Sunday 14 January 2024

Speedy getaway

14th January 2024 - in the fallow field next to the hairdresser path on Granta Park, Andy M startled a large dog Fox, which made a rapid getaway into the undergrowth, sporting a splendidly bushy tail.

Winter flowers on the way

14th January 2024 - throughout the Granta Park woods alongside the river, the first few Snowdrops were starting to show, as were a few Aconites, although the lack of sun was keeping them firmly closed. The foliage of the Wild Arum was erupting in glossy green splashes, and the Catkins waved gently in the breeze. Andy M



Wild Arum

Hazel Catkins

Flooded meadow popular with the Gulls

14th January 2024 - the meadow between Little Abington church and the river still bore the remnants of last week's flooding, with large pools still very much in evidence. These were proving to be highly attractive to a good number of Black-headed Gull, both feeding and bathing there. Flocks of Pied Wagtail were also spotted feeding at the margins, and several Grey Heron were spread, sentry still, across the field. Andy M.

Tuesday 9 January 2024

Fieldfare - going for the berries

9th January 2024 - Andy M spotted a small flock of Fieldfare whilst walking along the Old Railway Cutting. Initially, from their treetop vantage point, they were alert to his presence and making their characteristic 'schack-schack-schack' call. But hunger soon got the better of them, and they settled into the hedges, gorging themselves on haws and sloes.

A patch of small toadstools

3rd January 2024 - Derek T spotted this patch of small toadstools alongside the path to the Millennium Bridge.

River Granta in flood

2nd - 5th January 2024. As many will have realised, some perhaps to their cost, the recent heavy rain dramatically raised the level of the River Granta in the village.  Initially, on the 2nd January, the river was running very high in its bed, but the water on Hood's Meadow seemed to just be the result of the heavy rain. However, over the course of 5th January, the river level rose dramatically, flooding the Cricket Field, the area upstream of the road bridge, and both Sluice Wood and Cook's Meadow.

Photos from Derek T (2nd Jan) and David F (5th Jan).

2nd Jan - river running high, but still in its bed - just!

2nd Jan - flooding on Hood's Meadow, but likely to be collected rain, 
rather than the river bursting its banks

5th Jan - flooding of the Cricket Field

5th Jan - looking upstream, from the road bridge

5th Jan - the Recreation Ground from the Millennium Bridge

5th Jan - Sluice Wood, looking downstream towards the old footbridge

5th Jan - Cook's Meadow

5th Jan - just downstream of the Sluice from the GP side

Tuesday 2 January 2024

Butterflies and Moths to look out for in January

2nd January 2024 - Butterfly Conservation have produced this handy little reminder of those Butterfly and Moth species which are most likely to be seen in January, so do keep a look out for them and let us know.

More details of all Butterfly and Moth species, and other interesting articles, can be found on their website

December 2023 - Summary of Sightings around the Abingtons

December 2023


A total of 47 species were reported this month in 248 records. Several hundred Starling were seen murmurating above GP, and a pair of Goosander and a Snipe were also spotted there. A Grey Wagtail was spotted in a garden, and both Barn Owl and Tawny Owl were heard at night.

Just one report of Fieldfare, a flock being spotted near Hildersham Wood on 23rd, and a single Redwing was seen on Christmas Day on the Settlements.

A Grey Wagtail visited a Bourn Bridge Rd garden for a little while, stopping to take a drink there – an unusual visitor to a garden. Seven Pied Wagtail were also seen on GP cricket field.

On GP, a pair of Goosander was spotted flying over the lake (7th), and around 500-1000 Starling were seen murmurating, before roosting in the reedbed on 6th and 7th. Around 15 Reed Bunting were also roosting there. An adult Mute Swan and four cygnets were seen on the lake, as were several Mallard, a Moorhen, two Little Grebe and three Mandarin Duck, and a Snipe was flushed from rough grassland, where small flocks of Linnet and Meadow Pipit were also seen. Four Grey Heron were seen alongside the river (see blog).

A Barn Owl was heard calling along Chalky Rd, and Tawny Owl were reported regularly, calling around Church Lane, Hall Farm and the High St. On warmer, brighter days several species could be heard singing too, especially Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Wren, Great Tit and Greenfinch, giving a pre-taste of dawn choruses to come!

One or two Buzzard were widely reported circling overhead, a Red Kite was seen around Cambridge Rd and Bourn Bridge Rd, and a male Sparrowhawk was spotted in a Cambridge Rd garden.

Up to six Blue Tit and 2-3 Great Tit were seen in several gardens, along with an occasion Coal Tit on Cambridge Rd and Hall Farm, and small flocks of Long-tailed Tit in several gardens.  Up to 10 Goldfinch were also seen on feeders alongside 2-3 Greenfinch, as well as a few more Chaffinch than in previous months. A flock of ~30 Chaffinch was also seen feeding on beech mast on GP.

A few Blackbird were regularly reported, although perhaps in lower numbers than previous years. Dunnock, Wren and Song Thrush were also often seen in gardens, as well as several Robin regularly heard singing. House Sparrow, Magpie and an occasional Jay were also reported.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen on a couple of feeders, and a Goldcrest was spotted several times. A cock Pheasant was seen in a Hall farm garden, where a flock of 12 Black-headed Gull also dropped onto the lawn to feed on Christmas leftovers, and there was a possible sighting of Grey Partridge around New House Farm.

A few Collared Dove, Stock Dove and Woodpigeon also visited several gardens. Rook, Carrion Crow and Jackdaw were also reported.

Flora and Fungi

On a walk around Lagden’s Grove with the Wildlife Trust, a few fungi were spotted – in particular, Puffball, Jelly Ear, White Brain Jelly, Wrinkled Peach and Turkey Tail (see blog)



Fox – a dog fox seen around the road entrance to GP on 12th.

Hedgehog - one in a Church Lane garden on 23rd and 24th foraging for food in daylight, and one seen crossing Church Lane on 30th also in daylight. One was spotted in a Bourn Bridge Rd garden late evening on 31st (see blog)



Yet another wet month with 79.5 mm of rain. However, it was exceptionally mild, with the lowest temperature being minus 5.6 degrees C on the 1st, and the highest being 14.7 degrees C on the 24th. There were only five nights when temperatures dropped below zero, and daytime temperatures averaged 11 degrees C. Prevailing winds were from a southerly direction with the latter half of the month being quite stormy.


Amphibians and Reptiles, & Insects

No sightings reported this month.

Many thanks to all those who contributed reports of their sightings for December 2023:
Barry Brooks, Peter Brunning, David & Gaynor Farrant, Len Mead, Andy & Polly Merryweather, Nancy Ockendon, Barbara Phippen, Gareth Rees, Gill and Richard Smith, Maggie Turner, Derek Turnidge.

Hedgehogs out and about

28th December 2023 - the mild, wet weather seems to have brought the Hedgehogs out of hibernation somewhat early, as several have been spotted feeding in gardens towards the end of the month, often in full daylight.  Len Mead took these photos of one in his garden on Church Lane.

Fungi in Lagden's Grove

17th December 2023 - Andy M joined the Wildlife Trust lunchtime walk around Granta Park, and we spotted a few fungi - many of which seemed to have rather bizarre names!

White Brain Jelly fungus

Jelly Ear fungus

Turkey Tail fungus

Wrinkled Peach fungus


Grey Heron

17th December 2023 - Andy M spotted four Grey Heron on the meadows between the two churches, including this one in the fabulous old tree there.

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 (