Latest Sightings December 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


31/12/17 A very wet and windy start to the day delayed proceedings.My arrival in Area 10 coincided with an influx of dog walkers.So I decided to look over Area 1 around Luckley Rd and Ludgrove School. This was also fairly devoid of birds. Maybe I should have stayed at Dinton Pastures.

30/12/17  Long tailed Tit A walk along the Emm in Area 5 this morning and a roaming Tit flockwas woking its way through the trees by the subway. At least 15 Long tailed Tit, Blue Tit , Great Tit and a solitary Goldcrest . Goldcrest At lunchtime it had warmed up a bit, but still windy and a Red Kite and Buzzard were patrolling the skies. In Area 10, 4 Hawfinch were seen by the Copse in the car park field, and 3 Siskin were in the Alders by the footbridge into Lavells Lake. Seen by Fraser Cottington.

27/12/17 Paul Bright-Thomas braved the biting wind in Area 4 today and saw a Lesser Redpoll with Goldfinch and 4 Bullfinch , 3 female and 1 male by the Emm Brook.



 Snow A pre Christmas breakfast walk along the river in Area 5 this morning was completed in drizzly conditions. The main birds on show were the Thrushes. At least 30 Redwing were moving around, a total of 15 Blackbird were seen at various locations, a Song Thrush was singing its heart out from the treetops and a calling Mistle Thrush was heard. A party of 10 Herring Gull flew over calling noisly. At the Garden feeders Collared Dove, Blue Tit and Great Tit put in an appearance.The above picture is from 2010.

24/12/17  Male Pochard It was a cloudy dismal start to the day at Heathlake in Area 1. On the lake were a pair of Mute Swan, 31 Canada Goose a pair of Pochard, 4 roosting Cormorrant in the trees on the Island, a pair of Shoveller, 20 Coot, 2 Moorhen,10 Tufted Duck and numerous Mallard.  Cormorrant In the woods were a party of Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit and several Goldcrest .  Teal On a flooded field adjacent to Ludgrove School a pair of Teal were sleeping. A female Kestrel was seen hunting over rough grass at Old Forest Meadows in Area 8 by Paul O'Neill

23/12/17 I dont know if its the recent spell of mild weather, but my garden feeders lacked any quantity of birds. Seen however were a Coal Tit a solitary Goldfinch and a Great Tit . Putting out Mealworms, lured in nothing more than several Magpie .

21/12/17 Hawfinch A pair of Mute Swan were seen flying over Area 8 this morning by Bill Sheldon. 6 Fieldfare were also seen by Paul O'Neill. In Area 10 a Hawfinch was again in the copse at the Sandford Lane car parkfield. Photo courtesy of Alan Rymer.

18/12/17 At 12:00 Paul O'Neill saw a Kingfisher flying up the Emm at Old Forest Road Meadows in Area 8. Meanwile a Moorhen was seen by Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4.

17/12/17 In Area 10 the Barn Owl was seen sitting in the entrance to its box by John McGowan.

16/12/17 Moving through the ivy clad trees,to the rear of Morrisons in Area 5 was a Goldcrest feeding with Blue Tit and Great Tit. A Green Woodpecker was calling as it flew around the river.In Area 10 in the Lavells Lake Car Park field 2 Hawfinch were in the copse in the middle and a male Bullfinch was in the hedgerows seen by Richard Marsh.

15/12/17 Song Thrush Not a lot by the river this afternoon in Area 10. A Song Thrush was looking for worms.

12/12/17 2 Hawfinch were still putting in an appearance at the Car park field in Area 10 seen by John McGowan.

10/12/17 With snow falling birdwatching was a bit limited and most of it was done from my Area 5 garden window. The usual suspects were visiting the feeders including a pair of Nuthatch, Robin, Blue Tit and Great Tit and 10 Goldfinch . The only suprise, was a Dunnock. Thrushes were represented by Blackbird, 18 Redwing in a garden tree and a fly over, calling Song Thrush.

08/12/17 Patrick Crowley was at Heathlake in Area 1 and saw 3 Goosander and 10 Gadwall on the lake.

06/12/17 3 Hawfinch were seen by Alan Rymer in Area 10 Lavells Lake car park field copse.

05/12/17 Richard Marsh saw 3 Ring necked Parakeet fly across the Area 10 Lavells Lake car park field.

03/12/17 Kingfisher Another gloomy start to the day with drizzle thrown in . I went to Heath Lake (Area 1 ) and as usual the lake was busy with Wildfowl. A Kingfisher was perched on the lakeside bushes,albeit very distant. On the water were Mallard, Tufted Duck, Shoveller and Gadwall.2 male Goosanderwere moving from one end of the lake to the other.Goosander A Grey Heron was calling and flying around the lake. Also seen were Coot and Moorhen . A Grey Wagtail was feeding on the edges. 2 Mute Swan and a lot of noisy Black headed gull made up the rest of the sightings.

02/12/17 Robin A very gloomy and grey start to the day. I wandered around Area 5 and also watched the garden feeders. In the open space to the rear of Morrisons were 25 Wood Pigeons, 32 Redwing 2 Carrion Crow and 3 Magpie were finding something to eat in the grass . A pair of Bullfinch were in the bushes.In my garden Yew tree a Goldcrest was flitting through the branches. Nuthatch and Coal Tit were on the feeders. The Robin is only included because its that time of year.

01/12/17 Green Woodpecker This morning was spent gazing across the Area 10 Lavells Lake car park field. Seen briefly flying into the copse was a Hawfinch. Feeding in the bushes were Redwing, Blackbird and a Song Thrush . A Green Woodpecker was showing an interest in the Electricity pole and a Sparrowhawk was seen by Richard Marsh.


22/12/17 Light Brown Apple Moth Today coming to my Area 5 porch light was a Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana another very variable species.

19/12/17 Mottled Umber Attracted to my Area 5 porch light was a Mottled Umber Erannis defoliaria . This is a variable species of moth, with some strongly-banded individuals, others plain brownish with darker speckling. The females are completely wingless. It flies till at least the end of December

15/12/17 In a little bit of late afternoon sun in Area 10 Winter Gnat Trichocera annulata were dancing. Though they are active year-round, Winter gnats are most noticeable in the colder months when the males perform their courtship dances. Swarms gather in areas that are kept warmer by the sun, such as woodland glades, riverbanks and above sun-warmed objects. Sometimes following people purely for the heat they give off (though they resemble mosquitoes they do not bite). In low winter sunshine, the reflective wings of the dancing swarms can make them appear like apparitions. In fact the gatherings are sometimes called ‘ghosts’ This act of gathering together to attract mates is known as ‘lekking’ and is thought to make them easier for females to find. Each male flies up and down to his own rhythm, but they cleverly space and pace themselves out to avoid colliding with others in the swarm. If threatened, they are quick to scatter and re-join nearby.

Other Wildlife


24/12/17 Gorse By the edge of Heathlake in Area 1 this very "weedy" looking Gorse Ulex europaeus is in flower. Gorse is usually a large, evergreen shrub covered in needle-like leaves and distinctive, coconut-perfumed, yellow flowers during the spring and summer.It generally flowers from January to June (although it may flower sporadically throughout the year).

15/12/17 Loddon Lily In Area 10 this afternoon, there was a Loddon Lily Leucojum aestivum by the river in full bloom . This is incredibly early for this species.

02/12/17 Bramble For some reason this Bramble Rubus fruticosus still had a solitary flower on it by Ripplestream Bridge in Area 5.


09/12/17 Grey Squirrel Because the Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis does not hibernate and it cannot store enough energy to survive for long periods without food, it can often be seen searching out hidden stores of food at this time of the year. These stores of single nuts and other items are buried in the ground in autumn, well spread out. They are found by smell, rather than memory. Often they are not found at all and later may grow, helping the dispersal of trees.

01/12/17 Hedgehog Despite the recent cold snap a Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus is still visiting my Area 5 garden.