Latest Sightings February 2019

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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 ).

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

All sightings unless stated are from personal observations by Eddie Napper

Click on any picture to see a larger image


28/02/19 A Great White Egret was seen by Roger Stansfield heading north near the Green Bridge in Area 10.

26/02/19 A Little Egret was seen in the Emm Brook near the Green Bridge in Area 10 by Neill Allan.

24/02/19 A male Tawny Owl was heard calling at 21:50 in Area 4 by Paul-Bright Thomas. In Area 10 a Stonechat was seen fly catching along the riverside hedge by the Balancing pools by Marek Walford. A Sparrowhawk flew across Lea Farm pit before alighting in the trees by the river.

23/02/19  Grey Heron A foggy start to the day and a Grey Heron dropped into a Riverside tree. A Nuthatch was back at my garden feeder.

22/02/19 A Little Egret was seen perched in an oak downstream from Kingfisher Bridge by Paul -Bright Thomas in Area 4 .

21/02/19 Calling loudly and heading E towards the Station, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull were seen in Area 4 by Paul-Bright Thomas.

20/02/19 A Kestrel was seen near the new zip wire tower, perched on electric wires behind the Activity Centre in Area 10 by Fraser Cottington.

16/02/19 In Area 10 the Barn Owl was seen in the Barn Owl Box doorway and a Peregrine was seen on the tallest Poplar by the Emm by Richard Marsh.

13/02/19  Buzzard A FOTEB Committee walk with a group of Reading University students around Area 9, 8,7 and 5 was very productive. Buzzard were well represented with 1 in the riverside trees in Area 5, being mobbed by everthing. 3 wheeling on the thermals in Area 8 and 1 with a Red Kite in Area 9. 2  Great spotted Woodpecker Great spotted Woodpecker were loudly chattering in the Area 5 Buzzard tree. Approx 50 Redwing were feeding on the grass near Windmill School. Meanwhile a male Kestrel was seen by Paul Bright-Thomas from his Area 4 kitchen window at 14:30.

12/02/19 A late visit after work to Area 10 saw me stay until dusk. At this time of day a lot of birds are coming into roost. A mini murmaration of 12 Starling were flying in a tight formation before dropping into a reedbed. A Pheasant flew over my head and 2 Grey Heron flew over calling, with one flying back a little later. Large numbers of Jackdaw were seen and heard heading North to treetop roosts.Highlight however were 2 calling Cetti's Warbler in the reedbed. As soon as 1 finished the other started. This carried on till dusk.

10/02/19 The wind had dropped but it was still wet today. The Area 5 garden feeders were much of a muchness. However a walk in Area 4 produced a Kingfisher that flew downstream from Meadow Road Bridge. In Area 1 on the path to Ludgove School, approx 20 Redwing were feeding in the fields with several Chaffinch, another not often seen bird these days. Red Kite and Buzzard were calling. Both Great spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker were also seen. Later in the day the resident Buzzard was in the riverside trees in Area 5.

09/02/19 Watching has been very difficult over the last few days with Storm Erik creating havoc. High winds and rain are not good news. My garden was again watched avidly, but with only the usual suspects paying fleeting visits to the feeders. A Kestrelwas seen on the climbing frame behind the Activity Centre in Area 10 by Brian Bennett.

08/02/19 Not a lot braving my Area 5 feeders tday. Highlight was a Nuthatch or maybe 2,feeding on the Sunflower Hearts.

06/02/19 At 16:00 a Cormorrant was seen flying over Area 5 heading South. No doubt to roost.

03/02/19  Song Thrush It was a bit of a "Groundhog Day " today with the temperature at -5.9C, birds were again in my Area 5 garden looking for food. The 5 Blackbird and a solitary Song Thrush were back again for the Apples and a drink at the defrosted bird bath. Goldfinchwere munching away on the Sunflower Hearts and Wood Pigeon and Collared Dove were also regular visitors.A Black headed Gull flew over the garden. Grey Heron In Area 1 a Grey Heron was sitting on the fallen tree in the flooded and frozen field, waiting for what, I'm not sure.A small flock of Carrion Crow flew across the cow fields  Blue Tit A pair of Blue Tit were checking out a natural nest hole at Gorrick Woods and a pair of Ring necked Parakeets were involved in a Courtship display in an Oak tree.  Ring necked Parakeet Males display by repeatedly lifting one foot while rearing up to their full height, strutting about and feeding the female.

02/02/19  Fieldfare My Area 5 bird feeders were not as busy as expected this morning with snow on the ground. But the temperature was above freezing. At least 4 Blackbird were visiting the Apples that I had placed on the floor. A Song Thrush also paid a visit, Starling were moving between the fat balls and my garden Yew tree, 4 Redwing were in a neighbours tree but declined a visit to my garden,but a nice suprise was 3 Fieldfare coming to the Apples, 2 Robin were enjoying the fat balls, a Dunnock was moving through the vegetation and 2 Mallard flew over. Greenfinch Down by the river in Area 5 a Nuthatch was seen and 2 Great spotted Woodpecker were heard. drumming on trees to announce their presence in the woods. Did you know their sharp bill is powered by strong neck muscles and their brain is protected from all the drumming by a special type of bone that absorbs the stress. A bit of a rarity so far this year a Greenfinch was calling fron the riverside Alders. Meanwhile in Area 10 a Barn Owl was seen in car park field heading to the meadow by Fraser Cottington and later seen briefly perched on trees overhanging the Emm Brook by Jules Jones.


26/02/19 The first Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni Butterfly of the year was seen on the wing in Area 6 by Woosehill Roundabout.The moth trap was out again. This time 3 Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi was the catch.

24/02/19  Common Quaker  The moth trap was left on overnight in my Area 5 Garden and produced a solitary Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi.The firstBuff-tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestris of the year was seen flying across my Area 5 garden.

23/02/19  Zebra Spider  On the back wall of my Area 5 garage a Zebra Spider Salticus scenicus was enjoying the sun and hoping it had brought out some prey.The Zebra Spider is a small spider, with a relatively large body. that stalks and leaps on its prey - it can jump up to 10cm, over 14 times its own body length.It is so-named for its black-and-white stripy pattern.

13/02/19  Ruby Tiger Seen and saved whilst walking across the path in Old Forest Meadows (Area 8), was a Ruby Tiger Phragmatobia fuliginosa Caterpillar. it was moved to safety in the grass by Roland Ramsdale.


23/02/19  Lesser Celandine Around Area 5 Lesser celandine Ficaria verna is just starting to appear.As one of the first flowers to appear after winter, they provide an important nectar source for queen bumblebees emerging from hibernation and other early insects.

10/02/19  Harts Tounge In Gorrick Woods in Area 1 Hart's-tongue Fern Asplenium scolopendrium can be seen.The Hart's-tongue Fern is a hardy fern of damp, shady places in woodlands and is a very simple fern: the frond is a single, glossy, green blade, with orange spores underneath.

02/02/19  Mistletoe On trees by the river in Area 5 Mistletoe Erinaceus europaeus is still easy to pick out in the bare trees.

Why do leaves change colour

Other Wildlife

Amphibians and Reptiles


24/02/19 Alomgside the Emm in Area 10 a Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus was feeding at the base of the hedge at 17:00.

13/02/19 In Area 9 Blackberry Gardens a Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus was seen briefly in the long grass at lunch time by Stephanie Mckay and later on by some of the University students.

02/02/19 A Wood Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus was seen briefly today in my Area 5 garden.