Latest Sightings December 2019

Click on the link to send in your sightings to help us monitor Emm Brook wildlife.

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 ).

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.


30/12/19 Great spotted Woodpecker On my Area 5 garden feeders this morning along with all the usual visitors was a Great spotted Woodpecker enjoying sun flower hearts.Marsh Harrier A Marsh Harrier was seen again by Fraser Cottington in Area 10 as it flew North early morning.

29/12/19 In Area 1 a hovering Kestrel and 3 Red Kite were seen. Late afternoon a Marsh Harrier was seen by Fraser Cottington in Area 10 by the Dinton Activity Centre possibly going to roost.

28/12/19 Male House Sparrow Another dank and dismal day was spent looking out the window at my Area 5 garden feeders .A Male House Sparrow was visiting the fat square and then digesting it in the Holly tree.The first in the garden for a while, although around the area.

27/12/19 Long tailed Tit After the festivities, time was spent catching up on chores around the house and watching my Area 5 garden feeders ( however not necessarily in that order).Highlights were all 4 Tits seen Blue Tit,Great Tit, Coal Tit and Long tailed Tit . 45 Goldfinch were around the feeders and neighbours trees.

26/12/19 A Tawny Owl was heard near the Dinton Activity Centre in Area 10 by Fraser Cottington and mixed flock of 60+ Redwing and Fieldfare were seen on the Old Golf Course by Anne Cronin.

25/12/19 Robin A Song Thrush was singing away in the dark at 06:00 this morning in Area 5 and It wouldn't be Christmas without a picture of a Robin .Merry Christmas to all.

24/12/19 2 Mistle Thrush flew over the car park field in Area 10 seen by Nick Knightley.

22/12/19 With the Winter Solstice occuring this morning at 04:19, daylight was in short supply. Today is 8 hours, 47 minutes shorter than on the June Solstice. It is also the first day of Winter based on the Astronomical Calendar. In Area 1 the usual 6 Grey Heron and 2 Egyptian Goose were on the flooded fields at Ludgrove School. The trees held varying quantities of Rook, Jackdaw and Carrion Crow . A treetop flyover by a Sparrowhawk spooked some of the smaller stuff out. Area 8 and Old Forest Road Meadows were very quiet (other than the fact that its next to the motorway) with only Magpie seen in any quantity.In Area 10 a Peregrine was seen over the car park field by Fraser Cottington.

19/12/19 A Little Owl was seen again in Area 1 in an oak tree S of the road to Ludgrove School (3rd field W of small footpath beside school). Seen by Peter Kendall.

18/12/19 In the Alder trees alongside the Emm Brook in Area 10 , 40+ Siskin were feeding before flying off to the Old Golf Course. Seen by Anne Cronin.

16/12/19 Redwing In Area 10 at the Car Park field off a flooded Sandford Lane, Redwing were seen and photographed by Caroline Moore.

15/12/19 Grey Heron & Egyptian Goose As we get closer to the "Shortest Day" it was another dismal and dreary start to my wanderings . My Bird feeders were filled and ready for the invasion.A Great Spotted Woodpecker was on the Sunflower Hearts, Starling were eating the Mealworms and Fatballs . Meanwhile Collared Dove , Magpie and Wood Pigeon were demolishing anything edible.Grey Heron Goldfinch and Blue Tit also put in appearance. In Area 1 by midday at Luckley the sun was now shining . 6 Grey Heron and 2 Egyptian Goose were on the flooded field opposite the School and a Little Owl Little Owl was tucked up out of the wind and sunbathing in an Oak Tree. In Area 7 a Raven was seen flying over low and calling towards Matthews Green Road by Paul O'Neill.

12/12/19 Egyptian Goose Despite the non stop rain all day, I braved the Area 1 elements at Luckley in my lunch time. On the flooded field were 15 Mallard , 1 Grey Heron and 2 Egyptian Goose grazing the field. A Red Kite and Common Buzzard were patrolling the fields.

09/12/19 A Kingfisher was briefly perched in its usual place upstream of Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4 at 12:45. It unfortunately saw me and flew further upstream around the bend and out of sight.

07/12/19 Mistle Thrush On a murky,mucky morning when it seemed as if the sun would never rise in Area 5 a solitary Redwing appeared in my neighbours Ash tree. The feeders were swamped by Magpie , Wood Pigeon , Starling and Collared Dove . A very noisy Herring Gull flew over calling at 07:30. Eventually when the "Vultures" had disappeared Blue Tit , Great Tit and Goldfinch appeared. Down by the river 3, Mistle Thrush were calling from the tree tops and Greenfinch were feeding in the riverside Alder trees.

05/12/19 On the Lavells Lake Wet Meadows in Area 10 a Grey Wagtail was seen by Bob Bennett.

04/12/19  Male Peregrine A male Peregrine was sat in tall Poplars near the Emm Brook in Area 10 seen and photographed by Geoff Emmett.

02/12/19 Sparrowhawk A menacing looking Sparrowhawk appeared at the feeders in my Area 5 garden this morning. Not suprisingly nothing was there on its arrival. 7 Song Thrush were feeding on the weedy area in Area 8 along with, 2 Carrion Crow and 2 Magpie . A Grey Heron flew in from Area 7 over Old Forest Road.


27/12/19 As I gazed wistfully out of my window at the garden this afternoon I noticed dancing Winter Gnat They gather in swarms that go up and down as if they were on an elastic string. These are males, trying to attract females. They are active all the year round, but are more noticeable in winter with so few other insects about. They do not bite, and in fact belong to the crane-fly, or daddy-long-legs, family.

03/12/19 Eudonia angustea Attracted to my lit kitchen window in Area 5 was a Eudonia angustea micromoth.This moth usually has a late flight period from July through to early November. But this one clearly doesn't know the rules.

02/12/19 Seen flying in the weak sunlight in Area 7 was a Queen Buff-tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris the species is becoming winter-active, with nest establishment in October-November and workers flying all winter.

Plants/ Trees

02/12/19  Aspen with lenticels In Area 7 alongside the river several Aspen Populus tremula are displaying lenticels on the bark. Lenticels function as a pore, providing a pathway for the direct exchange of gases between the internal tissues and atmosphere through the bark, which is otherwise impermeable to gases.

Why do leaves change colour


22/12/19  Flavoparmelia caperata Having developed a bit of a liking for lichen this winter I noticed this Common Greenshield Lichen Flavoparmelia caperata. Again it was at Luckley and is also very common. It is a conspicuous medium to large leafy lichen, it is pale grey when dry and yellow green when wet.

15/12/19  Xanthoria parietina On the wooden fence rails at Luckley was the very common lichen Xanthoria parietina Lichens are very intriguing ,this is because a lichen is not a separate organism in the sense of being one type of individual. It is actually a close partnership between a fungus and an alga. The two types of organisms in the partnership are so closely interwoven that they appear as a single individual. This individual looks entirely different to either of the partner organisms making up the structure. Lichens are distinctive and they form many different, recognizable types. Many of these have been given specific names of their own, despite the fact that each lichen is already a mixture of different species.There are more than 1,700 species of lichen in Britain.

Amphibians and Reptiles


15/12/19 Caught on the trailcam, overnight in my Area 5 garden was a Wood Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus .

08/12/19 In a neighbours garden in Area 5 a European Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus was seen feeding.

02/12/19 During the clearing of the nest boxes in Area 7 a very light coloured Wood Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus jumped out of the dome shaped Wren nest box. The Mouse had filled it with suitable bedding material for the winter. The lid was put back on and it was left in peace after its rude awakening.

Fish/ Crustaceans