Latest Sightings December 2015

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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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Robin A late start and a slow walk around Area 4 & 5 this morning. The weather is still mild and both Buzzard & Red Kite were enjoying the skies. A Coal Tit was on the garden feeders, with Blue Tit & Great Tit . In the riverside bushes Dunnock & House Sparrow were seen.A Moorhen was on the river.


In Area 4 this morning between ripple stream Bridge and Kingfisher Bridge 3 female and 1 male Bullfinch were seen in the bushes alongside the Emm.20 Redwing flew over and a flock of 15 Siskin were feeding in the Alder trees by the pond.


At 1500 today at least 20 Herring Gull were fying over Area 5 in small flocks. earlier in the day the Little Egret flew over Brookside heading for the river at 13:00.


In Area 5 this morning at 10:39 the Little Egret flew over Brookside heading for the river.


Area 4 & 5 this morning. No sign of the Little Egret but a report from a dog walker that 2 had been seen mid-week in the Emm to the rear of Morrissons. Near Kingfisher Bridge 2 Goldcrest were feeding in the trees.Also seen on the walk were Grey Wagtail and Great spotted Woodpecker .


Egyptian Goose A bit of a change today as I went for a walk around Area 2 to the rear of Tesco's. The area is a bit more rural and it was no suprise to see Rook,Jackdaw and Carrion Crow feeding in the fields. On the riverside trees by the bridge on the drive to Ludgrove School, a feeding flock comprising Siskin, Goldfinch, Blue Tit and Great Tit nearby, and probably connected was a flock of 15 Long tailed Tits . On a small flood on an adjacent field were 12 Mallard and 2 Egyptian Goose .


The Little Egret was seen again this morning in the Emm in Area 5, to the rear of Morrissons before flying to the riverside trees by Ripplestream Bridge. At least 15 Redwing were feeding in the open space to the rear of Windmill School and its good to hear the Song Thrush singing again in the dawn chorus, that seems to have started again. A Kingfisher was seen flying along the Emm Brook in Area 10 at Dinton Pastures by Richard Marsh.


Little Egret It would appear that the Little Egret has now taken up residence alongside the Emm in Area 5, to the rear of Morrissons. It was again seen this morning in the Brook, before flying to the riverside trees. Also seen was a Cormorrant heading W. A Green Woodpecker feeding on a neighbours front lawn and a Grey Wagtail in the Brook by Kingfisher Bridge.


In Area 5 this morning a Little Egret was in the trees by the Emm near Ripplestream Bridge . 5 Siskin were amongst the Goldfinch flock. 15 Redwing were battling against the strong wind.


A Little Egret was seen walking across the open space near Ripplestream Bridge and a Grey Heron was feeding in the Emm.


Robin Only because we are now in December do I feel it is ok to show a picture of a Robin seen in Area 5 this morning Robin .


In Area 4 this morning Paul Bright-Thomas was watching from his garden.His sightings included 2 Siskin flying over calling. 3 Song Thrush were seen, 1 singing and 2 high over NE. But the highlight of the morning was 5 Raven directly above his house , low SW, strung out in a group . The first two called softly, the others calling inaudibly.



Syrphus ribesii On a very late flowering Hogweed by Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4 was a Hoverfly Syrphus ribesii and 2 Flesh flies Sarcophaga carnaria


With the mild weather still continuing what I believe to be a Buff-tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestris was seen flying around my Area 5 garden this morning in weak sunshine..

Other Wildlife



With the mild weather continuing a report of a bat probably a Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus seen by Paul Bright-Thomas over his Area 4 garden this morning was noy unexpected.



Reticularia lycoperdon In Area 10 (Dinton Pastures ) today I came across this very odd species which looked exactly like the expanding foam used in cavity wall insulation oozing from the bark of a dead tree. This is the Slime Mould Reticularia lycoperdon previously classified as Enteridium lycoperdon. Slime Moulds are a strange class of amoeboid protozoa, previously thought to be fungi but now known to be Myxomycota, which are organisms which prey on microbial food webs. This particular species is a bacterial predator and usually very tiny and unlikely to be seen, but this particular stage of itís life cycle is a fruiting body known as a sporangium. This is a globular formation which swells up to around 50-80mm (this was near to the top end of that scale), whereupon it hardens and then eventually splits to release brown mass of spores.


Fish/ Crustacean



Hogweed By Kingfisher Bridge this morningwas an inflower Common Hogweed Heracleum sphordytium. The flowers of which were attracting insects


Rosehip The only other red berries on show at this time of the year are the fruits of the Dog Rose Rosa canina. These are also known as rose hips or haws. Unlike Bryony below these have been used for medicinal purposes for many centuries.


Black Bryony In Area 10 is all thats left of one of my favourite hedgerow plants Black Bryony Tamus communis. It scrambles over hedges and has exotic, glossy dark green, heart shaped leaves, which are followed in the Autumn by strings of red berries. It almost seems too exotic for this country and it is fitting that it is Britainís only member of the mainly tropical Yam family, Dioscoreaceae. Black Bryony is a common plant. In autumn Black Bryony dies back and stores its energy underground in an irregularly shaped blackish tuber. In spring shoots appear and rapidly grow upwards, twining round the supporting hedge or fence. Black Bryony is a poisonous plant. It contains a variety of toxic compounds but it is calcium oxalate crystals (known as raphides) that are mainly responsible for the various symptoms that occur. Black Bryony is not related to White Bryony Bryonia dioica another twining hedgerow plant that is a member of the Cucumber family, Cucurbitaceae.


Alder Catkins In Area 4 by the pond Alder catkins can be seen. The elongate male catkins are on the same plant as the shorter female catkins, they are mainly wind-pollinated, but also visited by bees to a small extent. The female catkins are woody and do not disintegrate at maturity, opening to release the seeds in a similar manner to many conifer cones, which are much appreciated by finches.

Why do leaves change colour in the Autumn click here Autumn leaves

For a review of the sightings along the Emm for the first 8 months of 2014 click here May - August 2014 Sightings

January - April 2014 Sightings