Latest Sightings January 2014

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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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26/01/14 Today was a day when you would be forgiven for thinking that the world was about to end. A grey but dry start before the rain saw most of the best stuff in Area 4 by the Smiths Walk balancing pond. 2 Canada Geese were flying E, a Grey Wagtail was in the concrete channel.

23/01/14 Fraser Cottington was in the Area 10 car park field on Sandford Lane and saw a Skylark over the landfill and a Bullfinch in the field.

20/01/14 Paul Bright Thomas was out in Area 4 this morning at 08:45 on what turned out to be a Gull fest 3 Great Black-backed Gull flew SE, 1 adult Lesser Black-backed Gull flew E and 4 adult Common Gull flew NW. 500< font color=#FFOOOO> Woodpigeon were also seen to fly N to NW over the morning in groups and a solitary Cormmorant flew SE.

18/01/14 Treecreeper A wet start to the day, led to a later than usual start around Area 4 & 5. This however proved adventageous with a Treecreeper seen near Ripplestream Bridge. A pretty bad record shot was taken. The Thrush population in the area had increased to at least 3 figures with most trees holding Redwings . As the morning brightened up I decided to give Area 1 (Gorrick Woods ) a look. This again good results with numerous Goldcrest picking their way through the Fir trees, several Coal Tits calling in among the Tit flocks and the highlight of a "cronking " Raven as it flew over towards Heathlake.

12/01/14 A frosty start and cloudy by lunch time. 24 species seen today but the only addition to the FOTEB Year List was a small party of Rooks seen flying N over Area 5 at 07:45. This brings the FOTEB Bird Year list to 40 species.

11/01/14 On a rare sunny day in Area 5 today 50 + Redwing were feeding on the grass near Dragonfly Bridge to the rear of Morrisons . New for the year was a Buzzard seen quite latev in the afternoon, a Wren near Ripplestream Bridge and a Green Woodpecker heard "Yaffling " . A Feral Pigeon also put in an appearance.

08/01/14 In Area 10 the large mixed flock of approx 200 Redwing and Fieldfare were still present on Dinton Pastures Golf Course.

07/01/14 Area 10 again and this time it was Fraser Cottinton that was out and about . A walk up the sodden car park field on Sandford Lane , yielded returns with an immediate Peregrine circling over low East, looked large so was probably a female, then 2 Stock Dove over, a Buzzard landed at the back of Lavell's Lake. . On the way back up the field a pair of Sparrowhawk glided over me together rather low towards Lavell's.

06/01/14 In Area 10 R.A.Price saw a mixed flock of 200 Redwing and Fieldfare adjacent to the Emm on the Dinton Pastures Golf Course. Have a better week ahead.

05/01/14 Sunrise With blue skies,sunshine and a glorious sunrise all that was missing from this Biblical morning was a Dove and an Olive branch around Area's 4 & 5. What was seen however was making the most of the respite from the recent foul weather. A Red Kite was up early patrolling the river benind Morrisons. A Great spotted Woodpecker was again announcing its presence by drumming in the Oak trees. 20+ Redwing were feeding on the grass before quickly flying back into the safety of the bushes. By the bridge on Barkham Road a Grey Wagtail was seen by P. Burden and a Mistle Thrush was seen by Paul Bright Thomas in his Area 4 garden.

04/01/14 In Area 10 Alan Rymer saw 35 Redwing in the tree's surrounding the Car Park field with more on the ground out of view. Also seen was a Green Woodpecker.

03/01/14 A better morning meant a longer walk than of late around Area's 4 & 5. Drumming Great spotted Woodpecker 's were near Ripplestream Bridge. A solitary Stock Dove was feeding on the grass. A flock of Blue Tit , Great Tit and Long tailed Tit were in the trees near the balancing pond. Also seen was a calling Nuthath. I decided to visit Area 2 behind Tesco's in the afternoon just as the heavens opened. I got very wet but managed to see a solitary Fieldfare and numerous Jackdaw's . Mallard In Area 3 behind Emm Square, 7 Mallard were on the swollen Emm Brook near the culvert under Ashville Way.

02/01/14 As it was getting dark in Area 5 a male Sparrowhawk was seen looking for a late snack from the roosting birds. In Area 10 Fraser Cottington wandered through a flooded Sandford Lane to the car park field and found a Nuthatch that was singing at the bottom, a Feral Pigeon over distantly and a brief Ring-necked Parakeet call .

01/01/14 In Area 5 the heavy New Year rain was hardly condusive to bird watching. Most was conducted from the window watching the garden. But I did venture out, but with not a great deal of success. Highlights (if thats the right word ) were Redwing , Blackbird and a wet looking Red Kite .

Insects & Spiders


Minotaur Beetle In Area 1 a dead male Minotaur Beetle Typhaeus typhoeus was seen. The spectacular Minotaur Beetle is an inhabitant of heath and moorlands, having a thinly scattered distribution across the UK. Most members of the Geotrupidae group are dung feeders. They burrow underground, filling the shafts with dung for their larvae to feed on. The males use the long horn-like extensions on the thorax to compete with other males for females, which only have small points in their place. They prefer areas of short turf, especially that grazed by Rabbits. The adults over-winter in burrows as pairs and the best time to see this impressive beetle is on warm/mild days from September through to March.


House Spider Bluebottle In Area 5 the sun came out and in the afternoon and so did the insects. What is believed to be a House Spider Tegenaria duellica was seen in my garden. Also seen was a Blue Bottle Calliphora vomitoria

Other Wildlife



Roe Deer In Area 1 (Gorrick Woods ) 2 Roe Deer Tegenaria duellica were seen crossing the paths, from one patch of Pines to another. Molehill The soft ground at the moment seems to have helped the Mole Calliphora vomitoria , with the biggest molehill that I have seen for a while.




26/01/14 Fallen Tree The previous days strong wind and rain have again caused more trees to fall in Area 5. This one was behind the Bungalows in Brookside.

18/01/14 In Area 1 (Gorrick Wood) the Gorse Ulex europaeus can be een in flower.Few plants make such an impact on the landscape as flowering gorse, both as colour and scent. The latter is a distinctive coconut smell.

02/01/14 Hazel Catkins In Areas 4 & 5 at the moment the Catkins of Hazel can be seen. The Hazel has yellow dangling catkins which are the male flower spikes (or inflorescences) . Instead of using insects, lured by bright colours, scent or nectar, to do their pollinating these flowers instead use the power of the wind to blow pollen from the catkins to the inconspicuous female flowers, which resemble a tiny shock of red hairs protuding from the tip of the bud.

Why do leaves change colour in the Autumn?

Find out here Autumn Leaves


For a review of 2012 sightings click here 2012 Sightings

For a review of 2013 sightings click here 2013 Sightings