Grey Heron round the edge. A few Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail were also seen on rough ground on GP.

Both Red-legged Partridge and, more unusually, three Grey Partridge were seen south of the LSA, and Pheasant were seen in a Cambridge Rd garden and around Hall Farm. A completely albino Pheasant was also spotted just south of Chalky Rd.

Goldfinch, often 10-18, were regularly reported on feeders, as well as occasionally a few Greenfinch and a Chaffinch. Mixed flocks of Blue Tit, Great Tit and Long-tailed Tit were also garden regulars, sometimes including a Coal Tit or Chiffchaff. A Goldcrest was also occasionally spotted in one of two gardens, with Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird and Wren being widely seen.

House Sparrow were regulars in Lewis Cres, and a flock of 50 Starling was seen on the LSA, as well as 12 on GP.  A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen only three times (see blog), with a Green Woodpecker being seen and heard more often, particularly around Cambridge Rd and Hall Farm. Magpie were widely reported in gardens, as was a Jay especially later in the month, and a Mistle Thrush was seen once in Lewis Cres.

Both Skylark and Linnet were seen around the LSA, the ORC and on GP. A few Collared Dove were seen in several gardens, with a large flock of 12 seen on the LSA, and a few Stock Dove were spotted around Lewis Cres, Hall Farm and GP. Woodpigeon, Rook, Carrion Crow and Jackdaw were all reported, as were a few Black-headed Gull and Herring Gull overhead.



With all the cold, wet weather, there have been fewer insects around, with 15 species recorded this month in just 45 reports. Of these, 29 were butterflies, 6 bees, 4 odonata and 6 other species.

Butterflies – Red Admiral were the most regularly reported, with over half the reports being this species. Small White and Brimstone were also seen fairly often, with Large White and Comma being seen just once each.

Number of butterfly reports: Red Admiral 14, Small White 8, Brimstone 5, Comma 1, Large White 1.

A few Odonata species were reported; an Emperor Dragonfly in Westfield on 4th and in Lewis Cres on 7th, a Common Darter on Church Lane on 9th (see blog) and a further unidentified dragonfly on 15th.

Buff-tailed Bumblebee were reported four times, with both Common Carder Bee and Ivy Mining Bee being spotted in Church Lane on 15th. Hummingbird Hawkmoth were seen four times, the last being on 22nd (see blog), and a Cricket and Hornet were also reported.

A pair of Common Wasp were spotted mating, which is not often witnessed (see blog), and a Bloody-nosed Beetle was seen along the ORC (see blog).



Badger – one dead in field south of ORC on 23rd.

Bat – several bats seen on 1st above a Cambridge Rd garden.

Fallow Deer – one female near Hildersham Wood on 8th, and 8 young deer seen in the field just south of the ORC on 23rd (see blog).

Hedgehog – one seen in Bourn Bridge Rd garden on 27th.

Muntjac – one along ORC on 7th, one in Sluice Wood on 15th (see blog), one in a Cambridge Rd garden on 15th, and one seen dead by the side of High St near Lewis Cres, also on 15th.



The weather this month has been favourable for fungi, with a good number of species being identified on the GP lunchtime walk on 17th, including Giant Puffball, Common Puffball, Milk-cap, Jelly-ear, Turkey-tail, Parasol, Grisette, Clustered Bonnet, Sulphur Tuft and Hairy Curtain Crust, as well as several others not fully identified (see blog). Shaggy Inkcap and a type of Boletus were also spotted separately on GP (see blog), and several others such as Clustered Bonnet, Common Earthball, Common Bonnet, ‘Fairy Ring’ and Grisette were seen in gardens (see blog, and here).


A record wet month with 131 mm of rain! The highest temperature was 28.2 degrees C on the 9th and the lowest was minus 1.2 degrees C on the 16th. The overall picture though was of a very mild and wet month with predominantly light south westerly winds.

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for October 2023:

Barry Brooks, David & Gaynor Farrant, Robin Harman, Len Mead, Andy & Polly Merryweather, Joan Nevin, Nancy Ockendon, Barbara Phippen, Gill Smith, Maggie & John Turner, Derek Turnidge. 

Flowers and Fungi

31st October 2023 - Barbara P spotted a few flowers and fungi on her travels around the village this month, including a Knapweed in bloom, the rather delicate seedheads of Fleabane, and a couple of fungi, possibly being Fairy Ring toadstool and Grisette.


Fleabane seed heads

'Fairy Ring' toadstool

Unknown fungi - possibly a Grisette

Thursday 2 November 2023

Male Sparrowhawk

31st October 2023 - earlier this month, Maggie was lucky enough to spot a male Sparrowhawk in her garden, and even better, she had her camera to hand to take this lovely photo. Just look into that beady-eyed stare!


25th October 2023 - there have been a few sightings of small numbers of Redwing in the village this month, with the earliest being on 9th above Westfield. These 'winter thrush' arrive here from northern Europe and Scandinavia, as the weather gets colder there, to spend the winter here. 

John and Maggie T saw this one in their garden on 25th, and spotted that it had a number of ticks around its face. These apparently are not detrimental to the bird, although they must be a bit of a nuisance one would think!

[photo John Turner]     

Common Darter

9th October 2023 - during the warmer weather earlier in the month (remember that!), Len M spotted this Common Darter dragonfly soaking up the sun, in his garden.

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 (