Latest Sightings August 2014

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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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31/08/14 Paul Bright Thomas saw 30 Swallow flying S in small groups over Area 4. In Area 6 , 3 Red Kite were spiraling over Clifton Road . Meanwhile, in Area 7 a Buzzard was riding the thermals.


Redstart It looks as if the month will end as it started with Kingfisher seen flying downstream under Dragonfly Bridge in Area 5 at 07:35 . A Chiffchaff and Green Woodpeckers were also seen. Meanwhile back at Area 4, Paul Bright Thomas had a Hobby over and there was several Swallow heading S over his garden. In Area 10 Lavells Lake Car Park field a juvenille Redstart was found by Brian Bennett. Fraser Cottington had 6 Yellow Wagtail overhead.

29/08/14 With hirundines cleary on the move back to their wintering grounds, Paul Bright Thomas saw a House Martin , 2 Swallow and a Swift in Area 4.,


Swallow Before the rain really started, I visited the Area 10 Lavells Lake Car Park field in the hope of catching up with some return migration. The only visible movement was approx 100+ Swallows, feeding and going S overhead.


During the Balsam pulling in Area 5 a Kingfisher was seen (by some ) flying upstream by Woosehill Roundabout. In the Area 10 Lavells Lake Car Park field today , Richard Marsh et al had 3 Spotted Flycatcher on and around the big Hawthorn at the bottom of the field..


Spotted Flycatcher Area's 4 & 5 were the place to be this morning with a Whitethroat and a male and female Blackcap seen feeding in the bushes behind Morrisons. Paul Bright Thomas in Area 4 had a Bullfinch , 2 Rook over SE, 2 Swallow and a Swift low S. Also seen was a Coal Tit and later in the morning another Swift was seen feeding over the balancing pond for 10 mins. In the Area 10 Lavells Lake Car Park , Fraser Cottington had 3 Whitethroat , 5 Swift , 1 Grey Wagtail and after some time and a second loop of the car park field a Spotted Flycatcher on the big Hawthorn. But after a few minutes the bird was flushed by a dog walker and not relacated. A Hobby was also seen.


In Area 10 Brian Bennett saw a Spotted Flycatcher briefly in an Oak tree alongside the Emm by the Black Swan Lake sailing compound.


Paul Bright Thomas heard a Kingfisher calling as it flew along the Emm in Area 4 near Kingfisher Bridge. A Willow Warbler was also heard calling nearby. In Area 10, Fraser Cottington had an adult Hobby over the Area 10 Lavells Lake Car Park low NW at 10:43 and a couple of Whitethroat were on the Hawthorn on the edge of the field.


Heading south over Area 8 today were several Swallow .


A single Linnet flew over Fraser Cottinton and Brian Bennett in the Area 10 Lavells Lake Car Park heading SE at 10:30, the first record since May. Also plenty of House Martins were overhead.


Reported today that a Kingfisher flew from the Emm and perched on the bench by Ripplestream Bridge in Area 5 before flying off downstream.


The Balsam bashing on the Emm, was in Area 3 (Molly Millars Lane) today. Walking up the Emm produced a Grey Wagtail and a brief sighting of a Kingfisher near the bridge by Oakey Drive.At 20:30 this evening 12 nosily calling Canada Geese flew over Area 5 probably towards Windmill Pond.


Grey Wagtail The highlights of today’s serendipitous wanderings along the Emm produced a Juvenile Bullfinch in Area 5 and a Juvenile Grey Wagtail in the river at Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4.


Little Grebe Time was spent this morning at the still flooded Area 4 balancing pond, near Smiths Walk. Water birds have made good use of this temporary expanse of water and Moorhen, Coot and Mallards have all succesfully bred and are currenltly raising young. This morning a Little Grebe was also present. A record shot was taken before it dived. The trees on the banks had both Willow Warrbler and Chlffchaff feeding on insects. Also present were a family of Long tailed Tits.

08/08/14 Fraser Cottington was in the Area 10 Lavells Lake Car Park field this morning and had a Mistle Thrush over SE. A trickle of House Martin going SE and 2-3 Bullfinch about.

07/08/14 3 Swift were seen flying over the Area 10 Lavells Lake Car Park field by Fraser Cottington.

04/08/14 Paul Bright Thomas was out early in his Area 4 garden and had a Chiffchaff and 3 Swift over. A Chiffchaff was also heard calling near Dragonfly bridge.

02/08/14 Flying up from the weir pool near Woosehill Roundabout, was a Grey Wagtail calling as it flew across the Spine Road. A Sparrowhawk flew from the rear of Windmill School, carrying prey.

01/08/14 A good start to the month with a fleeting glimpse of a Kingfisher seen very appropriately near Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4 at 07:50 . Richard Marsh saw 4 Chiffchaff and 2 Green Woodpeckers in the Lavells Lake Car Park field off Sandford Lane, adjacent to the Emm. Meanwhile back at Area 4, Paul Bright Thomas had a solitary Swift over and a Goldcrest moving through his garden.



In Area 6, behind the Clifton Road shops the first Hornet Vespa crabro of the year was seen on Blackberries The hornet is an impressive insect and is Britain's largest social wasp. With the sun out again Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens were seen on the wing.


Whilst bringing out the recycling boxes from the garage this morning an Old Lady Mormo maura moth was hanging on the side.It is a large-winged, sombre-coloured moth, which is distributed locally throughout much of Britain. It hides by day in old buildings and sheds, and frequents damp localities as well as waste ground and gardens.


Spangle Gall

Artichoke Gall My wanderings around Area 4 this morning produced a bit of a Gall fest. A gall is an abnormal growth produced by a plant or other host under the influence of another organism. It involves enlargement and/or proliferation of host cells, and provides both shelter and food or nutrients for the invading organism. On a single Oak tree near Ripplestream Bridge , were Silk-button Gall Neuroterus numismallis, Spangled Gall Neuroterus quercusbaccarum,

Silk-button Gall

Smooth-spangle Gall Smooth-spangled Gall Neuroterus alpibes and the Oak Artichoke Gall Andricus fecundator . All these Galls are caused by Wasps or Sawflies.


Long Hoverfly

Dead Headfly My attention was focused on my Area 5 garden today . The Goldenrod Solidago species in the garden prove on a sunny day to be a magnet for Hoverflies Syrphidae. Hoverflies are a fascinating group of insects. They belong to the family Syrphidae, a family within the order Diptera (true flies). As they are often brightly coloured and very common in gardens many people will be familiar with them. Many have black and yellow markings and so are often confused with bees and wasps. Seen were Pellucid Hoverfly Volucella pellucens, Long Hoverfly Sphaerophoria scripta, Dead Head Hoverfly Myathropa florea, Dasysyrphus albostriatus, Eristalis arbustorum and Eristallis interruptus

Eristalis arbustorum

Dasysyrphus albostriates


Southern Hawker During the Balsam bashing in Area 3 an imature male Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea was warming its self up on a riverside Brambles. A hasty photo was taken with my phone.


Yellow  Shell Disturbed from a Bramble bush this morning was a Yellow Shell Camptogramma bilineata The intricate and wavy pattern on this unmistakeable moth resembles that of some seashells giving the moth its name.

Red bean Gall The sawfly Pontania proxima is the cause of the shiny red bean galls that develop on narrow-leaved willows. Each normally contains a single larva.


Silver Washed Fritillary Seen and photographed by Fraser Cottington this Silver Washed Fritillary Argynnis paphia was in the Area 10 Lavells Lake Car Park field off Sandford Lane. This brings this years Butterfly count to 19 species.


Cerceris rybyensis

Xanthogramma pedissequum Today in my Area 5 garden the Hoverfly Xanthogramma pedissequum and the Digger Wasp Cerceris rybyensis were feeding off the Golden Rod.


Emperor Dragonfly A first for me today. A walk arond the Area 5 Wildflower Meadow in the afternoon , and in the cloudy conditions a disturbed Dragonfly flew eventually to the trees to warm up. This turned out to be an Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator a first for the FOTEB List. Butterflies on the wing today in Area 5 included Peacock Inachis io and Large White Pieris brassicae, Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus, Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria , Small White Pieris rapae , Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina , Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas , Comma Polygonia c-album and a Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus. -


Pyrausta purpuralis Butterflies on the wing today in Area 5 included Peacock Inachis io and Large White Pieris brassicae . Also seen was the day flying moth Pyrausta purpuralis



Blackthorn More signs of the approach of Autumn with Sloes the fruit of the Blackthorn Prunus spinosa, Elder berries the fruit of the Elder Sambucus nigra

Elder and the berries of the Common Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna all on display.

Hawthorn Common hawthorn can support more than 300 insects. It is the food plant for caterpillars of many moths, including the Hawthorn, Orchard ermine, Pear leaf blister, Rhomboid tortrix, Light emerald, Lackey, Vapourer, Fruitlet mining tortrix, Small eggar and Lappet moths. The haws are rich in antioxidants and are eaten by many migrating birds such as Redwings,Fieldfares and Thrushes, as well as small mammals.


As we head towards Autumn, the fruits of the trees and plants are starting to ripen. Most obvious along the Emm at the moment are Blackberry Pieris brassicae.The bright red berries of the Rowan Sorbus aucuparia are ripening and providing food for Blackbirds. The nuts of the Hazel Corylus avellana are still green on the bushes, but are proving to tempting for the Squirels who cant wait for them to ripen.



Field Mushroom In Area 4, what I believe to be Field Mushroom Agaricus campestris are just starting to emerge. It is the most commonly eaten wild mushroom in Britain. Its species name campestris is derived from the Latin word campus which means "field".



White-lipped Snail In Area 5 the White-lipped Snail Cepaea hortensis was seen.The white-lipped banded snail has a glossy, smooth shell, which is typically yellow in colour but may be pink, brown or red, with up to 5 variable spiral dark bands and nearly always has an obvious white lip around the shell opening.


Arion ater Following tthe overnight rain its inevitable that Slugs and Snails were out and about enjoying the moist conditions. Seen were the >Large Red slug Arion ater and a Garden Snail Helix aspersa orCornu aspersum.

Other Wildlife

Fish/ Crustacean


During the Balsam pulling in Area 6 and 7 today several unidentified fish were seen swimming in the Emm.


During the Balsam pulling in Area 4 today a Crayfish species was seen as Chas Stickler and Malcolm Dunmore were walking in the river near Kingfisher Bridge. It is believed to be a Signal Crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus Signal crayfish are from North America; they were introduced to Sweden and Finland in 1960s and then distributed throughout Europe (including Britain). They are the most abundant of the introduced crayfish in the UK and now occur in many rivers in England, Wales and Scotland and are spreading along rivers, streams and canals, becoming very abundant. Signal crayfish carry crayfish plague and compete with the UK native White-clawed crayfish for shelter. They have a ferocious appetite and a considerable impact on other freshwater animals as well as damaging our river banks through burrowing. Male Signal crayfish are usually up to 16cm in body length (females up to 12cm) and they have smooth with generally bluish-brown to reddish-brown body colour or light- to dark-brown. The best way to recognise them is their distinctive smooth claws with a white-turquoise patch on top of their claws at the joint between the two fingers of the claw, which they open wide to “signal” to other crayfish. The underside of their claws is brick red.


In a slightly strange event this morning 2 Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus were flying around my Area 5 garden at 06:10 as I filled up my bird feeders. -


For a review of the sightings along the Emm for the first 4 months of 2014 click here 2014 Sightings

For a review of 2012 sightings click here 2012 Sightings

For a review of 2013 sightings click here 2013 Sightings