Latest Sightings December 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

Click on any picture to see a larger image


29/12/18  Robin A walk by the river in Area 5 this morning was not that exciting but produced Robin ( I had to take a photo as its that time of year) , Song Thrush which is obviously setting up its territory for the spring as it has been singing continously for at least 4 hours in the morning, starting at about 04:00. Numerous Blackbird were searching the leaf litter and a Red Kite was checking things out from above.

25/12/18  Little Owl A pre Christmas festivities walk in Area 1 this morning. A Little Owl was seen sitting in an Oak Tree , it started calling and a second bird responded. 2 Grey Heron were in the flooded field and Ring necked Parakeet were heard calling.A good start, bring on the Nut Roast.

24/12/18 A Kingfisher was seen flying under Emmbrook Road bridge downstream on the Emm in Area 6 towards Emmbrook School by Paul Browning.

21/12/18  Grey Heron Back in Area 1 at lunchtime and 3 Grey Heron were on the flooded field.

16/12/18  Grey Wagtail In Area 1 this morning a Little Owl was seen sitting out in an Oak Tree enjoying the wishy-washy sunshine. On the fence by the Cattle feeding area was a Grey Wagtail . Also seen were Nuthatch , Great Spotted Woodpecker and Ring necked Parakeet .

15/12/18  Redwing Not a morning condusive to braving the elements, so viewing the Area 5 garden feeders through the window seemed the best option. 14 Redwing popped into a garden Ashtree along with 10 Goldfinch ,(dodgy photo through the window) .Also seen were Blue Tit , Blackbird , Robin , Wood Pigeon and Collared Dove and a fly over Red Kite .In Area 10 a Grey Wagtail was flushed from Emm Brook by the bridge from Lavell’s car park. Seen by Richard Marsh.

13/12/18 In Area 10 a Kingfisher flew from the Emmbrook then down the Loddon seen by Richard Marsh.

11/12/18  Grey Heron In the lunchtime sunshine in Area 1 a Grey Heron was sitting in the flooded field opposite Ludgrove School. Meanwhile at 21:00 in Area 1 a Little Owl was seen on a fence post just North of Ludgrove School access road near Lucas Almshouses, before flying off by Sean Stevenson.

09/12/18  Buzzard A midday walk around Area 1 and Ludgrove School produced 26 Mallard on the flooded field , a flock of 30 Lapwing were wheeling and diving over Grays Farm. Also seen where Nuthatch, Ring necked Parakeet, Jay, Magpie,Rook, Jackdaw, Pied Wagtail, Black headed Gull,Lesser Black backed Gull and a party of 10 Long tailed Tit  Male Pheasant In the sunshine 3 Buzzard and a Red Kite were enjoying the thermals. A male Pheasant was making use of the cattle trough.

08/12/18 With the weekend comes more time to gaze out of the window. My first Redwing of what I believe is now the meteorological winter was seen in a tree in my Area 5 garden.

06/12/18 5 Redwing flew over the Area 10 car park field,a female Bullfinch was seen and a Grey Wagtail was flushed in the car park, all seen by Richard Marsh.

05/12/18 This mornings early singer was a Song Thrush its distinctive and repetitive song phrases cutting through the gloom.

04/12/18 In Area 1 a solitary Ring-necked Parakeet was heard noisly heading S by Sean Stevenson.

02/12/18 Robins are one of the first species to start singing in earnest at this time of the year, with the males marking out their territories in readiness for the coming breeding season.This morning they started about 04:00 probably helped by the streetlights.Meanwhile in Area 10,16+ Ring-necked Parakeet landed in a large Oak on west side of car park field and a Siskin flew over seen by Fraser Cottington.

01/12/18 Area 4 and heard by Paul Bright-Thomas was a hooting Tawny Owl at 02:00 near Morrisons.


23/12/18 We don’t expect to see many insects on the wing in winter along the Emm , but just a little sunshine draws out swarms of tiny dancers. These are Winter Gnat Trichocera annulata delicate leggy flies which are dancing to impress the females. 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. Keep an eye out for them.


09/12/18  Mistletoe In winter, when all the trees are bare and many plants have died away, Mistletoe Erinaceus europaeus stays green and you can still see it growing around tree branches quite happily. These were seen in Area 5 near the pond.  Yarrow Also by the pond, Yarrow Achillea millefolium is still in flower.Yarrow is a tough plant of many grasslands, from lawns to verges and meadows; a strong-smelling perennial, clusters of white, flat-topped flower heads appear from June to November.  Ivy In Area 1 by the bridge over the river, bathed in sunlight was Ivy Hedra Helix. The nectar, pollen and berries of ivy are an essential food source for insects and birds during autumn and winter when food is scarce. It also provides shelter for insects, birds, bats and other small mammals. The high fat content of the berries is a nutritious food resource for birds and they are eaten by a range of species including thrushes, blackcaps, woodpigeons and blackbirds. Ivy provides essential food to many insects before they go into hibernation. Some of the main insect species which forage on the nectar and pollen of ivy are bees, hoverflies and common wasps. As evergreen species both Ivy and Holly were seen as especially powerful symbols during winter, and sprigs were brought into houses to keep evil spirits at bay. Wearing a wreath of Ivy leaves around the head is supposed to prevent one from getting drunk. The Roman god Bacchus, the god of intoxication, was often depicted wearing a wreath of ivy and grapevines. Ivy was also seen as a symbol of intellectual achievement in ancient Rome and wreaths were used to crown winners of poetry contests. Why do leaves change colour

Other Wildlife

Amphibians and Reptiles


27/12/18 At 04:30 a male Red Fox Vuloes vulpes was running through Brookside in Area 5 barking. Always a scary way to wake up

19/12/18 A Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus was seen moving swiftly across the fields before leaping ovor the fences either side of the drive to Ludgrove School at lunchtime in Area 1.

11/12/18 At 14:00 in my Area 5 garden a European Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus was visiting.

01/12/18  Hedgehog With the mild weather continuing a European Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus is still visiting my Area 5 garden.




02/12/18  Oak Pin On an Oak tree near Dragonfly bridge in Area 5 was Oak Pin Cudoniella acicularis .This tiny fungi can be seen late Autumn to early Winter primarily on Oak trees.