Latest Sightings January 2021

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 January

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.


31/01/21   Siskin On the Old Golf Course in Area 10, Brian Bennett saw 22 Fieldfare 42 Redwing and a Mistle Thrush . In Area 1 on the path to Ludgrove at least 50 Siskin were feeding on a riverside Alder tree by the bridge.  Egyptian Goose In the flooded field 7 Grey Heron were standing round the edge and 2 bathing Egyptian Goose were nearby.At lunchtime over Area 7A a Common Buzzard was riding the thermals.

30/01/21   Canada Goose Area 1 fields that I have never seen hold water before were flooded. Taking advantage of it were 2 Canada Goose , Mallard , Black headed Gull Herring Gull and Common Gull .

29/01/21 After a night and morning of heavy rain,It was great to see a few patches of blue sky among a sea of grey cloud – “enough to make a sailor a pair of trousers” as my Mum used to say, though I’m not really sure if that means a little or a lot. But not that many birds appeared in Area 7A. In the fields were Carrion Crow , Jackdaw and 2 Pied Wagtail .

28/01/21 In Area 7A a Sparrowhawk was seen flying over the roundabout on the A321. A Mistle Thrush was sitting in the tree tops and a female Stonechat was seen in Ashridge Meadows by Paul O'Neill.

27/01/21 A Kingfisher was seen around Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4 by Paul Hopcraft on an exercise walk.

26/01/21   Grey Heron Heathlake in Area 1 had only a tiny section of unfrozen water this morning with Black headed Gull , Mallard , Coot and Great crested Grebe all crammed into one corner near the car park. A Grey Heron had foresaken the lake and taken up residence and was trying its luck in the small pond.At 22:10 a Female Tawny Owl was heard calling in Area 5 in the woods near Woosehill Roundabout by Fran Stickler.  Grey Heron A distinctive Grey Heron has been seen around Area 4 this week sitting on roof tops. When viewed closely you can see that the tip of its beak has been broken off. Photo courtesy of Paul Hopcraft.

25/01/21 In Area 1 Sean Stevenson saw a Buzzard perched in a dead tree calling around Ludgrove School.A Great spotted Woodpecker and Redwing were also seen.

24/01/21   Winter I was out and about in Area 10 this morning at 07:45 a few Ring necked Parakeet were flying around the car park field . 50+ now roost every night at Dinton Pastures. A Phesant was heard calling from the Wet Meadow and then it started to snow and everything went quiet.   Winter I moved to Area 5 and the snow had settled.A pair of Mallard were feeding on the pond. The winter scene just had to be captured before if disappeared.  Snowman The prize for the best Snowman goes to this one near the "Sledging"hill .

23/01/21 Tim James was walking around Area 10 and saw a party of 6 Bullfinch in the Car Park field off Sandford Lane.

22/01/21   Kestrel A Cormorrant flew over Area 7A this morning. In the lunchtime sunshine a female Kestrel was moving between the power cables and the trees,  Robin but constantly keeping an eye on the long grass on the banks of the Ashridge Stream at Eldridge Park. A Robin was also sitting out enjoying the sun. Also seen were Pied Wagtail , Egyptian Goose , Green Woodpecker and a Great spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming. In Area 1 Patrick Crowley saw 50+ Common Gull in the fields at Chapel Green with Black headed Gulls near by. Paul Bright Thomas was in his Area 4 garden and saw 5 of what were probably the same Common Gull flying SE in groups of Black headed Gull 2 Cormorrant were also seen flying SE.

21/01/21 A brief bit of sunshine lured me out for a walk around Heathlake in Area 1. There was nothing unexpected with Grey Heron and Cormorrant in the trees on the Island On the lake itself were Mute Swan the ever present Mallard and Black headed Gull . Coot , Moorhen ,Pochard and Great crested Grebe were also seen. Just nice to be out without the rain.

17/01/21   Egyptian Goose In Area 1 on the flooded field at Ludgrove School the number of Grey Heron had swelled to 8, there was also 2 Egyptian Goose , 13 Mallard and a Moorhen . In Area 10 a pair of Bullfinch flew from hedge to hedge across the path in front of me whist 2 Dunnock pecked at the path.At the Old Golf course a mixed flock of Redwing . and Fieldfare and at least 2 Mistle Thrush near the overflow carpark.Seen by FRaser Cottington.

16/01/21 Cruising over Area 7A with its diagnostic "flap flap glide" flight was a Sparrowhawk .

15/01/21   Grey Wagtail Over Area 7A this morning gazing out the windows , when the pressures of working from home allow some of the ever present regulars were on display. Green Woodpecker , Great Spotted Woodpecker and Mistle Thrush all favouring the top of the "Dead branch "tree. Flyovers included 5 calling Egyptian Goose , 35 silent Black headed Gull ,15 Redwing and a Nuthatch 0n the fence at Ludgrove in Area 1 in the afternoon sun was a GreyWagtail . Another one was seen at his garden pond in Area 7 by Paul O'Neill. Brian Bennett was out on the old golf course in Area 10 and saw 6 Redpoll and 40 Goldfinch feeding in a Silver Birch tree.

13/01/21 Good news for the river is the announcement of the Emm Brook Restoration Project . FOTEB are working in conjunction with the South East Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency to restore a historic channel to improve fish passage and biodiversity on the river.You can find out more about the project by clicking the following link Emm Brook Restoration Project

12/01/21 A Green Woodpecker was in the fields around Area 7A and 7 Grey Heron were in the flooded fields at Ludgrove in Area 1 seen by Sean Stevenson.

10/01/21   Redwing In Area 1 in the fields adjacent to the Ludgrove School path a Barn Owl was seen hunting over the fields at 07:30 by Sean Stevenson. A walk around Area 5 at lunchtime had at least 50 Redwing in trees and in amongst the leaf litter near Ripplestream Bridge. Also seen were Blackbird , Song Thrush , Mistle Thrush , Dunnock , Wren , Robin , Blue Tit , Great Tit , Long tailed Tit , Goldfinch , Magpie , Jay and a drumming Great spotted Woodpecker .

09/01/21 In Area 10 a pair of Bullfinch were seen in the hedge by the Wet Meadow by Tim James.From his Area 4 garden Paul Bright Thomas saw Goldcrest , Nuthatch and a pair of Great spotted Woodpecker .

08/01/21 A Barn Owl was seen flying along Sandford Lane towards the Mill at 07:30 in Area 10 and a Grey Wagtail was on the beach in front of Activity Centre both seen by Richard Marsh.

07/01/21 A Little Egret was seen in the Emm in Area 7 by Fran Stickler and 18 Redwing were in the Horse paddock to the rear of Tesco in Area 2 seen by Sean Stevenson.

06/01/21   Jay Todays exercise walk was in Area 1. In the fields adjacent to the Ludgrove School path a Jay was foraging for fallen Acorns,with some success.   Stock Dove A Little Egret was seen in flight and a Stock Dove was in the Cow field with Wood Pigeon .

05/01/21   Mistle Thrush I took the Goverment's advice and went for a local exercise walk this morning in Area 7A. It paid divedends with a total of 22 species seen. Highlights were Mistle Thrush , Redwing , Fieldfare and  Kestrel Little Egret in the Ashridge Stream with a Moorhen . A Kestrel was out hunting, and a Meadow Pipit was seen

03/01/21   Mistle Thrush In Area 10 Fraser Cottington was out and about and saw 20 + Redwing ,7 Fieldfare and 4 House Sparrows around the Dinton Pastures centre. At the bottom of the car park field 80 Meadow Pipit a Kestrel and 2 male Bullfinch were seen. A Sparrowhawk flew over the Wet Meadow. At the Old Golf Course 3 Mistle Thrush were seen and a Kestrel flew over the picnic area.

01/01/21 In Area 7A a Great spotted Woodpecker was on its usual tree, 2 Egyptian Goose wandered across the road in front of me and a solitary Ring necked Parakeet flew over calling.In Area 10 on the Old Golf Course, 2 Mistle Thrush ,30 Redwing and Fieldfare were seen by Brian Bennet.


16/01/21 Based on the original overnight forecast the moth trap was put out in Area 7A, However it had to be switched off and brought under cover at 05:00 this morning due to a sleety snow shower that was falling and was predicted for the next 3 hours. Needless to say nothing was captured. I guess it might have to be put on ice for the next month.

05/01/21 The moth trap was put out in Area 7A and was emptied this morning.The trap unfortunately produced the first zero return of the year .

Plants/ Trees

27/01/21  Cuckoo Pint In Area 10 lots of glossy green Cuckoo Pint Arum maculatum leaves are pushing their way out of the bare woodland floor.

04/01/21  Loddon Lily A walk in Area 10 in the early morning gloom by the Dinton Activity Centre and Loddon Lily Corylus avellana are starting to appear, with one in full flower. Hazel Catkins The Catkins of Hazel Corylus avellana are also putting on a fine display.Albeit a bit early.The catkins are the familiar flowers of the hazel, but these just the male flowers which open to scatter their pollen, the female flowers are much smaller and easily overlooked. Each hazel will have flowers of both sexes, the catkins on the ends of the twigs and the female flowers a little further down.


28/01/21  Velvet Shank To the rear of Brookside in Area 5 the Velvet Shank Flammulina velutipes fungi was seen by Paul Hopcraft on a decaying tree. Velvet Shank is quite a common mushroom who’s fruiting season is mainly from September to March. It can resist the winter frosts and low temperatures, even continuing to survive after being frozen solid. Quite a trooper!

09/01/21  Oak Moss Whilst exercising in Area 1 my eye was drawn to Oak Moss Evernia prunastri which was hanging pendulously from a tree branch. This Lichen is also known as "Stag Moss".

Amphibians and Reptiles


21/01/21 In Area 5 at 22:10 a Red Fox Vulpes vulpes was captured on a recently purchased trail cam in the back garden of Chas Stickler.

05/01/21  Roe Deer A solitary Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus this morning in Area 7A. It was only when I looked at the picture that I saw its got its sidekick Robin with it.

01/01/21 At 08:00 through the gloom in Area 7A, 5 Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus were seen walking across the road between fields.

Fish/ Crustaceans