Latest Sightings April 2017

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For previous months sightings see Archive

The "Area Seen" refers to the 10 sections that the Brook has been split into for monitoring purposes (see Wildlife page under Monitoring ).

All sightings unless stated are from personal observations by Eddie Napper

Click on any picture to see a larger image


30/04/17 In the Area 10 car park field off Sandford Lane today a Lesser Whitethroat was singing and a Yellow Wagtail was heard calling as it flew over by Fraser Cottington.

29/04/17 In my Area 5 garden a Long tailed Tit was enjoying the fat feeders. This is a rare visitor to my garden.

28/04/17 At 09:00 this morning a large mixed hirundine flock of Swallow and House Martin also contained 5 Swift . They were all flying over the Emm in Area 10 between the Old Golf Course and Black Swan Lake feeding. A Goldcrest was also seen picking insects off the bridge over the Emm by the Multi Activity Centre.

27/04/17 A Ring necked Parakeet was seen dropplng into an Ash tree before flying N in Area 4 by Paul Bright Thomas.

24/04/17 In Area 10 a Lesser Whitethroat was calling and seen in the Car Park field. Nearby a Garden Warbler was also heard singing.

22/04/17 Yet again the male Tawny Owl was calling at 04:22 in Area 5.

20/04/17 Wheatear In the car park field at 13:40 off Sandford Lane in Area 10 a Wheatear was in the grass and found by David Hampton(Photo courtesy of Fraser Cottington).

18/04/17 Little Egret In the Emm Brook to the Rear of Morrisons (Area 5 ) this morning at 09:00 a Little Egret was feeding at Dragonfly Bridge. Whilst I was watching it a Kingfisher flew downstream, over its head, calling. In Area 4 a Kestrel was seen by Paul Bright Thomas from his garden.

17/04/17 In Area 10 at 08:00 Swallow and House Martin were flying over the Emm by the sailing club at Dinton Pastures, at bit earlier at 03:45 in Area 5 a male Tawny Owl was heard calling again.

16/04/17 In Area 4 a Raven was seen flying E over his garden at12:40 by Paul Bright Thomas, also a male Tawny Owl was heard calling at 01:00.

13/04/17 In Area 4 a male Willow Warbler was seen by Paul Bright Thomas, singing next to the Emm between Kingfisher bridge and Ripplestream Bridge. In Area 5 a male Tawny Owl was heard calling at 21:50.

11/04/17 A Redshank was flying around displaying over the Emm and calling all over BSL, Sandford and old golf course in Area 10 at 07:50.Seen by Fraser Cottington.

07/04/17 Little Owl An after work walk around Area 2, produced a pair of Little Owl enjoying the evening sun in an Oak tree on the path to Ludgrove School.Yes they are there in the picture. You may have to look towards the centre. Also seen was a Coal Tit feeding in the hedges.Greylag Goose At the bottom of the car park field in Area 10 at a lunchtime a bit of a Wildfowl grazing frenzy was going on. Possibly not suprising given the hour. Munching away on the grass near the Emm were Greylag Goose , Canada Goose and Egyptian Goose .

06/04/17 Paul Bright Thomas was out and about in Area 10 and the car park field at Lavells Lake. Seen were 4 Ring necked Parakeets with 3 flying over the field and 1 on the East side. Also on the East side of the field was a singing Willow Warbler a first for the year.

04/04/17 In Area 10 this morning at 07:00 was my first Swallow of the year flying over the Emm Brook near the Multi Activity Centre. Also seen were 2 Little Egret which seemed to touch down on the Emm Brook before departing N.

02/04/17 Chiffchaff Around Area 10 and Sandford Lane again numerous Chiffchaff were calling from any available vantage post . Male Blackcap were also belting out their song in the sun. Blackcap A Little Egret was seen in Area 4 by Paul Bright Thomas.

01/04/17 Blackbird Egg A Litter pick along the Emm Brook in Area 7. Numerous Chiffchaff were calling from the bushes. Another Spring migrant Blackcap were singing their beautiful song, announcing their arrival .Found by the path, was the remains of an eggshell of Blackbird once layed the eggs are incubated for 14 days. I am assuming that it was as a result of a successfull hatching rather than predation.


23/04/17 A Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus was again in my Area 5 garden.

16/04/17 Female Orange Tip A female Orange TipAnthocharis cardimines was out in Area 10. These butterflies are quite often confused with Large and Small White.

15/04/17 Oak Apple Gall In Area 5 near Dragonfly Bridge an Oak Apple GallBiorhiza pallida had fallen to the floor. The Oak Apple Gall is caused by a tiny gall wasp, . It can be found on oak twigs where the female has laid her eggs in the leaf bud. Inside the gall there are a number of chambers, each housing a larva which eats its way out. Adults emerge in June and July.

09/04/17 Red Mason Bee In my Area 5 garden at the "Bug Hotel" several female Red Mason BeeOsmia biocornis were busy filling in the tubes.The Red Mason Bee is a small, common bee which nests in hollow plant stems, in holes in cliffs, and in the crumbling mortar of old buildings. It is a solitary bee so, after mating, each female builds its own nest; she lines each 'cell' with mud and pollen and lays a single egg in each until the cavity is full. The larvae hatch and develop, pupating in autumn and hibernating over winter. The Red Mason Bee is on the wing from late March, and feeds solely on pollen and nectar.

08/04/17 A Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus butterfly was repeatedly seen in my garden this afternnon.

07/04/17 Dock Bug All the usual Butterfly suspects, for this time of the year were on the wing in Area 10 at lunchtime . With Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae, a Speckled WoodPararge aegeria, a male Orange TipAnthocharis cardimines, Brimstone Goneptorex rhammi and Small White Pieris rapae all seen in the Lavells Lake car park field off Sandford Lane or the Multi Activity centre adjacent to Black Swan Lake at Dinton Pastures.Also seen was a Dock Bug Coreus marginatus on a nearby Bramble bush.

03/04/17 Alderfly I arrived in Area 10 at lunchtme and within minutes a AlderflySialis lutaria had landed on my windscreen. This one had obviousy been in the pollen. It can be found near ponds and streams with silted bottoms and an abundance of weed or plant detritus. Despite its name, it has no association with Alder trees, other than being found on foliage beside water, which is where Alder is usually found.

02/04/17 Eristalis intricarius In Area 10 this morning . The sun was shining and on these days its a good idea to check out any vegetation that gets blessed by the sun. In the car park field seen was the Hoverfly Eristalis intricarius.Red-tailed Bumblebee Also seen was the the Red-tailed BumblebeeBombus lapidarius and the Hoverfly Syrphus ribessi . The Common Wasp Vespula vulgaris was also seen.

01/04/17 Small Tortoiseshell A good butterfly day in Area 7. Seen during the litter pick were a Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae, a Speckled WoodPararge aegeria was on the Nettles by the river and a Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus was flitting through the bushes.All 3 are new species for the year and brings the FOTEB Butterfly list to 9 species. Speckled Wood . Also seen was the first Beefly Bombylius major and a 7 spot Ladybird Coccinella septempuncta.

Other Wildlife


07/04/17 Rabbit Also at the bottom of the car park field in Area 10 at lunchtime eating the grass ( see photo) were 5 Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus. In the picture the one on the right seems to be enjoying a mouthfull of grass.In my garden a Hedgehog Erinaceus eoropaeuswas caught on the garden trailcam.

01/04/17 Pipistrelle At 20:00 in Area 5 by Ripplestream Bridge at least 4 Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus bats were feeding over the Emm Brook. A first for me this year.


01/04/17 Bonnet species An as yet undentified Bonnet Mushroom was seen in Area 5. Named after their conical cap like a pixies bonnet.


18/04/17 Ribwort Plantain In Area 5 in the Wildflower Meadow Cowslip Primula veris numbers have now grown. There are approx 20 seperate plants now visible. Down at the pond on the banks Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata are visible with their distinctive short blackish spikes on ridged stalks.

09/04/17 Greater Stichwort Along most areas of the Emm Greater Stitchwort Stellanaholostea can now be seen. It has many other common names including 'Wedding Cakes', 'Star-of-Bethlehem', 'Daddy's-shirt-buttons' and 'Snapdragon' - the latter because its stems are brittle and easily break. It's pretty star-shaped, white flowers bloom from April to June; as the seed capsules ripen, they can be heard 'popping' in late spring. Greater Stitchwort has five white petals, each deeply notched and almost divided into two. Its green leaves are grass-like in appearance and its brittle stems are square. Greater Stitchwort has larger flowers (2-3cm across) than its relative, Lesser Stitchwort (0.5-1cm across).

09/04/17 Cowslip In Area 5 to the rear of Morrisons Cowslip Primula veris are just starting to emerge. Bluebell Meanwhile in Area 10 near the Dinton Pastures car park Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta are putting on a fine display.

07/04/17 Cuckoo Flower In Area 5 the Cuckoo flower Cardamine pratensis. Cuckooflower, also commonly known as 'Lady's-smock', is a pretty springtime perennial of damp, grassy places. Its pale pink flowers bloom from April to June and are thought to coincide with the arrival of the first cuckoo.

02/04/17 Ground Ivy In the car park field in Area 10 Ground Ivy Glechoma henderacea is growing in the field. Along the Emm Brook Blackthorn Prunus spinosa can be seen in all its glory.Blackthorn is one of those wonderful spring sights when on a sunny day the creamy white flowers seen against a blue sky is one of the sights of spring. Blackthorn . Along the Emm Brook at this time of year are English Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta unfortunately you are never sure if they are native or garden escapees from the non native Spanish Bluebell Hyacinthoides hispanica much loved by Garden centres. However a good way to tell the two apart is that Anthers of native bluebell flowers have white-cream coloured pollen. This is an identifying characteristic. Non-native Spanish bluebells have blue pollen.This early flowering makes the most of the sunlight that reaches the woodland floor before the full woodland canopy casts its shade It's not surprising that bluebell is one of the nation's best-loved wild flowers.


16/04/17 White lipped Snail In my Area 5 garden White lipped Snail Cepaea hortensis are starting to appear. No doubt to try and finish off anything that I plant. Let battle commence.

Fish/ Crustacean