Latest Sightings December 2022

Click on the link to send in your sightings to help us monitor Emm Brook wildlife.This type of ‘citizen science’ allows us to get a clearer picture of what is happening along the Emm.

For previous months sightings see Archive

The "Area Seen" refers to the 11 sections that the Brook has been split into for monitoring purposes (see Wildlife page under Monitoring ).

For what you can expect to see on the Emm this month, click here December

All sightings unless stated are from personal observations by Eddie Napper.

Click on any picture to see a larger image


What is this life if full of care , we have no time to stand and stare.

Leisure - W. H. Davies.


29/12/22 In Area 10 a Barnacle Goose was seen on the Landfill with the Canada Geese by Tim James. Near the bridge over the Emm Brook to the car park field 2 Goldcrest were seen by Andy Dearing and a Chiffchaff was calling loudly, heard and seen by Paul Bright-Thomas.

26/12/22 Angie Taylor was out walking her dog in Area 5 and noticed several Redwings near Ripplestream Bridge .

25/12/22  Firecrest In Area 4 whilst topping up my Garden feeders a Common Buzzard was cruising the skies overhead.A pre Christmas dinner walk in Area 1 around Chapel Green and Ludgrove. In the wooded area a Firecrest  Rook was very actively feeding in the Ivy. A first for the FOTEB list. The cow fields held the usual mix of Covids Rook , Carrion Crow and Jackdaw . Black headed Gull were feeding around the feet of the cows with a couple of Pied Wagtail . Jay were looking through the grass for those hidden Acorns and in the flooded fields were  Jay 6 Grey Heron and 23 Mallard . Throught the stroll I was accompanied with the calls from the Ring necked Parakeet that seem to like the area.

24/12/22 Paul Bright Thomas was walking around Area 1 this afternoon at Chapel Green . 2 Little Owl were seen together and were later heard calling.

21/12/22 The weather appears to have finally settled down and with today being the Winter Solstice based on the Astronomical Calendar I decided to make use of the availiable hours of daylight and visit Area 10. The rivers are still very high and some areas are still flooded. However in the Car Park field 2 Mistle Thrush flew over with their rattling call, 16 Redwing were feeding in the hedgerows and a Ring necked Parakeet flew over calling. At 17.20 a Tawny Owl was heard calling from the West side of the Car Park field by Paul Bright Thomas.

17/12/22  Gooseander On the River Loddon in Area 10 where the Emm Brook joins it by the Green Bridge, a male and and 2 female Gooseander were seen heading downstream and photographed Tim James.A male Chiffchaff was calling from the footbridge over the Emm Brook by the car park field by Paul Bright Thomas and a Marsh Harrier was seen near the Dinton Activity Centre by Jamie.

16/12/22 In Area 4 a male Blackcap was seen in his garden by Paul Bright Thomas.

14/12/22 In Area 1 at the Nortn West entrance to Gorrick plantation a Raven was heard calling by Rick Dawson

11/12/22 In the fog at Dinton Pastures in Area 10 this morning a Kestrel was sitting on the wires in the DAC carpark and at Lavells car park field a Sparrowhawk flew over the field. A Little Egret was on the Emm Brook. All sightings by Peter Scuadamore.

10/12/22 Seen flying over the Dinton Activity Centre and Emm Brook at Dinton Pastures in Area 10 today was an adult Mediterranean Gull , it was heading low east seen by David Rimes. it was heading low east seen by David Rimes. .

07/12/22  Female Stonechat Lunch time today was spent watching the rough pasture alongside the Emm Brook in Area 7A off Twyford Road . The ground itself had been recently disturbed, digging trial holes for the upcoming development of the field for new homes and a Dementia unit.  Song Thrush The bare patches of earth attracted 3 Song Thrush ,10 Redwing ,2 Pied Wagtail , Robin and Blackbird . On the longer grass was a distant female Stonechat and 10 Goldfinch feeding on the seed heads. A small flock of 10 Black headed Gull were ever present and a Kestrel flew from one side of the field to the other calling and alighted in the hedgerow.

06/12/22  Male Shoveller After a morning spent in meetings, I took advantage of a lunch time visit to Area 1 at Heath Lake to recharge . On the lake itself were male Shoveller , male and female Pochard , Mute Swan , male and female Tufted Duck , Coot , male and female Mallard , Moorhen , Great crested Grebe, Cormorrant , Grey Heron and a lot of Black Headed Gull throw in a bit of sunshine and a bench, a perfect antidote to get me ready for whatever the afternoon might hold.

04/12/22  Ring necked Parakeet On a very grey and dank day I visited Area 1 and Ludgrove School. Birds were in short supply. In the cattle fields numerous Jackdaw were busily feeding. 10 Redwing  Redwing were feeding in the roaside Ivy, eating the berries and picking the fallen ones off the floor. 3 Ring necked Parakeet were noisly flying from tree to tree calling.


24/12/22  Mottled Umber Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse, however in the garden with a mild and dry night predicted I couldn't resist one more go with the moth trap for 2022. It was run for 5 hours and produced 2 male Mottled Umber Erannis defoliaria .  Mottled Umber The female is wingless but the male is very variable, with some strongly-banded individuals, others plain brownish with darker speckling as can be seen from the 2 photos. Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught was released.

04/12/22  Large yellow Underwing Caterpillar At this time of the year if the moth trap goes out its usually from dusk till about 21:00 when any action seems to stop. So with very cold weather predicted later in the week I took a chance, more in hope than expectation. Unfortunately the trap produced a 0 return. Thats it, its definitely back in the shed for the rest of the year. However on checking the sheet there was the caterpillar of Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba .  Large yellow Underwing Caterpillar Possibly the most abundant of our larger UK moths. Occupying a range of habitats, the caterpillars feed on a variety of herbaceous plants and grasses.

02/12/22  Male and female Winter Moth This report was sent in by Jon Cole. Did some tree trunking at Dinton Pastures in Area 10 last night with Ian Sims in the same spot as we do every year. Counted over 200 Winter Moth Operophtera brumata between 6 and 7 pm, mostly males with just a few seen mating; see pic. Not nearly as many as at the same last year when we were seeing up to 50 per trunk.Also saw 5 male Northern Winter Moth Operophtera fagata , 2 mating, and 1 Chestnut Conistra vaccinii . Photo courtesy of Jon Cole.

Plants/ Trees

As the leaves on the trees and hedgerows start to change colour to a yellowey gold, find out why at Why do leaves change colour .

21/12/22 Pixie Cup Lichen Neiher a plant or a fungi ,but I've got to put it somewhere. Seen on a gate during a stroll around Area 10 was the amazing Pixie cup Lichen Cladonia asahinae The lichens resemble pale green miniature goblets, and look as though carefully set on a table of bright green moss. While watching them I almost expect to find light-footed wood fairies flitting around, gulping single raindrops from the tiny lichen chalices. These lichens are one of those things in nature that make you want to shrink down like Alice to get a better look at their intricate wonderland.

Fungi Do not eat any fungi that have not been properly identified , some are DEADLY when ingested .

21/12/22  Candlesnuff Fungus With the leaves falling off the trees. Fungi become more visible. Seen on a stroll around Area 10 were Candlesnuff Fungus Xylaria hypoxylon so called beceause it looks like a snuffed-out candle wick.  Variable Oysterling Also seen on deadwood were Variable Oysterling Crepidotus variabilis a tiny kidney-shaped fungus, a first for the FOTEB list.  Coral Spot This one also on deadwood is Coral Spot Nectria cinnabarinaThe small orange pustules of Coral Spot are very distinctive. Finally a Common Bonnet Mycena galericulata was on a rotting gate post.  Common Bonnet The latin name refers to the Ancient Greek helmets which were similarly shaped.

03/12/22  Common Puffball Found during the litter pick in Area 5 on the central reservation of the Spine Road was a clump of Common Puffball Lycoperdon perlatum .

02/12/22  Blackening Waxcap Late news from November is a sighting of a Blackning Waxcap Hygrocybe conica in the Area 10 Car Park field seen and photographed by Alan Jackman.As the name suggests, the mushroom becomes black where touched or completely black after some days and will be found in that condition for many weeks.

Amphibians and Reptiles


029/12/22 In Area 7A ,2 very distant Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus was seen , staying close to the hedgerow.

23/12/22 This morningat 12:30 a Red Fox Vulpes vulpes was heard barking in the distance in Area 4.

07/12/22 At 21:30 a Red Fox Vulpes vulpes was seen scampering across Heron Road in Area 4.

02/12/22  Roe Deer In Area 7A a Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus was seen , my first for a while.