Latest Sightings April 2018

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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

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29/04/18 Swallow A late visit to Area 10 in the cold and overcast weather produced at least 300 Hirundines feeding low over Black Swan lake and the Emm. Once again mostly Swallow with House Martin and Sand Martin . These Swallow were perched in a bush adjacent to the Emm. I'm not sure if they were roosting or just resting. Earlier in the day a Yellow Wagtail was seen on the beach at the Sailing Club by Brian Bennet.

28/04/18 In Area 10 this morning flying over and feeding on Black Swan Lake and the Emm Brook under cloudy skies were a mixed feeding flock of at least 200 Hirundines. Mostly Swallow with House Martin and Sand Martin .A solitary Swift was also seen. In the Activity Centre car park a Jay , Chiffchaff and Blackcap were also seen. On the pontoon on the lake both Grey Wagtail and Pied Wagtail were seen.

27/04/18 Little Egret In Area 1 at lunchtime 2, possbly a pair of Little Egret were perched in a tree by the flooded field .6 Mallard, 4 Canada Goose and a Grey Wagtail were also seen.A Garden Warbler was heard singing from a Bramble bush by the Almshouses.

26/04/18 A Garden Warbler was heard singing close to the Area 10 car park on the east side by Fraser Cottington.

24/04/18 Mallard On the Emm this morning by Dragonfly Bridge in Area 5 was a female Mallard with 13 ducklings.A Willow Warbler was heard singing near the stile at the back of the Area 10 car park field by Rick Dawson.

23/04/18 Blackcap All along the Emm Brook male Blackcap can be seen and heard singing.

22/04/18 The first Swift of the year was seen flying over the Area 10 car park field by Anne Cronin.Also seen was a House Martin .

21/04/18 Jay A Jay was proving irresistible, so I had to take a photo in Area 10.

20/04/18 Song Thrush In Area 5 this morning a Song Thrush was singing for all its worth, from the tallest tree that it could find.

19/04/18 The first male Cuckoo of the year was heard calling in Area 10 at lunchtime.

18/04/18 2 female Sparrowhawk were seen flying low across the Area 10 car park field by Rick Dawson. Also in Area 10 at lunchtime were numerous calling Blackcap and Chiffchaff .

16/04/18 Another lunch time visit to Area 10. THere was lots of singing from male Chiffchaff and Blackcap in the Car Park field hedges . A calling Cettis Warbler was heard from the reedbeds and a pair of Reed Bunting were seen. Calling Herring Gulls flew over the Emm and a Green Woodpecker was heard "yaffling" in the distance.

14/04/18 In Area 1 a Little Owl was seen in an old tree coming out of hole just to north of plantation by Alan Holmes. Calling was also heard later from South of the road to Ludgrove School, so there might be more.

13/04/18 At my Area 5 garden feeders a male Great Tit was incessantly calling from pre dawn. Which he has now been doing for weeks. I do hope he finds a mate soon.

12/04/18 A lunchtime visit to Area 10 today. Flying over Black Swan Lake and the Emm Brook were a mixed feeding flock of Swallow , House Martin and Sand Martin . Maybe Spring has finally sprung and Summer is on its way, allbeit a bit late. A Song Thrush and Chiffchaff were also seen. Earlier a Mistle Thrush was seen by the Dinton Activity Centre by Richard Marsh.

11/04/18 A quick visit to Area 10 after work produced 3 Swallow flying over the Emm Brook by the Dinton Activity Centre.14 House Martin were seen earlier at the same location by Fraser Cottington.

07/04/18 A Little Egret was seen flying along the Emm in Area 10 at lunchtime.

06/04/18 Bar headed Goose Back to Area 10 again and the car park field. 2 Ring necked Parakeet flew over the car park field, whilst 4 male Blackcap were seen in the bottom hedges and a singing male Cettis Warbler was nearby seen by Richard Marsh. A Bar headed Goose and Greylag Goose were feeding with the Canada Goose near the Area 10 Barn Owl box at lunchtime.

05/04/18 In Area 4, around Kingfisher Bridge, the birds were singing in the lunchtime sunshine. Chiffchaff was singing from the Hawthorn patch .A distant Great spotted Woodpecker was drumming away,whilst a nearby Nuthatch was calling for all its worth. Blue Tit and Great Tit were also very evident with singing and a lot of courtship behaviour, but no sign of any visting the nest boxes as yet.

04/04/18 In the car park field in Area 10 Chiffchaff , Blackcap and a solitary Swallow were seen by Paul Bright Thomas.

02/04/18 In Area 10 by the Activity centre a male Willow Warbler was heard singing by Peter Scuadomore in the copse adjacent to the Emm Brook.

01/04/18 A Sparrowhawk flew over the Area 10 Car Park field, and a male Chiffchaff was singing . Both seen by Richard Marsh.Meanwhile on the old Golf Course, 3 Fieldfare and 2 Mistle Thrush were seen by Brian Bennett.


Malcolm Dunmore, Charles Stickler and Mike Saynor checked the nest boxes along the Emm in January 2018. A high proportion of the nest boxes were used again. A full report can be found here. 2017 Bird Box Usage along the Emm


26/04/18  Green Dock Beetle In Area 10 by the bridge across the Emm several Green Dock Beetle Gastrophysa viridula were seen, not suprisingly on the Docks adjacent to the path.

22/04/18  Female Orange Tip Seen in Area 5 today was a female Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines . Both male and female orange tip butterflies have white wings. Only the males have the bright orange colouring on the wing tips. The females have grey wing tips. The females look very similar to Small White butterflies, but the Small Whites lack the mottled markings on the undersides of the hind wings. Although they are well camouflaged at rest, the males are highly conspicuous in flight, and can easily be spotted by predatory birds. The orange colouring acts as a warning to birds that these butterflies taste bad. In fact their bodies contain large amounts of mustard oil, and once a bird has tasted this, it is unlikely to eat another Orange Tip. The females can often be seen fluttering around cuckoo flowers in early spring. These are the foodplants of the caterpillars and they lay a single egg on each plant.

20/04/18 Holly Blue In a brief visit to Area 5 this morning butterflies were again on the wing, seen were a female Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines , Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus and 2 Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria fighting each other for territory.Speckled Wood At least 5 Dark-edged Bee Fly Bombylius major were seen near the weir pool.Also seen was the first Helophilus pendulus Hoverfly of the year.Helophilus pendulus This hoverfly is sometimes called "The Footballer " due to its stripes.

19/04/18 Small Tortoiseshell It was the warmest day of the year so far with temperatures reaching 27.8 C, so it was no suprise to see Butterflies on the wing. Seen in Area 10 were Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni , Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines ,also seen were the first Comma Polygonia c-album , Peacock Inachis io , Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae ', Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus and Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria of the year along the Emm. Dark-edged Bee Fly Also seen enjoying the sun was the first Dark-edged Bee Fly Bombylius major of the year.The Bee Fly is a strange looking insect with its furry body and patterned wings. The long proboscis is used for drinking nectar from spring flowers such as primroses and violets. It is on the wing in the early spring, when it can often be seen in sunny patches. It is totally harmless.

18/04/18 Alder Fly By the Dinton Activity Centre in Area 10 a recently emerged Alder Fly Sialis lutaria was on the bridge over the Emm. The Alder Fly is a large, sluggish insect often found on vegetation near to water. The larvae are aquatic carnivores that live in the silt at the bottom of ponds and slow-flowing rivers. Adults emerge and live for just for a few days in order to mate. Mating takes place at night and the females lay their eggs on overhanging vegetation. The larvae hatch and drop into the water where they develop over one to two years. A Brimstone Aglais io butterfly was also seen flying alongside the Brook.7 Spot Ladybird Also seen was a 7 Spot Ladybird Coccinella septempunctata The very common Seven Spot Ladybird is usually red, occasionally yellow. Its seven black spots are arranged three on each wing case or elytron and one at the back sitting across the two elytra.

14/04/18 Zebra Spider I know its not an Insect, but I've included it. This is a Zebra Spider Salticus scenicus . The Zebra Spider is a common jumping spider that stalks its prey on walls, rocks and tree trunks in the sun, before leaping on it. Males attract females through a complex courtship dance, moving around the females with their legs waving in the air. The females create a silk cocoon in which the eggs are protected, and guards the nest until the young hatch.This one was by the front door in my Area 5 garden enjoying the sun and waiting for lunch.

10/04/18 Soldier Beetle On my Area 5 window sill this morning was a Soldier Beetle which following consultation is believed to be Cantharis rufa . What it was doing in my house is a mystery.

08/04/18 On the old golf course in Area 10 another Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni butterfly was seen by Ian Paine.

07/04/18 In Area 10 by the bridge over the Emm from the car park field a Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni butterfly was seen by Alan Rymer.

06/04/18 Peacock In Area 10 by the bridge over Emm from the car park field a Brimstone Aglais io butterfly was seen by Alan Rymer .

05/04/18 With the sun comes Butterflies, the first Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines of the year was seen in Area 10 by Alan Rymer. Another true sign of Spring.

01/04/18 Endothenia gentianaeana In Area 1, I picked a Teasel seed head off the floor . More often than not at this time of the year they contain the larvae of the Teasel Moth Endothenia gentianaeana . I cut the seed head in two to reveal the larvae that always feeds singly on the pith in the cavity of a teasel seedhead, between September and May. .


24/04/18 Bluebell In Area 5 on the banks of the pond are Bluebell Hyacinthoides . Bluebells spend most of the year as bulbs underground , only emerging to flower and leaf from April onwards. This early spring flowering allows them to make the most of the sunlight that is still able to make it to their forest floor habitat and attracts the attention of plenty of pollinating insects. Cowslip .In the remenants of the Wild flower meadow about 12 Cowslip Primula veris have appeared. All we have to do now is keep them away from the Councils mowers.

23/04/18 Garlic Mustard Along the Emm Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata is now in full bloom. Garlic Mustard, is also commonly known as 'Jack-by-the-hedge',it likes shady places, such as the edges of woods and hedgerows.

21/04/18 Lady's Smock In Area 5 the first of the Lady's Smock Cardamine pratensis is in flower. Lady’s smock is also commonly known as Cuckoo flower because it coincides with the arrival of the first Cuckoo.

15/04/18 Marsh Marigold In Area 5 by the spillway from the pond Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris have finally come into flower. Wood Anemone By Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4, Wood Anemone Anemone nemorosa are still putting on a fine display.

06/04/18 Loddon Lily By the Sailing Club in Area 10, despite having been in flower since the New Year Loddon Lily Leucojum aestivum are still putting on a fine display.

05/04/18 Wood Anemone By Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4, Wood Anemone Anemone nemorosa flowers were showing in the lunchtime sun. Another sign that Spring is with us.

Other Wildlife



24/04/18 At lunchtime in Area 10 a Muntjac Deer Muntiacus reevesi was seen to burst out of a reedbed, before running across a path and disappearing into a copse.

18/04/18 Muntjac Deer Hoof prints In the wet mud in Area 10 were the hoof prints of Muntjac Deer Muntiacus reevesi .

15/04/18 Molehills I would imagine that with the recent wet weather digging has been a little easier for the Mole Talpa europaea as can be seen by the number of molehills by Dragonfly Bridge in Area 5 .The only reason that you would know that they were there. A bit more conspicuous however areSquirrel Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis. The grey squirrel frequently has patches of reddish-brown coloured fur, and we often get asked if this is the product of cross breeding with red squirrels. It isn't. In fact grey squirrels are more often half grey and half brown.

14/04/18 Hedgehog With a warm spell on the way, I hope to get a lot more Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus through my Area 5 garden . This one was 04:00 in the morning.

10/04/18 Pipistrelle Despite the recent dismal weather the Common Pipistrele Erinaceus europaeus Bat,still has to feed. this one was flying by Ripplestream Bridge in Area 4 at dusk. Pipistrelles are the commonest and most widespread of all British bat species

01/04/18 Hedgehog Overnight in the rain ,I put out the trail cam in my Area 5 garden and managed to catch a Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus before and after midnight .