Of course there is much more to Royston's wildlife than Birds and Butterflies!

I would like to be an all-round naturalist, but there are large gaps in my knowledge! What follows is a brief summary of what I know about other aspects of Royston’s fauna.


Beside the ubiquitous rabbits and grey squirrels, the Brown Hare is the mammal that is most closely associated with the Royston area. Indeed, hare-coursing has been an unwelcome by-product of the abundance of hares in this region, although this illegal activity is thankfully much less frequent than it used to be. Muntjac Deer are becoming increasingly common and will soon be regarded as a pest, whilst Fallow Deer are occasionally sighted (they are much more common in the west of the county). Shrews, Mice and Voles provide prey for Stoats and Weasels (which are, however, uncommon) in addition to birds of prey and owls. Pipistrelle Bats are common, particularly in the surrounding villages. Foxes are occasionally sighted and there are several Badger Setts in the area. I found an injured Polecat in 2011 and a local farmer has confirmed that this secretive and nocturnal mammal is now present in the area in small numbers. 

Reptiles and Amphibians

Common Lizards occur on the Heath and can often be seen basking on Church Hill on warm days in spring and summer. I have never seen a snake in the region: sightings would be gratefully received! Garden ponds support colonies of Common Frogs and Common Newts. The occasional Common Toad makes an appearance in my garden (as far as I know, the nearest breeding colonies are in South Cambridgeshire).


Dragonflies have migratory habits, so it is not too surprising to see a few of the commoner species (in particular Common Darters) in late summer, well away from water. Emperor, Southern Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Four-spotted Chaser and Broad-bodied Chaser dragonflies have all been seen over and presumably breed in local village ponds.


In addition to the aforementioned Pasque Flower, Common Spotted, Pyramidal and Bee Orchids occur on the Heath in early Summer. The White Helleborine Orchid can be seen in Fox Covert nature reserve in late spring.